What exactly would "enforced monogamy" look like? Peterson, for his part, insists that this need not look like a dystopian "Handmaid's Tale" type scenario wherein the government parcels out women to men as rewards for good behavior and service to the state. Quite fortunate, I agree. Not that such a scenario was on the cards anywhere other than the feverishly paranoid imaginations of the Guardian and HuffPost reader bases. Such terrifying prospects serve to keep political bases loyal, much like the equally ludicrous dystopian pictures of encroaching socialism peddled by the right. While not accurate, these doomish scenarios attract readers to newsblogs that rely on advertising to stay in business. These scenarios are comic books. We need not worry. Not now, at least.
What is offered up here is softer. Sort of. It would entail a return to pre-birth control forms of cultural and sexual mores. It would be encouraged to partner up young and remain so until death did you part. Prolonged bachelorhood and spinsterhood would again be regarded as eccentric. This is recommended not just to relieve male sexual frustration, but to increase the sense among lower class men that they have a stake in the preservation and well being of the culture they live in.
So much nostalgia. You'd almost forget that we abandoned that social model for a reason. Many reasons. One wonders how many incels would want their old lives back after a month of being responsible for feeding a family?
That aside, according to a recent Psychology Today article, there may be something to this. And I've had similar thoughts myself, truth be told. The widespread hypergamy that is the sexual equivalent to the upward redistribution of wealth we've been seeing from forty years of neoliberalism isn't exactly sustainable. The birthrates prove that.
Amidst the standard feminist finger-wagging about male entitlement to female sex, the Psychology Today piece actually does a fairly good job of explaining why enforced monogamy of any kind is actually not needed to deal with widespread involuntary celibacy, among both genders. The reason for this is embedded in the article:
Most men do not view women with anger and resentment. Most men don’t view women as things to be won and mated with. Even the men who cannot date, due to their social inhibitions, more often feel sad and lonely, rather than violently angry. These negative reactions are predicted by personality traits such as psychopathy or low agreeableness, not by access to sex. Most men are seeking intimate, connected relationships, where their partners’ happiness is as important to them as their own. These men don’t act enraged when they can’t get a date.How does this point the way out of the crisis of involuntary celibacy?
The quoted paragraph simply becomes the dominant narrative vis-a-vis heterosexual relationships in the western world of today. Like it had been up until maybe twenty five or so years ago, when rates of unattachment were lower.
This would be in stark contrast to the hegemonic relationship narrative of the present day, which in its purest form is marked by the following characteristics. Bear in mind that the following represents the dominant view in its purest and most quintessential form. It is deviated from quite frequently, usually to the chagrin of the woke blogosphere:
- Male heterosexuality must be demonized, and deemed ultimately responsible for women's alleged inequality vis-a-vis men. This is done via "objectification", which we are told is not the same as attraction, but we are never given a meaningful distinction between the two on those rare instances in which the question is openly asked.
- Dysfunctional and even criminal behavior on part of men towards women: rape, battery and abuse of all kinds must be portrayed as normal, even the defining characteristics, of heterosexual relationships and especially marriage. Positive portrayal of such relationships must be avoided at all costs. The only alternative to dysfunctional and abusive relationships must always be no relationships whatsoever. No third option.
- As a corollary to the above, male appreciation of female beauty is termed "the male gaze" and thus something that otherizes and objectifies women. "Harassment" or even "rape" may be said to occur as a result of mere female discomfort while males are fraternizing with them. There is, of course, no defense against this due to the infallibility conferred upon the alleged experience of inequality suffered by those with marginalized identities vs those with privileged identities.
- Normal male desire for sexual and emotional intimacy with women is also framed in terms of "entitlement" and and stems solely from male privilege. Such is the level of deterministic manichean dualism that has been advanced by an academic and media machine that one would be quite surprised to see working in the interests of the supposedly "marginalized."
- A culture in which "independence" and "liberation" are frequently code words for, or at least used in a context that connotes female non-involvement with men on a romantic or sexual basis.
- Media must continually repeat the notion that women lose freedom and equal status in comparison to men as a result of intimacy with them, and that women are better off being single as opposed to being in intimate heterosexual relationships. Men, it is inferred, suffer no such loss, and indeed gain in esteem and well being as a result of being with a woman. This phenomena is completely zero sum, for reasons that are seldom discussed apart from the usual denouncements of "male privilege" and admonitions that men "do more" for the women they're in relationships with.
