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Jan 28·edited Jan 28Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

Another aspect is that if feels like people are demanding more agreement not only with what ultimately needs to be done but also the aesthetic/emotional way the issue is expressed. I strongly suspect that even when men and women end up close in policy space the emotional/aesthetic approach to the issue varies more.

For instance, both someone who feels the threat posed by CO2 is a matter of hard science and to deal with it we need more technical mastery, more subjugation of the natural world and more technical progress and someone who feels we need to give up our consumerist and anthropocentric dispotions and degrow to return to harmony with nature may be said to be very worried about climate change and might show up similarly in those surveys but, at an emotional/aesthetic level, they couldn't be farther apart.

Whether it's increasing polarization or social media or the declining role of experts in mediating our opinions and information, my sense is that the emotional/affilative aspects of many views are gaining in importance. It's less about finding places where you happen to agree on a particular proposition or action and more about espousing the right attitude. I suspect that effectively increases the difference between the genders.

This seems to track with a general shift to a more expressive approach to politics (more about displaying your values and less about achieving some particular objective).

Though it's possible that's just a reflection of us having less pressing issues to worry about.

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Jan 28·edited Jan 29

Does anyone remember what I call The Yard Sign? You know, the one that says:

IN THIS HOUSE WE BELIEVE

BLACK LIVES MATTER

NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL

LOVE IS LOVE

WOMEN'S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS

SCIENCE IS REAL

KINDNESS IS EVERYTHING

This sign is the most visible manifestation of what is going on here. The sign saved the most important slogan for last; I basically term a certain kind of discourse "kindness-is-everything politics". It is a particular kind of politics in which the most important characteristic is not that the factual underpinnings of your stances are accurate, but rather that you show "kindness", which is to say, you do not challenge members of marginalized groups when they talk about their anecdotal experiences, or challenge progressive ideological claims on the basis of factual accuracy. This actually directly conflicts with "science is real", but as we all know, "science is real" was always the least important slogan of that sign to them. Not only do you have to have the correct stances, but you must also have the correct (i.e. mostly emotional-based) *reason* for having those stances, because if you arrive at your stances mostly through "objective" means, it may mean that when facts/data run counter to progressive narratives, you will follow the data instead of the progressive narrative. And if you run afoul of that, you will be derided as a right-winger, no matter what your actual policy stances are.

Just as a example of this, remember the grievance studies affair from 2018? Back then, the 3 individuals who perpetrated it all had left-leaning policy stances (Lindsay and Boghossian turned right-wing later, but that was not displayed at the time). Vox's Zack Beauchamp wrote a hit piece on them (https://www.vox.com/2018/10/15/17951492/grievance-studies-sokal-squared-hoax), and specifically noted that the trio claimed to have left-leaning beliefs. He then explained, in the best way I've seen anyone explain this in a journalistic outlet, what progressives mean when they call someone right-wing despite having left-leaning policy stances:

"This all goes to show that the ideological battle lines in modern politics are shifting. Conflict does not fall so neatly along policy lines, where people who agree on tax levels or same-sex marriage agree with each other. This is the way things mostly were for the past decade of American politics, and something we’ve gotten pretty used to.

Rather, things are looking a bit more like the 1990s. Our rhetorical battles today are over how people identify themselves, the kinds of arguments they make, and how they feel about particular movements for social justice. You can be all for same-sex marriage as a legal institution, for example, and still be deeply opposed to the way the modern social justice left thinks and talks. That puts you on the same side of the argument as the right, even if you frame yourself as a liberal in doing so."

As yet another example of this, does anyone want to guess what the gender ratio is on the subreddit r/neoliberal? As of the last survey in September 2021, it was 92.1% male (https://www.reddit.com/r/neoliberal/comments/qtsd41/september_2021_rneoliberal_demographic_survey/). Why? Of course, Reddit skews male, but not that much! And you'd expect a very socially liberal ideology to attract more women, right? Then why is r/neoliberal considered "unwelcoming" to women, despite being adamantly pro-choice/reproductive rights, pro-LGBT, and unabashedly anti-misogyny?

My hypothesis is that it is because r/neoliberal's *way* of talking about politics repels women. It is technocratic, data-based, and, most damning of all, lacking in demonstrated empathy/compassion, even on issues related to the human rights of marginalized groups. It is also generally pro-popularism as a strategy for how to make the Dems win more elections, which is considered extremely controversial for the implication that the Dems must view the human rights of marginalized groups as expendable and tradeable for political posturing and wins. That is not something that people, disproportionately women, who think about politics as moral expression can tolerate, especially when they'll be on the receiving end of the "compromise" policies!

