Monday, October 18, 2010

Penelope Trunk: women should be paid more than men

I'm not quite sure what to make of Penelope Trunk. She's a feminist of sorts, who takes a set of modern girl attitudes and runs with them to places most would pull back from.

Take, for instance, her reaction to the Karen Owen story. Karen Owen was a Duke University student who bedded 13 sportsmen and wrote a detailed report on her experiences, the report then being leaked to the internet.

According to Penelope Trunk, Karen Owen is an empowered modern girl:

Owen's slides capture the shift in women's empowerment, which is happening at the workplace and having the ripple effect of empowering women in sex. Owen's slides make me excited about the new generation of women and how much they take their own power for granted. I'm excited to see what they will do with it.

How is sleeping around empowering? Penelope Trunk sees young women using sex appeal to get what they want in the workplace, in particular by outcompeting young men. This is the sense in which she connects sex to female empowerment:

So middle-aged men are often alone, day after day, with single, hot young women. When has this happened in history? At this point, there is a culture of men being smitten with young women, and young women feeling empowered enough to leverage that without actually giving in.

And, when it comes to young men, they are not earning as much as the women (the Wall Street Journal reports that in Atlanta young women earn an incredible 21% more than their male counterparts). Men are not as in high demand compared to women and since young women are sexy, and young men do not have power that can make them sexy, that's not likely to change. So twentysomething women are running circles around men of all ages. These slides do a good deal to confirm that.

What about the wages gap? Penelope Trunk doesn't think that women are discriminated against when it comes to wages. So is she satisfied with the situation? No, because she believes that women ought to be (and in some cases already are) paid more than men.

Why? Her argument runs like this. It's more difficult for women than for men to give up looking after their children. Business needs women to give up looking after their children. Therefore, women should be compensated more than men for contributing to the needs of business:

Women need to be compensated at a higher rate than men if they are to give up their personal lives in order to work. Law firms accomplish this by keeping women on partner track even when they’re part-time. Corporations do this by offering flex time and other business-bending options for high-performing women who want to take care of kids.

VCs talk endlessly about why there are so few women running venture backed companies, but it’s incredulous talk. The reason is that VCs don’t pay women more.

What else does Penelope Trunk want to see changed? She believes that women are discriminated against by not being allowed to have as much fun as men. By fun, she means getting drunk and having casual sex:

As soon as men and women start aging, the men are happier. Maybe they have had more training on how to have fun...

You can see the gap at the bar. Alcohol makes us have a more broad imagination and do a wider range of things. So why is it more acceptable for professional men than professional women to go out with friends and get drunk? Why is it okay for men to get drunk in order to have an easier time hooking up, but it’s not okay for women? This is such a serious problem that New York magazine calls the gap the the last frontier of feminism.

There's one last piece of advice Penelope Trunk has for women. She believes that women start to lose their competitive edge over men when they have children. So, no matter how much women love children, her advice is not to have any:

Having kids complicates a woman's life in ways that are not so difficult for men ... children affect women so much that they don't start earning less than men until they have kids...

I'm sure a bunch of women will write to tell me that their kids are the love of their life. But don't bother. Because I'm not saying women don't love their kids, and maybe I am saying that the lack of happiness is precisely because women love their kids so much ...

Don't have kids ... Kids give great joy but also wreak great havoc. People used to think there is something wrong with women who don't want kids. But really, there is something wrong with people who tell you that their kids make them happier: they are lying...

So Penelope's world view ends up dismally with a call for women to remain childless.

How does she get it so wrong? It's her assumption that what matters is individual career advancement and money. That's why she takes such a triumphalist view of young women using their sex appeal at work to get ahead of their male peers. She's not aware of how mercenary this sounds, how loveless. Nor does she seem aware that by trouncing their male peers women are reducing their chances of finding future happiness in marriage. The young men are seen as workplace competitors rather than as future husbands.

Similarly, the commitment of women to children has significance for her mostly in business terms. She thinks that it justifies women being compensated more for their hours at work, but she also worries that it reduces a woman's competitive edge later in life and that women should therefore not have children, no matter how much they love them and no matter how important it is for perpetuating families and communities.

46 comments:

  1. An interesting post.

    A couple of points on Penelope Trunk. First, she has Asperger's, full-blown. This is not common in women (3-4 times as many men have Asperger's), and as we know, Asperger's tends to inhibit the ability of individuals to relate socially, and particularly manifests itself as a general lack of empathy for others. I always keep this in mind when I have read some of her more obviously clueless and offensive posts.

