Have you ever seen something consisted of entirely red flags, supported by junk data science, and created by quite possibly the most dangerous type of man on the internet?
No, I’m not talking about your crazy great-uncle’s Facebook feed.
I’m talking about the latest thing that made my eyes roll back into my head so far that I can see my brain: the Female Delusion Calculator.
Are you delusional? Here’s how it’s calculated.
In short, the site asks ‘females’ to input their dating preferences: age, race, income, height, and marital status. It then computes how likely you are to meet a man in the US who falls into this criteria.
And… we’ve already hit our first clue that this is sexist nonsense: the use of the word ‘female’ to refer to women.
I can’t help but cringe whenever I hear somebody use female as a noun to describe women. For me, its essentially a sexist dog whistle — an immediate sign to me that whatever is coming next is from someone who views me as subhuman.
While it’s not inaccurate in this case, the word “female” is a scientific term that refers to the sex of any species that is capable of producing children. The term “woman” refers specifically to human beings, as opposed to any species. So from a linguistic perspective, the use of ‘female’ can be inherently dehumanizing.
Now that we’re just a little dehumanized, let’s walk through a dating profile and calculate our delusion.
It starts off pretty innocuous with age and a handy option to “exclude married.” For our purposes, I’ve selected the age range that most of my single friends are searching within.
Not a bad metric and a 15 year range is pretty generous. But that brings us to race… And it is puzzling.
And the results are in…
According to the calculator, the probability of scoring a fairly average “dream man” in the US within the data I provided is about 5.5% or 3/5 kitty litter bags and designation as an “Aspiring Cat Lady.”
Yes, you read that right. Aspiring Cat Lady. And if you listen closely, you might even hear about 100 red flags unfurling in the distance. You can see the Delusion score and the cute graphic of cat litter bags pictured above.
Yikes. Not exactly a hard turn into sexist B.S. for the site but by far the most overt element of sexism on display.
Did you know that the use of the “crazy cat lady” trope has sexist roots in the Middle Ages? It was even used 100 years ago to promote the idea that women shouldn’t vote, as you can see above. So while it may seem like a harmless joke, let’s not forget that its been used to discredit and dehumanize women for longer than you and I have been alive.
If we were willing to entertain that this was a harmless statistical probability tool with a little bias, this ‘joke’ is strong evidence to the contrary. Its hard to imagine that the ‘Female Delusion Calculator’ is made in good faith.
. . .
On the Cat Lady of it all — Are women’s standards actually too high?
Calling women with the most basic standards an “aspiring cat lady” to manipulate them into settling is a weird move. What is the goal here? To lower our standards so we’ll date you? That seems to say a lot more about the creator/men than about us, honestly.
First of all, singlehood is not bad. Especially for women.
Women who are not married and do not have children are the happiest, according to a happiness expert.Perhaps this is one of the reasons our culture shoves women down the aisle by suggesting there is something wrong with them if they don’t achieve certain life milestones.
Society benefits from married women (especially their unpaid labor) even if their happiness may not be at the other end of a socially constructed lifelong manipulation. Married women report lower levels of relationship quality than married men and initiate the majority of divorces. That’s right — even though men and women initiate non-marital break ups on an even 50/50 split, women initiate significantly more divorces. In fact, college-educated women initiate divorces 90% of the time. So maybe don’t force us to settle or we might leave you in the end.
What’s also missing is that its humane to have standards and stick with them. If I had higher standards instead of allowing societal timelines to pressure me, I might have saved myself and my ex-husband a lot of pain.
All this to say that for marriage or long-term commitment to be worth it, many educated and professional women are looking for something excellent. Some might even say gourmet love.
In researching for this piece, I stumbled across a Quora post with this question: “Why do young women seem to have high standards for the men they date?”
There were many answers, but the response by user Claire J. Vanette resonates with this idea and her remarks mirror what I often hear from my single friends.
Other responses to this question pointed to reasons why women may have high standards: the cost of bad relationships like intimate partner violence, human connection is a genuine experience which shouldn’t be faked or forced, and because frankly, they can be picky. It’s also interesting that several women mentioned pressure from family or friends to lower their standards.