So all in all, it seems that you and Ruxandra have a good point here; it's not really about the policies. It's about a certain way of engaging with political issues that is either more logos-driven or pathos-driven. I've encountered this in my own life too; I often have a disconnect with peers of mine on politics not because I'm not a staunch Dem (I am), but rather that my way of engaging with politics is more data-driven than about fundamental values that are non-negotiable. While I identify as a liberal because that's where, objectively, my stances are, I can see how some men do not want to identify with that label despite objectively having liberal stances.

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Scott Alexander makes a similar point here, and also using r/neoliberal as an example: https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/08/01/gender-imbalances-are-mostly-not-due-to-offensive-attitudes/

The best thing any political party can do now is to split its messaging in different ways to appeal to different people. Each party needs a “male-oriented” and “female-oriented” ad campaign. Maybe split that in terms of race too.

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Jan 28·edited Jan 29Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

Good thing to know that I independently had the same realization as he did!

One thing I'm exasperated by is that while the GOP has a pathos-oriented (I think that's more accurate than "female-oriented") lane for people to enter (though, I'd argue, it's also not as strong as their logos-oriented "IDW lane" which mostly focuses on mostly being anti-social justice with the veneer of logic, even if they don't necessarily have the facts on their side*), which seems to be religious conservatism, the Dems don't have as much of a logos-oriented lane nowadays.

To be fair, actual STEM professionals still vote Democrat in overwhelming proportions, and there's no evidence to suggest that that proportion has been weakened. However, not all STEM professionals are logos-driven in their politics (in fact, I can tell from my PhD program cohort, in a STEM field at that, that very few were; for most, their political reasoning was no more sophisticated than that of any other college-educated "professional class" young person, and most primarily related to left-leaning politics through social justice). Being logos-driven in your politics is more personality-based than profession-based; just because one must work with data in their jobs doesn't mean that they will base their political opinions off of them. Those two do correlate, but it is not a 1:1 relationship. Plenty of STEM professionals compartmentalize how they think when they work vs. how how they think when engaging political issues. They don't think about politics as a scientist does, while I and only a small proportion of people in general, even in science, do. They clearly are *capable* of logical thinking, but they do not engage in it when it comes to their politics. This is not to say that voting Dem means you're pathos-driven! If anything, voting GOP is often pathos-driven in its own right. The scientists who are logos-driven in their politics still vote mostly Dem (albeit for different reasoning than their pathos-driven counterparts), but I'm just noting an observation that scientists are not all logos-driven in their politics.

You know who I think is a good role model for "logos-oriented" pro-Democrat programming? Destiny. He will debate the most noxious redpiller, alt-righter, etc. all day long and will own them hard with facts and logic, much like how Ben Shapiro claims to (in fact, Destiny's debated Ben Shapiro as well). While he is unabashedly pro-liberal, pro-Biden, pro-Democrat, pro-feminism, etc., he also believes strongly in the culture of free speech, being able to offend people, exploring uncomfortable topics, etc. I also have a friend (female, in fact, though neurodivergent like myself, which probably explains this) who tends to be more responsive to logos-oriented discourse while also being an staunch liberal Democrat, and that's a major reason why I'm very good friends with her. The Dems need people like them, r/neoliberal, etc. to aggressively message in a way that will appeal to those who are alienated by social justice cultural mores but who can agree with liberal politics otherwise.

* Important note: logos-oriented doesn't mean "correct". One can be logo-oriented and be completely wrong, while someone with pathos-orientation may be representing the side with the facts in their favor. This is about aesthetics, not who is actually, factually more correct. The critical mistake that IDW followers make is conflating the two and assuming that the more logos-sounding side is necessarily more correct. Be more sophisticated and evaluate the claims!

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Who is destiny?

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Apr 17·edited Apr 17

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destiny_(streamer)

A streamer, known for being the liberal “debate bro” who would get into debates with redpillers, leftists, alt-righters, etc. He’s one of the few “dirtbag liberals” who bring an edgy, irreverent aesthetic to center-leaning liberal politics to rival that of the dirtbag right and left.

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Jan 28Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

The Obama campaign ran an ad sequence called The Life of Julia, surely targeted mainly to female voters. It seems to have disappeared from the Internet, though there is a whole lot of (mostly negative) commentary about it, but someone pieced it together and put it on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqBjXP8RKho

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author

thank you, interesting!