    Second, she basically wrecked her first marriage by focusing on her career. She was married for 15 years to a guy who used to produce online games (I think it was Everquest, not sure). When they had a kid, they decided to try to both scale back, and that didn't work well, because there wasn't much for him to scale back to. So eventually they decided to ramp her career back up while he morphed into a stay at home Dad. This proved disastrous -- her career began to soar, and he basically had nothing to keep up with her. I'm sure that the Asperger's exacerbated things, but at the end of the day, her husband ended up asking her for a divorce (not very common, as we know) because his family and friends were telling him that he was in an abusive situation. So they divorced.

    I think these life events very much color what she writes about these things, including having children and so on. But the real problem is that she's so non-introspective about it. For example, while she sees the problem associated with trying to do the high powered career PLUS kids thing, from the woman's point of view, she is apparently incapable of offering any solution. There are basically four options: wife scales back, husband scales back, both scale back, neither scales back and outsource child care. Trunk doesn't like choice 1 because it restricts female careers (which is her main focus, obviously), tried 2 and 3 and failed at both. Choice 4 is only open to very high earners, and for most is off the table. So that's how, if you're Penelope Trunk, you get to the point of advising women simply not to have children -- the only other option which she hasn't tried and failed at -- woman scaling back career -- is not one she wants to recommend to women, because she is, ideologically, careerist in mindset.

    More in post II

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  2. As for her first set of comments about the current set of 20-something women, as is often the case in her writing, she has the grasp of something true, yet spins it in a very unhelpful way.

    I have also often had the thought in the past 5-10 years that young men simply cannot compete with what young women bring to the table at that age. Young women, if smart and educated, bring both capability AND the height of their sexual/attractional power to the table at the same time. Young men do not, because, as Trunk notes, for most men, status is the key to sexual power, and that is not in abundance for most men in their 20s -- most men don't get that kind of status boost to make them "sexier" until they are in their 30s. So among 20-somethings, women are certainly much more set-up than men are -- and I agree with Trunk that this is "structural" and unlikely to change, simply because men, however educated and competent they are at that age, do not have nearly the attractional power that their female peers do, and, as Trunk realizes (and I agree), this is *real* power -- also in the workplace.

    So far so good. The trouble begins, however, when the cohorts hit 30ish. Men then start gaining in status quickly, and gain confidence, whereas women begin to lose attractional power -- slowly at first, to be sure, but at some stage in the 30s, the lines cross, and women begin to have less attractional power, on average, than men do. Men aging into their 40s get "distinguished" and are still attractive to quite a few women in their late 20s and 30s, if they stay in decent shape, whereas women don't really have an "older distinguished" type of attractional mode, and are faced with either trying to cougar it up (acting younger than their age, in other words) or age out of the main attraction band, falling behind their peer men in terms of "overall power" (i.e., competence power + attractional power -- both of which are important for office politics at the high levels).

    So while I think she is right about the situation in the 20s, it changes at some stage in the 30s and men end up coming out stronger in the medium term. Of course, Trunk would blame this on women having babies, as it tends to be around that same point in our culture, but even for single women, the level of "total power projection" they have diminishes, relative to their male peers, as they age. That's the tough truth for women, especially if they are intent to use, and to some extent rely on, their sexual/attractional power at work -- which they clearly (and understandably) do --> there is an expiration date on that, unfortunately for women, while men's attractional power increases well into the 40s and even early 50s, depending on keeping in shape and so on.

    So, again, her insight is more or less correct about the 20s, but she doesn't correctly play it out down the line to understand how that dynamic shifts against women, and how when one lives by the sword, one may also die by the sword as well. If she did, she probably wouldn't sound so much like she is gloating. But, as I say in my other post, she has Asperger's so it's hard to tell what's really going on sometimes.

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  3. In the 1920's feminists used to encourage women to smoke. They claime dit was liberating and men were cruelly denying them such freedoms. Kin dof funny how they always glom on to the absolutely worst forms of male behavior to emulate.

    She talks about how well young pieces of meat have it in a business world dominated by middle age men. Yet she neglects to mention what will become of them when they turn into middle aged harpies in that same environment. It is really not men who are hurt by women's use of sex to get ahead- it is unattractive women.
    @novaseeker
    For example, while she sees the problem associated with trying to do the high powered career PLUS kids thing, from the woman's point of view, she is apparently incapable of offering any solution.

    She also seems unable to see a lifeplan form the majority of women in not-so-high-powered jobs like waitresses and clerks. Is she just preaching to high-powered childless wives when she says "women"? I wonder how she has much of an audience.

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  4. She also seems unable to see a lifeplan form the majority of women in not-so-high-powered jobs like waitresses and clerks. Is she just preaching to high-powered childless wives when she says "women"? I wonder how she has much of an audience.

