Point, Counterpoint

For women it’s the story of Me.

As I’ve mentioned in past essays, the communicative methods characteristic of each gender primarily stem from differences in both brain function and acculturation. Women tend to rely on emotive and experiential instincts to develop an opinion or belief; men tend to rely on deductive reasoning from generalized facts to specific premises to come to an opinion.

This then is reflected in either gender’s preferred method of communication – women in the nuanced and covert, men in the blunt and overt. Using this as a premise, I’m of the opinion that the vast majority of failings to come to what should be an easy, logical consensus among both genders is frustrated by each gender’s interpretation of a problem or a social issue.

From a male perspective there is an assumption that a well reasoned, well cited establishment of point will be understood and respected as fact for a general purpose of resolving a debate. Statistics, analysis, correlation of fact and connecting related ideas and information should all serve to make a cogent argument. This isn’t to say that men wont use personal experience to illustrate a point, but the purpose in doing so is rooted in making his example an easy to understand version of his reasoned perspective. For the greater part, men’s reasonings are derived from extrinsic sources, while using intrinsic sources to embellish or illustrate a specific premise.

Women on the other hand almost exclusively rely upon personal experience and anecdotal evidence to form a premise; only using extrinsic information to support their personal interpretations when the source agrees with that premise. The innate solipsism of women promotes a self-centric primary position as the beginning of forming a premise and then progresses to extrinsic sources for ancillary support.

Case in point: Careers and Marriage. This linked article is from a 2006 opinion piece published by Forbes Magazine. Bear in mind that this is roughly six years ago; well before the current ‘Man Up’ frenzy that the Hymowitz and Bollick’s articles inspired. As you read, notice the argumentative positions each author begins with. Michael Noer’s piece begins with a concise statement of premise and then followed by reasoned extrinsic data:

While everyone knows that marriage can be stressful, recent studies have found professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat and less likely to have children. And if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it. A recent study in Social Forces, a research journal, found that women–even those with a “feminist” outlook–are happier when their husband is the primary breadwinner.

Elizabeth Corcoran begins her counter opinion from her own personal perspective:

OK, call me a cougar. I’ve been working since the day I graduated from college 20-odd years ago. I have two grade-school-aged children. Work definitely takes up more than 35 hours a week for me. Thankfully, I do seem to make more than $30,000. All of which, according to Michael, should make me a wretched wife.

In spite of those dangerous statistics, my husband and I are about to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary. You’ll see us snuggling at a mountain-winery concert this month, enjoying the occasion. I don’t think I’m all that unusual–so it seemed like a good time to test Michael’s grim assertions.

Peppy, sassy, and containing all the elements of indignation that women crave to hold their interest while wrapped in a personalization that puts women (her deliberate target readership), into an associative role. Essentially she’s inviting women to live vicariously through her exceptional experience to prove a counterpoint.

Many factors contribute to a stable marriage, including the marital status of your spouse’s parents (folks with divorced parents are significantly more likely to get divorced themselves), age at first marriage, race, religious beliefs and socio-economic status. And, of course, many working women are indeed happily and fruitfully married–it’s just that they are less likely to be so than nonworking women. And that, statistically speaking, is the rub

Here Michael reasons from statistical evidence and even makes a slight point of contrition to allow for exception to those statistics. Elizabeth then opts to redirect the debate:

The experts cited in his story think that professional women are more likely to get divorced, to cheat and to be grumpy about either having kids or not having them. But rather than rush to blame the woman, let’s not overlook the other key variable: What is the guy doing?

Note to guys: Start by going to the gym. Then try some new music. Or a book. Or a movie. Keep connected to the rest of the world. You’ll win–and so will your marriage.

It’s easy to see this as the shaming tactic it is, but it’s also an attempt to reframe the debate by focusing on what women always return to as preeminent in any debate – satisfying the feminine imperative. If Michael’s pont is in fact valid then the fault lies with men, not women. And how does a woman establish this premise? By casting herself and feminine primacy as the operative goal.

Nobel laureate Gary S. Becker argued that when the labor specialization in a marriage decreases–if, for example, both spouses have careers–the overall value of the marriage is lower for both partners because less of the total needed work is getting done, making life harder for both partners and divorce more likely. And, indeed, empirical studies have concluded just that.

Again, Michael provides expert witness to fortify his premise. Elizabeth continues with the story of Me:

For us, the list starts with taxes, vacation planning and investment management. My husband likes that stuff, and it leaves me yawning. Bless him for doing it. Give me the wireless Internet system, the garden or just about any routine home repairs, and I’m suddenly the savant. Tear us apart, and we’d both be pitiful idiots trying to learn unfamiliar routines.

