In conversation with friends, the subject turned to singleness. One friend mentioned that more and more people she knew seemed to be staying single longer and longer and not by choice. Unwanted singleness seemed to her to be noticeably on the rise, even just looking back to her childhood not all that many years ago.
I agreed. To back up her point, I brought up the subject of incels. Not being as addicted to internet culture as I am, she hadn’t heard the term before. It’s short for “involuntarily celibate,” I told her, and I gave her a quick summary of the phenomenon of lonely men, unable to find sexual partners, who found each other on the internet, some of them turning each other bitter towards women or society generally; on rare occasions, some even turning violent.
The internet may provide these guys with a sort of online community, but it has probably added to their problems. So many of us are spending less time socializing in real life and more time alone on the internet, rather than acquiring the social skills needed to attract the opposite sex.
I went on to state that I thought the internet and the isolation it can foster wasn’t the root of the problem but just a contributing factor. Then, I laid out the theory I’ve heard proposed that the real cause is hook-up culture. Pre-sexual-revolution days, the cultural norm was monogamy. The general expectation was that people would marry. Men were looking for women, and women were looking for marriage. The difficulty in finding a life’s partner didn’t seem so great when people paired off and expected to. That balance has been upset. I don’t know about its accuracy, but the popular stat is that 20% of the men are sleeping with 80% of the women. And those 20% don’t often seem terribly interested in commitment. Such is the nature of male nature. Women still seem wired for commitment (see any Rom Com, aka: “chick flick,” for confirmation). So 80% of both sexes are being set up for disappointment by the normalization of hook-up culture. The 80% of the women who are having sex with the 20% likely do so under the delusion that this behaviour will somehow lead to a committed relationship with one of those 20%, leaving them uninterested in considering any of the 80%, and instead obsessing over men who have no real interest in them.
I didn’t think much about the conversation until a convergence of circumstances made me think there might be meat for a blog post on the subject. A video by a couple of political/cultural commentators I sometimes watch popped up on my YouTube home page today, touting the same theory I’d been touting in conversation two days earlier. It seems incels are back in the news again with a recent act of “incel terrorism” I hadn’t heard about until I watched this video about incels and hook-up culture. Here’s the link to it.
From what I’ve heard, the birth of hook-up culture (no pun intended) goes back to the sixties and the invention of the pill. A movement sprang up that we call the sexual revolution. Free love. Modern, radical, fourth-wave feminism can also trace its roots back to that decade. I call the sexual revolution and radical feminism “the evil twins of the sixties.”
In the timeless battle of the sexes, I rather imagine that men (some men!) thought they were really putting one over on us women. Men (some men!) thought they were getting what they wanted with the sexual revolution. In the age-old game of seduction vs. getting trapped into marriage, seduction suddenly began winning. Women with all their tiresome demands of commitment before they’d give men what the men wanted began losing! With the advent of contraception, women were led down the garden path to believe that the possibility of pregnancy was the only reason we’d ever held out for marriage. Why shouldn’t we “enjoy” all the same “freedoms” men had always been getting away with? (Because we don’t really want to, that’s why!) But we were told we should, and we tried hard to make ourselves believe it.
With radical feminism, I expect women thought they were getting a little of their own back. We thought the way to get the upper hand in the timeless battle was through equality of every kind in every way.
But the reality is that these evil twins have done nothing but bring us (both sexes) misery. Men/women relations have never been so dysfunctional, and the battle has never been so heated in living memory.
I’m a woman, but I will never wear the title of feminist. Not because I’m not grateful for the equal rights I have, but because I already have them. I’m very grateful to the suffragettes and others who fought for equal rights for women. I’m glad I can now vote, drive, own property, pursue any career I have the desire and capability for, and have every right and privilege men do. Equality under the law. Done! Check! Move on! But feminism is now devoted not to equality under the law but to eradicating all male-female differences in the name of equality. Today’s feminism tries to cram us all (men and women) into an unnatural and uncomfortable unisex mould that no one fits. Instead of acknowledging that there were problems in the past and celebrating their fixes, feminists today seem intent on looking for problems where there are none and breaking what wasn’t broken in order to have something to “fix” (i.e. make it even more broken). Feminism (as the name gives away) is about elevating the station of the female, but where that equation has already been balanced, any more elevation can only create imbalance. This style of unbalanced feminism has understandably made men unhappy but, interestingly, seems to have made women miserable, as well. (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/whats-happening-to-womens_b_289511)
Hook-up culture also does observable psychological damage to women, making them less able to commit or less satisfied in a committed relationship. For women, reported satisfaction after marriage is inversely proportional to the number of sexual partners before marriage. (https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/10/sexual-partners-and-marital-happiness/573493/
These data are unsurprising when you consider that women’s bodies release the same bonding chemical during sex and childbirth and breastfeeding. (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275795) By way of illustration, imagine a woman producing baby after baby, only to have every single one torn out of her arms after its first feeding and taken off, never to be seen again. After a few repeat occurrences, she’ll find a way to shut off her natural bonding mechanisms. Do you think this woman will make a good mother when she’s finally allowed to keep one of her offspring? When put in these terms, maybe we can begin to understand why casual sex does untold damage to women, and women who have had many sexual partners have commitment issues.
Just from personal experience, I’ve long seen that the sexual revolution/hook-up culture makes women miserable, but with the rise of incel-dom, I’m now beginning to see that it also makes men miserable. Even the 20% who think they’re getting everything they want out of it will find themselves in middle age suddenly ousted from that 20%, unfulfilled and alone (or moving from one gold-digger to the next until the money disappears, too) with a trail of damage left behind and nothing to show for it.
And the real victims of the evil twins are the new generations that come from the dysfunctional behaviours they bred. This short video by the same commentator of the earlier video is the best pulling-together of the stats about the effects of fatherlessness on children that I’ve found to date. And those stats are staggering.
Evil twins, indeed!
The evidence is in! We screwed up! When I look at the shipwreck we’ve created by our rejection of the traditions of marriage and family, I find myself becoming passionate. I’m passionate about easing suffering. I’m passionate about people living better and happier lives. I suppose that’s why I can’t seem to stay off the subject of sex and the sexes in this blog. While the sixties also gave us some much-needed social changes, such as the civil rights movement and actual equal rights for women (not to be confused with what feminism turned into), the evil twins it gave us have added so much dysfunction, disunity, damage, and despair to our culture, I often wish I had a delorean. I guess that’s why I’m driven to exercise my tiny voice in speaking out against the effects of the evil twins. I’m hoping one or two will join me in looking for that rewind button. Or at least reject the evil twins’ influence in our own lives. And convince one or two others along the way. Who can convince one or two others. That’s how ideas spread. People spread them.
We are all products of our culture. We all tend to imbibe it unthinkingly. Likely, I see the evil twins as evil twins because of the sub-culture of Christianity I was raised in. But a person doesn’t have to be a Christian to evaluate the data and come to the same conclusion I’ve come to through my Christian upbringing. Because I know the pull culture has on us all, I don’t look down in judgment on those who participate unthinkingly in the mess that the evil twins inflicted on us. But minds can change with exposure to new facts, new ideas, new ways of thinking. Here’s my little attempt to help change a mind or two.