One of the joys of the Manosphere is being introduced to so many theories of human biology.
And watching while hardcore Christian Taliban supporters – creationists to their core – merrily co-opt evolutionary theories to support their misogyny.
But where the Manosphere intellectuals truly come into their own is when they take a hypothetical, highly contested idea, and spin it in florid ways, to build an evolutionary edifice that has Alpha men at the top and a herd of sheep-like, sexually promiscuous women at the bottom.
Behold the use of the menstrual synchronisation theory. This says that when women are in close proximity, they start menstruating together.
As one of the leading lights of the Manosphere would have it:
For sake of evolutionary argument consider that pheromones influence women living in close proximity to each other to synchronize their menstrual cycles – another evolutionary mechanism believed to ensure multiple fertilities and communal support for social animals.
The theory is twofold. First, it provides virtually simultaneous access to a greater number of ovulating females to the men with the Alpha traits that women prefer during that phase of their menstrual cycle.
If I’ve understood him correctly, he’s suggesting that evolution created a society where an Alpha male can walk into the girls’ hut and be confronted by a smorgasbord of hot-to-trot females, all busting to get impregnated by him.
Isn’t nature kind to Alphas?
Second, women impregnated by the same Alpha(s) would tend towards common social support and resource sharing due to carrying the superior genes of a common Alpha during the physical rigors of gestation. You could also postulate that this selected-for polygyny would socially bond this mated group to ensure better survival (i.e. familial bonding) and lessen the need for the Alpha’s parental investment.
Can you imagine the warm fuzzies? The sisters of the herd, all carrying the seed of the same man, all busy helping each other out because they know that a single man can’t possibly provide for all of them. The sisters will do it for themselves!
It’s almost like nature developed feminism, isn’t it?
Except we know for a fact that nature itself hates feminists. And women are too stupid and herd-like to provide for themselves anyway.
So wouldn’t it be more likely that women who were simultaneously pregnant by the same man would be in deadly competition for resources?
My female brain is sorely confused. I urgently need some Superior Male Logic to help sort this out.
Oh, hang on! Here it is! Apparently nature has got it all sorted. What happens once the woman is pregnant is:
Beta men would still be useful cuckolds with regards to support in parental investment since once these women had become pregnant, thus halting their ovulatory cycle, their predisposition would be for men with Beta traits (the same ones attractive during her secretory phase).
That makes more sense. As soon as a woman has been impregnated with top-notch Alpha sperm, she runs off and picks up a Beta male who can support her through her pregnancy, passing off the Alpha baby as his.
You’d think after several generations the Betas would wise up to this strategy:
Hmm, how come me and my sad loser mates are suddenly getting dates and marriage propositions from the girls in Hut B, and every one of them has a baby nine months later…?
Those Beta chumps! They just never learn.
I guess that’s why they’re Betas.
Anyway, you can see how girls sharing girly gossip, romance novels and menstruation leads inexorably to civilisation.
There’s only one problem with all of this, and it’s a biggie.
The existence of menstrual synchrony in humans is hotly contested. (It does occur in seasonal breeding animals like pigs.)
The original idea comes from work by Martha McClintock, who published a paper in 1998 that:
found that women exposed to cotton pads soaked with underarm secretions collected from donors undergoing the first and second (follicular and luteal) phases of their cycles resulted in significantly altered menstrual cycle lengths in the test women.
Other scientists have subsequently found that other things may impact a woman’s menstrual cycle, such as being around a breastfeeding woman.
But here’s the thing: the research is strongly contested:
Nearly half of the papers published on the topic find no evidence that close co-habitation draws menstrual cycles closer together. What’s more, studies that do find an effect have been dogged by harsh criticisms of poor design and naive statistical analyses.
It turns out there are two particular problems with the menstrual synchrony theory. The first is that the effect of pheromones in humans may be negligible or non-existent. The second is that length of menstruation varies from woman to woman, so:
cycles will overlap simply by chance, and that it is difficult to define synchrony.
Even if there is such a thing as menstrual synchrony, McClintock herself says:
“But given what I know about the causes of menstrual synchrony means I expect it to be rare,” she says. “So the fact that it is rare doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.” (emphasis mine)
Which puts a bit of a crick in a central plank of Manosphere biological theory.
Or maybe it doesn’t. Maybe menstrual synchrony does happen, but not for the reasons they think it does. As an article commenter said:
It is hard to fathom an evolutionary advantage to menstrual synchronicity. What is gained by all females being in estrus together? Tired males? What is gained by all females menstruating together? Time for all the males to go on a fishing trip?
That’s right! See our cunning plan?
To get the males so exhausted, they’ll go away and leave us to run things.
Nature does like feminism after all!