To start 2020, Quillet has published yet another All the Single Ladies article. Let’s see whether Vincent Harinam and Rob Henderson have any idea of what is happening.
“Oh, he’s kind of cute.” My friend at Yale, swiping through Tinder, leaned over and showed me his profile.
“Wait, no.” She moved her finger leftward.
“Why not? He seems alright,” I reply.
He goes to a local, less highly-regarded university, she explained. In other words, not Yale.
Keep your tenses straight! Ugh. OK, so why does a woman want a man who attends a prestigious university rather than a local college? One reason may be that on average, college graduates start at $40K/year, but a graduate of Yale law school can enter private practice at $180K/year.
The dating market for women is getting tougher. In part, this is because fewer men are attending universities. Why would male enrollment in higher education matter for women? Because women, on average, prefer educated men. One source of evidence comes from women’s personal responses to dating profiles posted by men.
Why would evidence be required? Women instinctively look for men who can provide for them and their children. An educated man is more likely to be able to do so.
Researchers analyzed 120 personal dating ads posted by men on the West Coast and in the Midwest. They found that two of the strongest variables that predicted how many responses a man received from women were years of education and income.
Income, and a predictor of future income.
A more recent study in Australia of more than 40,000 online daters found that women were more likely to initiate contact with a man if he had more education than themselves.
The instinct to find a provider does not turn off when a woman has enough resources that she doesn’t need one.
On Tinder, women were 91 percent more likely to “like” a man with a master’s degree compared with a bachelor’s degree. Men were only eight percent more likely to “like” a woman with a master’s degree compared with a bachelor’s degree. Both men and women preferred more-educated partners, but women had a much stronger preference.
Men of value don’t care about a woman’s education; they care about her appearance and character.
Some women do marry men with less education, though. These women tend to marry men who earn more than them. A study by Yue Qian, a sociologist at the University of British Columbia, found that women who had more education than their spouses were 93 percent more likely to be married to men with higher incomes than themselves.
Considering that many of the women marrying men who have more education will also be married to men with higher incomes than themselves, this seems incredible.
In other words, if you are a less-educated man, it is helpful to earn more than your educated male peers if you want to marry an educated woman. Better-educated women have a stronger preference for partners who earn more, especially if their partners are less educated than themselves.
If you are a less educated man, you should avoid marrying a more educated woman. You are better to marry someone who will appreciate you and not divorce you to marry someone who earns more than you do.
The evolutionary psychologist David Buss, discussing his research on how professionally successful women select partners, found that “Successful women turned out to place an even greater value than less professionally successful women on mates who have professional degrees, high social status, and greater intelligence and who are tall, independent, and self-confident.” The more professionally successful a woman is, the stronger her preference for successful men.
Women instinctively seek to marry up.
In The Evolution of Desire, David Buss discusses the student body of the University of Texas at Austin where he teaches. In 2016, the student body consisted of 46 percent men and 54 percent women. That doesn’t seem like a big difference, but it is. It translates to 17 percent more women than men on campus. The UT Austin campus has about 52,000 students in total. This means that if every student pairs up with someone of the opposite sex, about 4,000 women will be without a partner.
And yet government programs still favour women over men, openly discriminating against the minority. Ironic, no?
But how do such imbalances manifest themselves with regard to mating strategies? When there is a surplus of men, men are more likely to adapt to women’s preferences. When there is a larger male-to-female ratio, men are more likely to compete with each other to be what women want. And, on average, women tend to prefer longer-term relationships. In general, women report a greater desire for emotional investment than men. This is true across cultures. In fact, the sex disparity in this preference for emotional investment is greater in more egalitarian cultures. In other words, the difference in the desire for love and emotional investment between men and women is larger in societies that more strongly underscore egalitarianism and sociopolitical equality.
Even though there is no population imbalance (as there would be after a war, for example), the freedom brought by birth control, affirmative action for women entering college, and female hypergamy have created an artificial imbalance.
In contrast, men, on average, are more likely to prefer more casual sexual relationships. Indeed, the sex difference in the male preference for casual sex and sexual variety is greater in more gender-egalitarian societies. For example, research led by the psychologist David Schmitt found that the sex difference for enjoyment of casual sex in Denmark, Norway, and Finland is higher than in less gender-egalitarian cultures such as Ethiopia, Colombia, and Swaziland.
