I'll make a controversial observation, but it's worthy of discussion.
If you're a woman of average or better looks, you have one under-spoken superpower. Namely, how you interact with other men will have a huge effect on their social status. I'm not talking about overt flirtation (don't do it) or office relationships (avoid, avoid, avoid). I'm talking about more subtle stuff, like who a woman smiles at, who she initiates conversations with, and what her body language is toward various people. This will have huge ripple effects on the male status hierarchy. Much of the reason why men tend to seem "afraid of" women in the office is that they're afraid she'll judge him lowly and send out "loser signals" about him, bringing him down a notch or two. Since everything that happens at most workplaces (especially cliquish startups, so don't give me this "meritocratic" bullshit) is really about social status-- "performance" is a myth made up to justify firings and scare the mediocre-- this is huge.
Overtly flirting with the men in the office will destroy a woman's reputation, for sure. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the subtle fact that, among groups of people, women have the capability to exert a disproportionate influence on the status ordering. In fact, the best way to use this is to do exactly what a young man would do: be nice to everyone, reach out and try to make allies, seek mentors... but also take a small comfort in the fact that men have an added incentive to be nice to you-- you have a disproportionate effect on their image, and they want to be seen with you.
For example, a 23-year-old with 6 months on the job comes into the office of a powerful person (MD in banking, Partner in a law firm) and says that (s/)he is bored with the work that (s/)he is getting. If male, he's just another entitled fuck looking for an advantage. The response usually is: go away, pay your dues, and come back in 7 years after you've proven yourself (if I haven't fired you before that). That's because humans have a visceral hatred of low-status males, and in the workplace, men in the youngest 15% are almost always of low status (hence, they get the shittiest work).
If the 23-year-old is female, this 45-year-old executive might realize that having a 23-year-old woman come into his office once a week might give him a younger, "cooler" image and prevent him from getting "managed out" (read: fired) for being "resistant to change" (read: old). So he might give her the kind of work that most people have to wait a few years to have a crack at.
Again, she's not flirting with him, or compromising herself in any way. She's doing exactly what a man would do if he had the courage: going into a powerful person's office and asking for better work.
It doesn't always happen this way, but it can. Career advancement is about stringing together a large number of high-impact, low-probability prospects (with enough parallelism that the likelihood of some success becomes high) and waiting for one to hit. The "superpower" that an attractive woman has doesn't turn the low probability into a high one; it makes it slightly less low.
I'm not saying life is fair and, on the whole, women almost certainly have to deal with more bullshit than men. It's wrong that women's looks are taken to matter so much. It's wrong that people are huge dicks to women about aging. Some of the "old lady" comments I heard when Clinton was running for President in 2008 made me want to vomit.
Men have a huge and unfair advantage after 32, which is that they can have children with their careers interrupted, and that their social status (being abysmal, in the workplace, at 22-24) peaks around 40-50. Men can (and are expected to) work through child-rearing, while for it to make sense for a woman to keep working after having children, she has to make about 2.5 times the average income (to hire help, day care, etc.) On the other hand, women have a huge advantage from 22 to 32, which is that they have the subtle but potent ability to determine who's "cool", and if they're aware of how to use it, they can speed up their careers. And given the heaping plate of bullshit that society gives women once they get older (and it starts in the 30s) they pretty much have to use this advantage while it's there.
Yipe! I hope this is hypothetical, and we're not getting a glimpse into how you (would?) act as a manager.
But even in my most pragmatic, cynical mindset, remove the gender from this entirely. Beautiful people get ahead, regardless of gender. For instance:
Here is another hypothetical anecdote to counter yours: a handsome, sharp 23-yo man walks in to his manager's office asking for more, and the manager sees a potential go-getter. A beautiful 23-yo woman walks into her manager's office asking for more, and the manager is influenced by his subconscious belief that all attractive women are stupid.
Or how about a 23-yo person (say, Chris), at a start-up that gets a raise because that person creates a positive work atmosphere by being friendly and fostering coworker interaction -- even if that person is not the strongest coder, they may be bringing more value to the team. Maybe everyone else agrees with this raise!, because at one time or another, Chris made them feel "included" in some way. The only person who disagrees is Chris' cubicle mate: a cynical lone-wolf type who spurns others' efforts to be inclusive, and watches from a distance as the rest of the office builds inter-office relationships. Months later, if given a pulpit, that lone dissenter may make some statement like "Chris was given a raise due to petty office politics despite being a mediocre coder," and maybe people hearing this who weren't there won't know how truly valuable Chris was.
But enough hypotheticals. I'm worried that they aren't productive and may be needlessly inflammatory.