- "Respect for women" is a concept that is gauged by a lack of romantic and sexual interest in women on part of men. "Respect for herself/themselves" on part of women is a concept that is gauged by a lack of romantic and sexual interest in men on part of women.
- As a possible compromise between all of the above and the desires of some women to partner up with men, utterly fantastic and unrealistic standards of what a male must be in order to be romantically eligible for even average women must be advanced and promoted in the media at all times. Lowering of standards even a little must be decried as "settling." Men who hold similar standards for women must be condemned, along with the supposed "western standards of beauty" that "treat women as consumable products" and the like.
- All of the above, core tenets of feminist theory, is their story and they're sticking to it. I don't doubt for a second that weaponizing romantic and sexual rejection from behind a legitimizing veneer of gender equality and social justice is very much about the lording of female power over the despised male, who must be made to blame himself for this due to his unearned "white male privilege" and the guilt-by-association inferred by concepts such as "rape culture." This is, perhaps, the real reason for the widespread resilience of such concepts among women. Otherwise, they'd have to confront their own deeply entrenched misandry and advantages they enjoy in their dealings with men. Despite the alleged desire and enjoyment of sex that women too supposedly have, many women, I suspect, relish the sexual frustration of the incel - be him the loser online or her husband of many years and depend upon the tenets of feminist theory to rationalize and morally enable this, though they'd never publicly admit it.
Openly and publicly suggest any of the above and expect all kinds of denialism and backlash, from the usual refrains of "muhsogyny" and "you just don't understand feminism" to more crude and crass remarks about how often you get laid and the small size of your genitalia if you're a male (so much for concerns about machismo and "toxic masculinity") or about the favor you gain from males (gasp! horrors!) if you're a female. What you shouldn't expect is a response that isn't a slogan, copy pasta or a canned argument that you haven't heard countless times before if discussing sexual politics is something you do with any degree of frequency. Fewer things are more fragile than the feminist ego. Expect anything - except reason and rationality - if they are openly challenged or disagreed with.
Looked at this way, incel rage becomes more understandable, if not any less toxic. Remember Slavoj Žižek's recollection of Jacques Lacan's jealous husband (which I regard as among the most profound insights I've recently been exposed to) - that the toxicity of one point of view does not justify whatever toxicity is in the counter reaction to that view. None of the above should be taken to mean that men are blameless and completely helpless victims bereft of agency. Very often male conduct is harmful to women, and the excesses of feminism should not be taken as a license to handwave legitimate grievances that women have.
Of course males are not entitled to love or sex from women (the reverse is also true) and incel rage and pathology are certainly not the answer. However, men are entitled to pursue voluntary relationships with women free of all of the above cultural baggage working against them. Again, the reverse is also true. Where does the greater sense of entitlement reside at the end of the day: with a male who naturally wishes for female sexual and romantic companionship, or the feminist who demands a vast array of social programs, a completely subservient media, academia tailored to her ideological prejudices and unprecedented legal protections against any male action she may deem offensive, all so that her male free lifestyle remains tenable as the dominant social norm?
Of course, not everybody need be in a monogamous heterosexual pair bond. But we do need a superior vision of gender equality than one wherein women are tacitly (or openly) encouraged to avoid such pair bonds. We need not enforce or even promote monogamy. Because, and here's the crucial thing to keep in mind: We're a naturally heterosexually reproducing species. Forming such pair bonds is what most people will do, if left to their own devices. There's no need to promote it. We need only cease pouring the untold resources that we have been into tilting the playing field so strongly in favor of the upper middle (and higher) class women who are the primary consumers of those resources. Perhaps this was necessary at one time, when women were just entering academia and the workplace. It is no longer.
Put those resources instead into a new new deal that addresses epidemic poverty, unemployment and underemployment among the poor and working class of all races and genders. Among numerous other benefits, it will make them more attractive to romantic prospects. The end result will be no panacea, but preferable either to the present course of intensifying hypergamy or a counter reaction of enforced monogamy, hard or soft.
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