Today I want to explore the topic of social perfectionism, socially sanctioned male behavioral norms and traditionalism. According to the data, in every country on earth, male suicides out number female, the graphic you see below are a comparison of male/female suicides in the UK. 6,233 suicides were recorded in the UK in 2013. While the female suicide rate has remained roughly constant since 2007, for men, it is at the highest point since 2001. Nearly eight in ten of all suicides are male – a figure that has been increasing for over three decades.
Professor Rory O’Connor, President of the International Academy of Suicide Research and one of the world’s foremost experts on male suicide has been studying the psychological processes behind self-inflicted death for over 20 years. His conclusion are extremely illuminating for men, the knee jerk reaction that people typically have to the facts represented by these graphs is that males suffer a greater rates from mental illness, specifically depression which is closely associated with suicide, however the data does not back this up, what is very well established is that mental illness is under diagnosed among males.
In a previous interview I conducted with Matthew Genuchi, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor & Licensed Psychologist, Department of Psychology, Boise State University) Matthew arrived at the conclusion that one of the causes of this under diagnosis lay with the fact that mental illness diagnostic criteria used by healthcare professionals is far more reliable for detecting female depression than at spotting symptoms of depression in males. When the diagnostic criteria are modified to take into account the unique way that men undergo depression, the number of cases of depression in males and females becomes roughly equivalent. Therefore the data suggests that something other than mental illness must be the source and ultimately be responsible for the increased propensity of a man to terminate his life during times of extreme emotional stress.
It’s here that Professor O’Connor’s research comes into its own. His Suicidal Behaviour Research Lab works with both men and women who have been unsuccessful in their suicide attempts, at his lab these men and women are assessed round the clock and partake in advanced research with the aim of both rehabilitating them back into a normal life while also trying to answer the question, WHY. After years of study, Professor O’Connor found something interesting and consistent about the minds of people who have attempted to commit suicide, and unsurprisingly there were clear gender differences in his findings. It’s called social perfectionism and it’s one piece of the puzzle that gives us a deeper understanding into why we as men kill ourselves in such high numbers.
Here is an excerpt from Professor O’Connor’s work
“At 22, Drummond married his brown-eyed girlfriend Livvy. Eighteen months later he became a father. Before long there were two boys and a girl. Money was tight, of course, but he was true to his responsibilities. He taught during the day and worked behind the bar in a pub at night. On Fridays he’d do the night shift in a bowling alley, 6pm until 6am. He’d sleep in the day and go back to do the overnight again on Saturday. Then a lunchtime shift in a pub on Sunday, a bit of rest, and back to school Monday morning. He didn’t see much of his children, but the thing that mattered most to him was keeping his family comfortable.
As well as the work, Drummond was studying, determined to earn the extra qualifications to become a headteacher. More ambition, more progress. He got new jobs at bigger schools. He was leading his family to better places. He felt like a successful leader. The perfect husband.
But he wasn’t.
If you’re a social perfectionist, you tend to identify closely with the roles and responsibilities you believe you have in life. “It’s not about what you expect of yourself,” O’Connor explains. “It’s what you think other people expect. You’ve let others down because you’ve failed to be a good father or a good brother – whatever it is.”
Because it’s a judgement on other people’s imagined judgements of you, it can be especially toxic. “It’s nothing to do with what those people actually think of you,” he says. “It’s what you think they expect. The reason it’s so problematic is that it’s outside your control.”
As well as all the part-time work he did for money, and the studying for his career, Drummond took on volunteering positions, which stole even more time from his children and his wife. Livvy would complain that he was working too much. She said she felt neglected. “You’re more interested in your career than you are in me,” she’d say. The constant upheaval of moving from place to place with every new school didn’t help.
He was volunteering at a hospital in King’s Lynn when he found out about the first affair. A woman handed him a bundle of papers. “These are the letters your wife’s been writing to my husband,” she said. They were highly sexual. But what made it worse was the extent to which Livvy had apparently become besotted with the man.
Drummond went home to confront his wife. Livvy couldn’t deny it. It was all there in her own handwriting. He found out there’d been all sorts of scenes in her lover’s street. She’d been driving up and down, outside his house, trying to see him. But Drummond couldn’t leave her. The children were young, and she promised it would never happen again. He decided to forgive her.
Drummond used to go away for weekend training courses. One day, he came back to find Livvy’s car had had a puncture and the village policeman had changed the wheel. That, he thought, was extremely generous of him. Some time later, his 11-year-old daughter came to him in tears. She’d caught her mum in bed with the policeman.
