The Manosphere expression “red pill” in mainstream science

I am a reader and contributor at the online academic literature site, Academia.edu

I had heard I think of Dr Geoffrey Miller. He is an evolutionary psychologist with an interest in human mating strategies. In the article below at Academia.edu he refers to the “red pill”, which is Manosphere jargon derived from a famous scene in the movie The Matrix in which taking the red pill allows one to see the world as it truly is. In the Manosphere sense, this means seeing women and society as they truly are.

Mutual mate choice models as the Red Pill in evolutionary psychology (2013)

Miller writes, “At the risk of mixing metaphors from Big Pharma and The Matrix [the article under discussion] is not a little Blue Pill that lets us carry on indulging our youthful sexual paleo-fantasies in our aging science. Rather, it is a big Red Pill that requires a deep rethinking of our worldview, a reprogramming of our research priorities, and a new level of ideological maturity.”

For Manosphere readers, there are two points I should make. One is that there is no indication either way whether Miller has borrowed the term “red pill” from its extensive usage in that part of the blogging world sometimes called the Manosphere. The second is that, ironically, Miller is using it to describe a movement back to a more egalitarian and “liberal” view of sex differences and mating strategies, involving mutual assessment of mental and character traits. (Or could it perhaps be a move back to an even older common sense view that men select women who will make good wives and mothers and women select men who will make good fathers and husbands?)

I have no reason to doubt the horror stories in the Manosphere about rampant hypergamous women and alphas of the ilk of Tony Stark or James Bond who bed a new woman before breakfast, but such people may be outliers and the result of the late capitalist societies in which they live.

On the other hand, in my own relatively quiet life, I have certainly seen enough to believe that a lot of the Manosphere “game” and “red pill” insights are correct. So, which is the true “red pill”? Try them both, including Miller’s material cited above, and see what you think, dear Reader.

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11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by infowarrior1 on June 23, 2015 at 8:28 am

    ”The second is that, ironically, Miller is using it to describe a movement back to a more egalitarian and “liberal” view of sex differences and mating strategies, involving mutual assessment of mental and character traits.”

    It that is his assessment. Then it is dead wrong considering that it contradicts reality. And in reality is blue pill.

    Reply

    • Yes, I was disappointed. Initially I thought, oh, good, an academic has finally got the red pill message. But instead he has used the expression to describe a more “PC” view of human relations.

      Look, I have never been a “player”, but a man would have to be blind to miss how well “game” works, just in an ordinary relationship.

      I think there is a puzzle as to why women are (nearly) as clever as men. And maybe men do care about the intelligence of women as much as their “cup size”. One would hope so. But I find it hard to believe that some degree of female hypergamy is not innate; or to ignore the long history of superior mental achievement by men (which shows no real sign of diminishing compared with women’s); or to ignore the common observation that both men and women are obsessed with women’s appearance.

      But I must read the Miller response properly and the original target paper if possible.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous Reader on June 23, 2015 at 5:15 pm

        It starts with biology. HIdden estrus, sexual dimorphism, the price of eggs vs. the price of sperm. Add them up and hypergamy is understandable, as is women’s preference for ambiguous signalling, etc.

        But to get started, one has to accept the obvious fact that men and women are different in obvious and subtle ways. People who are stuck in the 70’s notion of “men and women are the same except women bear babies” cannot hope to get started. They are stuck at the stage where a fish and a bicycle are the same thing, except fish live in water.

        For example, sexual dimorphism has a lot of effects on the female psyche. This was brought home to me a while back when I was around some horses. Here we have big animals that weigh hundreds of pounds, and any one of them could cripple a man without even trying very hard. A horse that got the wind up could easily kill a man with not much effort. Working around horses requires one to be calm and confident and to understand something of the nature of the beast in order to keep it under control while allowing it some degree of autonomy.

        I daresay that’s much the view many women take of men, because men are bigger, faster and stronger than women; sexual dimorphism, in other words.

        However, to the various flavours of feminist such a notion is anethama, we must all hold hands and pretend that Lara Croft is real, and that if women can’t compete physically with men it must be because of teh sexism, not because of biological realities such as the effects of testosterone on muscle tissue and nerves. They prefer their pretty fables to reality, and then demand that men make reality fit their fables (see: US Ranger school recently).