    She's certainly focused on the high-powered end of things, and not the "everywoman" end of things. She's started three companies herself -- it's her "normal", I guess, and it's the audience she's speaking to.

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  5. So women claiming to be happy because they have children are "lying", while we are asked to believe that women who drink a lot and sleep around are not lying about their resulting, er, happiness. Wow.

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  6. Hey, Novaseeker! Can you check your email sometime?

    Sorry to interrupt guys, so I'll write something brilliant to make up for it later.

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  7. Being a slut is the pinnacle of "empowerment." That really says it all about feminism.

    "Why is it okay for men to get drunk in order to have an easier time hooking up, but it’s not okay for women?"

    It's politically incorrect to criticize women for any reason, so they really can do pretty much anything they want to without any consequences. Look at all the men falling over themselves to defend the Powerpoint slut.

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  8. "She also seems unable to see a lifeplan form the majority of women in not-so-high-powered jobs like waitresses and clerks. Is she just preaching to high-powered childless wives when she says "women"? I wonder how she has much of an audience."

    Agree, all these glass ceiling feminists are successful upper middle class women who are doing far better than most men or women.
    Their problems have very little to do with the kind of issues that the other 90 percent of society has to deal with.

    I'd say most would be more concenred with finding a job that pays more than minimum wage rather than whether they can be prime minister or get paid 150,000 or 170,000.

    If she wants to do something useful for women, why not warn women about the dangers of debt and the limitations of university education.

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  9. "She also seems unable to see a lifeplan form the majority of women in not-so-high-powered jobs like waitresses and clerks. Is she just preaching to high-powered childless wives when she says "women"? I wonder how she has much of an audience."

    Agree, all these glass ceiling feminists are successful upper middle class women who are doing far better than most men or women.
    Their problems have very little to do with the kind of issues that the other 90 percent of society has to deal with.

    I'd say most would be more concenred with finding a job that pays more than minimum wage rather than whether they can be prime minister or get paid 150,000 or 170,000.

    If she wants to do something useful for women, why not warn women about the dangers of debt and the limitations of university education.

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  10. The other comments are great. It's obvious that she's speaking only to professional women. Feminists usually do. They offer poor women state handouts and abortions, but little else.

    Unfortunately, nothing brilliant has occurred to me, but I'll make you suffer through it anyhow.

    But really, there is something wrong with people who tell you that their kids make them happier: they are lying...

    This is actually correct, but that is because of the word "happy". It tends to connotate the word "fun" rather than "satisfaction". People with children tend to have less fun (because their lives are more restricted), but be more satisfied overall.

    Also, our welfare states tend to be over-generous to the retiring childless, so those who cut back on work to raise children finance the free-wheeling retirements of the others. That is because retirement is always paid for by the next generation, so those who produce the next generation are the main ones who are paying into the system. Everyone else is essentially a free-loader, to some extent.

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  11. So her worldview and the advice coming from it, if universally applied, would lead to the extinction of the human race.

    That's what we face here, a battle between a worldview of life, and another one of death.

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  12. Excellent post. There is something obviously jarring hearing the comment "don't have kids". One has to wonder what then the purpose of life is? If its to seek self indulgence and fun then can't I do that just as well on a welfare check, rather then slamming around with a career? Suppose the purpose is to attain power, well what if work is a drudge? Should I then quit and, oh I don't know, play computer games and swap imaginary power for real?

    What if life should be about gaining status and resources? Here we're getting closer to where she’s going. In order to gain status and resources you shouldn’t do anything that distracts you from that goal, that is have kids. As has been said in the comments this is supposed to make you happy? Apart from the obvious destruction of society and civilisation that occurs by not being able to reproduce yourself you're left with man (and woman) as totally isolated, power hungry, asocial and greedy individuals. Man as homo economicus. Oh and also free to act out their sexual desires. Man as homo sexualis. Who said that this is or should be the natural state of affairs? As was pointed out brilliantly by Novaseeker she has Aspergers, boom.

    Finally putting aside whether women should ape the notch post behavior of men, men are currently criticized for this. Should women now be encouraged to do the very things that men are discouraged from doing?

    What we have here is feminism appealing only to the top tier elements of professional women. So if you're an average women you must be appalled by the lack of leadership shown to general women by the sisters.

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  13. Here's something that I sent to The Thinking Housewife in a prior thread that touched on issues of female sexual power etc. It wasn't published, but it's relevant to points that are made here and may be of interest to readers. The text follows:

    I made mention of sexual harassment laws and false rape accusation as an example of the denial of sexual power to men. Of course the men at Duke willingly partook in Karen Owen's "experimentation" and are therefore equally complicit in her moral transgression, but that's not what I was speaking to. I'll defer to Lawrence Auster who has frequently made comments about this at VFR:

    "The way many women dress today, with half their breasts exposed, is an expression of total disrespect for men. Men are left with three possible responses. To grab the woman, which is illegal; to ogle the woman, which is socially unacceptable; or to affect not to notice the woman at all, which is emasculating. A culture that normalizes such female behavior--i.e. not only not noticing or objecting to it, but prohibiting any objection to it--is extremely sick."