Livvy’s next lover was a salesman for a medical firm. She actually left that time, only to return a fortnight later. Drummond dealt with it all in the only way he knew – hold it in. He was never one for breaking down in tears and rolling around on the floor. He didn’t have any close male friends he could talk to, and even if he had, he probably wouldn’t have said anything. It’s not the sort of thing you want to admit to people, that your wife’s screwing around. Then Livvy announced she wanted a separation.
When they finally divorced, Livvy got the house, the children, the lot. Once the maintenance was paid, there wasn’t much left for Drummond. No one at the school knew anything. To them, he was still the impressive man he’d spent years trying to become: the successful headteacher, married with three blossoming children. But then, of course, it got out. A midday supervisor said to him, “I hear your wife has moved?”
By then he was living in a freezing rented room on a farm ten miles outside of King’s Lynn. As a man, he felt diminished. He was broke. He felt like a failure, the cuckolded man, not the person everyone expected him to be. The doctor prescribed him some pills. He remembers sitting in that place on the fens, and realising that the easiest way out would be to take the whole perishing lot and be done with it.
If you’re a social perfectionist, you’ll have unusually high expectations of yourself. Your self-esteem will be dangerously dependent on maintaining a sometimes impossible level of success. When you’re defeated, you’ll collapse.
O’Connor then went on to say that “If you’re a social perfectionist, you tend to identify closely with the roles and responsibilities you believe you have in life. “It’s not about what you expect of yourself”.
There are three main forms of social perfectionism and academics Hewitt & Flett developed a multidimensional perfectionism scale with three subscales or types of perfectionism: self-oriented, other-oriented and socially prescribed. So most people who exhibit Social perfectionism are either
(1) Self-oriented perfectionists: Whereby they adhere to strict standards while maintaining a strong motivation to attain perfection and avoid failure; these people engage in stringent self-evaluation. And secondly
(2) Other-oriented perfectionists: these individuals set unrealistic standards for significant others (e.g., partners, children, co-workers) coupled with a stringent evaluation of others’ performances.
(3) Socially Prescribed Perfectionism is the development of perfectionist behaviors resulting from the belief that society expects the individual to be perfect.
As far as I understand the academic psychiatric community attempt to suggest that this phenomenon of Social perfectionism is a form of illness not exhibited by large numbers of people, it’s here that I would strongly disagree and argue that social perfectionism, like narcissism is present in most humans to one extent or another and one might perhaps imagine it on a sliding scale, whereby some members of the human species strongly identify with their roles and others less so, this may even change with age and life experience.
I would also speculate that there are gender differences in the types of social perfectionism exhibited by humans, with females strongly showing signs of Other-oriented perfectionism that consists of setting unrealistic standards for significant others i.e. husbands and thereby giving justification in their minds for acting on their hypergamous instincts, while males strongly display Self-oriented perfectionism and Socially prescribed perfectionism, which involves strong motivation to attain perfection and avoid failure, also known as trying to get ahead or keep up with the Jones’. Unfortunately it seems that this is an unexplored area of research and for this reason I have to fall back on anecdotal evidence based on my own experience and that of other men in the manosphere. Why is it the first thing that men ask one another upon any initial meeting is what the other does for a living? Perhaps because he expects other men to identify with their roles and responsibilities just as much as he does.
For an example of this phenomenon in real life at the country-wide level one need look no further than South Korea. It’s also a culture that places a tremendous amount of pressure on men (and women) to conform to Social perfectionism, from a young age, boys and girls are driven relentlessly to succeed. South Korea has the longest working hours in the OECD group of rich nations – and rigidly codified. If you fail as a teenager you could easily feel you’ve failed for life. The most respected company in South Korea is Samsung, and apparently 80–90 per cent of their intake is from just three universities. Unless you enter one of the three, you cannot get a job in one of the major corporations.
A quick glance at Wikipedia shows that South Korea does indeed have the highest suicide rate in the developed world and furthermore the male suicide rate is double that of females, which I believe supports the argument that Social perfectionism is felt by the males of our species to a greater extent, and this might partly explain the higher rates of suicide in males vs females.
The second aspect that ties into all of this is Hegemonic masculine ideals, in my recent discussion with Matthew Genuchi his research focused on the impact of Hegemonic masculine ideals on male depression. Matthew concluded that the more closely a man identifies with Hegemonic masculine ideals such as stoicism, emotionlessness, and invulnerability the less likely these men are to avoid seeking mental health-care and the more likely they are, when depressed to exhibit two of the socially sanctioned male emotions, namely Anger and Hostility.
