Recently, a writer for Pop Matters blogged his reaction to the extreme sex and violence of the HBO series "Tru Blood," a show watched apparently only by women and gays. The blogger even calls the combined sex and violence scene (where the vampire "hero" desired by the female audience does some pretty nasty things) misogynistic. Tellingly, the female audience didn't think so, and in the comments, women write about how "artistic" it was and construct various excuses about why the scene was OK. [Which boil down to female morality in the age of Hypergamy: the guy was Alpha, it was OK.] But just like the moment when as Steve Sailer noted, a 500 square foot home in Compton sold for $340,000, this stunning display of female value for male Alpha dominance, to the exclusion of everything else, may mark the height of the female market for men ruled by Hypergamy. This may not be the beginning of the bubble. But it may, as Roissy argued, mark the beginning of the end of Hypergamy above all else. In other words, the top of the market for Alphas.
Famously, Charlie Sheen held a knife to his wife's throat, on Christmas Day (because nothing says the holidays like "Honey I'm going to kill you!"), and was rewarded not by being fired, after feminists and female fans picketed "Two and Half Men," but a raise, to nearly $2 million per episode. Women (as a group, in general) forgive pretty much everything if a man is Alpha. The Petersons, Drew and Scott, one convicted, the other charged, in their wives murders, had no problem attracting female attention, while nerdy cubicle dwellers go back to their porn collections and X Boxes. Drew Peterson, aging, over 50, was the favorite of local college girls in bars. Scott Peterson not only drew Amber Frye, while married, but dozens of marriage proposals behind bars. Johan Van Der Sloot, in his travels through Asia, drew plenty of female admirers, both Western female expatriates and locals, in his fame of being accused of killing Natalie Holloway. Reputedly, the girl Van Der Sloot killed in Peru, was fascinated by his past, and willingly went to his hotel room alone, late at night, after flirting with him at the local Casino.
The market for men, set by women, is dominated by well, Alpha dominance. Nothing else matters, other than pure, violent potential and aggressiveness, adjusted for socio-economic status. Thus Mr. Big is an A-hole, but does not kill anyone. In fantasy, however, the big shot guys do indeed kill people, because it's sexy. You can see this reaction in novels like the Twilight series, or the Sookie Stackhouse novels upon which "Tru Blood" is based, the "Anita Blake" series by Laurel K. Hamilton, and of course, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and the spin-off Angel. Even "Dexter" with the sexy, rule-bound serial killer (he only gets off by killing other serial killers) follows the pattern. All the novels and TV series were popular with women, some exceedingly so, and all fall various rules.
First, the vampire protagonist must be much, much older, but look young. Second, he must dominate the female protagonist, and also protect her against his own violent desires (to hurt or kill her). Third, he must overtly humiliate nice-guy ordinary rivals who are the same age as the female protagonist, and make them look like pale imitations of his dominant masculine energy. Fourth, he must be "hot" and of course, hairless. Fifth, he has to kill a lot of people. Sixth, he must have a past of killing a lot of people, which the heroine must harness for her own ends to "change him." Finally, the vampire hero must dominate and often rape his female heroine, with sex so violent it leaves brutal marks.
This is particularly true in the climax of the best known vampire series, beloved by tween girls, teen girls, and their moms, the Twilight books. Where the vampire Edward Cullen takes his human teen bride and has sex with her, so violent that every bone in her body is broken, as she's transformed into a vampire. A teen girl, young and beautiful, forever! In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, vampire hero Spike rapes Buffy, which makes her love him even more. But she truly falls for him when he tells her of how many young girls, the age of her younger sister or younger, he raped and tortured before killing. In an earlier arc, Buffy finds her love for her other vampire boyfriend Angel unshakeable even while he's killing and harming friends, acquaintances, and teachers. Very tellingly, Buffy loses all interest in her human boyfriend Riley, when he loses the status of super-soldier and becomes just a decent guy without powers.
The Anita Blake series follows the same basic template (clearly Twilight author Stephanie Meyer ahem "borrowed" the structure of vampire-vs-werewolf, with the werewolf a doofus good guy), and the Sookie Stackhouse novels do as well, with the female protagonist rejecting the good guy suitor who is human, for the dangerous and much older (but young looking) vampire Bill.