Men want casual relationships until they want children, at which point they want a committed relationship. Preference for casual child-free relationships is naturally stronger in “gender egalitarian” societies where women can survive on resources taken by the state in taxes and use the power of the state to take their husband’s children and resources from him. The more “egalitarian” a society is, the worse a long term relationship is for a man.
When there is a surplus of women relative to men, women are more likely to adapt to men’s preferences. They compete with one another to be what men want. And this is what we see on campuses with more female students relative to male students. On colleges with more women than men, such as Sarah Lawrence, casual sex is more widespread. Hookup culture is more prevalent, and men are less interested in entering committed relationships. Women are more willing to do what men want in order to be with them.
And yet in Western society as a whole, they do not. In a village (or a university campus), the population is small enough that one can grasp its demographics intuitively. Understanding the changes we’ve wrought on western educational demographics will take time. Perhaps gynocentrism will be replaced with true equal opportunity, and the number of men and women who attend universities will be more balanced in future. Until then, women at the top of the economic pile will wonder where all the good men are and men at the bottom will remain incels.
Most straight men at Sarah Lawrence had no interest in a committed relationship. “Why would they?” said [one female student] . “It’s like they have their own free harem. One of my friends was dumped by a guy after they’d been hooking up for less than a week. When he broke up with her, the guy actually used the word ‘market’—like the ‘market’ for him was just too good.”
If he wasn’t ready for children, why would he settle down? If he was, why would he hook up with someone who wasn’t?
If you have ever been around young men at elite colleges, many of them do speak in this way, especially if there are less-prestigious colleges nearby. This is because male students at top colleges can attract women at their own college, as well as other local campuses. On the other hand, women at top colleges are often only interested in dating men at their own college. For these women, the dating pool is less promising compared to their male counterparts.
Because men are happy to date down, men in higher economic strata can pick from a larger pool. Men at the bottom of the sexual marketplace have the same problem as women at the top: too few choices. This is the natural outcome when women become more successful than men.
The Harvard psychologist Marcia Guttentag … posits that feminist movements are energized when there is a dearth of men in the local environment:
And yet most men are looking for women to commit to who want traditional relationships, so this would seem to be a losing strategy.
With a surplus of women, sexual freedoms are more advantageous to men than to women. Decreased willingness to commit oneself to an exclusive relationship with one woman is consistent with that fact… It follows further that the persistence of such circumstances would leave many women hurt and angry. Other women, not themselves without a man, would nevertheless often be aware of the unfortunate experiences of their women friends in relations with men. These circumstances should impel women to seek more power, and incidentally, turn them towards meeting their own needs. Most forms of feminism are directed to just such ends.
I agree that most forms of feminism are directed to seeking more power and meeting women’s needs. Yet when men were scarce, as they were in the fifties after many were killed in the second world war, traditionalism was at its strongest.
In short, environments with more women give rise to conditions that propel women to reduce their social, economic and political dependence on men. In part because men are less interested in commitment when they are outnumbered by women and therefore have more options.
But in the fifties, men and their wives voted for policies more favourable to families and less favourable to single women. It was the boomers who vastly expanded the welfare state and made it possible for a woman to be economically independent via resources taken by the state in taxes.
Still, much of this is assuming that men in educated dating pools prefer educated women.
All things being equal, I’d say this is true, much as, all things being equal, women prefer good looking men. But men are primarily attracted to looks, not education, just as women prefer a man with resources to a good looking pauper.
Less educated women tend to be open to dating men more educated than themselves.
No shit, Sherlock.
Pew has … found that among never-married adults, for every 100 women, there are only 84 employed men. If all employed men were suddenly taken, every sixth woman would be partner-less.
Unless she partnered with an unemployed man.
Why are men falling behind when it comes to education? Several suggestions have been offered. One might be video games. In a paper titled “Cutting class to play video games,” the economist Michael Ward looked at a dataset of more than 6,000 high school and college students. He found that when video game sales increase, students spend less time attending class and doing homework and more time playing games. Furthermore, this “crowding out” effect was stronger for males and lower income students. He also found that the average amount of time spent playing video games was three times larger for males compared to females.
There have always been pass-times like video games. When I was young, we had pool halls, video game arcades, video rental shops, and Nintendo and Atari. What motivated young men to work was the hope of buying a car and having money to take girls on dates. Most girls were less promiscuous than they are today, and expected to be dated for a long time before allowing relationships to become sexual. Most of us hadn’t seen our parents break up, though by the eighties, many of us at least knew someone who had. Today, young men can “hook up” far more easily, and have seen their fathers, uncles, and brothers dragged through the family courts. Playing video games is a symptom of the problem, not its cause.
