Opinion Brief

Casual sex: Bad for men?

Is "hookup culture" leaving nice-guy "beta men" out of the loop?

Welcome to the New Paleolithic Age. The pervasiveness of "hook up" culture has triggered a resurgence of "alpha men" who "once again drag women by the hair into their caves," argues cultural critic Charlotte Allen in a controversial "The Weekly Standard" cover story. And "women love every minute of it." Allen says this shift is leaving "beta men" — the "nice" guys who lack "good looks, self-confidence and swagger" — unable to find wives and girlfriends. Is there any truth to Allen's claim that women have lost interest in what used to be called husband material?

The phenomenon may be real, but let's see real evidence: Undoubtedly "beta men and women in today’s sexual marketplace" are struggling to find suitable mates, says Conor Friedersdorf at True/Slant, but Allen needs to summon stronger evidence than the declining marriage rate. She's forcing a statistic to bear the weight of "pseudo-scientific" generalizations about pick-up artists. Let's see a "control group," please.
"Sex, pickup artists, and marriage"

It's an inaccurate view of men: Allen's view of alpha and beta men "bears little resemblance" to reality, says Anna North at Jezebel. Men, whether alpha or beta, don't actually believe that society owes them access to "young, virginal women." This "socially conservative" viewpoint is founded on the premise that "women are the stuff men get, no one complains, and society operates like a glorified baby factory."
"The real victims of 'hookup culture' are guys"

Apparently, hippie feminists are the real problem: Allen seems to lay the blame for all this firmly at feminism's door, says Isaac Chotiner at The New Republic. It's sad to see we haven't progressed from the point where "every social problem" is blamed on "long-haired weirdos from the 1960s." Is it really fair to point the finger at the "women's movement" for the "silly" observation that all men are either "feminised" or "aggressive"?
"Oversexed"

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SEE RELATED STORIES ON THE WEEK:
Love in the time of hooking up
Is the thong dead?
Australia's 'small breast' ban
The 'man boob' epidemic

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