Friday, 6 May 2011

Why do so many modern women want to achieve high status?

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Three ideas - all, none, one or two of which might be correct:

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1. Getting into proximity

Perhaps, as a reproductive strategy, women want high status positions to get closer to high status men so they can marry them.

However, this is not necessary.

In the past, when Oxford and Cambridge universities were male institutions, women got effectively close enough to high status men (and often married them) not by becoming undergraduates or dons; but by attending secretarial and language colleges in the same city, or training as nurses, or working at sociable jobs in public places such as shops and cafes, or attending churches and social events, or even working as servants.

Wherever the attractive women were, men would seek them out - if at all possible. (See The Double Helix by James D Watson for examples.)

So high status education, training and jobs are not necessary in order to meet and marry high status men - women merely need to be accessible.

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Indeed, as we now realize, it is a counter-productive reproductive strategy to attain proximity by competing for status, since a woman attaining high status for herself strongly reduces the likelihood of her getting married and of having children.

Reasons include that the pool of men a woman finds both attractive and potentially a marriage partner will (on average) diminish as her status increases, because she is attracted (only) to men of higher status than herself - the higher her own status, the fewer such men she will encounter.

Furthermore, men are not much/ hardly at all attracted to status in women; but mainly to personality, intelligence and appearance (i.e. to an appearance which signal youthfulness and health - hence reproductive potential).

The process of attaining high status (education, training, working-up the hierarchy, building a business) usually takes a long time, and as the years roll past the woman will (on average) less attractive even as she becomes more selective concerning the men who she regards as suitable marriage partners.

Consequently, higher status women are less often married, more often have zero children. 

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Still, it is quite possible that modern women falsely believe that they need to compete alongside men in the same institutions and work in order to get close enough to marry them (or have a satisfying relationship).

But why would modern women believe something so obviously wrong?

Answer: mass media brainwashing, probably.

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2. Institution a proxy for family 

Perhaps women don't really want high status - they want the high status environment.

A high status environment (such as an Ivy League college, a top law firm, an elite hospital) might be subjectively perceived as equivalent to being married to a high status man, or living with a high status father.

But why would women be so mistaken about this; why would they perceive a high status institution to be equivalent to membership of a high status family?

Answer: mass media brainwashing, probably.


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3. Pathology

Perhaps a few strange and unusual women really do want high status (even though it does not benefit them either biologically or psychologically) - and they want status for themselves for what are essentially pathological reasons: and then (from their positions of influence) this small minority of status-driven women encourage the mass of non-status-seeking women into emulating this pathological behaviour.

(Steve Moxon - in The Woman Racket - speculates that the rare situation of a genuinely status-seeking woman may be due to masculinization, maybe in the womb.)

These rare and abnormal status-seeking women may not just gather in high status institutions, but when they have the right set of abilities, actually do high status things: like becoming big time entrepreneurs or politicians, or creative intellectual geniuses/ near-geniuses.

Of course, being pathological does not stop status-seeking women from making a major societal contribution (or, at least, having a major effect on society). After all, the annals of genius are packed with crazies.

But how could a tiny cadre of genuinely status-seeking women manage to convince the mass of women to emulate their pathological behaviour?

Answer: mass media brainwashing, probably.

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So, why do so many modern women want to achieve high status?

Whatever the answer, the mass media are surely necessary to this becoming a widespread condition.

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