Clearly, what is at work given the extraordinary popularity of some of these (Twilight in particular) and the sheer breadth of their copiers, is the desire for most women to have the ability in fantasy to have the violent, dangerous bad boy Alpha, without consequence. Because the proxy-doll protagonist has powers herself (Buffy) or will get them (Twilight) or what have you. It is also true that this stuff is nearly exclusively the province of very feminist men, openly gay men, and women. No "manly" guy's guy would dream of reading or watching the stuff, let alone writing it. It takes a very womanly view to come up with this stuff. And it is clear, women in the main, love it. You might even say they love, love, love it!
Which brings us to the Pop Matters writer Benjamin Riley and his objections:
The final scene of “It Hurts Me Too”, the third episode of True Blood’s third season, depicts some of the most horrific violence I have ever seen on screen. In the scene, Bill, the vampire antihero played by Stephen Moyer, has been arguing with Lorena, played by Mariana Klaveno, who is his ‘sire’—the vampire who made him a vampire. Lorena has manipulated Bill in an attempt to rekindle their romantic relationship, in part by attempting to have Bill’s current girlfriend killed.
After Bill tells Lorena that he will never love her, the two kiss before Bill pushes Lorena down onto his bed and begins to penetrate her. Bill is on top, Lorena is on her back. The aggression and intensity of the sex builds until Bill grabs Lorena’s head, twisting it around 180 degrees. He does this slowly and deliberately, and accompanying a shot which visually leaves nothing to the imagination is the sound of the bones in Lorena’s neck snapping. Next, a long shot shows Bill continuing while Lorena’s head is twisted completely around, facing the floor. The next shot is from below her, of her face. Apparently still alive, blood bubbles up out of her mouth as she says: “I still love you.” Bill keeps at it until the credits roll.
Just check out the comments on the site. The female audience LOVED IT. First, they found it "hot." Second, they justified the action (Bill was Alpha, all is forgiven for an Alpha). Third, the girl who "got it" was the romantic rival and "ex" of the doll-like female protagonist, cunningly written to be almost any girl wanting a dominant, violent boyfriend in fantasy. Of course women found her come-uppance satisfying. Nor did they object to what amounts to cheating, after all if another woman has the guy, it just validates he's worth having. And besides, Vampire Bill is Alpha. Women forgive anything in a man who is Alpha. Alphas being so desired and rare.
Writer Riley is just shocked at the true nature of female desire. When you boil it down, violence is no turn off, indeed is arousing, to most women, particularly those most desirable. As anyone who has observed the amazingly hot and often intelligent women around even the most pathetic lowlife who has a streak of violence. Indeed, the easiest way to be successful with women is through successful violence, as the winner, which is one of the major reasons the Ghetto and Barrio are so ridden with crime and cannot get out of it. When some "senseless" amount of violence, a shooting of a good kid with no gang ties, or a grandmother, or an infant occurs, rest assured some gang member will be having sex that night. Its guaranteed! Increasingly as Theodore Dalrymple argues, White British Chavs echo this same behavior, and of course White British Chav women find the men that beat them irresistible. As Dalrymple puts it, they find ordinary, decent men who would treat them well, boring. Sexless. In Chav Britain, the Barrio, and the Ghetto, this is normal female preference. Its shocking when a woman does not choose a violent thug. Even more when an attractive woman does it. Women have always found killers arousing, Geronimo when imprisoned at Pensacola, reputedly cut a huge swath through his jailers wives. Even though at the time he was a wizened old man, his body count made him sexy.
Roissy argues (though he does not use the term bubble) that tough times are a bounty for betas, as women will trade off against sexual excitement to find security. I am not so sure this happens rapidly though I agree with it in general.
In my view, when survival and survival alone is paramount, then yes, a beta who will stay and protect a woman, is better than the fleeting attentions of an Alpha, who will always have other, prettier and younger women to occupy him. Even the most mild beta in normal circumstances can kill, and the presence of a man is better than his complete absence, against other marauding men. Often the least impressive of betas can make the most astonishing killers, witness Alvin C. York, who was initially a conscientious objector and temperance pacifist. York killed at least 8 men (likely more) and took 132 men prisoner.
But most of the time, survival in tough times is not paramount. A Depression is not the Siege of Leningrad. Or the Thirty Years War (let us be grateful for that). Thus, women don't need a man that much, as a provider. They can make do, without him, and rely on the sexy dominance of an Alpha, even if he's not around much. It will cost, but most women most of the time will happily make the trade-off of sex for security.
Furthermore, it takes time for the "sexual marketplace" as it were, to reach a clearing price for men. Female Hypergamy, the desire for the Alpha male (often to the exclusion of all else), requires either sustained and long-standing social pressure to avoid it, mostly by other women, through extensive shaming and shunning (which in turn implies stable social networks, little anonymity, or physical mobility), or sheer survival. Nothing much else seems to control it.