    I'm sorry, but this cultural atmosphere is almost totally universal now, and yes, it is a sphere of public life where men have no power; obviously, just look at the man's options above. Can you image a guy today telling Inez Sains that her attire is not only inappropriate, but disrespectful to men? The very idea of a women being asked to be respectful to a man is risible to the liberal feminist mindset. She will probably laugh hysterically at you or react in the same way as the girl from the Dallas Morning News (above)
    [readers will need to see Laura Wood's page linked above for this reference]. What the men at Duke did was simply to co-opt the free-"love" agenda of Rosa Luxembourg and Alexandra Kollontai because that's all that was left after the deconstruction of Patriarchy. When you remove civilisation, you have barbarism. Men are complicit here only insofar as they created the conditions for female economic independence. The sexual hedonism followed because women no longer needed men for security: now they have Big Daddy Leviathan. Men however do need women because while women do not have to enter into the traditional bargain with individual men to get what they want, men still need women for their part of the bargain. And here's what I believe you are missing: Game Theory a la the Roissysphere is the male equivalent to Big Daddy Leviathan. I'll try to put it in simpler terms: if the State is a replacement for the Husband, the cad's acceptance of female promiscuity is a replacement for the Wife (enter: the Duke men). The rest, as they say, is history (or should that be herstory, ha!). Hence my stating that today it is female cues that men follow to obtain what they desire (which in today's age has been reduced to its basest level: sex). Therefore, it's unrealistic to suggest that men will start acting differently by choice (as you suggest will be required to effect real change) in an atmosphere described above by Auster, and where this supposed voluntary choice is militated against by every social and biological force acting on them. This requires men to render themselves unaffected by female eroticism which surrounds them daily. In other words, what you're suggesting is impossible without first takling the female problem. Men who are shunned by women will learn to react in a manner that earns them female intimacy. Women who are shunned by beta men will continue to flock to alphas, as they are doing now, and as has been proven to be utterly inadequate as a strategy for fight-back.

    End block quote.

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  14. Kilroy,

    There is a fourth option, look at the girl out of the corner of your eye. The endless parading of women, however, surely does them no favours. If women are to be judged so consistently according to their bodies its not surprising that body related issues, like cutting or issues with food, should be not uncommon. So in such a case the empowerment of the attractive girl, through display, (although its an endless competition to hit the heights of attractiveness) may cause the dismay of the allright girl. Girls will do this competition I’m sure regardless of whether there are men around.

    On the additional point about the aging of women I think there are some characteristics which are never attractive at any age. In such a case in my opinion the graceful older woman can be far more attractive then the younger brash one.

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  15. What if life should be about gaining status and resources?

    If that's Ms. Trunk's attitude, I should point out one thing about it: how darned masculine it is. Gathering status and resources is how a man advances himself. It's the only way a woman will pay attention to him. As a means for a woman to attract a man, it's a total loser of a strategy.

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  16. Jess,

    You are of course absolutely right. Would you agree that centuries of Patriarchy evolved social mechanisms where this was curbed (as well as male brutishness)?

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  17. Thanks Kilroy,

    I'm not an expert on this but I think its common knowledge to say that we are today having a huge reaction against Patriarchy, whether we're encouraging the election of female leaders, engaging in mother earth nature worship (as opposed to the sophisticated patriarchal religions) or showing general ambivalence towards traditional male values and virtues.

    We can say that patriarchy has been an essential for civilisation. We had to use our reason and intellect and engage with the world, these being all essentially male patriarchal values. Rather than merely exist in the world or in "harmony" with it. In short we were expelled from paradise, harmony with nature, and we were forced to react in the world, this leading to progress as well as order. If we just sat on Mummy's lap (nature) we'd get nowhere.

    Having said that patriarchy has had its "discontents" so to speak. People viewing it as too harsh, too ordered, perhaps unfair to some. So the return to nature, matriarchy, has been on the rise. However, as we know nature brings not only "bliss" of a sort but also disorder and impulses that aren't always controlled. I would agree that patriarchy evolved mechanisms to curb these impulses.

    Where we go entirely from here I'm not sure. As we see disorder is on the rise and not popular. I imagine that social curbs will be desired by people. The maddness of this woman is evidence of what happens when the absence of social checks is allowed to run a course.

