This is actually on behalf of a new friend of mine who will go unnamed for personal reasons. He's unfamiliar with typical Western culture and is confused easily by the way we approach issues, topics and ideas in general. Not so recently, he dug through my search history (I know, right?) and found a website that I'm pretty sure is going to inadvertently mentally scar him. This website is none other than Return Of Kings.
|I have more game than Roosh V.|
Nothing particularly new or interesting here, so let's get to the point: what did my friend see that confused him so much? Well, it was this:
"Return Of Kings is a blog for heterosexual, masculine men. It’s meant for a small but vocal collection of men in America today who believe men should be masculine and women should be feminine."He didn't understand what it meant for men to be masculine or women to be feminine; that is, he didn't realize that men could be anything but masculine, or women to be anything but feminine. I knew instantly what he was confused about: the difference between "sex" and "gender" in our culture (and all others), and how those roles can sometimes not be coincident with one another. For those of you unfamiliar with what I'm talking about, it's easily summed up in this way: sex refers to the biological differences between males and females, while gender refers to the interpretations and expectations of them prescribed by society. What ROK means by "men should be masculine" or "women should be feminine" is that the sexes of humans should maintain their "traditional" gender roles, which have been prescribed to them by their biological predispositions (or so ROK says). This is an issue that has been addressed exhaustively by people from many disciplines, but most recognizably by feminists.
I should be honest here: I'm not a feminist. I think that the goals of feminism, as it was originally intended, have long been achieved. I believe that the prejudices and discriminatory institutions/practices which may disenfranchise underprivileged groups are contingent upon complex social structures which hardly anyone actually understands (if you even understood that sentence, you're on the right track), and thus the remaining facets of the social movement are just about politics and shouting (or "critical analysis," cue laugh track). These kinds of topics normally aren't a huge focus of mine, because I'm not interested in them; quite frankly, I agree with the rest of the world that ROK should continue to be ignored, and that their idiocy is recognized by the majority of sensible people. It should really end at that.
|Paraphrase: "Men should be masculine." - Cher|
So here's what I actually figured out: the About page is, no duh, a representation of the premises the website is founded on. Rebut their premises, and you have dismissed their conclusions and insulted their ideas of masculinity and being douchebags. I don't feel like just saying that they're dumb -- I feel like explaining why they're dumb, rationally, so that other people can recognize their idiocy as well without sharing the kind of innate reactions I have to individuals/groups with behaviour similar to that of ROK. I'm going to do a point-by-point refutation of the seven premises that ROK is founded upon, and hopefully make a few people angry. Most importantly for me, however, I'm going to explain to my friend (who will, hopefully, read this post in its entirety) why none of what ROK says makes any sense given the knowledge we have, and why he may have been confused in the first place.
With that, let's begin.
1. Men and women are genetically different, both physically and mentally. Sex roles evolved in all mammals. Humans are not exempt.
This is not wrong at its face: the sexes naturally have their own physical/mental differences due to the fact that, as the nature of being male or female demands, they differ genetically. The error is in omission, or at the very least implication. Presumably, what they mean is that the sex roles found in humans (I will warn now that this is dependent on cultural context) are a result of genetic differences, and the physical/mental differences in males and females are genetic in origin. This is not the case. We hardly understand the nature of sex differences in many areas (as my last post shows), and so don't understand the origin of those differences, whether they be environmental, genetic, or a complex combination of the two. What's even more interesting is their admission that sex roles evolve in mammals. In fact they do, but these roles are not consistent with each other, and we often find "role reversal" among many species of mammals that is counter intuitive to what most people think, as many people believe that sex roles are the result of just having a sex chromosome.
|Nobody denies sexual dimorphism.|
2. Men will opt out of monogamy and reproduction if there are no incentives to engage in them.
This is a peculiar claim. I'd venture to guess that the reason they included "if there are no incentives to engage in them" is that the people at ROK see monogamous marriage (i.e. to them, dedication to a woman) as a sign of weakness or inferiority in men, and so if they find themselves in this position, they can say "I had a logical reason to do this for my own benefit."