You see these masculine ideals conditioned into the human male, mean that he will be less likely than a women to seek the professional services of psychiatrists or counselors, informal help through friends, and will be more likely to report that he would never seek psychotherapy for depression. He will also have great difficulty in identifying in himself grief, sadness, or a depressed mood, which are some of the conventional diagnostic symptoms of depression. Recognition of any weakness would be a recognition of femininity, and as such, he will distract himself, avoid the problem, or get angry –one of the few emotions permissible to men under patriarchy when depressive symptoms surface.
In light of this might we partly define MGTOW as an attempt by men to break free of this phenomenon of social perfectionism and Hegemonic masculine ideals? After all while social perfectionism and Hegemonic masculine ideals are not at the root of gynocentrism they can perhaps accurately be described as forming its bodyguard. If our society were a chess game, gynocentrism might be the Queen while social perfectionism and Hegemonic masculine ideals are the Castles, Bishops and Knights that attempt to keep her safe by solidly locking men into social norms while punishing men who dare question the status quo or step out of line.
Social perfectionism and hegemonic masculine ideals are self-reinforcing, in that men who slavishly adhere to these expectations are described as ‘good men’, while abandoners such as MGTOW are scorned and ridiculed. They also have the less discussed effect of keeping men tied to their social roles even as we see women flee theirs, right before our very eyes. You see, female hypergamy has indeed run amok, the root cause of this lies with the degree of technological development mankind has achieved by making the labor market conducive to both sexes, on demand birth control and generating a degree of wealth to permit governments to fund a myriad of social schemes that overwhelmingly benefit women, this has had the effect of increasing the expectations of women and simultaneously decreasing the desirability of the vast majority of men who are unable to compete with the state in the arena of resource provision to women.
However, even as women were divorcing, looting through family court, rejecting as being unsuitable and abandoning their so called ‘natural partners’, men stayed slavishly devoted to the ideals of being providers and I speculate that the twins of Social perfectionism and hegemonic masculine ideals play a significant role here. Female hypergamy ran wild, took the kids while men stood still, firmly rooted in the 1950’s, even as many rejected formal marriage, they simply took on the burden of providing for women through modern day wage slavery and cohabitation. I have met many a man who proudly declared that he is not married to his partner, they cohabit, both of them could not bear the idea of being married he swears, yet he still pays most of the bills, is responsible for all house hold repairs, cooking, while she ‘gave up her career’ to care for their two children, 12 years ago and has no plans to return back to full time work. He escaped the plantation and simply found another master who happened to own the lumberyard 5 miles down the road.
I believe a big question we will keep asking in the manosphere for many years to come is the degree to which this conditioning is learnt socially vs biological driven, we might have already seen the beginnings of this, with the recent deluge of MGTOW content either supporting or dismissing the field of Evolutionary Psychology, while I disagree with those who dismiss the relevance of Evolutionary Psychology, I do commend JohnTheOther for initiating a much needed debate on the topic.
What is clear to myself at least is that individual men on their own in large numbers do not voluntarily in a modern age take on these roles of self sacrifice, this at least rules it as it being entirely a sexually dimorphic psychological adaptation (in my opinion), some of it is conditioned hard and early into the male psyche, from his time as a child where he is told never to cry thereby reinforcing culturally prescribed hegemonic masculine ideals, all the way up through his teens when he is asked and expected to know in what profession he will spend the rest of his life working and his early adulthood where his father or increasingly likely, his single mother casually drops it into conversation that one of his life goals must be to find a women and make her happy, without a mention of him receiving anything from this women in return, thereby reinforcing social perfectionism in him. If these traits were entirely sexually dimorphic psychological adaptation men constant reinforcement in the form of praise for ‘good men’ wouldn’t be necessary.
In terms of the next generation of men, our current young boys, I personally believe men have slightly less to fear from feminists (who are shrill and often repulsive) than the traditionalist style loving father who sits his 6 year old son down and indoctrinates him with the ideals that a mans role is to provide for his family, be emotionless and that he must always defend women. The feminist serves as a potent but potentially defeatable foe in that they are a by product of a society that has vast amounts of excess wealth, while the traditionalist male may through this brainwashing consign his son to a life time of servitude to females, wage slavery and possibly death trying to rescue a female with whom he has no relation from a determined mugger.
