Some women ARE attracted to “dark triad” traits

This recent paper provides support for the idea that some women at least are attracted to narcissistic, sociopathic men.

“A paper co-authored by a researcher from the University’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society states that women are generally drawn to men with dark and brooding looks. This in turn may relate to their reproductive success.”

“The term ‘Dark Triad’ refers to a group of three personality traits: narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy. Use of the word “dark” implies that people scoring high on these traits have malevolent qualities.

  • Narcissism is characterized by pride, egotism, grandiosity and a lack of empathy
  • Machiavellianism is characterized by exploitation and manipulation of others, a disregard for morality, and a focus on self-interest and deception
  • Psychopathy is characterized by enduring anti-social behaviour, selfishness, callousness, impulsivity and remorselessness”

“Because out of three Dark Triad features narcissism is most clearly associated with social success and physical and psychological health benefits in men, we predicted that women’s preference for narcissism could be most strongly related to their reproductive success. In line with this, we found that women with preference for high narcissistic men’s faces gave birth to more offspring while controlling for their age, sexual openness (sociosexuality) and self-rated health.”

This kind of finding calls to mind the “sexy son hypothesis” of female mate selection.

What can one say? One response is to refer to the “naturalistic fallacy” and to say that just because something is natural, that does not make it good. However, even modern men still want to be attractive to women. Perhaps to do so, they need to adopt (or pretend to have) these traits. (It is, after all, part of “red pill wisdom” that, despite what the media suggest, women actually find male assertiveness very attractive.)

On the other hand, they are not morally desirable traits.

Perhaps the answer is that, left to themselves and not unduly feminised by their socialisation, men will tend to have these traits to some degree (being “cocky” and masculine used to be valourised by the culture in boys and men.)  And there is a world of difference between occasional, attractive, assertiveness and downright ruthlessness. (It is a common feminist habit to refuse to make sensible distinctions of this kind. A “sexist” joke is not the moral equivalent of rape, for example, whatever feminists may assert.)


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