Even Jane Austen, in "Pride and Prejudice," tellingly has her heroine Lizzy fall for the "cad" but Alpha male Wickham, though the social conventions of her day will not allow her to consummate it, and Wickham is the market for a wealthy wife, or a simple mistress. Unlike Darcy, who has far more wealth, Wickham is by contrast, agile and well spoken, an excellent dancer (where Darcy is stiff), easy-spoken, charming, outgoing, and a very convincing liar. No wonder Lizzy and her sister both fall for the man (though Lizzie finally sees through him as Wickham's mercenary intent becomes clear). This from the most self-controlled female heroine in literary history, a character moreover written by an 18th Century woman.
Of course, today, marriage is for Kitchen Bitches, beta males so unmanly they take over household chores (women don't really want men to do this, they'd rather they just be sexy and dominating) to the point of making themselves so umasculine their wives lose all sexual desire for them. Today's Lizzie would rather live like Samantha from "Sex and the City," and when she can no longer turn heads, even with botox and plastic surgery and pilates, she can have a "fabulous" set of gay friends. And many memories.
The genie of what women really want, when times are good, and they can express it, is out of the bottle. A man needs only to look at Twilight, at Buffy, at Tru Blood, at the Anita Blake series, at Dexter, at any Rom-Com, where the heroine must avoid the attentions of the best friend (who is not manly enough to win her) and snag the commitment phobic, wanted (and had) by other women, Alpha male.
Couple that with most women now out-earning men, particularly in the largest mating/population/job markets, and the ability to be a beta provider is in question. In New York City, women outearn men by 17% in their twenties (ages 22-30). Indeed, women beat men in the same age group in 39 of the 50 biggest cities and match them in another eight:
Single, childless women in their twenties are finding success in the city: They're out-earning their male counterparts in the USA's biggest metropolitan areas.
Women ages 22 to 30 with no husband and no kids earn a median $27,000 a year, 8% more than comparable men in the top 366 metropolitan areas, according to 2008 U.S. Census Bureau data crunched by the New York research firm Reach Advisors and released Wednesday. The women out-earn men in 39 of the 50 biggest cities and match them in another eight. The disparity is greatest in Atlanta, where young, childless single women earn 21% more than male counterparts.
"They don't need marriage as much," says Stephanie Coontz, who teaches history and family studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. "They're likely to be pickier, and they're likely to delay marriage." Coontz dismisses the notion that successful single women intimidate men and can't find husbands. They just marry later in life, she says.
"One day, I'll get married and have kids. But I'm in no rush," says Rebecca Loveridge, 27, a Washington, D.C., magazine marketing director who also writes a restaurant blog. She likes dining out, attending concerts and checking out art galleries with her friends. "Now is the time to be single," she says.
And why wouldn't a woman want to delay or avoid marriage? What does a Kitchen Bitch Beta husband have to offer? Slightly more income to buy a second sofa from Ikea? Versus exciting, thrilling sex with a dominant, demanding Alpha that other women want and have (therefore marking him as desirable in the first place).
Even in a recession, the "market clearing price" for beta men has not reached its level where women would actually give up exciting sex, with dominant Alphas, that they know they cannot gain exclusivity over, for the entire devotion of a beta guy. Particularly not when they are young, fertile, and desirable. Able to form families.
And increasingly, beta men are becoming aware of this deep, nearly unstoppable preference. That at best, they can in their thirties, find a woman who will settle for them as a boring, near "gay best friend" to shop with while they dream of the man who really excited them. And express not so secret contempt for their Kitchen Bitch husband. The only women as a group seemingly exempt from this are Mormons, who have tellingly a massive and very stable family network, with overt mentoring by older women of younger ones, and intense pressure among Mormon girls to select a nice guy relatively early instead of pursuing many, many Alpha men in the anonymity of urban job centers. A young Mormon woman may often be married by age 25, while her non-Mormon SWPL female counterpart is reaching her twentieth or even thirtieth partner. Nearly all Alpha dominant males. This as much as the "affordable family formation" of Steve Sailer's writings, accounts for the low fertility of Whites (i.e. much delayed marriage and childbirth). Often, a woman who "settles" for a boring beta guy will find that he's not even worth having a kid with, which would require fertility treatments anyway by age 38 or so. Increasingly, sperm donors are the rage, as in the romantic comedies "Back Up Plan," and "the Switch." After all, if any woman wanted this guy in the first place, he'd have been married decades earlier. Much better to get a better genetic material from a dominant, masculine guy who is a sperm donor!
