Monday, February 18, 2013

The Advice Deficit

Normally when I do my "bachelor grocery shopping" I ensure I go to a grocery store with self-checkout lanes.  I do not care to suffer Tilly pulling out her coupons, moms stocking up on their monthly groceries for a family of 6, nor Herman the retiree paying with a check.  I want in, I want out, I want to go home.  Unfortunately this last time around I choose "poorly" and was stuck in a line as this particular grocery store did not have the self-check out lanes. This meant only on thing - I was going to be forced to view those stupid women's magazines on the magazine racks.

Long ago I wrote  a letter to Super-Valu (the corporation that owns several grocery chains) in the vain hopes of them maybe putting up some guy magazines or just something that wouldn't melt my brain cells like People or Us.  No dice.  And so there I was looking at the covers of every gossip/trash magazine possible, fully understanding now how Barack Obama got elected.

But then something occurred to me.

What if you were to stack up all the magazines that dispense advice for women and compare it to a stack of magazines that provide advice for men.  I imagine it would look like one of them "how big is a trillion dollars" sort of pictographs where the stack of $100 bills reaches the moon and the men's stack would be 2 Benjamins tall.

Naturally this results in an "advice deficit" where the women have a HUGE surplus of advice being dispensed and men barely have any.  Heck, a lot of women even feel charitable and occasionally stop giving advice to women so they can give some advice to men out of sheer pity.  However, while women dispensing advice at volumes a billion times that of men, there are two major problems with the advice deficit.

First there is the appalling lack of advice as well as leadership for men.  As my readership/viewership grows I'm amazed at the types and volume of questions I get from young boys and men.  Amazed because it's so blindingly obvious there was no father figure or male role model providing any kind of guidance or leadership.  Whether this was because their fathers were absent or their fathers were present, but were not manly, it doesn't matter.  These boys are completely clueless about many aspects of life that they shouldn't be by their age.

"So, um, how do I approach a girl?"
"I want to major in poetry, but your book says that would be stupid."
"What should I do with my life?"

It angers me at first when I get questions or I see such helplessness, but the fact these are common questions coming from nearly all ages of men/boys not only speaks to the severity of the problem, but how widespread it is.  Inevitably my rage turns to pity when I realize there's nearly 2 generation of young boys hitting the market clueless, unarmed, untrained and prone to be chattel for the meat grinder.

Thankfully, though, there is some hope. The internet, along with the handful of men's health magazines and other resources are gain notoriety and significance.  But given the "introductory" or "elementary" level the recipients of such advice are at, means we have a long road ahead to get them up to speed and on the path towards a productive life. 

Second, is there is just plain too much advice for women.  The market is flooded with advice.  And not only is it flooded, it's flawed and erroneous about 85% of the time.

In financial markets, when you get "flawed" or "bad" information there are costs and consequences.  Namely if you make an investment or trade on flawed data, when reality or the correct information hits the market, the stock price drops and you lose money.  Of course markets are not always 100% efficient and can remain undervalued or overvalued for long periods of time (for example the housing bubble was an example of a market feeding off of flawed data for several years).  But the larger point is that with such an abundance of worthless advice, women can hardly hope to make any significant or serious improvements in their lives following it.  (Heck, I'd imagine 75% of the time the advice is contradicted anyway).  This is now starting to show with happiness levels of women dropping, the "sages" of the women's world proving their advice was wrong, as well as a social and economic breakdown of the nation and culture. 

The end result is a tale of two economies, the differences of which go a long ways in explaining the rise of the "Manosphere" and the relative stagnation of its female counterpart.  In the "male market" for advice, you have a DESPERATE and HUGE demand for genuine and effective advice.  Boys/men are clueless, hitting the real world, finding out the BS they were fed by the "asexual, single mom, effeminate father, absentee father, public school teacher" matrix was flawed, ineffective, politically motivated, ulterior, and ultimately damaging.  Therefore, any man who, either through good fathering or by going through the tortuous process of self-experimentation and self-teaching, can provide effective and pertinent manly advice is worth his weight in gold.  It is not a coincidence that many men make their living as "Pick Up Artists," bloggers, dating coaches, financial advisers and authors about men's issues.  There are so few GENUINE and REAL men contrasted with the demand for their experiences, wisdom and independent thought, that they can become something as statistically improbable as a "successful blogger."  And given the shortage of real (or even) present fathers, the future of the industry looks good.

In the "female market" for advice you have the exact opposite.  You have more than enough women willing to provide advice for a market that really doesn't want it, and didn't ask for it.  This results in a ton of "noise" where there is no clear or confirmed "wisdom" or "common sense."  Not to mention with such flood of suppliers, those suppliers are incentived to play to the lowest common denominator to make their sales.  Ergo, much like leftists politicians, instead of being harsh and truthful, supplying real-world advice when needed, they find it easier to placate, suck up to, and tell women what they WANT to hear, not what they need to hear.  The result can be seen not just in the sheer volume of worthless women's magazines and blogs, but (what I found particularly interesting) the very young age of of the "female dispensers of wisdom."  How is any college age girl a legitimate authority on anything?  The answer is simple - she isn't.  But she never intended to be a kind, altruistic soul, aiming to help out those less-advantaged than her via her "wisdom."  It's all about her.  She WANTS to dispense advice and (hopefully) get paid for it.  Whether that advice is helpful or damaging, the recipients of it be damned.

Of course, consequences are to be expected.  Most of the "authors" I researched when compiling "The Dowd Crowd" are in one way or another subsidized in their employment.  They either work multiple jobs, married an editor, or married rich.  Their "career" is more of a hobby in that what they are peddling is nothing special, nothing unique and cannot command an audience to fully financially support themselves.   But worse still is the social and societal costs of essentially lying to girls and women with this tornado of flawed and pandering advice.  All these columnists and faux-sages have done is ruin the lives of their audiences.  Much like the "single parent, single mom, effeminate dad, public school teacher, kumbaya" matrix misled young boys about...well...pretty much everything, so to has the "female advice industry" ruined the lives of girls and young women. 

In theory, then, this should give rise to demand equally forthright, honest and blunt advice in the female advice market.  In other words, if a woman like Dr. Helen, Woman and Dragon, Haley and Susan Walsh, etc., were to write a book or a blog, they should be able to capture a significant market of women looking for true leadership, guidance, and advice (and to some extent they have).  Unfortunately, I believe the rationalization hamsters of most women are so addicted to the lies and flawed advice they've received, no amount of legitimate and constructive advice will ever penetrate the squeaking of their hamster wheels.

If this article helped you, help the Captain!  Do your shopping on Amazon today!

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