For what its worth, as a former tech recruiter, a female candidate had a 90% chance of hire at 70% or greater hire rate then a male candidate.
What that means is, if the company felt the female candidate was less qualified, but had potential then another male candidate, they would be hired. And, all things being equal (subjectively), had a greater opportunity of hire rate (our fee's, thus tracked). "Get a female in tech, get a placement," theoretically spoken.
I am just agreeing with MChurch mostly. It may however, not be so granular as he cites, rather, the fact that the % of females in the area of tech is so low, that selection bias towards females becomes an "issue" to look for more female candidates.
In other words (because I tend to ramble and befuddle what I am trying to say), little females exist in tech. If you get a qualified candidate in tech that is female, that is a more rare event, and thus worth more attention and notice (subconscious or otherwise).
I think your theory hinges on the idea that most, if not all, of the players in this scenario are single. I work in a start-up environment with a bunch of men, but most of them are married or in a committed relationship. For what it's worth, I'm engaged. The whole "mysterious feminine influence" thing that you're talking about tends to disappear when people don't see you as a potential romantic/flirting partner. I think I'm seen as off-limits, especially because I try not to flirt with the guys in the office. At that point, it doesn't matter how attractive or competent I am. I'm seen as just another member of the team, and probably subconsciously devalued because of my gender.
I think this discussion is missing the fact that women are more likely to enforce social norms
Since the workforce at my company has included more women, there is less tolerance for behaviors that were common in the all-male workplace. Men with poor social skills were increasingly pushed out of leadership roles and/or replaced with more congenial employees. I don't think this is a bad thing at all- our clients are much happier, but it highlights the need in tech education to teach social skills. But it does threaten a "bro" culture that many people enjoyed as employees.
Yup. Marriage status may tweak the details of things like flirting, but certainly doesn't stop it in many cases. Some people even seem to flirt more after getting married, maybe because it feels safer (there's an obvious boundary).
>I think your theory hinges on the idea that most, if not all, of the players in this scenario are single
Not at all. In fact, he was quite clear that this has nothing to do with flirting or relationships in any way. It is simply that female approval is a huge factor in social status. Men instinctively view other men as more powerful, more competent, and respect them more if a women asks him a question instead of asking one of the other dozen men. There is nothing sexual about it, relationship status doesn't matter at all.
I apologize because I can't find the exact quote, but I believe Miss Manners said something to the effect of "Flirting, when done properly, means that both parties can claim they meant nothing by it." That's the flirting I speak of, the same sort of flirting/friendliness that was originally mentioned. It's foolish to assert that female approval matters, but darn it, no one knows why! It's just the way it is! In my experience, female approval matters because of the perception of sexual and romantic prowess that it grants to the receiver, especially in the eyes of other men. It's the idea of "Hey, she might sleep with that guy, under the right circumstances..." And that little sexual undercurrent is a huge part of your life when you're single.
>That's the flirting I speak of, the same sort of flirting/friendliness that was originally mentioned
I was responding to the idea that being single or not has some effect on the scenario. Flirting (whether deniable or not) is neither exclusive to single people, nor required to affect the social status of men you interact with.
>It's foolish to assert that female approval matters, but darn it, no one knows why!
It is foolish to assert that the universe exists, but darn it, no one knows why! We observe things, then we develop hypotheses to try to figure out why they are as they are. Then we test those hypotheses to see if they are accurate. The observation does not cease to exist simply because there are no hypotheses that have made it to proven theory.
>In my experience, female approval matters because of the perception of sexual and romantic prowess that it grants to the receiver, especially in the eyes of other men
That may well be the case at a subconscious level. But that doesn't go away because any or all of the people involved are in relationships. I have been married for over a decade. I do not actively seek the attention of women as a result of this fact, but I still treat them the same way, and they are still able to coerce me into doing what they want even though both of us are fully aware that there will be no sex rewards happening.
"That may well be the case at a subconscious level. But that doesn't go away because any or all of the people involved are in relationships."
Agreed. I'm lucky to work with men who don't seem to be looking for any extramarital dalliances, and our interactions reflect that. Being friendly and warm--what many would consider flirting--isn't required to affect the social status of those I interact with, but it can certainly help. And I think that's something that many people in a monogamous relationship learn to suppress, for various reasons.
You lost me. His point only applies to single people because people in monogamous relationships have learned to suppress "being friendly"? I have not seen anything that would suggest that is true, I could not guess the relationship status of anyone in my office based on their friendliness.
"[Women] are still able to coerce me into doing what they want even though both of us are fully aware that there will be no sex rewards happening."