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  18. Kilroy, Lawrence Auster is tripping balls if he thinks there's anything "emasculating" about not paying attention to women. I don't understand how he could arrive at such a conclusion. It makes no sense.

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  19. "Where we go entirely from here I'm not sure." Well according to Gibbon, it turns in to a shit storm.

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  20. When I read Gibbon I was suprised by how long it took for the Empire to break apart given the state is was in. So I don't think we're there yet.

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  21. The likely trajectory is more of a slow decline than an abrupt one, given the way that power is distributed right now globally. But there are tons of wildcards in that future as well, particularly technological ones that could be game changers in one direction or another.

    As for the "looking at women" thing, I don't think it's emasculating to avoid ogling a woman. In fact, if you avoid it, that in itself can be very frustrating to the woman, as she expects to get (tactfully) ogled to some degree, and worries when she doesn't get ogled at least a bit by guys who are usually ogling her. It has to do with female validation and self-esteem, which are more fragile than the You Go Grrl! culture likes to admit.

    It does strike me, however, that women who are dressing "competitively" are generally not competing for the eyes of most men (although, again, they expect to be tactfully ogled by most men and don't like it when they are not), but are competing for the eyes of the top men whom they very much want to attract, regardless of their own status and whether they would actually *do* anything about that attraction. In that sense it is somewhat demeaning to the rest of the men, who are basically bein used for validation.

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  22. Novaseeker said:

    "It does strike me, however, that women who are dressing "competitively" are generally not competing for the eyes of most men ... but are competing for the eyes of the top men,"

    But isn't it the case that women will do this even in the absence of men? Perhaps similar to how men compete in the absence of women.

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  23. When I read Gibbon I was suprised by how long it took for the Empire to break apart given the state is was in. So I don't think we're there yet.

    Rome and the modern West are analogous only up to a point.

    From the founding of the Republic until very near the end of the Empire, the Romans never stopped believing in themselves. As many nations and peoples as they conquered and absorbed, Roman supremacy was always a given and the people of the provinces were expected to toe the line or suffer greatly. That is how a state survives for a thousand years.

    The modern West, on the other hand, asks nothing of alien citizens and immigrants save that they nourish and take pride in their own enriching cultures. We long for the end of Caucasian dominance, and think ourselves too guilty and evil to go on as we always have. We beg to be conquered. Did a Roman ever think such thoughts?

    The disease we suffer from is not yet a century old. Rome lasted longer and failed more slowly than we can hope to.

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  24. but are competing for the eyes of the top men whom they very much want to attract, regardless of their own status and whether they would actually *do* anything about that attraction

    Well, yes. I suppose that is why modesty is generally associated with marriage. The "top men" aren't usually interested in marriage (or faithful when they do marry), so if a woman covers up she is sending a purposeful signal that she is no longer available to those "top men" for sport.

    Although I suppose it sounds awful, the basic idea behind modesty (when it applies to dating, not in general) is that you are a product and are tailoring your packaging to attract a very specific customer, namely "marrying men".

    So in such a case the empowerment of the attractive girl, through display, (although its an endless competition to hit the heights of attractiveness) may cause the dismay of the allright girl.

    That sort of competition is only empowering and entertaining for women with little else to offer. If a woman is attractive and talented, or attractive and intelligent, or attractive and simply pleasant, she's having to shelve her other positive traits and concentrate solely on her looks. That's actually very painful for her, and something she will might eventually become quite bitter about.

    I was reading a book about Victorian girls and they were noting their healthy body image. Everyone harps on about corsets and things, but in truth most women spent most of their time cultivating their minds, souls, abilities, and personalities. Contrast that with the modern women who spend an hour every morning doing their hair, adjusting their fake breasts, and slathering on a layer of camouflage. They are like a caricature of themselves, and degrade themselves to mere sex objects with such behavior. Many women tire of that routine, but feel pressured and compelled to do so.

    As a woman, if you are not "selling yourself to the highest bidder", then you will often feel quite invisible. That's a hard pill to swallow when you are young and impressionable.

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  25. Strong comment Van Wijk.

    Alte, but how much of the situation with women is them "having" to look good. Don't many of them want to? For every girl who is anxious about how she appears there is another who is happy to walk around wearing shorts and a tank top and think its the best thing ever. If women are proud of their bodies or a healthy lifestyle isn't it then fun to show it off a little?

    On the point about women in the Victorian period cultivating their minds its very true. The ideal women of today is energetic, "healthy" ie sporty, and social but not really knowledgeable or talented/cultivated.

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  26. But isn't it the case that women will do this even in the absence of men? Perhaps similar to how men compete in the absence of women.