The reason it's peculiar, however, is that it's at odds with reality. While the majority of societies in the world do practice polygamy (about 83% of sampled societies), most people practice monogamy due to increasing industrialization and the fact that industrialized cultures have greater populations than pre-industrialized cultures. What I find funny about the argument, however, is that if we're speaking in terms of RS variance or just evolution, what incentive could be greater than having more children? Then I get confused, because it says they'll opt out of reproduction as well, which is antithetical to Bateman's principles and, well, evolution, which is (according to them) the cause of the differences between men and women that they so desperately want to preserve and declare. Maybe this is bad writing on the owner's part, but I think it's more likely that this is a result of stupidity.
Getting back to the argument, it could be countered that the "incentive" (or rather, the pressure) for more people to practice monogamy is industrialization; that is, to keep up with the status quo, men are practicing monogamy at "unnatural" levels. But societies change -- if we go back far enough, all of our ancestors were hunter-gatherers (H/G). These changes don't just occur as preemptive self-pressures from the future status quo, but as responses to many different pressures as a result of cultural adaptation, a unique phenomenon mostly exclusive to humans. It could be argued that this is "bad," but to what standard do we hold this to be true? Because it's assumed to be biological? This is an appeal to nature, as what's "natural" isn't always the best, and what's biological isn't necessarily the prevailing pressure on how we behave and think.
What's even more interesting about this is that our origins aren't even polygamous. Many H/G cultures did and do exhibit monogamy. This is because marriage systems only make sense in the context of culture, not as part of some evolutionary preference in our species.
3. Past traditions and rituals that evolved alongside humanity served a net benefit to the family unit.
Of course, but this is a universal statement for a multifaceted phenomenon. The structure of a family unit changes from culture to culture, from consanguineous to nuclear to polygamous to extended families dominating whatever given society, and so "traditions and rituals" (as vague as that is, but I'll go with it) "evolved" alongside human cultures in a way that these complex social systems make sense when combined together. Here, it's assumed that "traditions and rituals" holds no ambiguity and makes sense even when not given a particular time or space in which those traditions and rituals were found, but this is consistent with the assumed universality of all of the claims made on ROK as the basis for their beliefs. This one isn't too interesting, so let's move on.
4. Testosterone is the biological cause for masculinity. Environmental changes that reduce the hormone’s concentration in men will cause them to be weaker and more feminine.
Here we get into the definition of masculinity. I can't make any assumptions based just on what I see here, but what I can say for sure is that "masculinity" changes, again, from culture to culture and has no set definition. Presumably what they mean is that their definition of "masculine" is the right one, and so that is the basis for their claims. Circulating testosterone levels are higher in males than in females and do result in the enhancement of sex traits, and to this extent I might agree with this premise. The difficulty to be found here, however, is the burning question: what is masculinity?
|Notice how most of these effects are non-behavioural.|
5. A woman’s value significantly depends on her fertility and beauty. A man’s value significantly depends on his resources, intellect, and character.
This seems contradictory to the "men will opt out of reproduction" claim, unless of course "beauty" is the incentive to marry and reproduce... but then what is beauty? There are different standards of beauty around the world, again: probably the most well known example of this is the 'peculiar' tradition of women of the Kayan tribe in Thailand to add gold rings to their neck when they're young and keep adding to stretch out their necks. Another example might be self-scarring in the Karo tribe of Ethiopia, which is seen as a beautiful trait for women. This same habit of self-scarring is seen among the Nuer of southern Sudan, only it is also seen as a sign of maturity and masculinity among the men (the boys receive gaar on their foreheads to enter manhood, while the women have their skin plucked to create bumps on their skin).
So we see that beauty has different definitions; but whatever the case may be, is it true that fertility and beauty are what women are valued for universally? This is not so. Women in many horticultural societies with bride-wealth systems of marriage exchange are seen as valuable purely for the fact that once they are married off, they receive wealth from the groom, and this wealth is shared with their brothers so that they are able to marry. A woman's value in these cultures, then, is dependent on their ability to get their brothers married as well. A woman's wealth is her value in systems where the marriage exchange is through a dowry, as (although this is unintended) her wealth is then transferred to the husband's possession (unless the woman is smart enough to bury it, or something).
