Yes, this blog is going to contain some Marxism. It will also contain anarchism, atheism, Zizekism and various other blasphemous heathen ideologies. However, I will try to keep this relatively light so as not to exclude the cappies and all.
In this post, I’m going to analyze neurotypical courtship rituals from an Aspie perspective. What benefits and faults do these conventions have? What societal purposes do they serve? Is capitalism dependent on human pair-bonding taking place in a certain way, serving a certain societal function?
Well, central to capitalism is the idea that all possible necessities and pleasures must become commodified- turned into things one has to pay money for. If there is a location with a nice scenic view, it must be made into a park that people have to pay to enter. Care of the elderly has, at least in the West, quickly become taken care of by retirement homes instead of younger generations in the family- an otherwise free resource. If capitalists could charge you for rainwater, they would. Oh wait, it looks like they are already on that path:
But then, how does one commodify sex? Any smart capitalist would know that coitus is one of the most essential things to turn into a commodity in order to keep the system running at full speed. (I use the word “coitus” because this is an academic blog so I want to use the scientific term… Not because of some bizarre Sheldon complex or anything!) If coitus is not a commodity, it becomes exactly what it is in nature- a task that’s easy to perform and gives you arguably the best pleasure a human can experience. And if people or a society so choose, it’s free! It’s a resource almost as renewable as the sun. And this is what is threatening to capitalism- people having pleasure for free.
Therefore, it is essential to establish a cultural paradigm where sexual pleasure is something one has to spend money to obtain. It needs to become something people earn through labor. There needs to be that meritocratic element involved, and the culture of competition and Social Darwinism. The culture of courtship must resemble the culture of capitalism, and the actions taken in pursuit of courtship must stimulate the capitalist economy. So what does this involve?
Well, for women, this involves objectification. It involves promoting the idea that women will only be attractive enough, and therefore eligible for coitus, if they use certain beauty products or workout routines. Labor must be applied, and money must be spent, for a woman to maintain her physical appearance. An otherwise free pleasure now becomes something only obtainable through labor.
For men, the situation is more complicated. There is less social pressure on men to achieve physical perfection, although stylish suits and gym memberships do play a big role in this. Male attractiveness is determined more by status, by salary. You are attractive if you work hard and are aggressive and competitive and rise to the top. Therefore, women will find you attractive if you display personality traits that show you have these abilities. These qualities such as confidence, salesmanship, “game.”
I do realize my analysis only focuses on heterosexual men and women, but these are the only genders and sexualities whose cultures I have enough knowledge on. So what is “game,” anyway? It is, for better or worse, the medium through which courtship generally takes place under Western neurotypical social convention. It is the quintessential capitalist mating method, because it involves the woman being placed as an object of desire that the man has to earn through his labors, through his performance. Meanwhile, the woman is going through her own labors in order to be seen as attractive. Game, I suppose, is a more evolved form of romance. Though it must be said that I am using the word “evolved” solely for chronological reasons and not to imply superiority.
As an Aspie, my issues with game stem largely from how confusing it is. A tedious, arbitrary ritual you have to go through to get access to coitus, when we could just be doing it for free. But the issues are more than simply personal frustrations. We are now becoming a society where game is seen as an attractive quality in itself. The ability to seduce- a quality that serves no purpose other than the seduction itself. You are seen as attractive, because if you have the ability to seduce, the ability to sell yourself; it is a sign you will be successful in a capitalist world.
But when the ability to seduce starts becoming an attractive quality in itself, you start getting into the peacock’s tail dilemma. The male peacock’s tail serves no purpose other than seducing female peacocks. The males with bigger, more elaborately colored tails will generally mate more. But at the same time, larger tails make it more difficult to run, making the peacock an easier target for predators. This is what can happen with game as a trait, and this can be a problem of having such a heavily seduction-based courtship system.
Now, I have spent plenty of time critiquing neurotypical courtship habits but haven’t really offered an Aspie alternative. That’s because I don’t really know what our convention would look like, if we had one. We haven’t had a chance to develop one yet, because we are forced into learning the neurotypical method, which is simply not comprehensible to us. This is a theme I will probably return to in later posts. All I know for now is that our method would probably be more honest.