    Yes, it's a subsidiary competition, I would say -- a surrogate. There needn't actually be any men present in order for women to competing for the eyes of the top men, because women (generally) can, by proxy, determine what will be more effective at doing so, even in the absence of men. So it's a proxy competition in that setting. And, yes, similar to what men do.

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  27. Although I suppose it sounds awful, the basic idea behind modesty (when it applies to dating, not in general) is that you are a product and are tailoring your packaging to attract a very specific customer, namely "marrying men".

    Yes, it's a specific presentation aimed at attracting a different kind of fish, I agree. I also agree that it's hard for most young women to do this because it bears a high "validation" price -- that is, women who are dressing less modestly or downright immodestly are garnering a lot more ocular validation, and aren't invisible.

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  28. There needn't actually be any men present in order for women to competing for the eyes of the top men, because women (generally) can, by proxy, determine what will be more effective at doing so, even in the absence of men.

    Even the most modest-looking, demure, sweet Christian ladies group will occasionally degrade into a cat-fight. There is constant status jostling going on, even when appearance isn't being taken into account, or of paramount importance. Women just compete with each other naturally. The competition being limited merely to looks is what I am criticizing. After all, the infighting does serve to increase the quality of the average woman, as long as the group polices itself to keep things from degrading into bullying.

    What I see with the focus on looks is that there is increasingly an "appearance split". So some of the women are obsessed with their looks, and others don't take care of their appearance at all. The women who are merely pretty, lean, and well-kept are a shrinking group. It's now "you're hot or you're not". By setting the bar so high, an increasing number of women just don't even bother trying to jump anymore.

    In other words, the looks competition has now become so harsh that many women don't even join in. I suppose it's the mirror image of the men's "going ghost" phenomenon, where large numbers of eligible betas give up and play computer games or watch porn, when faced with the brutalities of the marriage market.

    The ideal women of today is energetic, "healthy" ie sporty, and social but not really knowledgeable or talented/cultivated.

    Yes. A lot of men criticize women's increasing superficiality, but they should recognize that women are being rational and efficient. They have a limited number of hours in the day: Do I go to the gym and then to my Weight Watcher's meeting? Or do I go home and read Tolstoy and work on my culinary skills?

    There is a reason why most of them hardly read and can't cook. Reading and cooking aren't valued, anymore. The men don't read themselves and you can always order take-out. Also, for a woman to get married she first has to get a date. Working on her appearance will help her do that more than working on her personality. That is a simple fact.

    Modest women are being shrewd and realizing that just "getting a date" isn't really enough. You have to get a date with a man who is likely to marry you. For that, you have to attract men who are more interested in your personality and less in your cleavage. Cleavage is relatively interchangeable, personalities less so. The more unique you seem to him, the more likely he will be to want to keep you around for a while.

    So you cover up your cleavage and encourage men to look in your face, instead. You can play FTOW, but you can't play ten-other-faces. Men don't fall in love with bodies, they fall in love with faces and personalities.

    If you work on your personality rather than flaunting yourself, you are reducing your potential mate market dramatically. You will be invisible to large numbers of men, there is no doubt about it. But you will probably have more success with getting married. Women need to choose quantity or quality.

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  29. I think women should get paid more than men. I also think they should retain a BMI of less than 20 for their whole lives and have a solid C cup and their fashions should be restricted to haltertops.

    We can all dream.

    I also don't have a problem with attractive women drinking a lot and sleeping around as long as it helps me get laid. The alcohol helps me deal with how I am being used by those strong empowered women.

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  30. In other words, the looks competition has now become so harsh that many women don't even join in. I suppose it's the mirror image of the men's "going ghost" phenomenon, where large numbers of eligible betas give up and play computer games or watch porn, when faced with the brutalities of the marriage market.

    Yes that makes sense.

    The effort required can be substantial, for men and women alike. For men, de-betafying yourself in a more total way requires a LOT of effort for quite some time until it becomes a part of your persona, if ever -- many guys will decide it's too much bother, and revert to Warcraft. For women, the issue is whether they really want to spend 60-90 minutes every morning to look hot, and then the additional time in their evenings disproportionately dedicated to grooming, instead of having quiet night in a warm tub with a glass of wine and a novel.

    The "mainstream" market is brutal, and requires a lot of effort for most people (all but the naturally gifted, of whom there are few among men and women alike) to compete in it to a level that will satisfy them. So it makes perfect sense that a good number of men and women will just opt out of the effort required, preferring to spend their limited time resources in other ways.

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  31. I think the lack of temperance in appearance is something that leads to women's looks completely "falling apart" after marriage. Men see women dressed-to-impressed and think that will keep up with 4 kids and a mortgage. Probably not. If a woman looks neat, well-groomed, and healthy before marriage she can probably keep it up afterward, with a minimum of effort. But if she looks like a 10, then forgeddaboutit.