        It is no more possible to discuss the realities of men and women with such people that it would be possible to talk about orbital mechanics with a member of the Flat Earth society.

      • I really must read the papers, but I knew of Geoffrey Miller before this latest paper got posted on Academia.edu (it is actually from 2013). He has tended to be on the more “right wing” side of evolutionary psychology. This latest response to another “target paper” sees him moving back to the “left”. (I know these terms are clumsy, but they get the point across.)

        When I have read the papers, I may actually contact Dr Miller and point out the Manosphere to him, if he is not familiar with it. An hour or two reading Chateau Heartiste would probably entertain and instruct him as to the meaning of “red pill” in the Manosphere. Someone who is interested in actual male and female behaviour might learn a good deal from the comments at such as site. Of course, there is always the possibility of false and exaggerated reporting, but social scientists have been exposed to that since the days of Margaret Mead and no doubt before she was conned by her Samoan girl informants.

        Yes, we tend these days to forget how much stronger men are than women, for various reasons that need no rehearsing, and it was stunning to come across this from Marcus D recently at the Dalrock site:

        “Men have about 90% greater upper-body strength, a difference of approximately three standard deviations (Abe et al., 2003; Lassek & Gaulin, 2009). The average man is stronger than 99.9% of women (Lassek & Gaulin, 2009).”

        https://dalrock.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/shackled-for-less-than-a-penny/#comment-181116

        I have said it before. Feminists are hysterical about rape because it reminds them of three uncomfortable facts. One, women can be overpowered. Two, women can be penetrated. Three, Daddy can’t always be there to protect you.

        Traditionally, a woman would marry one of those big lunks who took her fancy and he would protect her. But feminists can hardly be seen to be recommending something so retrograde these days.

      • The actual reference on male vs female upper body strength:

        http://www.anth.ucsb.edu/sites/secure.lsit.ucsb.edu.anth.d7/files/sitefiles/people/gaulin/Lassek%20%26%20Gaulin_muscle%20mass.pdf

        “The sex difference in upper-body muscle mass in humans is
        similar in magnitude to the sex difference in lean body mass
        in gorillas, the most sexually dimorphic primate.”

        Men have obviously required MUCH greater strength in their upper body than women. Why? Male-male conflict is one possibility I have seen suggested.

  2. Posted by Ray Manta on June 28, 2015 at 5:46 am


    “The sex difference in upper-body muscle mass in humans is
    similar in magnitude to the sex difference in lean body mass
    in gorillas, the most sexually dimorphic primate”

    Sexual dimorphism in body size in humans is rather low compared to most of our near cousins. We seem to “compensate for it” by having considerable differences in muscularity, body shape, fat percentage, and hair distribution. The human penis is also the largest of any existing primate.

    Reply

    • Yes, I think that is what the authors are saying: that in actual size (mass) the human sex difference is relatively small, but that men are much more muscular (especially in the upper body) and women are much fatter.

      It is rather as if the huge strength difference is hidden by the extra fat on women.

      I am still coming to grips (pardon the pun) with that astonishing difference in upper body strength. I find that my wife is fairly strong, although she tends to get me to open jars sometimes. Maybe wrist strength is especially weak in women.

      Reply

      • Posted by Ray Manta on June 28, 2015 at 4:17 pm

        Here’s a personal benchmark of sex disparity – my wife had her handgrip strength measured with a dynamometer once when she was doing therapy. I tried it too and was able to squeeze 4 times harder with one hand and 5 times as hard with the other.

      • My favourite example was when I was asked to carry a couple of boxes by a young woman at church. I picked one up and thought, you seriously have trouble carrying this?! She was a tall, delicate looking girl, but I still thought it incredible. And, no, she was not flirting. She really found them heavy.

        On the other hand, women are pretty strong in the legs, relatively. I have never had any compunction in getting my wife to carry things, like a box of wall tiles a few days ago.

        As my mother and grandmother used to joke, “Woman, the beast of burden”. I think this was a reference to the heavy work women do in primitive societies.

  3. Posted by Ray Manta on June 28, 2015 at 5:54 am

    Men have obviously required MUCH greater strength in their upper body than women. Why? Male-male conflict is one possibility I have seen suggested.

    There are other reasons besides intrasexual competition that dimorphism in strength could occur, such as the demands of hunting in groups.

    Reply

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