Women have a significant advantage in the Mating Marketplace. Here’s why.
Author’s Note: Cameron232 requested this post, which will sum up some Classic Manosphere Lore and includes some infographics from online dating websites.
Reader’s Note: I realize that the “visual attractiveness rating numbers” for women are generally a topic of nearly endless fascination and conversation in the sphere, and in general among men as well. This, however, is not the topic of this post, and is a sidelight. Leaving aside the specific “ratings” (which represent my own take on the issue as is fairly well-known) in terms of which “ratings” of women are in which “slice” above, and the issue of which “rating” or “band” a specific woman or type of women fits into, the general distribution of women in the SMP (and therefore indirectly in the MMP via “dating”), by general level of attractiveness, is generally as set forth here. We are planning to publish a separate post on the “ratings” questions, which will address in some detail the methodological, practical, and personal issues that the “ratings” question tends to raise in discussion. Readers are asked to defer a more detailed discussion of those issues for that post.
Length: 3,000 words
Reading Time: 10 minutes
Finding a “great” mate has always been highly competitive, and thus very difficult. In a sense, it is the “great game” of the early years of adult life. In prior eras, the outcomes reached by individual people in that race differed greatly, but in general, most people did marry, due to many pressures that existed. These pressures to marry came from all angles, socially, religiously, culturally, economically, and from family. Because of these pressures, the average period of singleness was short lived and marriages were largely assortative. More attractive prospects couldn’t “hold out” and “test the water” indefinitely, because this was simply neither feasible nor tolerated for most of history, even until the relatively recent past of the mid-20th Century.
But during the 1955-1975 timeframe, there was a drastic change in the social and economic conditions that dramatically and decisively altered the mate market in significant ways.
The underlying reasons for this can be traced to an array of social shifts and technological developments during the critical period of the social revolution which took place between 1955 and 1975 which have together worked to remove many of the natural constraints that limited the full exercise of hypergamic mate selection. In his post, The Six Sirens of The Sexual Apocalypse (March 17, 2016), Chateau Heartiste set out a list of these factors defining the change:
- Effective and widely available contraceptives (the Pill, condom, and, the de facto “fallback” contraceptive, abortion).
- Easy no-fault divorce on economic and other terms that are generally very favorable to women, irrespective of the marital economics, and unfavorable to men.
- Women’s economic independence (hurtling towards women’s economic advantage if the college enrollment ratio and relative income levels among younger generations is any indication).
- Rigged feminist-inspired laws that have created less incentives in favor of marriage for men and an greater incentives in favor of divorce for women.
- Penicillin and related antibiotics (reduced the cost of contracting STDs).
- Widely available hardcore pornography (decreased marginal participation rates of men in the SMP and MMP).
Since this post was written, this list has expanded to include others.
- Equal Opportunity Legislation and The Tender Years Doctrine which created economic leverage and independence for women.
- The centrality of sex in Western culture, and the widespread social acceptance of sexual liberation.
- The predominance of Chivalrous norms, and other prevailing lore such as the “Soul Mate Myth” and “Friends First”, that places men under the sexual authority and the service of women.
- Within the church, there is the flaccid “love and forgive” social atomosphere.
- Social media and dating websites which employ the power of digital aggregation to provide women whoards of opportunities with men.
- SMS and internet communications which are convenient and easy to hide and delete.
Most of these changes revolved around the fundamental goals Feminists have for social change.
To a great extent, the difference between the market that existed before that period and the one that has existed since then (and to a greater and greater degree the further removed temporally we get from that period) is that, under the “old” system, if you were like most people and didn’t get to have a “great” mate, you still mostly ended up in an “okay” situation, which was at least tolerable, at least most of the time, and quite a few people ended up in situations that were pleasant and happy despite not having an objectively “great” mate. And of course there were quite a few people “stuck” in crappy marriages, too — not as many as the feminists of today like to claim, but it also was non-zero. All this changed, and changed substantially, when the mating market was reformulated in the wake of sexual liberalization and female economic independence.
The Two Pillars of Female Power in the Mating Market
Among the factors listed above, sexual liberalization and female economic independence are the two outstanding changes responsible for the current mating market. Namely, the advent of (1) safe, legal, and reliably obtained abortion, (2) cheap, effective contraception, coupled with (3) the transformation of the economy in such a way that many new jobs were created which did not require or even place a premium on size or strength.
