Outlier Amplification Effect (Updated)

I believe that even most of us in the Manosphere who believe that men and women are fundamentally distinct allow for the existence of outliers:  men who love decorating and nurturing, high-T women with a killer competitive instincts.

Unfortunately (especially regarding women), the modern West has developed the tendency to assume that just because some women would never be content as housewives that no women would be happy as housewives.

This stems from the Outlier Amplification Effect (OAE).  The OAE is society’s tendency to view outliers as being more typical than they actually are.  Not very many guys play guitar, but when guitar players are called to our attention, it creates the subconscious impression that there are guitar players everywhere.

The first aspect of OAE applies not only to sex but also multiple other type of outlier:  gays, artists, etc.  Those of us who don’t fit the norms tend to stand out.  People who aren’t happy complain.  The squeaky wheel squeaks.

The second aspect is exclusive to masculine women is that the way in which they deviate from natural norms is inherently more likely to be noticed by others and to call attention to itself.

Who is more likely to sit at her computer for hours on end complaining about the pervasiveness of the patriarchy, the angry feminist or the fairly content housewife?  The female reporter exposing the sexism inherent in whatever industry has a more masculine disposition than the average woman.  Compared to the most women, she’s more ambitious, more inclined towards confrontation, and more visible.

Which leads to a selection bias of sorts, for a disproportionate number of women we see speaking about sex roles are women who inclined to oppose them.  This leaves the impression that most women would absolutely despise the idea of staying home to raise the kids, when in reality it’s merely most women we hear from.

The deferential feminine woman leaves less of a visible mark, making her seem less prevalent that she might actually be.  As masculine women gradually take over a higher proportion of the debate, it leaves an even stronger impression on young women and girls that this is what most women are like.  If you just want to find a husband and raise kids, you’re more inclined to feel like a weirdo.

Although truly ambitious masculine women might be outliers, virtually every women has a few such instincts.  The more women get the impression these instincts are the feminine norm, the more likely they are to follow these instincts instead of their more nurturing ones.

This effect is mirrored in the study of history.  In 1843, who was more likely to write a screed about gender relations, the happy housewife on the farm or the rich urban socialite who despised the constraints of society?  Was the novelist more inclined to write about the happy grandmother or the woman who’s bored to tears and thus driven to adultery?  Although the happy woman of the past left an indelible mark on the lives of those around her and society as a whole, there’s little record of her on paper.

Moreover, is the modern historian more likely to seek out the memoirs of the aggrieved women of the past, or will he focus on those few writing from the women of the time who actually liked how things were?  The venomous screed from the angry proto-feminist of 1843 will flash in neon throughout academia, the contented sketches of family life will rot away in some drawer.

(If a man of the era writes something describing how happy the women were, his self-serving observations can be dismissed out of hand.)

I’ve alluded to this effect on other sites but haven’t seen it elucidated in detail by anybody else, so I figured it was time to do so.  Indeed, there’s also an opposing Outlier Suppression Effect that occurs in more traditional societies, but we’re not seeing much of that today.

However, it’s important to keep in mind when we discuss our ideas with others that there’s a distinct selection bias inherent when we discuss these issues.  Feminine women don’t make as much noise as the masculine ones.  This leads us to think that they’re less common than they are.

Unfortunately girls get that same impression, leading fewer and fewer of them to embrace their natural femininity.  Although perception is not reality, this is one of those ways in which it most definitely changes it.


After finishing this, three other things occurred to me.

One, this effect also applies at social gatherings.  Everybody in the room is likely to notice the brash young woman captivating the room with her obnoxious wit.  The demure young woman in the corner may well be noticed by some of the men, but not so much by the women.

Two, this applies in organizational settings.  For example, in a church the more masculine women will speak up if they find something to be anti-woman, whereas the more feminine women will tend to either let their husbands object on their behalf or remain silent.  If her husband says something, whether or not his wife genuinely agrees with him will be forever suspect.