Another response by user Jim Doherty really hits home for me:
There’s something darker at play here than a friendly debate about realistic standards in dating.
This debate perpetuates the narrative that “nice guys” aren’t being chosen because women’s standards are too high and that women are somehow robbing decent men of opportunities for sex and love. My single friends share stories of encounters with men who become extremely bitter about their independence and it’s downright scary. It is alarming how quickly interactions on dating apps move from flirting to threatening, negging, or insults upon rejection.
If women with standards are threatening to you, it’s time to reflect on why you don’t want them to have standards in the first place. Like the Quora users discussed, a connection that is forced is rarely genuine or lasting. Why would anyone be okay with a silently miserable partner?
. . .
Which brings us to the last problematic layer of this shit storm: the creator of the Female Delusion Calculator.
Women don’t have to be related to you to be worthy of good things but this is an excellent point. Why wouldn’t we want women to have high standards?
According to the About page, he’s just a “man in North America” who “couldn’t help noticing that women often have unrealistic expectations about the man they are looking for.” His biographical tone is helpful and even ends with a cheery “Enjoy!”
But the approach to his model smacks of something more sinister than the side project of a man sick of dating who also loves data. The creator of this site has all the hallmarks of the most dangerous men on the internet: Incels and Red Pill men.
Incels, or “involuntary celibates,” are a hate group comprised of angry men who feel that women are responsible for providing them sex. They support violence if necessary to obtain it. You may have heard of this when infamous incel, Elliot Rodger, murdered 7 people after leaving a video describing his intent to kill “every stuck up blond sorority slut” who would not date him. His manifesto and YouTube videos remarked, “I don’t know why you girls are not attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it.”
The toxic narrative that men are owed love, sex, and companionship by women is an undercurrent of these conversations about standards. Women with agency are the biggest threat to the subgroups of men like incels or ‘Alphas’ (cue eyeroll) that feel entitled to them.
I wondered where the creator of the Female Delusion Calculator fell on the bitter man to incel spectrum until I saw the Twitter feed. It was fairly inactive until early February when the Female Delusion Calculator was mentioned on a podcast by Rollo Tomassi, Red Pill-er, self-described ‘Alpha,’ pick up artist, and author of the Rational Male series.
Red Pill and ‘Alpha Male’ types like Rollo Tomassi are not always incels but they are two sides of the same coin. From the reddit r/TheRedPill, the “dark truths” that the subreddit’s subscribers “swallow” are that feminism is toxic, sexism isn’t real, men have it harder than women, and everything the media teaches about relationships is a lie.
If you have any doubt at all whether you’d want to align with this guy’s recommendations, here are few quotes from his bestselling book series:
Anything that this man is promoting is simply not something a decent person should support.
It is entirely possible that the creator of this calculator is neither an incel nor Red-Piller, even if his tool is supported by one. However, things like the Female Delusion Calculator exist because our cultural narratives allow misogynists to justify their hatred of women and especially, their hatred of our agency.
Don’t let anyone tell you that agency is a bad thing and you have every right to be suspicious of people who suggest that it is.
. . .
Ladies — You deserve a partner that is ‘Mm mm good.’
As Claire from Quora so eloquently stated, boyfriends or husbands can be considered a “nonessential perk” by young women, especially for those with education or financial independence.
Straight women and women who date men: let me just say that y’all deserve better than what’s typically on the menu so I understand why you might have high standards. There is even a whole TikTok subgenre dedicated to the trope that for every straight man who won’t text back, there is a lesbian willing to draw you a bath with candles who remembers your go to Starbucks order.
That’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of wholesome, devoted, wonderful men partnered with women out there. I know them and love them. But in general, listening to my straight friends talk about men is exhausting. The men they dated gave out some Applebee’s or McDonald’s drive through when my friends deserve steak and lobster, with extra butter for dipping too.
I finally have the relationship with the kind of partner I’ve always dreamed of. My wish for my dear women readers is that you won’t miss the person who would make your heart soar and who brings out the best in you. Especially not because some asshole pressured you to “lower your standards.”
You are not half a person. You are whole already and you know that. Adjust your standards accordingly and find your gourmet.