Why Men Tune Into Online Gurus Instead of the Church
The Christian manosphere blogger Deep Strength pointed me to this video by someone named Casey Zander. He’s a newer manosphere style dating and lifestyle coach. It’s an interesting 20 minute video from about seven months go, and not especially sexual (the preview image is the more sexual part). It’s worth a watch to understand the appeal online gurus have to today’s younger men.
The thing that prompted me to watch this video is the fact that Zander is standing in front of a white board with about 25 different bullet points on it.
I previously said that the manosphere’s “red pill” approach had two components: a model of intersexual dynamics, and a library of techniques. This video is primarily in the former category. Note how substantive and informative the video is. Zander is providing a breakdown, similar to a consultant in a board room, of some of the fundamentals of male-female dynamics. While he does not give a lot of specific tips, the information he provides has obvious practical applications.
A big reason that young men are turning into these online gurus is that those gurus given them “news they can use.” It’s also by and large much more accurate than what they are hearing from traditional authority figures. Regarding Jordan Peterson, I previous wrote how he simply gave men truer information than they were getting from Christian leaders. Superstar evangelical pastor Matt Chandler says, “I keep saying it: Godliness is sexy to godly people.” Jordan Peterson says, “Girls aren’t attracted to boys who are their friends, even though they might like them, whatever that means. They are attracted to boys who win status contests with other boys.”
Who is telling you the truth?
Traditional authorities and institutions are in decline because they a) haven’t been delivering good results in too many domains and b) because they are too often more interested in saying things that will earn the social approval of their aspirational peers than they are speaking truth.
There’s nothing unique to Zander’s advice so far as I saw from a brief perusal of his web site and Youtube. He tells men to become “high value” in multiple domains of life (fitness, etc.). He gives them advice about women. He tells them that there’s no substitute for hard work, and that if they want to have success with women they have to approach lots of them and ask them on dates. This is pretty typical manosphere advice.
To the extent that it “works” in helping men find more short term success with women - and it often does - these guys are credentialed as prophets in the minds of their followers. Relationships with the opposite sex are primal, and someone who shows us success here is someone we are likely to trust on anything.
This allows not just their factually accurate information to spread, but also their bad moral frameworks that promote sexual promiscuity, etc. Some of these folks like Peterson are relatively positive influences. Others are promoting very bad lifestyles. (Zander seems to fall somewhere in the middle).
If you’ve never sampled the manosphere, this is a good short introduction to some of the thinking. It’s also mostly accurate, so if you are a man you might actually find it educational. Keep in mind, however, that the domain these folks operate in is early stage relationships, from meeting women through to dating. Zander is single and talks about having dated for over ten years. Hence he and the vast bulk of similar folks have no concept of what’s its like to be married for a significant period of time with kids. (Interestingly, he is one of the rare manosphere coaches who actively pitches himself to married men whose marriage is in trouble).
Regardless, if you want to get an understanding of why men turn to online gurus and are turning away from churches and other traditional authority figures and institutions, this watching video will help.
I’ve said from the beginning that one of my guiding principles is to live not by lies. I’m committed to trying to discern the truth as best as possible, and communicate it in a way that at least some people can accept, even if it’s unpopular in many quarters. I don’t always get it right, but that’s my aspiration. I hope many others will adopt that mindset as well, because we can’t just cede the playing field to the Casey Zanders of this world.
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Is there a lesson out there for the men who have been married 10+ years?
Aaron, Love your stuff and shorter and longer takes on things. In reading Proverbs and then this post this morning, I'm struck by the idea that perhaps many of these manosphere/coaches/hookup artists/whatever are living in the real world rather than a lot of more "theologically dominated" Christian pastors/mentors/etc. Like Solomon, these manosphere guys are just calling it like it is: they are looking at reality. As a historian and lover of science, this is what we are tasked to do: look at humanity and nature not as we would like them to be, but as they are. Thank you for your work.