Thursday, April 23, 2015

More on the pernicious misogyny of Evan Marc Katz

There was a much-touted study by OKCupid that demonstrated that men and women have different sets of expectations in the world of online dating.

What this study demonstrates is that although men rate women on a continuum from ugly to hot at OKCupid, they mostly message the hottest women. This is a fact - almost every straight man in the United States, no matter what he looks like, thinks he deserves a much younger, much better-looking woman.

Women, on the other hand, have much lower expectations, no doubt because we live in a world still completely dominated by men, and all cultural traditions, going back for thousands of years ensure that up until very recently all humans were raised with the idea that men are just better in every important way, as a group, than women.

And it's been empirically demonstrated that women do settle, the way dating coaches like Evan Marc Katz are incessantly exhorting them to do.

But misogyny in the world of online dating is so reflexive that even when women clearly are settling, it's twisted into something else. I will let Christian Rudder of OKCupid demonstrate how this reflexive misogyny works:
As you can see from the gray line, women rate an incredible 80% of guys as worse-looking than medium. Very harsh. On the other hand, when it comes to actual messaging, women shift their expectations only just slightly ahead of the curve, which is a healthier pattern than guys’ pursuing the all-but-unattainable. But with the basic ratings so out-of-whack, the two curves together suggest some strange possibilities for the female thought process, the most salient of which is that the average-looking woman has convinced herself that the vast majority of males aren’t good enough for her, but she then goes right out and messages them anyway.
...Women, on the whole, are far more discerning than men when it comes to physical attraction. In the linked OkCupid study, women think that 80% of men are BELOW average in attractiveness, when, in a normal distribution, that number should be 50%. I’m not going to say whether these women are right, although THEY certainly feel they are. I will say that men, for all their flaws, are equal opportunity daters in a way that women are not. While they will still lust for the hottest woman around, they’ll ultimately marry someone in their league, which, empirically, is not always that attractive.
Somehow even though women clearly are settling, Rudder turns it into "the average-looking woman has convinced herself that the vast majority of males aren’t good enough for her," while Katz turns it into "men are equal opportunity daters in a way that women are not."

To get a sense of how extreme Evan Marc Katz's double standards are (I address Christian Rudder's double standards here), this is his response to a different OKCupid study showing that men prefer 20-something women no matter the man's age:
20 year old men prefer 20 year old women. 40 year old men prefer 20 year old women. It’s shocking to see on paper, but not so surprising if you’ve ever talked to an actual man, read a men’s magazine or looked at porn intended for men. This doesn’t mean that 40 year old men want to MARRY that 20 year old woman, only that they find her the most physically appealing. To tell men NOT to feel this way would be akin to telling them not to breathe.
Women aren't doing a comparison study of all the images being presented to them - they are just responding based on what they like. But Evan Marc Katz's response to women liking what they like is most certainly NOT "tell(ing them) NOT to feel this way would be akin to telling them not to breathe."

As always, Evan Marc Katz's (and Christian Rudder's) message is: guys gotta be themselves and women better change themselves to conform to what men like. Because men are certainly never going to change. With the unspoken: and why should they? 

Christian Rudder and Evan Marc Katz refuse to acknowledge the reality that men make almost no effort to look good for women. Which is pretty much what you would expect of a group of people who believe in their own superiority. Why should they "make an effort" when they're good enough for even the hottest woman, as-is? 

But there are some dating coaches who do acknowledge this reality. Dr. Nerdlove devotes a column to telling men they need to think about their appearance. Something, it's safe to say, nobody has to tell women:
Step Two: Get a Haircut.
Cold hard truth: women hate your hair. Sorry.
Most men have absolutely no idea what to do with their hair. They go to the barber or Supercuts, get the exact same haircut over and over again, and never stop to think just how much a decent hair cut can change how they look. There’s more to a haircut than just trimming off a couple of inches here and there; a proper hair cut can completely transform your face, bring balance to your features and help frame your personality.
I would maintain that the reason that most men "have absolutely no idea what to do with their hair" is because they've never spent any time thinking about it. Because most men think they look fine no matter what. 

And Evan Marc Katz may be right, men are never going to change - once they've been blessed with the high self-esteem of male entitlement, they ain't never going to give that up.

This is why women should date younger men. The younger the man (at least in the West) the less likely he will feel that extreme sense entitlement, or harbor the belief that gender inequality is ordained by God and/or evolutionary psychology.

And 20-somethings are better looking, on the whole. Which is not to say that every 20-something guy is hot - I, of all people, can attest to the fact that many many 20-something guys are completely unappetizing. But on the whole, you have a better chance of finding a physically appealing 20-something than a physically appealing 50-something.

And hey, that's how I feel and telling me not to feel that way is like telling me not to breathe. And I'm sure Evan Marc Katz would believe I have a right to feel that way. If I was a man.