The simple and obvious reality is that when you take pregnancy and economic dependency out of the equation, together with the related social pressures that arose from these two base realities, women are by and large “freed up” from the necessity of mate selection, and therefore select mates on other attributes. Due to women’s pronounced hypergamic tendencies, this selection is primarily based on desire, which results in a very concentrated skew in female mate selection upwards — that is, directed at better-than-assortative men.
The Nature of Applied Hypergamy in the Mating Market
A mating market which features far less temporal pressure to marry (and, indeed, features a fair amount of pressure to delay marrying) will feature an extended period of “dating”, which, since the period of the social revolution, has been the primary locus of pre-marital sex, and a high number of other no-strings or otherwise low commitment sexual encounters (yesterday’s “pick up ONS” and today’s app hookups). The reason a liberalized market plays out this way is because of the basic nature of men and women, i.e. applied hypergamy. The following image depicts how women strongly desire top men, while these men are quite willing to choose more than one woman, thereby creating a glut that destroys assortative mating.
Due to the generally higher male libido and perceived “sexual need” of men (not in every case, but enough generally so as to skew the entire market), any market that is primarily, or even substantially, about sex will feature much greater male demand expressed at all levels of the market than female demand, other than at the very top of the male side of the market due to the concentration of female demand there … so that in the rest of the market outside the top 10% (or so, now due to the tightening effect caused by the rise of swipe/phone dating apps and their intensified screening of men) of males, women are the “sellers”, and men are the “buyers”. This fundamental inequality in demand is why the world features such things as Instagram, and OnlyFans, and internet porn, and cam girls, and sugar babies, and all the rest as well — male demand substantially exceeds female demand, such that females are “sellers” and can, if they wish, literally charge men fairly easily as we have seen recently.
Very Few Men Can Satisfy Hypergamy
Another feature of human nature that plays into the mix and greatly exacerbates the glut is that men regard womens’ collective attractiveness by a normal distribution, whereas women tend to view most men as unattractive. This tendency is reflected in the following graph based on OK Cupid data, which illustrates the skew in perceived attractiveness between men and women, and how womens’ high attractiveness ratings are concentrated towards a very small group of men, as compared with how men tend to perceive attractiveness in women.
This means that very few men (currently estimated to be about 10%) are deemed by women to be attractive, and therefore can satisfy womens’ desire for expressed hypergamy. It should be well noted that this difference in perceived attractiveness is basically equivalent to sexual authority. The result is that only these men are “chosen” by women.
The Resulting Glut in the Mating Market
The following graphic displays well the change I am describing in this article and the impact on the SMP/MMP.
The left side is the way “dating and mating” are generally distributed (there always were outliers, but this was the general distribution) among males in a system where (1) unavoidable, not easily/safely/legally terminable pregnancy is generally the result of sex and (2) the economy did not provide a lot of jobs that could be done by women for the same, or better, economic remuneration as men. This kind of a system encourages assortative mating because there is timing pressure exerted on virtually all market participants, as explained above.
The right side shows how “dating and mating” are generally distributed among males in a system where (1) pregnancy is opt-in at the woman’s sole discretion and (2) the economy provides a plentiful amount of economic opportunities for women to earn as much as, if not more than, peer-aged men. This kind of a system encourages hypergamous skew in mating because there is much less timing pressure, until a later period, and market participants therefore feel free to optimize mate selection opportunities based on their actual market power apart from such pressures.
The distribution on the right side alters somewhat when women decide that they definitely want to marry (which in most places in the US appears to be in the late 20s, while in the larger urban metros it is now in the early 30s), such that the interest expressed towards the men begins to encompass the top 50-60% of men for the first time.
Some may object that the mate market is not actually liberalized due to the current divorce regime in the United States, in particular, which in many ways remains punitive for men and beneficial for women. While it may be true that the *marriage* market itself has not been entirely liberalized due to the divorce regime experienced by men once they are married, it is nevertheless true that…
- The sexual market in which the marriage market is, for almost all participants, deeply embedded, has been almost totally liberalized in the sense of having the previously applicable “rules” removed from it.
- The overall pressure to marry is overall much less (for reasons discussed above), which results in more “holding out” for better-than-assortative mate pairings, predominantly among women, in the marriage market itself due to the prevalence of “dating” (which is fundamentally a vehicle of the sexual market) which, quite apart from divorce law, creates pressure on assortative pairings in the midrange of the attraction curve.