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Jan 28Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

Lots of segments for optimal messaging other than gender and race...for example, people who have kids and live in areas where the public schools truly suck will likely be receptive to messages supporting educational choice. On broader issues of political opinions & messaging, see my post What is the Purpose of Holding & Expressing Political Beliefs?

https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/68576.html

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author

agreeed

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During Covid hysteria I would occasionally find leftist that thought it was all nuts. They were always men, I don’t think I encountered a single female liberal who was like “you know the IFR is really low this all seems like bulllshit”.

All of that’s been memory holed now, but I remember.

Unanalytical Kindness gets you masking kids all day and shutting down their schools to “protect them”.

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In this house, if you believe carbon dioxide is not a threat, you’re welcome to sleep in this tiny airtight place.

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author

agreed w/ everything here

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Jan 28Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

I got radicalised by *biology professors* into embracing pro GM policy as a vital step for climate adaptation and (potentially) mitigation.

This causes quite a rift between me and “organic loving” women of my (admittedly millennial) generation, some very close. Argu-Barry has ensued.

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author

do you think most women re organic loving? another evil ideology...

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Jan 29Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

Most women on the left, for sure. But increasingly also women not on the left. So this would point to a substantive rather than aesthetic political divergence, if right-leaning men start to care about organic anti-GM crops more. Here in NZ the centre right party made a gambit to softly include pro-GM in its recent campaign. Or at least to criticise the Left-leaning government for lagging on this matter (prohibitive laws in place). This was a solid critique. The left are unable to move on this issue because it would need the Labour-Green coalition if it hoped to govern again, and Greens will never not be anti GM in the foreseeable.

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there's something about the organic thing that appeals to women because it sounds "nice", natural etc.

The thing is to get ahead of the curve on these issues and try to spin a feminine aesthetic to them

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Jan 28Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

*Argy-bargy dratted autocorrect

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Feb 1Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

My best guess is that a significant factor has to do with the decline of marriage. Married women vote more in line with their husbands. With less marriage not only are men and women not sharing a household, their economic circumstances now differ greatly. Single women and particularly single mothers are more likely to depend on public goods such as welfare, public schools and housing. Women are more likely to complete tertiary education and so be more exposed to 'student activism' in environments that are controlled by overwhelmingly leftist professors. Women are more likely to benefit from positive discrimination. Men are more likely to go into trades, entrepreneurship, STEM. We're becoming different classes.

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author

Sad 😔

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Enjoyed reading this. I've also been really frustrated by these ill-defined terms like "liberal" and "conservative" being used in terms of these gender divergences. The standard narrative that women just naturally lean left and men just naturally lean right is undercut by the fact that not even 10 years ago, the most significant leftist movement in recent American politics was characterized and also heavily impugned as being too male. The whole Hillary vs. Bernie fight was framed as a gender showdown, but with women on the more rightist side and men on the more leftist side (broadly speaking, of course).

The Bernie movement was attacked as misogynistic because it was seen as not prioritizing women's issues enough (or to be more specific, the issues most relevant to educated metropolitan progressive types of women). This is what it's really about. You call it aesthetics and vibes, and I agree. The fundamental question is, "Who is the main character of this ideology?" On the issues, men and women may largely agree. But what they're really fighting over is who gets to be the protagonist. Whose concerns and stories, both of the grand and petty sort, get the spotlight, and whose get relegated to the warm-up act.

People don't gravitate towards political ideologies by tallying up their stances on discrete issues and then waiting for some program to inform that they're liberal or conservative. It's more the other way around. People generally have a good sense of feeling where they're wanted and unwanted. And once they find their club, they'll more or less adopt their new friends' beliefs, with some minor disagreements here and there. Going back to American politics, the leftism of Bernie and the leftism of AOC may not be that substantively different, but the vibes and aesthetics are totally different. Bernie's unkempt hair was a statement. AOC says makeup is a radical act. Stuff like this has been enough to cause rifts even within ideological allies, so imagine the splits they'd cause a much wider and adversarial political spectrum.

I also wrote recently on the vacuum that is contemporary non-manospherey guys' culture: https://salieriredemption.substack.com/p/for-the-boys

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Oh the Hilary and Bernie thing is a very good example indeed.

I think it's easier to make women aesthetically inclined to the left wing for a bunch of reasons (Dems being those who have historically been pro women, the empathy thing etc), but this can totally flip at times based on how much someone appeals to other group IDs.