I'm pretty sure that random female co-workers can't actually coerce you into doing anything that you don't want to do. More likely, they're just better at persuading you to do something, and this could be attributed to women having better-developed social skills (without having to hypothesize some kind of "female approval" dynamic).
>and this could be attributed to women having better-developed social skills (without having to hypothesize some kind of "female approval" dynamic).
Why is inventing something that makes no sense "women have better social skills" a good plan, but a well known observation "women's social interactions confer social status on men" bad? What social skills are women using to get the men in the office to carry boxes of paper? Do you seriously think a man could just practice socializing really hard and suddenly be able to ask another man to do that and have it work?
If you want cynical gender realpolitik you must visit Heartiste, the enemy of pretty lies, who has a superb post today:
In simple terms, we proposed that in sex, women are the suppliers and men constitute the demand (Baumeister and Vohs 2004). Hence the anti-democratic, seemingly paradoxical sex ratio findings that Regnerus describes. When women are in the minority, the sexual marketplace conforms to their preferences: committed relationships, widespread virginity, faithful partners, and early marriage. For example, American colleges in the 1950s conformed to that pattern. In our analysis, women benefit in such circumstances because the demand for their sexuality exceeds the supply. In contrast, when women are the majority, such as on today’s campuses as well as in some ethnic minority communities, things shift toward what men prefer: Plenty of sex without commitment, delayed marriage, extradyadic copulations, and the like. [ed: yep, life has been good for those of us who know the score.] [...]
Sexual marketplaces take the shape they do because nature has biologically built a disadvantage into men: a huge desire for sex that makes men dependent on women. Men’s greater desire puts them at a disadvantage, just as when two parties are negotiating a possible sale or deal, the one who is more eager to make the deal is in a weaker position than the one who is willing to walk away without the deal. [ed: this is why practiced male aloofness is attractive to women -- it signals that the man is holding a stronger market position, and that his goods are therefore valuable.] Women certainly desire sex too — but as long as most women desire it less than most men, women have a collective advantage, and social roles and interactions will follow scripts that give women greater power than men (Baumeister et al. 2001). [ed: culture emerges from sexually differentiated genetic roots.] We have even concluded that the cultural suppression of female sexuality throughout much of history and across many different cultures has largely had its roots in the quest for marketplace advantage (see Baumeister and Twenge 2002). Women have often sustained their advantage over men by putting pressure on each other to restrict the supply of sex available to men. As with any monopoly or cartel, restricting the supply leads to a higher price. [...]
Recent work has found that across a large sample of countries today, the economic and political liberation of women is positively correlated with greater availability of sex (Baumeister and Mendoza 2011). Thus, men’s access to sex has turned out to be maximized not by keeping women in an economically disadvantaged and dependent condition, but instead by letting them have abundant access and opportunity. [ed: was the sexual and feminist revolution fomented by undersexed beta males? a case can be made.] In an important sense, the sexual revolution of the 1970s was itself a market correction. Once women had been granted wide opportunities for education and wealth, they no longer had to hold sex hostage (Baumeister and Twenge 2002). [ed: that is, they no longer had to suffer the indignity of beta provider courtship. now that they had the resources, it was open season on alpha male cock hopping. the sexual revolution appears to have backfired on beta males expecting a bigger slice of the snatch pie.]
What does all this mean for men? The social trends suggest the continuing influence of a stable fact, namely the strong desire of young men for sexual activity. As the environment has shifted, men have simply adjusted their behavior to find the best means to achieve this same goal. Back in 1960, it was difficult to get sex without getting married or at least engaged, and so men married early. To be sure, this required more than being willing to bend the knee, declare love, and offer a ring. To qualify as marriage material, a man had to have a job or at least a strong prospect of one (such as based on an imminent college degree). The man’s overarching goal of getting sex thus motivated him to become a respectable stakeholder contributing to society.
The fact that men became useful members of society as a result of their efforts to obtain sex is not trivial, and it may contain important clues as to the basic relationship between men and culture (see Baumeister 2010). Although this may be considered an unflattering characterization, and it cannot at present be considered a proven fact, we have found no evidence to contradict the basic general principle that men will do whatever is required in order to obtain sex, and perhaps not a great deal more. [ed: that last clause is critical. men will always take the path of least resistance to sex. it is up to women to make that path more difficult if they want to extract more concessions from men.] (One of us characterized this in a previous work as, “If women would stop sleeping with jerks, men would stop being jerks.”) If in order to obtain sex men must become pillars of the community, or lie, or amass riches by fair means or foul, or be romantic or funny, then many men will do precisely that. This puts the current sexual free-for-all on today’s college campuses in a somewhat less appealing light than it may at first seem. [ed: what's interesting and unspoken here is that the sexual free-for-all is chugging along nicely well beyond and outside of the college years, with the difference being that, in their 20s and 30s, a select number of fewer men (let's call them... alpha males) are enjoying the ample premarital rewards of sexually available women.] Giving young men easy access to abundant sexual satisfaction deprives society of one of its ways to motivate them to contribute valuable achievements to the culture. [ed: damn, i'm torn. do i want a thriving society or easier access to sex? yeeeeah... i'll take the latter and leave the self-sacrifice required of the former for the anti-poolside chumps.]
