Ceteris paribus, women are heavily incentivized to both
- be seen as attractive and
- be highly selective about mates.
Modern mores acculturates us to pretend that this does not lead to any cognitive dissonance, logical oddity, or moral antinomy. The denial of anything problematic here is a main dogma of our time.
Note that male sexual selection standards are very different from female, and that cultural latitude to typical male gambits is somewhat more circumscribed. It is also part of the game of pretense to proclaim male sexual selection behavior as typically receiving much more lax cultural control, the better to further the imbalance between women’s and men’s cultural freedom and moral support.
I am not saying that any of this is wrong, or lacking in social utility. Many of the double standards now in play are there for at least two good reasons:
- In the past, to bolster the family, and thus the survival of the human species;
- Today, to equalize against the bias (the systemic inequality) that nature has placed upon us.*
And yes, both “patriarchal” traditionalism and modern feminism over-compensate against male sexual programming to protect women, making for radically unequal-before-the-law political and cultural structures. This is one of the paradoxes of egalitarianism. The victims of such a system are generally, both in the past and today — ah, the eternal verities! — to be found in the “loser” class of . . . young men.
All of this is “problematic,” as we all witlessly say, these days. Amusingly, even to discuss this perspective — an evolutionary perspective — is to break several modern taboos.
So why bring it up? Because it is the truth, and it allows us to identify tensions within not only past systems — their “contradictions” — but also with present politics, law, and culture.
But mostly, I confess, for the human comedy. I reserve the right not merely to try to understand sexual dynamics as it relates to social structure** and function, but also to laugh at those who refuse to understand. And at those who mindlessly repeat the stock behaviors of tradition as well as of the modish present. Mechanically repeating established patterns while pretending to full freedom of will is funny.
* It remains to be seen whether the modern focus on revolutionary justice (as opposed to traditional or evolutionary conceptions) will lead to the survival of the human species or not. Its unfitness for maintaining population growth or even stasis has been well demonstrated in modern demographic movements.
** This has been a “gender-free” sketch of the sociology of sex. You are welcome.