For that reason, I think stuff like nuclear energy, pro tech etc needs to promote female figures and spokespeople (which is kinda happening for nuclear; see https://inl.gov/news/miss-america-visits-to-talk-stem-nuclear-engineering-self-confidence/#:~:text=Miss%20America%202023%20Grace%20Stanke%20at%20Idaho%20National%20Laboratory's%20Advanced,work%20for%20Constellation%20Energy%20Corp. )

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What can cause it to flip is another axis, which is populist vs. anti-populist. Populist is more male-coded (because it involves more skepticism of institutions), so even though someone may be more "left" on policy preferences, if they are populist, that will tilt their support more male (and vice versa).

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On the ground, Bernie was pretty popular with young women. AOC even more so, but that’s because she deliberately appealed to them with more intense identity politics. But it just wasn’t true that most young women were buying what the Hillary (and later Warren) campaign was selling. It was mainly upper-middle/upper class prospective-PMC young women who bought it (and even then, not all of them did), and that’s not a lot of people.

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Right, but I didn't say that most young women supported Hillary. I said her movement was characterized as being more pro-women, whereas Bernie's was not. And while Bernie certainly was supported by more women than the mainstream media wanted us to believe, his movement was definitely not dominated by women or showed any qualities that made it repulsive to men. Yet Bernie was much more left than Hillary, so if the "left = women, right = men" theory was true, then there should've been a noticeable gender divide, with more women loving Bernie's anti-war class-equality message and more guys responding to Hillary's pro-corporate pro-war message.

But that didn't happen, because in the end, it's not so much about the issues as it is about culture.

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Feb 1·edited Feb 1

Only in elite media did what you're saying (the "Bernie bros" narrative) take place. And while Bernie was significantly more *economically* to the left, that hasn't been salient for a decade and is thus irrelevant. He was more *populist*, and that codes more male regardless of it being left- or right-leaning (and that's true internationally as well). Most young people regardless of gender are populist (though males are a bit more into it than females generally), and in the English-speaking countries it's left-populist specifically.

You're right that left vs. right doesn't matter (or more accurately, doesn't matter within the left or right camp, but does matter between camps), but it's not 100% vibes either. The divide between Hillary vs. Bernie was more populist vs. anti-populist, which does have a set of differing policy preferences as well as different vibes. What Ruxandra is referring to is the difference in identification among those of the same *policy preferences* - that's usually vibes-based. A male Hillary supporter and a female Hillary supporter in 2016 would mostly had the same policy preferences, but most likely supported her for different reasons, and by 2020 those camps (not purely gender, but more the original reason for supporting Hillary) split into different candidates (the normie moderates went to Biden, the policy wonks went to Pete, the non-economically-leftist-idpol-warriors went to Warren, etc. The difference between them is much more vibes-based though even then not completely, as Warren was significantly to the left of both Biden and Buttigieg, which the idpol group doesn't really care about.).

You're correct that "women = left" is not quite right, but "women = anti-populist" is imo closer to being correct and that's not 100% vibes-based.

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There's a strong overlap between vibes and populism, at least the way I define them. Vibes aren't also entirely devoid of policy considerations, either. Vibes are a mix of cultural nods and political prioritizations, which populism within the same general ideology also is about. Group A and Group B may all have the same stance on the 5 most key issues, but they will have differences on which of those issues deserve the most attention, and how they should talk about them.

In retrospect, what was remarkable about the Bernie movement was how in vibes/populism, it was distinctly male, yet it was also popular among women (especially young women). It shows there is a conciliatory path forward, but it is a difficult task to pull off, especially since airing gender grievances online is such an easy way to become relevant.

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Feb 1·edited Feb 1

So the thing about the Bernie movement was that it, on the ground at least, united young, disproportionately female "left-populist identitarians" with disproportionately male economics-only left-populists. Those two groups mostly did converge again in 2020 (and only because there was no "left-populist identitarian" candidate), but the "left-populist identitarian" group looked more to AOC and the Squad as their leader as opposed to Bernie, while many of the latter either dropped out of politics completely or are now in the populist right. Those two groups were united in their economic leftism and populist views in opposition to the Obama-Biden-Clinton establishment Dems, but they are distinct and I don't think there will be another person who can unite them anytime soon. The group mainly split based on their views of identity politics.