The changes in gender politics since 1960 can be seen as involving a giant trade, in which both genders yielded something of lesser importance to them in order to get something they wanted more (Baumeister and Vohs 2004). As Regnerus states, partly based on our own extensive survey of research findings, men want sex, indeed more than women want it (Baumeister et al. 2001). Women, meanwhile, want not only marriage but also access to careers and preferential treatment in the workplace. [ed: women are the reproductively more valuable sex, and so it makes sense that evolution would have "gifted" women with an oversized entitlement complex and the inability to engage in self-criticism.]
The giant trade thus essentially involved men giving women not only easy access but even preferential treatment in the huge institutions that make up society, which men created. [ed: but the grand bargain did not work out as intended for the masses of beta males who acquiesced to the new girl order. while alpha males certainly saw more action from "liberated" women, the average joe did not. instead, all the average joe got in return for sacrificing his workplace status in hopes of easier sex was... a heaping helping of humiliation and wage stagnation and anti-joe animus, which continues at an accelerated pace to this day. this is a critical distinction i would like to see Baumeister address.] Today most schools, universities, corporations, scientific organizations, governments, and many other institutions have explicit policies to protect and promote women. It is standard practice to hire or promote a woman ahead of an equally qualified man. Most large organizations have policies and watchdogs that safeguard women’s interests and ensure that women gain preferential treatment over men. Parallel policies or structures to protect men’s interests are largely nonexistent and in many cases are explicitly prohibited. Legal scholars, for example, point out that any major new law is carefully scrutinized by feminist legal scholars who quickly criticize any aspect that could be problematic or disadvantageous to women, and so all new laws are women-friendly. Nobody looks out for men, and so the structural changes favoring women and disadvantaging men have accelerated (Baumeister and Vohs 2004). [...]
This is Roissy's new blog, correct? I don't know, the guy's writing just creates a strong, visceral negative reaction in me. Complete 'ugh' reaction. Like the worst parts of 4chan, it's disgusting, horrifying, and strangely compelling.
I think many of his points may be correct, but he is biased by his excessive cynicism. Grey-tinted glasses are no better than the rose-tinted kind.
If MChurch is chaotic good, and VGR is true neutral, I think Roissy would be lawful evil.
Yes, it is Roissy. I agree with everything you said. It's kind of like eating anchovies and Stilton cheese, rotten, but 'strangely compelling'!
For a more palatable experience, I recommend The Red Pill Room guy, Ian Ironwood, who has an excellent series of posts on the evolution of marriage, with cute artwork from a bygone age.
'With the economic impetus for Marriage 2.0 removed, the sex-for-security trade of Marriage 1.0 becoming weaker, and cash taking the place of land as a holder of value, it was Industrialization that forced the development of Marriage 3.0, not feminism. Indeed, feminism is a by-product of the Industrial Revolution, just as Marxism is, an inevitable social response to an economic change. Women invading the workforce in large numbers greatly upset the socio-legal environment, and regulatory reform reflecting this fact was as inevitable as the rise of feminists.
Add to that the revolutionary development of the Pill, allowing a woman to control her reproductive destiny reliably for the first time in history, and between the two a tectonic shift in Male-Female gender relations was also inevitable. Liberalized divorce laws, open access to contraception and abortion services followed as a matter of course. That was as inevitable and predictable as the rise of the Civil Rights movement two generations after the end of slavery.
Marriage 3.0 is an entirely different animal than the previous two versions and their variants. Let’s break down the variants that have evolved out of the chaos and confusion, shall we?'
> b: There's no "attractive male" advantage to be found in tech, at least not compared to "attractive female" advantage as your parent explained.