There is a highly telling scene in the excellent television series Breaking bad. Walter has just started his career as a methamphetamine dealer and clearly begins to regret his decision to enter this line of work. Gus (his employer) asks why did you make this decision (to work as a drug dealer) and Walt responds ‘for the good of my family’; Gus replies ‘then they weren’t bad decisions’. You see, as long as Walter’s family benefits from his operations then all is well, even though he may be unappreciated, or they despise him, even if the work is dangerous and even illegal then Walter is doing ‘the right thing’, its a ‘mans role’ to give all to a family that will never understand or thank him for all he does for them. He must labor on thanklessly for years till he is either divorced by his female master, whereby he must quickly find another wife or he dies an early death due to stress and exhaustion. This scene provides a stark reminder that other men form a dangerous intellectual bodyguard aimed at upholding the status quo. Walters stoic acceptance of his ‘role’ and the needs of his family, like many other men intellectually and emotionally coerce him to continue working in a job that is hazardous and ultimately costs him his life.
In our bid to understand and perhaps reduce the effects of social perfectionism and socially sanctioned male behavioral norms its important to note that all advanced civilization’s to date have been built and maintained on this phenomenon of social perfectionism, which itself is partly rooted in the male sex drive, the ability for men to ignore what is in the interests of his own health and life, thinking only of family, country and god has allowed countries to build dams, consumer goods and wage wars. Men are as THE indispensable and irreplaceable resource in the functioning of civilization and our self appointed masters, namely the state with their junior partners women, are unlikely to allow men to leave our roles as workhorses without a fight.
While many men in the manosphere have been generating content for perhaps a decade its important to note that we are at the beginning of this journey for male liberation, also known as MGTOW. Compared to the previous dominant social order of traditionalism we are perhaps only a few hours old, the same can be said of the grass eaters in Japan who might be considered a day old child. Currently MGTOW greatly benefit from this relative anonymity that is a direct result our real lack of size, this will might change once MGTOW has a measurable effect on economic activity, then we might start experiencing formalization of common law marriages into the legal code, punitive taxation of unmarried males as occurred in ancient Rome and perhaps even the legal permission for employment hiring discrimination against unmarried single men. This may seem implausible but I ask you to remember that single people already subsidize to a great degree the lives of their married counterparts. An article by activist Bella DePaulo, the author of ‘Singled Out’ is rather illuminating.
DePaulo and other “singles’ rights” activists—like Sherri Langburt, who runs SingleEdition.com, a website that caters to the single community—are increasingly protesting what they say is a raw deal. If you’re picturing these fomenters as crazy-auntie types who eat a little tuna out of the can before giving it to their cats, think again. DePaulo, who got her Ph.D. from Harvard in 1979, is a psychology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Langburt is a successful entrepreneur.
“The argument of advocates of same-sex marriage is, why do we have to be a certain kind of a couple in order to be treated fairly?” says DePaulo. “My argument is wider-reaching: why does anyone have to be part of any kind of couple to get the same federal benefits and protections as anyone else?” She adds: “People don’t notice singleism, and if their attention is called to it, they think there’s nothing wrong.” That’s why, for instance, car and health insurance companies get away with charging less for couples and families. “They can attract more business [that way],” DePaulo notes. In the process, they leave single people to essentially subsidize the benefit by paying more. “When married workers can add spouses to a health-care plan at a discount and single workers can’t add someone important to them, that’s discrimination,” says DePaulo.
The U.S. government not only turns a blind eye to the problem of “singleism,” but helps enforce it, activists say. Just look at Social Security. “A childless singleton can work side by side with a childless married person, doing the same job, for the same number of years, at the same level of accomplishment—and when the married person dies, that worker can leave his or her Social Security benefits to a spouse,” says DePaulo. “The single person’s benefits go back into the system.”
Unmarried people also lose out when it comes to taxes. “The U.S. tax system privileges married people in a variety of ways,” says Lily Kahng, a professor at Seattle University School of Law. In “One Is the Loneliest Number: The Single Taxpayer in a Joint Return World,” a paper recently published in the Hastings Law Journal, Kahng points out that married workers are able to transfer wealth and property to spouses—and others—tax-free, while the unmarried can’t; she concludes that the joint return penalizes single people and should be abolished.
Please forgive this tangent, I would like to go on record to say that we are perhaps enjoying a golden period as MGTOW, in that we face surprising little censorship, yes the anti-male laws are there but we are able to avoid some of them and the extent to which we face discrimination specifically for being MGTOW starts and often ends with shaming tactics in online editorials and YouTube vote downs. MGTOW are perhaps currently occupying a privileged position that in 10 years we might look back fondly as the good old days as the government passes yet another wildly popular tax increase levied on the salaries of all single men over the age of 30 or all unmarried persons.