Something similar happened on the Hillary side as well; as I alluded to previously, the ones who were in the Hillary camp for the economic policy wonkery gravitated more towards Pete, the ones who wanted "moderate vibes" went to Biden, and the non-leftist/populist identitarians (the ones spreading the "Bernie bro" narrative) eventually became what I call "#Resistance progressives", became the backbone of the elite activist/protest class of the Dems (the people who participated in the Women's March and other protests during the Trump years were not exactly representative of the typical Dem voter!), and mostly went for Warren in 2020, who combined their anti-populism, pro-"woke" views, and non-leftist economic progressivism. The group of people who would agree a lot with Noah Smith, Matt Yglesias, Ruxandra etc. is different from the group who are the backbone of the Pod Save America/NYT/WashPo/NPR subscriber/donor base even though they might have been both Hillary supporters in 2016. On this side, the divide seems to also be based on how hardcore they take identity politics; the former group tends to try to de-emphasize it while the latter group tends to emphasize it to an extreme extent.

So it seems, in summary that there are 4 groups within the Dems based on this two-axis divide:

Populist/anti-idpol: "class reductionists", with Bernie as their representative

Populist/pro-idpol: "left-populist identitarians", with AOC/the Squad as their representatives

Anti-populist/anti-idpol: "normie liberals/moderates", with Biden as their representative

Anti-populist/pro-idpol: "#Resistance progressives", with Warren as their representative

Biden is having a difficult time managing all of these factions, since he needs all of them plus some decisive center-right "conservative but anti-Trump" voters to stay in office. He managed to do it the first time, but this time it will be a tougher lift given that the rifts are much more apparent.

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Warren was populist

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Warren supporters were those who agreed mostly with Bernie but thought Warren would be more likely to actually achieve lasting change. In general, the wonks went with Liz instead of Pete because she was both more competent and more electable. She had Bernie’s fight in her but knew social democracy wouldn’t magically happen if you just kept the faith.

I think her move to identity politics was strictly to get votes because of the unhealthy 2020 primacy dynamics, and was probably a mistake. But I’m glad Biden was nominated bc Trump knew how to push Liz’ buttons.

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It depends on the wonks’ ideology; the more progressive wonks went to Liz, yes, but moderate wonks, which were more numerous, went to Pete or some other moderate candidate (or was this a typo and you meant Bernie? If so, then yes I agree re: progressive wonks preferring Liz over Bernie and rightfully so). I recall Pete’s appeal being rather wonk-heavy and he was very popular among the “neoliberal” type.

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Jan 28Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

> (yes, it’s you Millennials, you’re the elders now)

😔

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Jan 29·edited Jan 29Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

I'm a Millennial and I'm not sad to be a member of the elders crowd!

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Get off my lawn (throws empty whiskey bottle at Gen Z/alpha kids)!!!

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Jan 30Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

Empathy has been mentioned several times. If 'empathy' refers to Theory of Mind, ie, interest in and ability to understand what someone else else feeling & thinking, then I do believe women in general have more of this attribute than do men. (A female friend remarked that being able to really understand another person would be 'the ultimate adventure.' A former girlfriend said she liked to lie on the floor and look into her dog's eyes and try to understand what it was like to be him)

But it's important to understand that this ability to understand other humans can be used for ill as much as for good. Con men have a lot of it, as do bullies of a certain type.

And while the Longhouse may have a neon sign out front that says 'Kindness'...and while its occupants may indeed possess a lot of empathy in the sense described above...that doesn't mean that there is not a lot of emotional cruelty taking place. An awful lot of women have testified as to some of the unpleasant treatment they have experienced at the hands of other women, and this seems especially true in the case of those women who are outliers in any way.

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Jan 31Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

“Kindness is everything” has a very specific meaning of “kindness”. What it really means is “having an activist mindset regarding marginalized groups”. Any skepticism of that is “unkind”, especially if it involves being skeptical of claims made by activists from marginalized groups about their experiences - their argument is “you wouldn’t say your friend is lying about an experience, right?”.

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Jan 31Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

Yet groups of women in the US 1950s would is most cases *not* be talking about "activist mindsets regarding marginalized groups," still less groups of upper-class women in the 1850s US South. They would likely still value kindness, or at least view themselves as valuing kindness, but the acceptable targets of that kindness would be very different.

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Jan 31Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

I don’t think that the set of people who say “kindness is everything” now is the same as the typical 1950s housewife or an 1850s stereotypical southern belle.