Here's an excerpt from Vanity Fair's take on YC:
Today, Jason Shen is a different speaker, one who exudes confidence. As he approaches the dais, the former collegiate gymnast does a cartwheel. “I thought you guys need a little pick-me-up or something,” he says, and goes into his pitch. “Ridejoy is the community marketplace for rides. If you’re going on a trip, you can list extra seat space in your car. And if you need to get somewhere, you can find a ride using our site.” He explains that Ridejoy is adding an element of “reputation” to ride-sharing, a mechanism for payments, and a “great user experience.” Shen anticipates a question that may be in the minds of the audience members: “Maybe this is some kind of crazy San Francisco hipster thing. It’s not.”
I think you'll find that a lot of entrepreneurs work out. It has tremendous carryover benefits to confidence and social interactions like hustling startups.
How does this compare to a "attractive female" advantage a girl has in an otherwise-100 % male startup for example?
Of course, being fit, in a good shape both physically and mentally are - always - indisputable advantages over those who lack such qualities. However, this completely misses the point that an attractive female has such a tremendous control over the social structure within the company that it alone is something no single man, regardless of how confident, how superior physically and mentally, can never have. Of course it's another question how a girl can take an advantage of this, if at all.
(a) In your hypothetical example, everyone seems to be heterosexual. I assure you reality doesn't fully match your theory.
I'm talking about social status and "coolness" which are not identical to sexual "market value". In fact, I think it's a bad idea for women to exploit any sexual "assets", because a woman who is visibly trying to do so won't be taken seriously. I'm talking about a more general-purpose social asset which is that an attractive woman is judged to be "cool" (even by gay men).
The initial conditions of social status are set by people wanting things, in the aggregate, so the heterosexual 93% have disproportionate influence. The final conditions are set algorithmically by something that looks like PageRank: people care about popular peoples' opinions because other people care about popular peoples' opinions.
This isn't about what's right or how things should be. It's about what is.
(b) It's just an "attractive female" advantage, "attractive men" have been found to have similar advantages.
True, but the ages in which people are most attractive are 18-29. Men in that age range have low social status (theirs starts out very low, but increases into the 40s and 50s) while women at that age have high social status (and it declines with age). Again, I'm not saying this is how things should be, but it's what is.
The result is that women reach their maximum attractiveness at a time of high social status, while men reach maximum attractiveness at an age when society still considers most of them to be unproven losers who jack off and play videogames all day. People tend to become more average in looks as they get older, and by the age of peak social status for men, almost all of them are in the "average" range where attractiveness doesn't have a major push.
A woman doesn't have to be highly attractive to take advantage of this, by the way. She has to be seen as preternaturally cool. There are women of average or below-average looks who can pull this off.
Men in that age range have low social status (theirs starts out very low, but increases into the 40s and 50s) while women at that age have high social status (and it declines with age).
If I'm parsing this right, you're saying women's social status is mostly based on looks (you say it's better around then) and less so on (cay) career, whereas men's social status is less based on looks, and more on career.
You're probably right (that's probably how a lot of the world works), but damn it jim that's wrong. And from a realpolitik advice it might be helpful. I'm just a principled person, and want to fight this!
If I'm parsing this right, you're saying women's social status is mostly based on looks (you say it's better around then) and less so on (cay) career, whereas men's social status is less based on looks, and more on career.
I'm just a principled person, and want to fight this!
You're fighting against millions of years of evolution. Speeches aren't going to do it, very advanced biotech might.
Millions of years of evolution aren't as strong as you think. We have women out of the home and working, and lower class commoners and black people have near equal rights with the upper class nobility.
I think your hypothetical attractive 23y/o woman who goes into the office of a middle-aged manager who barely knows who she is and comes out with a better job will be very much rumoured to have "exploited" her "sexual 'assets'", whether she has or not, and that in itself is dangerous for her social status.
I'm also not totally sure that youth is such a negative for a man's social status in the workplace. I can think of a few charismatic young men I've seen get disproportionately (disproportionate to performance) far up the ladder. And maybe I'm mistaken, but terms like "rock star programmer" seem to invoke the cult of youth - in my mind it implies a hip young gunslinger.
It's more likely that a 45 year old exec would be less interested in a 23 year old woman visiting him regularly in his office, in case it appears to be inappropriate. One of the difficulties for young women in IT/Dev is finding a mentor, and having important close relationships with more experienced folks.
> If you're a woman of average or better looks, you have one under-spoken superpower. Namely, how you interact with other men will have a huge effect on their social status.
Hmm... I would say in general this is true of attractiveness of average or better than average regardless, particularly if you allow for broader definitions of "attractive", and once you factor in sexual orientation.... and even when sex isn't an issue, there's all kinds of stuff that people do that works the same way. Watch a middle-aged balding male salesman work their magic sometime... even when dealing with a heterosexual, middle-aged male customer.