Third, this is part of the reason that political conservatism tends to still get swept away by greater societal forces.  The conservative women who get the most attention (Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, etc.) tend to have a more masculine temperament.  Thus the most prominent female voices in the conservative movement will tend to be less inclined to promote traditional sex roles.  Even if they do, it will strike people as weird.  Imagine Dana Loesch harping on about how much better would be for women to defer to men:  it doesn’t work.  This again leaves the men to do it, which comes across as self-serving.

This entry was posted in Culture, Feminism. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Outlier Amplification Effect (Updated)

  1. Pingback: Outlier Amplification Effect | Manosphere.com

  2. donalgraeme says:

    Great post Martel. One worth keeping in the pocket, if you will.

    • Martel says:

      Thanks, but although perhaps I “will”, I’m not sure what you mean by “in the pocket.” (I’m not very hip to many of these newfangled phrases.)

      • donalgraeme says:

        It means its a good link to have handy, in case someone brings up an exception as an example of how most people really are.

    • Martel says:

      Ah hah! I figured you didn’t mean that literally, being as blogposts don’t fit very well inside blue jeans.

  3. machinetrooper says:

    Excellent points made. Glad somebody sees this.

  4. Good points! Not only do women who want a more traditional marriage/family centered life less vocal but if they do admit such they are often criticized (by career focused women) for it. I notice a trend toward sahm’s and more traditional minded gals banding together and blogging about their different path. Hopefully doing so will help people realize not every woman wants to be a CEO or what not. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Oops I mean not only ARE women… 🙂 typo!

    • Martel says:

      This is another part of why this effect is so pronounced concerning you ladies. Everybody case what others think of them, but women even more. Making women feel weird for wanting to do what they’re naturally inclined to do is an essential component of trying to turn THEM into the outliers.

  5. Robin Munn says:

    … Imagine Dana Loesch harping on about how much better would be for women to defer to men: it doesn’t work. This again leaves the men to do it, which comes across as self-serving.

    While this is accurate in the realm of political conversation, it may apply less in the realm of voting. Because if the quiet, feminine women don’t speak up much, that usually does not mean that they don’t vote. And exit polls tend to find young, unmarried women voting Democrat about twice as often as they vote Republican, whereas married women (especially with kids) tend to have the same 2-to-1 ratio in the Republicans’ favor. Those numbers shift around some every election, naturally, but they’ve stayed pretty consistent over the past few elections that I’ve paid attention to.

    So the national political conversation may be shifting away from Republicans, but I’ve seen no evidence yet from the polls that this is effecting the votes of the more feminine, traditional women (who are far more likely to be married than the masculine women).

    • Martel says:

      I agree in regards to voting, and female voices are necessary to combat the “war on women” narrative and have played an important role in men’s rights groups.

      Nevertheless, what’s essential to winning certain political debates in the short-term may be somewhat detrimental to social debates in the long-term. There are some brash women out there saying some important things in great ways, but these women nonetheless serve as examples of the “strong, independent woman” that the left is trying to turn all women into.

      Like you say, they’re not turning traditional women into harpies, we NEED them, I’m a huge fan of several of them, and I blame them for nothing (if anything, I see the prominence of conservative women as more of an indictment of men for not sufficiently stepping up). But they do reinforce the narrative that women are equivalent to men.

  6. Just found your blog and am happy to have stumbled in. Very well-written and insightful essays. I hope you’re just getting warmed up.

  7. Stingray says:

    whereas the more feminine women will tend to either let their husbands object on their behalf or remain silent.

    I have yet to find myself in such a position, but I’ve thought about this quite a bit because it could potentially cause some very big problems. One sees it in the sphere occasionally as well. A wife might stand behind her husband’s view on some subject and some will complain that she “claims she is arguing this for her husband.”

    It doesn’t happen a lot, but it struck me as odd. While, yes, a woman might hide behind her husbands words, she might also be truly backing him up. And people complain that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing.

    Excellent article.

  8. Pingback: A Hopeful Sign? | Alpha Is Assumed

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s