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author

Agreed

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Jan 28Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

Thanks for another thoughtful piece, Ruxandra, I'll have to reread carefully and mull awhile & then maybe comment. One initial thought: I'm not sure that the 'operational ideology' questionnaire really does a good job in getting at essential issues...there is nothing, for example, about free speech versus the suppression of 'wrong' views, 'misinformation', etc. Also, nothing about crime except for the special cases of gun-related crime and illegal immigration. And the very high %s for 'guarantee jobs for all Americans', in all age ranges, seems quite surprising.

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author

yes this why I am saying the disagreement is on culture

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thanks for the cue up. Gooncave and Longhouse. usage.

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Great piece. I would point out, however, that to a large degree we already have a Longhouse academe. This recent judgement by the UK Employment Tribunal is, in effect, a report on field work in the same. https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Joanna-Phoenix-v-The-Open-University-Employment-Tribunal-Reserved-Judgment.pdf

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author

Yeah I agree the Longhouse has much more institutional support

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author

It would be funny to have a Gooncave University lol

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Jan 29Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

The real reason for this divergence seems to be a game theory self-preservation manoeuvre from both genders. In the hyper competitive dating mass market fewer people are coming away with desired relationship outcomes. Significant subsets are then drawn to cultural identifiers that explain their failure inwardly and outwardly, outwardly because “everyone knows that women don’t like conservatives” (and its gender inverse) and inwardly through and ideological framework about the malignancy of the other gender. Everyone thinks male feminist incels are losers, but an incel that embraces misogyny is at the very least not perceived as a “simp”. This also explains the superficiality of these divides because very few young men are truly sexist in the materially discriminatory sense, and I have observed that many “gooncavers” have no real beef with egalitarianism when questioned IRL.

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author

How do you know what gooncavers believe

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Jan 30Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

Purely anecdotally through knowing some raging incels over the years

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An idea that has been growing in salience recently is that the 'feminisation' of Western society - though necessary to some extent - has now overshot in the 21st c. West. Viewed this way it should not be so surprising if this has led to some souring of young men on the idea of 'Progress'. There has even been an acknowledgement of this amongst some well known dissident feminists..... as I have written about here: https://grahamcunningham.substack.com/p/shall-we-dance. Snippets:...".....recently - in a certain kind of feminist journalism - I keep coming across warm-hearted acknowledgements that Masculinity and Femininity are complementary polarities in any sane conception of The Good Life.........As an armchair philosopher it has always seemed to me that the question of steering a fair course through the choppy waters of discourses about relations between men and women is the trickiest of all. But it’s fair to say that masculinity has not had a good press in recent decades. As journalist Kathleen Stock (* see bio note below) remarked recently “Men are pretty much banned from making any generalisations about women good or bad......"

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author

I agree. I think a lot of the hyper progressivism is a overcorrection to the past and I also think men find it hard to air their problems. They are either labelled as hateful or considered weak

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Yes I made a similar point in this essay: https://grahamcunningham.substack.com/p/the-less-desired

"Men are partly themselves to blame for the skewed nature of the story because they rarely choose to go there. The vast majority of commentary about sexual relations is written by women and from a female point of view. Part of the reason is probably that most ‘thinking’ males view crying “unfair” about the dominant narrative as a hiding to nothing." (in an earlier version of this essay I added that this hesitancy skewed journalism on sexual relations in another way too.... in that it has tended to leave the male-perspective journalism field to the angry types and the types who want to brag of their prowess.)

You might also find that the main theme of this essay has some resonance with Ruxandra's Substack....excerpts:

"What always strikes me when I read this kind of journalism is how it is always framed in terms of a generic species called ‘Women’ and a generic species called ‘Men’; as if the perceived ‘unfair’ asymmetries under discussion are entirely ones between the sexes. ......The huge intra-sexual differences between the experiences of pretty women and ‘plain’ ones; and between confident ‘alpha’ males and ‘betas’ – this never gets considered."

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author

Yeah this is true re men not talking abt their side of the story. It’s alike an evolutionary process where the side that cares more dominates the narrative.

Not sure what to do about this, men seem pretty hardwired to not talk abt this stuff

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Jan 28Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

I’m sure there are 3rd ways to be online. From observation they are usually honest, introspective without grievance. Or with minimal grievance. Which makes those voices less amplified, harder to hear, but we all can think of when we’ve seen them.

