Really really pimpin’ in da blogosphere

Robin Hanson unfortunately engages with all this alpha/beta shit in this post, which spawned the comment thread from hell etc. yadda yadda.

Coincidentally, I just read Iceberg Slim’s “autobiographical novel” (I don’t understand why it gets that term, incidentally — he claims it as an autobiography proper, and I haven’t seen any evidence to the contrary –?) about his life as a pimp. Many of the claims about pimpdom made in this book seem to parallel the claims made by the “game” people, but on a more extreme (and even more misogynistic, of course) scale — that men who want to succeed with women have to display constant lack of concern/”coldness” and dominance, that violence helps, etc. Yet, in Pimp, it’s pretty much universal that there’s one quality that leads to success as a pimp more than anything else. Can you guess what that quality is?

Yep. It’s physical attractiveness. It’s obvious that it’s Iceberg’s good looks that get him the women that he pimps out, and it’s equally obvious that as the other pimps lose their looks they also lose their ability to pimp.

It’s almost comical, the lengths to which men go to deny that women, like men, are primarily sexually interested in physical attractiveness. (Although some exceptions apparently exist. Assortative wha?) But in their unguarded moments, even those who represent the apotheosis of the sort of thinking that suggests that women are attracted to status, actual pimps, reveal that all else is ideology. Which is not to deny that behavioral qualities are relevant to mating success for either sex (nobody wants to date the needy), but it seems obvious that most of the variance is accounted for by looks.

Now, to the Accademia, to see the David. An enterprise, incidentally, that I expect to be far more rewarding than reading blogs.

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3 Responses to “Really really pimpin’ in da blogosphere”

  1. Justin Martyr Says:

    The sociobiology wars are over. Surely you believe that the principles of reproductive fitness apply to humans too?

    As to attractiveness, I don’t think the “game” crowd would dispute that. Attractiveness is a signal of genetic quality for males as well as females. Rather, the “game” crowd argues that one can do a point or two better on the cross-gender attractiveness scale if you learn the techniques. And let’s not forget that traits like aggressiveness are the hallmark of polygamy and reproductive success when the reproductive skew is high.

    This is my first encounter with your blog and so far I am very impressed. I hope you are more honest than typical fuzzy-headed progressives. Why not come out and speak the truth: sexual liberation has had some real costs, and one of them has been to amplify the stakes and competitiveness of the arms race between males? Instead you seem to be saying “Nothing to see here folks! The sexual revolution is still working as intended!”

  2. tobeyola Says:

    I was just reading this interesting article about dominance displays and social bonding in primates:

    http://www.jstor.org/stable/2827744

    De Waal, F.B.M. 1986. “The Integration of Dominance and Social Bonding in Primates.” The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 61, No. 4.

    It’s a bit out of date so I’m not sure how good the data is but the argument is that shows of dominance (aggression, etc.) followed by shows of subordination help to solidify affectionate bonds among chimps and other friends. That is, although one might think that the aggressiveness of group members would correlate inversely with group cohesion (i.e., the nastier members are, the less social feeling there is) actually the reverse is true. Chimp A’s meanness followed by chimp B’s groveling seems to cement A and B’s friendship.

    Of course, this strategy only works among children and the chimp-like, one assumes. However, mindlessly following the “attractive” also seems like a policy well-suited to the less evolved.

  3. Joe Says:

    Actually, I’m glad you pointed that out — it pretty much confirms everything I’d guessed about the author of Overcoming Bias after reading two of his posts, and renews my curiosity why otherwise intelligent people read a blog devoted to explaining how dumb this guy thinks his wife is, because she hasn’t attained his Buddha-like level of biaslessness.

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