Michael is right that longer work hours force two-career couples to try harder to clear out blocks of family time. When we do, though, we get to enjoy a lot more. We understand each other’s career jokes and frustrations. We’re better sounding boards on what to do next. And at dinner parties, we actually like to be seated at the same table.

Feel free to pick through the entire article, but you get the illustration here. Such as it is, I haven’t drawn attention to this to put women’s argumentative approach or opinion formation into a bad light. Rather I’ve done so to give Men a better perspective of what to expect when a difference of opinion arises. There is in fact some merit to calculating personal feelings and experiences into both sides of a debate. A feminine approach may help to buffer a man’s more cold understanding of fact, while a masculine rationalism serves to buffer women’s emotionalist perspective.

The problem with appreciating both of these approaches is that in the present feminine-centric environment we find ourselves in, feminine primacy takes precedent. A woman’s feelings and interpretations are the de facto correct ones, and statistical analysis or a more rational approach is an impediment to this. You’ll see this played out in any forum or blog comment thread in which there is disagreement between genders. For Men their position comes about by objective consensus and aggregate data; for women it’s the story of Me.

30 comments

  1. This is a superb analysis. Very succinct & enlightening. Many thanks.

    Personally speaking, call me a male but I tend to prefer facts over some old story of subjective experience.

    I mean…using one’s own individual experience as guideline for the analysis of societal trends…is that not pretty retarded? What kind of “data” is supposed to be derived thusly?

    And individual experiences – regardless of what they may be – cannot, imo, work as the founation of any explanation.

    So….pray tell….what really has the female perspective to offer? I’m somewhat puzzled as to aforesaid’s value.

  2. I’ve had several encounters with women who have sought (or received) dating advice from me, and almost all of them end in the same way: “I [or my friend] tried that and it didn’t work.”

    You’ll propose a change to their strategy that will probably result in better outcomes. They’ll try it once, or maybe twice, before giving up and saying “that doesn’t work.”

    One classic example is telling women to approach. Many women have tried approaching – once. And didn’t get the result they wanted, and gave up.

    I’m not sure which of these it is:
    -They truly expect a strategy to work 100% of the time, as if it is a card trick, so a single failure is evidence it’s wrong
    -They lack the patience to follow through on doing the strategy repeatedly
    -They never really wanted to try it, they just did it once so they could tell you off

  3. Badger,

    Depending on what the situation is it is mostly a combination of 2 and 3.

    When talking about approaching I expect that most women really don’t want to. Women want to be approached. It is incredibly flattering and it says more about ourselves being approached than does doing the approaching. Being approached demonstrates a perceived higher SMV, if you will. If a woman feels like she must do the approaching she very likely feels something is wrong with her if men are unwilling to make the first move.

  4. Talking to a woman to change her behavior to get different results is counterintuitive for her.

    Its everyone else who should change their behavior to give her the results she wants.

    If she has to work hard = it wont feel good, it wont naturally happen, its not meant to be. Hard work = force. Forced. Yuck.

    Womens natural role is to collect, preserve, filter, judge and nurture, from the pool of things given to them.

    Even the ones who are trained to work hard and achieve things, in their mind, they didnt get the rewards because of the work, but because they are “special” or “deserve it”

    And if things go bad “they dont deserve it” either. Its never about the actions but about the being, the personal. Like actions shouldnt matter.

    On the other hand men usually act in the mechanic opposite way, which is often detrimental too.

    I think better advice for women, instead of approaching… would be how to be more attractive around guys. You can throw a bunch of openers and approach techniques in the mix. Now that I think about it, thats what I recommend to beta guys too. Focus on “being” instead of “doing for results”. Its like there´s not enough self reassurance on the whole doing or the mechanic aspect of the world nor the own powers or capacities.

  5. “When talking about approaching I expect that most women really don’t want to.”

    Do women think that men enjoy approaching, that they want to do it? Approach anxiety is not a myth, it’s incredibly nerve wracking for all but the most fearless men.

    “Women want to be approached. It is incredibly flattering”

    Have you ever thought about how a man feels being approached? It’s also incredibly flattering. But you never hear men saying “I want to be approached so I’m not going to do any approaching.” Women will complain they are single or that the right guys don’t approach them, but won’t approach guys themselves. it’s like they value their pride more than their relationship status.

    The fact is in today’s society, lots of men are not going to approach – due to the lack of structured dating culture and the shaming of masculinity, plus hypergamy means that unless he’s a top dog his chance of success is low. But many, many men who won’t do a cold approach will make great dates and boyfriends once they get on the horse.