Increasingly, beta men are finding that women, in their late thirties, have too much baggage to visibly settle themselves for merely being the accessory in a big wedding party. Hence the annoyance of older women at men who having been sitting out the relationship game in their twenties, unwillingly, find no incentive to settle for their age peers (though they would for younger women).
But the key is women themselves. Who would seem to require, several generations of growing up impoverished and desperate, as times turn increasingly grim, and single-motherhood poverty outweighs the sexy desire and tingle of Alpha dominance, in favor of Beta dependability. After all, despite rising gas prices, and periodic price crunches, America's love of big vehicles has not gone away. Periodically, small cars like the Toyota Corolla in the early 1970's, and again in the late 1970's through mid 1980's, find favor. Only to be shoved aside by bigger, more roomy and more horsepower blessed vehicles that provide excitement not reliability and economy. The big muscle cars have staged a modest comeback, but the roomy and powerful cars of yesteryear have merely morphed into SUVs and Trucks as cars.
Female fantasy reveals what women really desire, in the scheme of things. Which at its ultimate, is a violent, dangerous man they can control through being sexier than other women. This is why Vampire Bill, breaking the neck of his lover as he has sex with her, is not shocking but arousing. The openly gay Alan Ball, creator of "American Beauty," and also "Six Feet Under," knows his female audience. There have been no outcries, no calls for cancellations. No feminists protesting. They were too aroused themselves. The silence by women and feminists to this scene, in a show watched almost exclusively by women, is telling. As are the many, many comments defending the scene and the character by female viewers.
While the deep-rooted preference for sexy, and violent men (the two are synonymous with most women) can never be erased, young women who grew up poor, and knew their mothers grew up poor, alone and abandoned, can rapidly prefer a reliable beta to a life of raising kids on poverty wages.
Because hidden in the sexual marketplace is the power of incentives. Men now are discovering, and indeed cannot avoid it, that being a beta provider is no longer possible, and that the quickest way to female desire is successful violence. This is a huge incentive to create a brutal, unmoderated competition for available women along the lines of British Chavs, the Black Ghetto, or Mexican Barrio. Close off beta provider status, by continually declining wages, and female advantages in wages where it matters most: the twenties when men and women find mates, or decide to play the market (basically until they age out of attractiveness) and see what happens. One can hardly be a beta provider and be the equal of a woman in earning power, much less her inferior. She might as well just work another part-time job, or improve her career, and have a really sexy man. The key to beta provider status is as much the man bringing much more money to the table than the woman, otherwise he's just a Kitchen Bitch, as unmanly as Rosa the part-time cook or maid.
But just as compelling, is the knowledge that women respond to violence. That as long as they don't suffer from it directly, themselves (and even that is negotiable, witness Rihanna and Chris Brown), violence if successful (getting away with it) is the path to a woman's desire, if not her heart. And if a man has her desire, her heart will soon follow anyway. This is the incentive at work:
Be violent and successful at violence. Get the girl. And another. And another.
Winner take all (literally). Loser ends up dead (or alone).
Enough of this, good and hard, in a sustained effort, and it might not even take two generations. Particularly if men become far more aggressive, in almost every aspect of life, to the point of frequent fights and killings, to gain status and women. Nothing more deliberate could be constructed to make all of America, into a version of South Central LA or East Los Angeles, or Westlake Village. THAT sudden transformation, as young men arive at young adulthood, unable to compete for women in any other way but through violence, could spark a massive shift in the market, as women seek to escape a cycle of violence and poverty through overt, self-knowing repression of their innate desire for violent and dangerous men.
Which might shift back again as with vehicles (from small and reliable to big and powerful), or might not, as in the housing market.
But in the interim, it would seem that it is Alan Ball's world. The only question that remains, is the hyper-explicit sex and violence in "Tru Blood" the excess that marks the top of the market for Alphas, the moment that valuation of men has gone so insane that it cannot go on, or are their higher peaks of insane valuation of violent dominance still to come?
My own feeling, admittedly as man not a woman, is that the current market in men set by women is not sustainable. That the value put on dangerous and sexy men, in fantasy and reality, is just not something that can go on much further. Something, if only men responding massively, in a sudden way, to these obvious incentives: "be violent and I'll have sex with you!" is likely to happen.
And when it does, women might well find that the line between fantasy and reality is blurred, as the Roman people, gorged on sadistic spectacles of death in gladiator games, public executions, and animal fights to the death, found at the fall of the Western Roman Empire.