"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Sunday, June 02, 2019

Attraction Inequality and the Dating Economy

Attraction Inequality and the Dating Economy

"The relentless focus on inequality among politicians is usually quite narrow: they tend to consider inequality only in monetary terms, and to treat “inequality” as basically synonymous with “income inequality.” There are so many other types of inequality that get air time less often or not at all: inequality of talent, height, number of friends, longevity, inner peace, health, charm, gumption, intelligence, and fortitude. And finally, there is a type of inequality that everyone thinks about occasionally and that young single people obsess over almost constantly: inequality of sexual attractiveness...

A data scientist representing the popular dating app “Hinge” reported on the Gini coefficients he had found in his company’s abundant data, treating “likes” as the equivalent of income. He reported that heterosexual females faced a Gini coefficient of 0.324, while heterosexual males faced a much higher Gini coefficient of 0.542. So neither sex has complete equality: in both cases, there are some “wealthy” people with access to more romantic experiences and some “poor” who have access to few or none. But while the situation for women is something like an economy with some poor, some middle class, and some millionaires, the situation for men is closer to a world with a small number of super-billionaires surrounded by huge masses who possess almost nothing...

On a list of 149 countries’ Gini indices provided by the CIA World Factbook, this would place the female dating economy as 75th most unequal (average—think Western Europe) and the male dating economy as the 8th most unequal (kleptocracy, apartheid, perpetual civil war—think South Africa).

Quartz reported on this finding, and also cited another article about an experiment with Tinder that claimed that that “the bottom 80% of men (in terms of attractiveness) are competing for the bottom 22% of women and the top 78% of women are competing for the top 20% of men.”...

Women rate 80 percent of men as “worse-looking than medium,” and that this 80 percent “below-average” block received replies to messages only about 30 percent of the time or less. By contrast, men rate women as worse-looking than medium only about 50 percent of the time, and this 50 percent below-average block received message replies closer to 40 percent of the time or higher.

If these findings are to be believed, the great majority of women are only willing to communicate romantically with a small minority of men while most men are willing to communicate romantically with most women. The degree of inequality in “likes” and “matches” credibly measures the degree of inequality in attractiveness, and necessarily implies at least that degree of inequality in romantic experiences. It seems hard to avoid a basic conclusion: that the majority of women find the majority of men unattractive and not worth engaging with romantically, while the reverse is not true...

Social commentators today are very interested in “gender gaps,” especially the alleged difference in pay between men and women who do the same work. There are other notable gaps, including a “libido gap” that is well-documented in scientific literature (with men desiring sex much more frequently and intensely than women on average) and also an “age gap” in which younger adults are described as more attractive on average, with an especially large age disadvantage for older women. The Gini coefficient gap indicated in these studies is something like a “sexual inequality gap” or “attractiveness distribution gap,” less obvious but potentially even more socially significant than some other better-known gender gaps...

The 20 percent of men who are regarded as attractive can only be in committed relationships with at most 20 percent of women. We may just as well pity the rest of the women, who are destined to be in committed relationships, if they pursue a relationship at all, with someone who they regard as unattractive. The only villain in this story is nature, which has molded our preferences so that this tragic mismatch of attraction and availability occurs...

Monogamy is rare in nature. The revealed preference among most women to attempt to engage romantically only with the same small percentage of men who are perceived as attractive is consistent with the social system called “polygyny,” in which a small percentage of males monopolize the mating opportunities with all females, while many other males have no access to mates...

Even in centuries-old fairy tales like The Frog Prince and Beauty and the Beast, we see our culture’s attempt to come to terms with the paradigm of a woman regarded as attractive pairing with a man who she regards as unattractive. The differing Gini coefficients faced by men and women guarantee that this will be a common—or even the most common—romantic pairing in a monogamous culture. In these fairy tales (depending on which version you read), the beautiful woman first accepts or even loves the hideous man. The sincere love of a woman transforms the unattractive man into something better: more handsome, richer, and royal. Allegorically, these stories are trying to show men and women a way to relate one-on-one even though most women find most men unattractive; they are trying to show that sincerely offered love, and love based on something other than sexual attraction, can transmute ugliness to beauty and make even a relationship with unmatching attractiveness levels successful.

As Western civilization declines or at least frays at the edges, the ways our culture has developed to deal with the gap in the attractiveness distribution are receding and dying. Young people enter the equality-inducing institution of monogamy later and later or not at all, spending more time in a chaotically unequal polygynous dating world. Monogamy itself is weaker, as divorce becomes easier and even married people often report encountering “dead bedrooms” in which one or both spouses feel no obligation to give a partner who they do not regard as sufficiently attractive access to sexual experiences. Religious belief is in constant decline, and with it declines the belief in the dignity of celibacy or the importance of anything other than hedonism (sexual or otherwise). Even fairy tales that for centuries helped us understand how to live charitably with each other are disavowed and cultural tastemakers like Time Magazine and the BBC denigrate them as sexist.

The result of these cultural changes is that the highly unequal social structures of the prehistoric savanna homo sapiens are reasserting themselves, and with them the dissatisfactions of the unattractive “sexually underprivileged” majority are coming back. It is ironic that the progressives who cheer on the decline of religion and the weakening of “outdated” institutions like monogamy are actually acting as the ultimate reactionaries, returning us to the oldest and most barbaric, unequal animal social structures that have ever existed. In this case it is the conservatives who are cheering for the progressive ideal of “sexual income redistribution” through a novel invention: monogamy."


On female hypergamy. Interestingly, this is evidence that women are deluded (since they think 80% of men are below average in attractiveness)
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