    I think “women want to be approached” is only half the story. It’s clear that even with all the you-go-girl, the women overtaking men in college, women making more than men in the young adult cohort, etc, women just don’t want to risk the rejection. I wish they’d be honest about it rather than the rationalizations about how “it’s a man’s job to pursue” which rings hollow with all the other traditionally-male arenas women have entered (and succeeded in).

    In the spirit of the post, I’ll prove my theories with an anecdote (haha) – the most successful young married couple I know, the woman proposed to the man.

  6. “If she has to work hard = it wont feel good, it wont naturally happen, its not meant to be.”

    Yohami hits on an interesting point here…women are obsessed with a sense of “authenticity” in men, to the point that game guys have constructed tools to project an image of authenticity (there’s something ironic about what I just typed).

    To wit, I’ve noticed that witnessing the process of creating value is something of a turn-off to women. No man gets good at something without practicing (and failing a few times), but a man does well to give a woman the idea that he’s just a natural at it.

    A woman enjoys seeing her man on stage singing the song. It’s a lot less sexy to see him practicing his scales, reworking the lyrics, making demo tapes, etc.

    This applies to game itself – women are disgusted by the idea of a guy practicing his routines, consciously reworking his wardrobe, etc. But when the end result comes out – a fit, well-dressed, socially smooth guy – she tingles.

  7. I don’t mean to be too harsh on Stingray. I’ve just heard every copout in the book, and I think that’s what they are.

    I’ve seen that women who are open to approaching men have more successful dating lives, in large part because she gives off an image that she’s open to being approached herself. Never underestimate (this goes both ways – a woman who cruelly rejects a man is going to hurt her chances of being approached by other guys, or will be marked for a P&D).

  8. I’ve accepted what you have, that women are not going to cross the final frontier and take the burden of approaching onto themselves (and why should they when they can continue to shame men for not being manly enough, but also shame them for being too manly in school and in the workplace).

    I now give a token discussion of approaching, and when the hamsters begin to run I say “that’s why you’re single” and move on, but the best we can hope for is women to give clear signals and signal being open to being approached, and how to be attractive *to men* and not attractive in the judgment of her girlfriends.

  9. “Do women think that men enjoy approaching, that they want to do it? Approach anxiety is not a myth, it’s incredibly nerve wracking for all but the most fearless men.”

    No, I think most women realize men don’t want to do it. Two things (I am talking about good women here. I don’t understand much about the slut mentality): 1. There are still women who feel like approaching makes them look slutty and desperate. 2. We all know that women like to feel special. A man that approaches a women not only overcame his fear of approaching, he did it for her.

    “it’s like they value their pride more than their relationship status.”

    Well, yeah. Is it logical? No, not at all. Something I haven’t been able to discern if men have been able to figure out about the ravages of feminism is how much it has messed up potentially good women as well. (Now, don’t get me wrong. I think men have gotten, by far, the more rotten end of the stick). Women have been taught to value themselves more than the men (and other women) around them. That they are deserving of so many things that no one who doesn’t work for these things is deserving of. Pride being one of them. But when a woman is taught this from birth, that she has an intrinsic right to respect simply for being a woman, it is not an easy thing at all to let go of. Especially when woman naturally turn to her group for affirmation and this is reinforced over and over. I don’t know why the group is more important to most of us and why we choose them over our men. But it simply is and it is to the detriment of men and women that this is being reinforced.

    Also, of course it is flattering to a man to be approached. However, most women reserve flattery for men they deem deserving of it. Not one they have just met and are not sure of. Again, I am not condoning any of this behavior, only giving insights into female psyche.

    I agree with the rest of your post. The you go girl mentality very likely makes women even less likely to approach as I firmly believe that on some level women fully understand that their standing in their own minds is artificial and they don’t want that proved outright in the form of rejection.

    Should they be honest with themselves? Of course, but it is an incredibly difficult thing to do when most people will never point out a woman’s short comings nor not challenge her to face them. And even if they are lucky enough to find someone to do this they can very easily turn back to the comfort of the “you go girl” supporters around them and avoid those feelings again.

  10. I didn’t see anything harsh at all in what you said. I think you are very right. I am attempting to give you insight into what might be going on in women’s heads.

