Culture 19TIER_SPAN-articleLarge2

November 26th, 2013

Women Are Responsible For Slut Shaming

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At Return of Kings we have often been accused of promoting slut-shaming. But what if, as we here have long known, the lion’s share of distaste for easy women rests not among males, but within the seedy underbelly of the female psyche? Recent research suggests that female animosity toward promiscuous women is not due to any “oppressive patriarchy,” but rather an ingrained competition mechanism that has developed over hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution.

The New York Times reports on a study at McMaster University that was designed to test female reaction to perceived sexual competition. The experimenters had a hot blonde lab assistant enter a room and ask for directions, and then filmed female reactions to the confederate after she left. When the girl (who was highly attractive in either case) was wearing conservative clothing, she received almost no negative reaction. When she was dressed in a short skirt and low-cut top, however, the female hater parade ran strong with subjects making comments about her clothing, chastity, etc. From the article:

“Now that researchers have been looking more closely, they say that this “intrasexual competition” is the most important factor explaining the pressures that young women feel to meet standards of sexual conduct and physical appearance.”

ROK readers yawned, but society at large recoiled in horror. Though we often hear the tired canards of “male chauvinism” or “media emphasizing unrealistic body image or sexual expectations” as explanation for slut-shaming, behind closed doors this impulse exists independent of any male influence.  Despite the shrieking of feminists to the contrary, it is the female’s innate drive to compete with her peers for high value males. There is delicious irony in the fact that women were enraged at Tuthmosis’s slut tell list and invented any reason to dismiss his points, but in private they are adept at recognizing and reacting to the very same cues he simply pointed out.

Anyone who has observed the backstabbing and subtle aggression in female social groups has seen this scenario unfold firsthand, but this study provides evidence that, in a microeconomic sense, women are predisposed to undermine other women who allow easy access to their sexuality.

“Sex is coveted by men,” she said. “Accordingly, women limit access as a way of maintaining advantage in the negotiation of this resource. Women who make sex too readily available compromise the power-holding position of the group, which is why many women are particularly intolerant of women who are, or seem to be, promiscuous.”

This is a perfect example of a Prisoner’s Dilemma, the classic behavioral economics paradigm. The fictional parameters of this game are as follows: two gang members are accused of a crime, arrested, and put into solitary confinement. To gather evidence, the police attempt to get each suspect to betray the other and offer evidence against his partner. If both suspects cooperate with each other and stay silent, they both get reduced sentences. If both betray each other, they both receive a moderate prison sentence. If one cooperates and one betrays, the cooperator gets a full prison sentence and the defector goes free. They cannot communicate with each other. How should each suspect behave?

The fascinating thing is that, even if they can communicate, in both cases each suspect’s best move is to betray his compatriot. If he knows the friend is going to betray him, he gets a lesser sentence by also betraying. If he knows the friend is staying silent, he goes free if he betrays him.

In the case of female social groups, the “betraying” is offering one’s sexuality at little cost (sluttiness), and “cooperating” is remaining chaste and limiting the supply of easy sex. Female sexuality is undeniably valuable in any society—if women limit its supply, they maximize the gender’s overall ability to keep male behavior in check and promote their reproductive aims of finding high-value men. If an individual woman defects from this tacit agreement, though, she has access to more high-value males because of her willingness to engage in quicker sex. If they all defect, you witness a free-for-all of devalued sex and emotional backstabbing. Enter modern western culture.

Women innately understand that their compatriots are going to outcompete them if they offer quicker sex. Despite society’s macro message supporting unrestricted female sexuality via slut walks, easily available contraception, and the “You can have it all” Alpha Fucks/Beta Bucks dichotomy, at a micro level women will still punish defection with non-violent measures like passive aggressive pressure, withholding of approval, and exclusion from social groups. This happens regardless of the closeness of their relationship. The interesting part is that it is in a female’s rational self-interest to enforce cooperation in other women while they themselves secretly defect. We see this played out when girls will call their friends sluts for actions that they themselves have participated in in the recent past.

We live in a society where the male contribution to slut-shaming is light in comparison, and only in the context of the increasingly poor choice of long-term commitment. The male role in slut-shaming is further muted by a media and culture that has imbued them with the sense of learned helplessness at assessing the meaning of a female’s sexual past. After all, it doesn’t matter how many partners she had before you! Evaluate her on her actions now and forgive her follies of youth! The majority of men have taken this rubbish to heart.

Make no mistake — the true reason for outrage at Tuthmosis’s slut tells list is that identifying the defectors punches holes in the “You cooperate, I defect” best-fit strategy of modern women. The existence and identifiability of promiscuous women makes the cooperation they strive to enforce in others more difficult to achieve and reduces the mate-getting value of their individual sexual availability. Despite modernist teeth-gnashing to the contrary, science often shows us that we ultimately remain subject to the innate psychological schemas of our evolutionary biology.

Read More: So What If She’s A Slut?


About the Author

co-authors Man Ex Machina, a new manosphere blog about game, dating, and self-improvement. Find him on Twitter here.

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