- The effect of the punitive divorce regime, due to its flipping of marriage from an economic necessity for women to an economic windfall for many of them, actually serves to amplify the other trends exerting pressure on the sexual and marital market places, all in the direction of more delay, holding out, and attempted hypergamous optimization.
I also note that it is possible to characterize the current mating market(s) as “scientifically subsidized”, rather than liberalized, because one of the main factors was, in fact, the removal, scientifically, of the main natural “check” on behavior in the market (i.e., female pregnancy), such that the resulting market is actually a “subsidized” one rather than a “liberalized” one. While I agree with the underlying point that the “natural check” has been removed, nevertheless I think this perspective obscures more than it explains, because the impact of the removal of that natural check was the near wholesale removal of all of the existing “rules” of the market and their replacement with one base rule. It seems to me that a change in the market that is characterized by the dramatic reduction in the number of rules applicable to market participants is clearly best viewed as a “liberalized” market, in terms of the end effect on the market participants, even if the underlying cause of that liberalization, or removal of rules, was, itself, a kind of science/technology-based removal of the “natural check” on market behavior which had led to the development of the various, overlapping, “rules” on participation in the mating market prior to the sexual revolutionary period.
The New Power Distribution
Under the “new rules” market, the top men hold the most power (smallest in number for the demand related to them), followed by the top women, followed by the top half or so of women, followed by the next group of men (in most markets this used to be the group between the 60th and 80th percentiles, but with the rise of phone/swipe dating apps, women’s screening has become substantially more empowered, and therefore more stringent, such that in many markets this group is now stretching upwards so that it runs from the mid to upper 60 percentiles to the upper 80 percentiles of men), followed by the next 1/3 of the women, followed by the men between the 40 and 60-65 (mid-range men) percentile, followed by the remainder of the women, followed by the remainder of the men.
So like this (women are indicated in red):
- Top 10% of men (used to be top 15-20% before phone/swipe dating apps)
- Top women (9s, 10s for most men) … not close to 10%, more like 1-2%
- Rest of the Top 50% of women (5s-8s for most men)
- Men in percentile 65-90 (used to be men between 60 and 80)
- Next 30% of women (3s-4s for most men)
- Men in percentile 40-60-65
- Remainder of women (1s-2s for most men)
- Remainder of men (percentiles 1-39).
As you can see, there are more women towards the top of the power structure than men. This means that half of the women are more empowered than 80-90% of the men in the market … something which leads to alpha chasing (women are generally not attracted to men whom they know they have power over) and long droughts for the men below the top 10-20%, even if true “incels” are concentrated at the lower rungs. And even though only those men are truly “incels”, men are disadvantaged relative to women at all levels of the market apart from the very top … even at the bottom they are disadvantaged relative to women at the bottom.
Here’s another graph based on data from Tinder that shows why there is an imbalance in the power dynamic between men and women. This has been circulating around the Manosphere for a few years, but it still applies.
As you can see, the attraction ratio is far from linear. It is heavily skewed in favor of women.
The principal difference between the “old” mating market and the one we experience today is that the market has been liberalized, largely due to technological advances and economic changes. This “free market” allows market participants to engage in sexually liberal practices with very few rules, limited primarily by the extent of their value in the marketplace.
The bottom line is that when you remove pregnancy and economic dependency, the market becomes largely about sex and sexual desire. Again, this is so even in the MMP, due to the nature of “dating”, even if it is somewhat lessened because of the presence of other factors that play a stronger relative role in that market than they do in the SMP, where they play almost no role whatsoever. And any market that is substantially about sex and sexual desire will always favor women over men because men, on average and on the population level (that is, outliers aside), desire sex-qua-sex more than women do. Substantially more. Any market that is “liberalized” in such a way that it boils down to sexual desire will always disfavor men, barring strange scenarios like vast male shortages due to warfare and the like. A “liberalized” market for mating simply doesn’t work — for either men or women, generally, other than for the top men, who are better positioned than they have been for thousands of years, perhaps for all time to date.
In the long run this “new lack of rules” market based on sexual desire doesn’t actually serve the women market participants either, because they are increasingly left with relatively unattractive men as options for mates once they are finished exploiting the height of their own market power during their 20s and earlier 30s. This negative impact is something that most contemporary women don’t worry about until the mid-30s, and that’s just human nature — most humans of both sexes have terrible future time orientation innately unless it is forced on them by external constraints and/or social expectations and rules.