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author

for sure, trying to be that

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Feb 1Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

Very interesting. As you note, this divergence between the sexes isn't that great in reality when it comes to policy preferences, its more of a cultural thing. As you point out, in the sentence about the Longhouse descending into learned helplessness, if you (meaning the MSM and popular culture) tell women they are 'victims' for decades, eventually they are going to believe it, get depressed and become 'progressive' which, by definition, means they abandon personal agency, increase there in-group identity and thinking and generate an external locus of control. What else would one expect? The only solution is to help people (of both sexes) overcome any Victim Mindsets they have learned and/or been taught.

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Yes I agree with you 100%. I totally think a lot of progressive feminism has turned essentially regressive and neo-Victorian by portraying women as victims and victims only and encouraging them to identify as such.

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author

I plan to write smth about this

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Feb 1Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

Great I look forward to reading it.

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author

Well then maybe you should subscribe

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Feb 1Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

Indeed. I signed up yesterday for your free posts.

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Feb 1Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

Sorry I'm late.

To be fair to the gooncave, low-status men in former days at least had the option of being forced into dying in combat as a consolation prize. I don't really believe that they believe themselves strong men marginalized by a society that hates strength. From IRL conversations with this population, my assessment is that they know they are weak and low-status but wish a society of strong men had press-ganged them into maybe dying, maybe becoming stronger.

The aesthetics of that are terrible (as they should be) from a mating perspective and women should hate it. But on a 1:1 human level it is impossible not to feel love for a young man suffering this arguably worst of all afflictions.

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I am not sure members of the Gooncave are that "lost causes". most of them seem to have reasonably high verbal IQ, I am sure they could put it to some better use...

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Feb 1Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

Yes, you'd think so, and you're right about verbal IQ. Alas, it matters less than you might imagine. Especially now but even in former times. Sure, everyone might like the town's barber and enjoy talking to him, but he'd never be mistaken for a titan of industry.

There's a name for such verbally proficient but unproductive men, now: wordcels. The success of this term is due to how deeply it cuts them. To use exactly their parlance, I could say:

"The wordcel is immunized against all dangers: one may call him a virgin, edgelord, nazi, racist, it all runs off him like water off a raincoat. But call him a wordcel and you will be astonished at how he recoils, how injured he is, how he suddenly shrinks back: 'I've been found out.'"

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author

How is verbal IQ not important? You can get a good job with it. and also sweet talk the ladies hah

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OK. So it is. But:

1. To get a good job, you also have to look good, interview well, come from the right schools, etc.

2. To sweet talk the ladies...well, I never got good at this honestly, but from what I've gathered not being bitter helps. ;)

I think it's more of a matter of elite overproduction, frankly. It's helpful, but there are a lot of high-verbal-IQ people who don't get anywhere, and you see a lot of them in the gooncave and on Tumblr.

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This is high fidelity conversation. Wonderful reading. In an effort then to identify the root causes [overused term but I don’t have another] of ideological gender divergence, my read out points to two. Aesthetics and Definitions. Both are ill-defined. Relativism has infected aesthetics and post-modernism has corrupted definitions. When polling occurs, are terms defined?

I’m optimistic that this will pass though. Boys and Girls are confused and frustrated because their ability to communicate has been stifled. Stifled by low expectations. So they are talking past each other as a result. But nature finds a way in the end.

In larger context, we’ve all been talking past each other. In every direction and group. Not just boys and girls. In a world where the managers and the organization men throw doughy terms around like “rules based international order” and “protecting American interests” as existential things for which there should be no ambiguity, and while leaders complain about their intentions being mischaracterized and characterizations being inaccurate, it is no wonder we can’t figure out what we are saying. There is little fidelity in communication anymore. Except here. Thanks for that!

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wdym by high fidelity conversation?

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Your post and the corresponding conversation by those commenting on it are of good quality and clarity and depth.

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ah, thank you very much. I do try and do this- that's why I started writing, I felt like there was stuff I wanted to read that was simply not there

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Jan 29·edited Jan 29Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

I think the insight that old-school division of conservative vs liberal don't capture the growing delta between men and woman is a very useful one. Your exploration of the true lines of divergence seems to lack some self-awareness though -- while still capturing it well.

The transgressive-for-the-sake-of-it is in some ways a necessary filter. The underlying idea being that you need to develop that culture and "icky" mindset in order to fully explore unpleasant conclusions. The shock shtick is not itself the logical discourse, but the presumed-necessary substrate for it.