A recent proposal in Germany illustrates a line of thinking that seems extreme today but may one day become the norm. I can’t take credit for this find, the YouTuber ‘Diss Identity’ found this post in the original German version and very kindly translated it for me. It reads that the head of the youth wing of the CDU (Christian Democratic Union), the leading party in Germany, is demanding people without children (regardless if they’re married or not) to pay 1% of their income. People with 1 child would pay half, more than 2 would pay nothing. He also wants to raise retirement age in line with increasing life expectation and of course there is no mention of differences between male and female life expectancy, so what this will amount to is men being having less time to collect social security as men on average die about 5 years earlier in than women Germany. This amounts to essentially forcing men to work close to the day they die. One of the important things that Diss Identity points out is that Germany officially has the lowest birth rate worldwide, these types of new legislation attempts might rear their ugly heads in the future across other highly mechanized countries as governments desperately try to balance the books when faced with fewer taxpayers and a larger tax consumer base. So while this is currently just a proposal by a politician it does not yet carry the force of law, this type of proposal most certainly will find its way into the legal system and the tax code.
And now we get to the topic of traditionalism and how it all ties in together. Traditionalism as a social phenomenon simultaneously regards women as inferior to and having superiority over men. On one hand they regard women as having diminished agency, in the manner of perhaps a child and on the same hand they regard women by virtue of being the sole incubators of human life as having superiority to men. This creates an interesting situation whereby all women are to be rewarded for their ability to incubate life with a lifetime of financial support, endless devotion and servitude from a husband. While at the same time the supposed inferiority of women and the belief among traditionalists that women represent an adult version of a mild, mannered child places upon men the full responsibility for the upkeep, care and support of women.
Using such double think the traditionalist will never castigate women for stripping children from the family or stealing assets through divorce, instead the blame, in the mind of the traditionalist lies solely with men, who they believe should ‘man up’ and ‘make her happy’. It is the traditionalists who go out of their way to indoctrinate young boys with Traditional Gender Norms & Social perfectionism. In the now infamous ‘How can she slap’ video, the Indian men who on mass, rushed and viciously attached the contestant on the game show who was simply defending himself from an unprovoked assault were not male feminists, they were traditionalists men. Showing the extent to which feminism relies on traditionalism to keep men in line, thus allowing for greater abuse of and easier wealth extraction from the male half of the population.
Feminism and traditionalism work hand in hand to allow females to embrace new technologies such as safe contraceptives, sperm cells grown from human cells, egg freezing that allows women to have children on their terms while simultaneously keeping men tied to the 70 hour work week, the stoic emotionless protector-provider archetypes who doesn’t seek treatment for depression, who embraces military service and bows to societal pressure to ‘find a decent woman’ and marry.
The need to uphold traditionalism is embedded deep within the male psyche and by the time of adolescence its very challenging to break a man out of his conditioning, notice the amount of men who go on to remarry not once but twice after often brutal and ruinous divorces, in his latest video Stardusk gave the excellent example of Phil Collins, who has remarried four times despite losing an estimated £42 million pounds in alimony bills to three divorces. The twin factors of Traditional Gender Norms & Social perfectionism hold men rigidly to traditionalism, it tells men its ok to ignore the nuclear family crumbling around him, his situation will be different, and for this reason I consider, traditional gender norms & social perfectionism, one of the free mans most relentless adversaries.
2. WHO | Gender and women’s mental health www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/genderwomen/en/
3. Anger and Hostility as Features of Male Depression https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Plrl3RbALWU
4. What flavor of perfectionist are you it matters
4. Why Male Suicides Outnumber Female
6. Social perfectionism – tie it all together http://www.rawstory.com/2015/05/the-male-suicides-social-perfectionism-is-killing-men-and-things-are-getting-worse/
7. Breaking Bad – “A Man Provides”
8. Bachelor tax
9. Singled Out: Are Unmarried People Discriminated Against? www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/02/06/singled-out-are-america-s-unmarried-discriminated-against.html
10. Junge Union fordert Sonderabgabe für Kinderlose http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/renten-und-familienpolitik-junge-union-fordert-sonderabgabe-fuer-kinderlose-1.2529163
12. MGTOW Talks: MGTOW And Activism With High Lord Medicus