  11. yes they can evaluate the face value. because when stuff reaches them, its their turn to say yes no maybe. to let it in or push it out. they dont want to know a guy is been practicing game because practice and hard work means = hes not good enough NOW. but after the guy gets some game, after its some face value, then it doesnt matter.

    pretty much every girl I banged after I realized game knew, because I told her, that I had to work really hard on my stuff because I used to be a loser. It didnt matter = my face value was up. same with signing. My voice used to sound like a cat. Now after 10 years of lessons and crap people comment on the natural gift of my voice. and the girls… these same girls would have cringed when I was learning. so that.

    women dont have incorporated the hero path. the whole david and goliath thing doesnt make sense on an intrinsic level. but. they can appreciate the winner, whoever it is. we men fight adversity and conquer or die trying. women pick among whats left.

    so, talking to a girl about hero path and what she should do to… all that is off. unless the girl is an outlier or was made an outlier she cant grasp it. she has better stuff to do, like, how to filter from the stuff shes given or how to advertise herself better or how to shame the competition so she looks better in comparison.

    I saved my previous comment plus some editings here

    http://yohami.com/blog/2011/12/29/womens-natural-role-is-to-collect-preserve-filter-judge-and-nurture-from-the-pool-of-things-given-to-them/

  12. “A woman enjoys seeing her man on stage singing the song. It’s a lot less sexy to see him practicing his scales, reworking the lyrics, making demo tapes, etc.
    This applies to game itself – women are disgusted by the idea of a guy practicing his routines, consciously reworking his wardrobe, etc. But when the end result comes out – a fit, well-dressed, socially smooth guy – she tingles.”

    I am going to disagree with this but with the caveat that in this instance this could be my own personal preference and not most women’s. I do suspect that it is most women’s though.

    It’s not that it is less sexy to see a man practicing game or the guitar or anything for that matter. On the contrary, it can be incredibly sexy to see a man practice these things and even fail. What is not sexy is the indecisiveness that some men can portray while in the process. If he attacks his endeavor without fear or waffling it is truly a site to witness. The end product is simply the icing on the cake.

  13. “. (Now, don’t get me wrong. I think men have gotten, by far, the more rotten end of the stick)”

    I appreciate you saying this. Most women won’t.

    “And even if they are lucky enough to find someone to do this they can very easily turn back to the comfort of the “you go girl” supporters around them and avoid those feelings again.”

    My last girlfriend did this. Every time I deprogrammed her of some entitled mindset she’d have a girls night out and it would all come back. The influence of the herd is pernicious.

    “2. We all know that women like to feel special. A man that approaches a women not only overcame his fear of approaching, he did it for her.”

    This is an interesting paradox – women want to be chased by attractive men who aren’t interested in them. Any sign the guy is invested or eager will kill the tingle. It’s bizarre. It’s one reason a guy should be more forward with a woman than he thinks is appropriate. They want to feel special by the approach of a high-value man, not feel special because the guy took specific efforts to praise or appreciate her in some way.

  14. Great post. What a contribution.

    But I wonder if a woman’s more emotional solipsistic view is not an alternate for of reasoning, with it’s own advantages, but is instead a general developmental delay.

    Women are not systemic thinkers. If we use terms popularized by Ken Wilber popularized for some developmental psychology, you have the rule-role, also called the mythological level, where rules and roles for objects and people are True. Then there is the rational level, where you use rules of logic to look at rules, question and reformulate them. Then above that is the vision-logic stage where you can see multiple perspectives at once, without getting loss of meaning through “aperspectival madness”, as your vision is coherent and organized and there remains rankings of value despite multiple perspectives being seen and included.

    Rational thinking leans into the beginnings of systemic thinking, but it is at the vision-logic stage where the faculty of systematizing comes into it’s own. In a flash all the angles and perspectives come at you in an organized symphony of meaning. You don’t have to go back and forth between perspectives.

    Women don’t do that. They can’t do that. It would be a rare and masculinized mind in a female body that could do that. Hell, it’s even rare for men to be lucid systems thinkers.

    So women may not just have a different style – their entire process may be developmentally delayed.

  15. @ Badger said “They want to feel special by the approach of a high-value man, not feel special because the guy took specific efforts to praise or appreciate her in some way.”

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, and again, yes.

    But, ah, here’s the catch. If you want a long term relationship you are going to have to take specific efforts to show you appreciate her from time to time. But it is right along the same lines that you stated. A high-value man in a LTR shows his girl how special she is by taking time away from what makes him high-value and spending that time with her. Confused yet? ; )

  16. “My last girlfriend did this. Every time I deprogrammed her of some entitled mindset she’d have a girls night out and it would all come back. The influence of the herd is pernicious.”

    Yes it is. Not only to men but to themselves as well (obviously). It is one of the reasons I do not have much problem with men not going for women having girls nights out on any regular basis. At the very least, he should go with and show himself off for her friends and not allow any wallowing with them until she is able to see past this and see the relationship for what it is. Healthy and realistic. At the point she can separate herself then all the more power to her.