The second half of this post takes the ironic posture that the only real problem with the gooncave is that it doesn't meet the longhouse requirement for acceptable discourse. But the gooncave wants to isolate itself from the longhouse.

I think gooncavism could very well be incompatible with success in society, but one cannot define it as a failure by pointing to its own definition of success. One must instead show that the gooncave dwellers:

A. Want something outside of the gooncave

B. Will not get that something unless they compromise with the longhouse

Is this true? Gooncavers hope not, longhousers hope so. Time will tell.

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author

I get what you mean about this being a filter, but the issue is it goes so far that it actually ends up

1) leading to epistemic compromise

2) alienating a lot of otherwise smart and ok people that are simply put off by the squalor

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Jan 30Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

Most of the espousers are epistemically compromised, certainly, but I'm not convinced that gooncavism causes it. Most groups of people that are big enough to talk about are majority-compromised, so I wouldn't just assume causation on this.

It very well may put off certain groups of epistemically sound (smart and ok) people. Here's where things get dicey. The outlines of my thinking on this are:

* Broadly, men are pigs, or at least naturally able to wallow with them unbothered (... he said)

* In ye olden days, men were rigorously trained to have a certain level of decorum around women

* Over the last 70 years that degraded, bit by bit, due to blank slatism saying it was a silly thing to do

* The new generation has found that they need an outlet for bar/smokehouse/locker room talk, and are kicking up mud as a form of youthful rebellion

So... it turns out that in fact some majority of women will never find this behavior acceptable. I strongly suspect, say, 95% of men would naturally spectrum between ignore and participate outside of political or moral signalling.

If I'm right, then, maybe like hippies, we have another generation of upheaval in which this gets attached to every political and moral crusade... and eventually men re-learn manners and isolate this behavior to the gooncave. Freeze peach is saved, men and women respect each others' safe spaces, and moral and political crusaders latch onto the new problem du jour.

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A lot of men themselves are repulsed by the Gooncave. The problem is that the Gooncave is not just a male space where men talk about sex in a gross way or whatever, it's highly enriched with the most disagreeable and frustrated men and most decent *people* (not just women) do not wanna associate with that.

https://substack.com/@ruxandrabio/note/c-48436061?utm_source=notes-share-action&r=b0xdg

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and more importantly, they apply Gooncavism to serious cultural and political matters. Women do the same but with *Feelings*

Being gross, being offended and so on are matters of the private sphere. The best way to act about matters of culture politics etc is a sort of castrated dignified demeanour.

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Jan 30Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

I'm sure some men are truly repulsed, also that many more will honestly say that they are because they can identify it as repulsive. Certainly men who still have a modicum of social desirability bias will at least say they are repulsed.

But at least grant me that you might be suffering from selection bias. You've already eliminated all the adherents of gooncavism, and you probably socialize with a very skewed population of highly intelligent and empathetic men. Be a fly on a distant wall and you might be shocked with what statistically significant populations of men let each other get away with.

I don't think it's ever helpful to move into moral language. Saying "gooncave is bad" is more of a rallying cry than a solution. If society should eliminate the gooncave, it needs a deeper understanding of what causes it.

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author

I’ll reply later

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People I know in mixed political marriages have been very stressed since 2020.

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author

really? in what way?

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COVID was very hard on marriages. Especially if you were raising young children at the time. I knew many couples where one spouse was far more of a COVID hawk than the other, and that's a big deal in how you lived at the time.

You just can't reconcile "we should live our lives almost like its not happening" with "we should stay home all day every day, see nobody, and mask everywhere".

The other big issue was the Summer of Floyd Social Justice Panic/Riots. For many people all this social justice stuff wasn't in their face until the struggle sessions started taking place in their own workplaces. And watching people riot with impunity, often with political leaders taking part, during a pandemic where everyone not protesting was under marshal law...if your on the opposite side of that its very hard to get along.

There is also a growing red/blue local governance divergence that has to be debated when you are thinking of buying a house and raising a family in a particular place.

In short, when politics seems like this thing that shouting heads talk about on TV but it doesn't affect anyones lives really, being in a mixed political marriage isn't hard. When politics starts to reflect very meaningful differences in lifestyle, beliefs, and policy its very hard to be in a mixed political marriage, especially since what's often being debated is "how are we going to raise our kids."

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Feb 1Liked by Ruxandra Teslo

Another banger - the internet is a mirror and the opposite sex might not like what they see

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author

what other pieces do you consider to be bangers?

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Cultural incel, flight of weird nerds

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