    When I think about my mother's generation, and even more my grandmother's generation, they usually looked neat and feminine, but never "hot". They wore comfortable housedresses and pretty flats, braided their hair or wore it in a simple cut, wore little or no makeup, watched what they ate, shaved their legs and groomed their nails once a week, and that was it. So the median was higher quality than today, because the average effort was feasible for most women.

    That's what I try to maintain, and it's not a big deal. But if I was supposed to look like a model, I'd quickly give up in frustration and reach for some cupcakes.

    Also, some women I've spoken to are tired of being oggled, and like being unnattractive. There are benefits to being invisible, after all. The idea that there is something in-between seems to completely pass them by.

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  32. '' What I see with the focus on looks is that there is increasingly an "appearance split". So some of the women are obsessed with their looks, and others don't take care of their appearance at all. The women who are merely pretty, lean, and well-kept are a shrinking group. It's now "you're hot or you're not". By setting the bar so high, an increasing number of women just don't even bother trying to jump anymore.

    In other words, the looks competition has now become so harsh that many women don't even join in. I suppose it's the mirror image of the men's "going ghost" phenomenon, where large numbers of eligible betas give up and play computer games or watch porn, when faced with the brutalities of the marriage market.''

    Since the market has become so hypersexualized and the sluts have taken over it (higher and higher partner counts) would some women leave it?

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  33. Also, some women I've spoken to are tired of being oggled

    Tired of being ogled, or tired of being ogled by insufficiently high status men?

    Think of the Saturday Night Live definition of sexual harassment.

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  34. Proffessor Hale said:

    "I also don't have a problem with attractive women drinking a lot and sleeping around as long as it helps me get laid. The alcohol helps me deal with how I am being used by those strong empowered women."

    I'd personally rather have a beta girl than an excessively demanding alpha.

    On the split between the super attractive and those who don't care I agree that it is a symptom of strong individuality. If you're out to compete rather than act how you're supposed to there will be an element of win or don't bother. It can also perhaps be seen as a form of self-indulgence, this going for men and women, either dominate and get all those rewards or grease your impulses with Warcraft and food. Is reasonable behavior and a moderate exercise regime really so hard to maintain?

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  35. Is reasonable behavior and a moderate exercise regime really so hard to maintain?

    No, but it takes effort. Unless there is some reward offered, they won't usually do it. It's also passive- aggressive behavior toward their husbands.

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  36. This is the thing. Ultimately you have to do these things without a payoff, then you get the payoff. Internal motivation and self discipline is so sexy.

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  37. This is the thing. Ultimately you have to do these things without a payoff, then you get the payoff. Internal motivation and self discipline is so sexy.

    Doesn't cut it for a lot of folks in our fast-paced, fast-gratification-expected culture. It's understandable in many ways because that "doing the right thing" is also not culturally enforced at all.

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  38. I think this is right. For most of society we're focused on what we want, or the end state rather than how we get there. Eg You go to the gym and say "I want to get ripped ... It will take how long?". But ultimately when people set high standards the process of getting there can't be ignored, then we're back to the realm of conservative values.

    On the doing the right thing front I think this penny is starting to drop. People want what they want but they also want to be treated well. Again in order to be treated well you really have to treat others well.

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  39. There's 38 comments so I've probably missed the discussion...but...

    Wow....She is a crazy woman.

    I think NovaSeeker (I only read the first two comments) explains it with the Aspergers.

    As a women, I fear Aging Greatly and I think a lot of this female feminism stuff comes from that fear and it is not helped when men state over and over again that after 30 we're not sexually attractive anymore.

    BUT let me tell a story....I've had massive crushes on older men (not cuz of distinguishment but cuz they were 'my type' and I have a specific type)...but I will never forget...when you look into the face of an older guy as a 20 something girl...the little voice in my head went "eww...he's old" and that was that.....Some girls don't mind I guess eish!

    Either way I think Penelope is a nutter and I think EVERYONE both Male and Female have expiration dates. There's nothing attractive about a 40 year old unmarried male to young women with values and morals.

    Let's face it...if your male or female...if you make to to 35+ without getting married it's probably cuz there is something wrong with you (but depending on the degree you will or will not get married). And I say this as someone who will probably not get married before 35 and yes it's cuz I'm weird :) :)

    Marry someone with 4+ years of you!

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  40. For careerist women like Penelope Trunk, it is better not to have children. They really do interfere with the everyday care and feeding of your own narcissism.

