The thing that differentiates humans[1] from other animals is our access to the second replicator[2]. This means that interactions between men and women are both sexual and memetic in nature. The problem is that sexual overtures have the same form as memetic interactions, i.e., they are imitatible actions[3].

Overlapping Sex and Memes

Behaviors of men towards women and women towards men are imitated both because they offer the prospect of a successful sexual encounter and also simply because they are imitatible behaviors. They share the same vehicle. This means that some behaviors are deployed to get a sexual response from a single[4] individual, while others are deployed in order to get resonance from as large a group as possible.

Starving in the Midst of Plenty

Another aspect of memetic interactions which impacts women directly has to do with what is referred to as “the male gaze.” Memetic theory tells us that human beings, memetic agents, seek to deploy memes in the hopes that they resonate with other cohort members in the form of some expected response[5]. In deploying a meme, an individual incurs memetic debt, which is the beginning of a memetic loop which is then closed when the resonance cohort response occurs.

A meme is deployed, and then a responding meme or set of memes is deployed, and the memetic debt is cancelled out. This has implications for intergenerational dysfunction and abuse, and even genocide, and also is the difference between oppression and alienation. An oppressed person deploys memes which resonate, receive a response, but that response is harmful to the individual[6] or their group. Alienation, on the other hand, is where the individual is ignored, i.e., they receive no response from the cohort. Often an individual or group will take oppression over alienation, since the latter denies any memetic interaction whatsoever[7].

Women have a similar, and possibly opposite problem. They regularly find themselves as the focus of a barrage of memes from men[8]. Women have lots of memes being deployed at them, not all of which they are able to respond to, and many of which are not in response to any memes they have deployed. This presents a number of problems. If one is presented with a memetic deployment, one as three choices: 1. Deploy a response meme, 2. Deploy an immunomeme, or 3. Do nothing. None of these is an enviable option for many women in many situations.

I should add that women are also in the situation where a preponderance of their memetic interactions do not lead to memetic fulfillment, that is, resonance and closed memetic loops. In this sense they are constantly incurring a strange kind of residual memetic debt.

Damned If You Do

If a woman does nothing in response to a man’s overtures, sexual or otherwise[9], the man is alienated, which is the worst possible memetic outcome. He wants to get some kind of memetic response. Similarly, if the woman deploys an immunomene, she links the man to some negative MIAO, e.g., “sexually unattractive,” “overly aggressive,” etc. Both cases leave the man with residual memetic debt, i.e., his memetic loop remains unclosed.

The problem is that some of these memetic interactions are sexual in nature, and others are not[10]. A further problem is that men (and women) in American culture may not be totally honest about which they are.

The Madonna and Whore Solution

In a strict, religious society, tight rules are maintained about how men and women are allowed to interact. Neither side is allowed to deploy any memes toward the other outside of a clearly and narrowly defined set. Marriage is the gateway whereby men and women may enter a domain of more-or-less free memetic exchange, but sexual and non-sexual memetic interactions are still intermixed.

This solves the problem of women being overwhelmed with memes deployed at them to which they are not able to respond, and it “spares” men from deploying memes, sexual or otherwise, for which their own memetic loops remain open as well. It has the unsalubrious side-effect of splitting the cohort and greatly decreasing the total memetic inventory available to everyone in it. One effect of this is that men and women are excluded from one anothers’ worlds, leading to income inequality, restricted participation in “society,” and so forth, for both genders.

Sexual Honesty

How do we want things to look? Men and women like to cheat sexually, i.e., get easier access to more sex, while excluding others. Our memetic urge as well as our sexual urge pushes us to interact with one another. Again, we also want to get more memetic orgasms as well as sexual orgasms, and since sexual opportunities and memetic opportunities are both limited by the size of the available cohort, but exhibit scarcity.

But the problem is sexual polarization of the memetic milieu. Even if we could do something about the scarcity issue, it might well make things worse for women (and men!) if we don’t first understand what’s really going on.

Women, like any memetic agent, seek to deploy memes in the pursuit of resonance. Women tend to get resonance regardless of what they deploy[11], if anything, and that may result in little if any memetic reward. Unsolicited attention (the “male gaze,” etc.), as well as highly selective attention[12] are frustrating and confusing.

In a way, a woman is a kind of memetic nexus in that she may have a large number of subscribers, but her memes are not retransmitted by her cohort. Instead, the cohort sends scads of memes her way. For her, being a memetic nexus lacks many of the rewards, in that she does not control the responses she gets, where a proper memetic nexus transmits memes and they are retransmitted in a predictable fashion, garnering predictable rewards. The cost of this is that the memetic nexus must conform to the expectations of her subscribing cohort[13]. Again, memes deployed, but no reward.

Ironically, a more sexually free and open society may actually be less free than a puritanical one, because all memes are suspect, that is, not taken at face value as non-sexual. In a puritanical society, the memes and contexts in which they may be deployed are restricted, but within those contexts and for those memes, unpolluted memetic exchanges are possible between the genders. When all memes are allowed all the time, no memes may be completely trusted, in other words, she has to assume “he’s always coming onto you.”

Summary and Conclusions

Macromemetics yields some interesting answers in the analysis of the interactions between men and women, and may provide insight into phenomena such as “the male gaze” and women being overwhelmed by sexual overtures disguised as regular memes. Does macromemetics offer a third option apart from keeping the genders apart and restricting the memes they are allowed to exchange versus free and open interaction in which all memes are suspect of being sexual? Are women a strange, inverted sort of memetic nexus, and are they suffering from a kind of residual memetic debt? Is the memetic environment in which women find themselves strangely similar to alienation, as opposed to oppression[14].

Do we need to bring back the Age of Chivalry in some form or another? And what might that look like?

[1] Pan narans, or “the monkey who tells stories”

[2] The meme machine

[3] Speech, gestures, behaviors

[4] Or at least a small and very specific group of individuals

[5] This is the “memetic rewards,” or the “memetic orgasm”

[6] Research is ongoing as to the nature of this “harm.” This is probably closely linked to the nature and function of immunomemes, i.e., memes that maintain the status quo. One idea is that immunomemes link the memes of an oppressed individual to a “negative MIAO.” More on this elsewhere.

[7] Apathy is another phenomenon which, like immunomemes, needs definition and description.

[8] And possibly also other women, which may be another essay unto itself, and perhaps one I may not be able to write very well

[9] And these may be indistinguishable, by either party…!

[10] In Japan, women can tell visually if men are in “nampa mode” or “futsu mode” (cruising or normal) and can respond accordingly.

[11] Women cruising men are told the same things, i.e., “laugh at all his jokes,” etc. Wealthy and famous people have a similar problem, by the way, i.e., insincere responses.

[12] A greeting from an attractive woman will always get a response, but a creative pitch for a new sales strategy, etc., is not similarly welcomed.

[13] More research required here, i.e., on the formation and persistence of memetic nexuses.

[14] As macromemetics defines alienation and oppression. One might say something like “women are oppressed (in the normal sense) in that they are subjected to a kind of macromemetic alienation”