  17. One of the things I have done (and I would venture many men have done) is get too worried about the desired outcome. Hence the emphasis on outcome independence you see in many blog posts. Many times, men base a decision on whether to approach or not, or take a course of action or not, on the odds of a successful outcome or that the desired objective will be met.

    This is why men are encouraged to approach women who look attractive. Sure, you’ll probably get rejected, but so what? You’ll know better what to do or not do next time. And men are encouraged to stand up for themselves and assert themselves with their wives, and let the chips fall where they may.

  18. “This is why men are encouraged to approach women who look attractive. Sure, you’ll probably get rejected, but so what? You’ll know better what to do or not do next time. And men are encouraged to stand up for themselves and assert themselves with their wives, and let the chips fall where they may.”

    And this is exactly the attitude that women find so attractive.

    “One of the things I have done (and I would venture many men have done) is get too worried about the desired outcome. Hence the emphasis on outcome independence you see in many blog posts. Many times, men base a decision on whether to approach or not, or take a course of action or not, on the odds of a successful outcome or that the desired objective will be met.”

    And this makes perfect sense. It’s rational and thought out. I would argue, however, that when it is applied to an approach to a woman, if you fear the rejection too much, you are essentially saying that she is better than you if it bothers you that much that you were rejected. You are subconsciously placing her on a pedestal and women really do not like that.

  19. So much good stuff in this post and comments.

    I think this is why it’s not helpful to describe game/attraction dynamics to girls beyond an initial bold claim- “women can’t fall in love.” They really perk up when you go there, but if your explanation veers too far towards instructional rather than flirty their eyes glaze over.

    Recently a girl was complaining about her boyfriend, talking about how the relationship was failing because of this, that and whatever. I dropped my usual ‘girls become less attracted to their man because the longer they own him,’ which always gets their wheels turning. I’m going to add ‘what have you done for him lately’ in the future- she’s so focused on his capacity to satisfy her female imperstive she cant even see she’s making herself miserable.

  20. It’s becoming pretty good theater.

    The post was obviously a cry for attention and some “here, here, it’s not so bad, YOU’RE the good guy here” She needs some reassurance from her sycophants that all is well, and that she isn’t wrong, her critics are just being nasty and unfair.

    All while stooping to ad hominens and the like on her own.

    Troll post x1000

  21. well the ho wants to feel like she’s a special one of a kind going through her own emotional journey through life so lets not ruin her precious fantasy and that she has to be true to her emotions (the same that can be manipulated easily through sob stories + hormonal levels) and achieve epiphanies about who she really is and purchase the latest things to decorate herself and have thoughts she identifies with and professional relationships that she considers personal. so just lie to the silly girl and go on and do u and by doing u u indirectly have external effects too so ur better lolzlolozlozlozl

  22. I definitely gained a giant serving of experience in how this works online today. Wish I had read this first, but whatever. I’ll still stand by my statements there and I’m glad I made them – I just might have done so in a different manner.

  23. One your best posts.

    This isn’t too far removed from the good old Aristotelian rhetoric, or more accurately his three modes of persuasion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modes_of_persuasion). The natural male way of discourse is more based on logos (facts, generalizations, information) whereas the female way is based on pathos (personal anecdotes, appeals to emotion).

    Of course, you can combine the two for a better punch.

  24. That’s why I don’t have a problem with women who don’t have a lot of female friends. You have to game all of them to keep her and they will poison her mind. And I know women are loath to tell other women to back the F up. I even posted on this:

    http://badgerhut.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/gaming-the-group/

    It’s funny, women are always telling men to watch out for a woman who has no female friends, they say it means she’s a backstabber or something. Meanwhile I talk to said women and they tell me they hate being in big groups of women because of all the frenemy bullshit. That’s very refreshing.

    Roissy has “has no female friends” as a slut tell, fwiw.

  25. Yeah, I read Roissy’s post on that. I don’t think I posted on it at all. I have never gotten along with women. I’ve tried, but something always seems to come along that makes me move on. I have always been much closer to men and was never a slut. However, I could not call Roissy out based on that. Because I don’t keep female friends I could not say what they others like me are thinking. I met a few others (not enough to be more than trivial anecdotal evidence) and they say the same thing you did. Too much emotional crap.

    “It’s funny, women are always telling men to watch out for a woman who has no female friends, they say it means she’s a backstabber or something. ”

    This is funny. I believe it. Women who do not keep female friends very rarely play for team woman and I think are more likely than not wanting to play for team man. It’s not an easy place to be as a woman. Neither side trusts you.

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