    From what I've read about her, she seems like she is pretty high maintenance and probably hard to be in a relationship with. She and Lori Gottlieb probably have a lot in common. I bet Trunk's ex very much wishes he'd reproduced with someone else. She's not exactly grade A mother material. I'm not sure she's top level executive material either. She's been fired a lot and has repeatedly changed personas. Her self-reported success and her tax returns might tell different stories.

    As for women needing male validation, it's pretty obvious that it's true. However, the catch 22 is that the low road way they are going about getting it virtually assures that they will have it only in the short term whilst they are still "hot." But here's the thing - the female need for validation does not magically disappear when their hotness ebbs, only their ability to achieve it will. Back in the day, average looking, non-hot women could get a certain level of validation from men by being kind, respectable, and hospitable. Men opened doors and complimented them on their appearance, their cooking, their manners or their children. There was a rapport based on mutual respect. The lascivious, predatory Karen Owens of the world get plenty no-respect short-term attention for a decade or so and then nothing but contempt (or, at best, validation from men they themselves were contemptuous of; hardly satisfying) for the remainder of their lives.

    I think it's possible for career women to achieve rapport with men based on mutual respect, but they will not get it spending their twenties basking in their own power and reveling in the advantage they have over their male peers.

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  41. They really do interfere with the everyday care and feeding of your own narcissism.

    Good one. Made me laugh.

    Back in the day, average looking, non-hot women could get a certain level of validation from men by being kind, respectable, and hospitable.

    This. Out in the country, around here, it's still like that. But I do notice that women are invisible in DC, unless someone is oggling them like a piece of meat or trying to get their "digits". Even the "hotter" women are starting to be generally ignored, which might be why they act so desperate for attention.

    I think the feminists/narcissists (same difference, really) threw the baby out with the bathwater. That sort of politeness was based upon chivalry. But chivalry was based upon women not acting like a bunch of jerks. Using your sexual powers to advance your career qualifies as "acting like a jerk", I think.

    Although I think the men (and many women) are also just rude. There is a distinct lack of manners that is positively palpable. That's one of the reasons I stopped riding the Metro. The behavior was often atrocious.

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  42. Say you're on the street or riding the metro or perhaps out at a club, these venues are so crowded that in order to be noticed it helps to be quite visibly attractive or fashionable. However, that is only one part of life. We work/study with people, socialise, or live near them. In this environment personality traits quickly come to the fore. You also can't really afford to be rude and maintain relationships. Life isn't television where you can just watch it, you have to live in it on a sustained basis and that means the cultivation of personality. So if someone has a painful personality I won't date them no matter how attractive they are.

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  43. grerp wrote:

    "Back in the day, average looking, non-hot women could get a certain level of validation from men by being kind, respectable, and hospitable."

    Such habitual behavior that recognizes its own merit, and the deeper impetus behind it, is a primary key to a truly civilized order. It holds true for both men and women. I don't see any institution-- and it will take an institution to make the push-- up to the task except for a reformed Christianity.

    "It" is still with us as others have noted. I tend to think the accretion of immoral Hollywood-like living is rather flimsy and vulnerable to attack. It has yet to be attacked from the inside because it still nurtures hedonistic habits without immediate adverse consequences. This phase will not last forever.

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  44. This is a very good thread, and worth forwarding to people who are not up to speed on many of the issues contained herein.

    Alte, you may not have heard this description of Washington, DC:

    "DC combines both the Northern and Southern US cultures. The politness and manners of the North with the efficiency of the South". I've only ridden the DC Metro a few times, but between the do-nothing employees and some of the ridership, it confirmed the above aphorism.

    Looking for something else in a search I came across one Balthasar Gracian, a Spaniard of the 17th century who was a Jesuit (i.e. a Protestant who obeys the Pope) and a writer of some interesting things. It is hard to casually describe a Baroque period thinker because that past is a different country. Here are some quotes that are apropos to this thread:

    "A beautiful woman should break her mirror early".

    "A bad manner spoils everything, even reason and justice; a good one supplies everything, gilds a No, sweetens a truth and adds a touch of beauty to old age itself".

    "Aspire to be a hero rather than merely appear one".

    "A man of honor should never forget what he is because he sees what others are".

    http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/b/baltasar_gracian.html

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  45. AP,
    I hadn't heard that before, but it is spot-on.

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  46. I'd be willing to bet that the 21% extra that women earn in Atlanta is how much extra they have to pay them to actually work there. That place is no bastion of women's rights I can tell you. It's one of the only places I've ever felt nervous walking around in daylight.

    God forbid you should have to take the MARTA.

    What a strange example though. I suppose CNN and Ted Turner could be skewing the numbers. The only other things in Atlanta are Delta Airlines and AFLAC.

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