The economist Erik Hurst has suggested that leisure time has become so valuable to men that they are less willing to exchange that time for other pursuits. In an interview, Hurst has said, “In our culture, where we are constantly connected to technology, activities like playing Xbox, browsing social media, and Snapchatting with friends raise the attractiveness of leisure time. And so it goes that if leisure time is more enjoyable, and as prices for these technologies continue to drop, people may be less willing to work at any given wage.” This may be why fewer young men, relative to women, are employed or attending university.
If earning a high wage no longer ensures a committed relationship with a high quality woman, since with no fault divorce, a woman can walk away on a whim, and with the current family court system, take much of the money a man has earned with his hard work, why should men work hard? The juice isn’t worth the squeeze.
Furthermore, Hurst and his colleagues found that from 2000 to 2015, labor hours fell by 12 percent for those aged 21–30. What has filled this free time for men? The researchers found that young men increased the number of hours dedicated to leisure by about the same number of labor hours they lost. And what kind of leisure? An article in The Economist reports, “For each hour less the group spent in work, time spent at leisure activities rose about an hour, and 75% of the increased leisure time was accounted for by gaming.”
It’s natural that if men work less, they will use their free time for something else. Why is this surprising?
Video games might be more appealing than other ventures, and many young men have decided to dedicate more of their time to gaming and less to education or work. Interestingly, these young men do not report being unhappy. Hurst goes on to say, “These individuals are living with parents or relatives, and happiness surveys actually indicate that they are quite content compared to their peers.” However, the men surveyed are quite young. It is possible and perhaps likely that as these men reach middle-age, their feelings will change.
When their peers where happily married in good relationships, bachelors had reason to be unhappy. When they see other men cheated on, divorced, and paying exorbitant alimony and child support, is it any wonder that they are content? As they reach middle age, some may become self sufficient and desire children. They are unlikely to seek out middle aged women to bear their children.
Many young men understand that women want educated and successful partners. Why not work harder to adapt to this preference?
Why should they? If working harder doesn’t lead to happiness, why not find a woman who will be happy to have you? Unless you have nothing to offer a woman at the bottom of the economic ladder, you are more likely to be happy with a woman who appreciates you.
In their book, The Demise of Guys, psychologists Philip Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan suggest that the answer is twofold: fake war and fake sex. They argue that many young men have a natural desire for conflict, struggle, and accomplishment. Video games satiate this desire. They are designed to induce a sense of gradual achievement in the face of obstacles adapted to be just above the player’s ability. Alongside this, young men also have a natural desire to seek sexual partnerships. Digital porn satiates this desire. Porn provides a virtual experience of sexual fulfillment with multiple different partners. Many young men may have simply decided to derive a sense of accomplishment from gaming, and a sense of sexual satisfaction from porn.
Porn provides no validation and no children. Thus, it can only replace the need for sex. Similarly, video game achievements are, for most of us, a hollow substitute for real accomplishments. If artificial intelligence can replace the need for the validation of a human relationship and artificial wombs allow men to reproduce without the need of more than a purchased egg, women will really have something to worry about.
The reality is that fewer young men are graduating from college compared to women, fewer men are employed, and fewer men are seeking employment. The dating pool is shrinking for women who are interested in successful, educated, men with good career prospects.
And so one would think that men would be encouraged to enter universities with special scholarships and bursaries, as women were when they were in the minority.
A recent study found that the proliferation of “sexy selfies” may be due in part to economic inequality, as women compete to earn the attention of a shrinking pool of economically successful men.
Again, no shit, Sherlock.
The good news, though, is that couples in which both individuals are educated tend to be happier. Their divorce rates are lower and satisfaction with their marriages is higher. But as the incentives continue to shift, and imbalanced ratios continue to influence the dating pool for the educated, we may see fewer such couplings.
So why not do something about it? As long as governments continue to pass laws making marriage worse for men, fewer men will find it worth the effort. As long as governments continue to enable more women (and fewer men) to access higher education, the worse the imbalance will grow. This outcome is very much an “own goal”. Putting your thumb on the scale will always lead to the market adjusting to it, often in ways you least expect.