The 2018 GSS data has been released. As in 2016, the number of young, virginal men (relative to women) has increased, which weighs toward interpreting this as a real trend rather than a blip. Thus, it seems that hypergamy may exist in a particular subset of the population.
It’s still not plausible to blame the Sexual Revolution, given the timing, but more recent factors (e.g. online dating) may deserve some attention. I still don’t believe that online dating is the real explanation, given that the data from OkCupid show relatively egalitarian outcomes.
(content warning: Happy Valentine’s Day! Let’s talk about culture war, inequality, and loneliness.)
For the first time, I made some effort to promote a post on this blog, and I was rewarded with some interesting discussion on r/slatestarcodex.
To recap: The modern sense of the term “hypergamy”, popular mostly on right-leaning parts of the internet, means that women mate across and up dominance hierarchies whereas men mate across and down. Some have claimed that, in the absence of monogamous norms, hypergamy makes sexual outcomes highly unequal; sometimes this is described as “20 percent of men getting 80 of the sex.” In my prior post, I narrowed in on a particular set of claims about hypergamy and showed that they are probably not true.
Somewhat to my surprise, no one took issue with any of the data I presented or any of the concrete conclusions I drew from it. I’m satisfied that I made a strong case that hypergamy, in the narrow sense I described, does not exist.
What surprised me is that a lot of people thought I was arguing against weak man, and said that most people in the manosphere don’t actually believe in the theory I argued against. The most common criticism was that the reason we don’t currently see harem-forming sexual behavior is that monogamy is a currently-enforced social norm, and that the Chad/Stacy dystopia is something that could happen in the future if we stop enforcing it.
I’ll talk about the implications of that broader, more plausible view of hypergamy shortly, with specific attention to issues involving involuntary celibacy, but first I’m going to show that many prominent people in the manosphere believe in the extreme version I originally argued against.
(content warning: kicking the Culture War hornet’s nest pretty darn hard)
People like to argue about Jordan Peterson on the internet, so I’ll start this post with a Jordan Peterson video.
“Hypergamy” in the sense that Peterson is talking about has become a common theme in culture war debates over why young people are having so little sex, among other things.
The claim is that women, but not men, will only date, marry, or have sex with partners whose social status or attractiveness is higher than theirs. Peterson fears that this can lead to a sort of sexually Hobbesian state of nature in which a small number of high-status men get all the women, low-status men get none, and women are unhappy with their partners’ divided attention.
The proposed solution is “enforced” monogamy — enforced not by coercion, but by social norms — which supports a harmonious society in which most men are married, most women get the monogamous attention of one man, and children are raised in stable homes.