So, a woman's beauty is subjective, her fertility should be irrelevant according to ROK, and neither of these are necessary/sufficient conditions for her to be seen as valuable. What of men? Is their value dependent on their resources, intellect and character?
|"Beauty" to the Nuer.|
Consider the Nuer again. A man's value in their culture is the beauty, strength and health of his cattle, which he worships as being his connection to God. Could this be considered a resource? Perhaps, but you could say then that everything is a resource: beauty is a resource if used correctly, as are power tools. Resource is a vague term, and so if this is the standard of value for men, men have a lot of leeway; and coming from ROK, it's not hard to see why this may be the case.
6. Elimination of traditional sex roles and the promotion of unlimited mating choice in women unleashes their promiscuity and other negative behaviors that block family formation.
We've already discussed how the family unit is also a cultural construct, but what of this claim that if "traditional sex roles" are eliminated, and unlimited mating choice is promoted, that women will become promiscuous? This is also not so, but this is by their own admission. As we've seen, a woman's value is dependent on her beauty and her fertility. If, then, a woman is "ugly" and infertile, she can try to be as promiscuous as she wants and violate all the traditional sex roles that they want her to have; her desires will not come to fruition, and "true men" will shun her as being low in worth and not appropriate for marriage. Also, what family formation do they see as being desirable? Presumably not one contingent on monogamy, but then what is their standard for the family unit? Polygamous marriage and subsequent creation of an "odd" family unit in America, for example, would be antithetical to personal liberties and individualization which marks industrialized societies.
Let's get past that, though. Do women become promiscuous if sex roles are destroyed and unlimited mating choices are granted to them? Apparently not, as the fertility rate (according to them) drops when these things occur, as we will see in their final premise. In addition, as one of the articles reveal, they find this perfectly acceptable and go out of their way to benefit from such behaviour.
So their arguments are contradictory, we get that, but I know that someone is going to say "contraception!" So, assuming contraception is available to all women, and they meet the qualifications again, does their promiscuity increase? Again, it is not so. If this were the case, we should expect that women who are more promiscuous would use more contraceptives to counter their behaviour, but this isn't the case. Women who use contraceptives are no more likely to engage in promiscuous behaviour than their counterparts. At every facet of this argument, it falls apart. Now, for the final point.
7. Socialism, feminism, cultural Marxism, and social justice warriorism aim to destroy the family unit, decrease the fertility rate, and impoverish the state through large welfare entitlements.
I wanted to make a post about this in the past, but since it has come up here, I'll just state the facts. First off, the concept of "cultural Marxism" is a joke. Secondly, there's no connection between socialism and fertility (otherwise the United States TFR would be skyrocketing, and Sweden's TFR would be plummeting, but they're comparable). There's also no connection between feminism and fertility (otherwise Japan's TFR would be skyrocketing, and America's TFR would be plummeting, but America's TFR is higher than Japan's). We've already gone over the family unit, and socialist nations are by far not the most impoverished states in the world. Fertility rates are dropping because of economic downfall, higher rates of education, government policy actions (i.e. China, India), etc. This is not too interesting to talk about since the data is out there and readily available. It's just wrong.
|Fertility rate by country. No signs of socialist interference here.|
So what are their motivations? Why is it that they make so many contradictory claims, and are so strong about how they think men and women should behave, when they have little-to-no support for their views? Let's consider a combination of things they believe:
1: Women will be promiscuous if given certain pressures, and this is bad; however, they're okay with it.
2: Men will not engage in monogamy unless given incentive to, yet the family unit (presumably the nuclear one) needs to be preserved.
3: Feminism is causing the destruction of the family unit and the fertility rate.
4: Women are only valuable because of their fertility and beauty, nothing else.
What can be inferred from each of these beliefs?
1: Women shouldn't be promiscuous, but men should be promiscuous and thus it's okay to be promiscuous with women who are promiscuous, so long as they're beautiful.
2: Men will naturally want more than one wife, but the family unit is being destroyed by women.
3: Empowering women and bringing them up in society causes the destruction of fertility rates and the family unit.
4: Women are not valued for anything besides how useful and appealing they are to men.
The motivation? No shit, they just really don't like women (but love them) and really love men (but they're not gay) and want men to be in charge (they like it like that). The conclusion?
The folks over at ROK are bisexual misanthropes who like to take it doggy style. This is the ROK Complex.
Thank you all very much for reading.
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