Do Women Have Agency?
Do women have agency?
The question is an important one, especially since men started to experiment with allowing women the privilege of participating in the management of the commons. By that I mean we let them vote.
Modern society tends to give women all the privileges that come with having agency without expecting them to actually demonstrate agency in their lives. This is very destructive and confusing to women. It's not a reasonable approach and the long term effects are destroying western culture and societies.
For the sake of saving our future we need to have a cohesive and logical approach to questions regarding women and agency. This post will look at the question in what I think is a very straightforward and simple manner.
What is agency?
Within this discussion we will define agency as:
The capacity for human beings to identify opportunities and make choices that are consistent, correspondent, existentially possible, and coherent with and within reality, and to act upon them, unimpeded by knowledge limitation (ignorance), intellectual limitation (intelligence), mindfulness limitation (impulse), physical limitations (body), instrumental limitations (technologies), resource limitations, the impediments of others and their organizations into norms, laws, institutions, polities, and armies. Perfect agency would require omniscience, omnipresence, and complete insulation from impulse.
(Definition thanks to Curt Doolittle - The Propertarian Institute)
Agency is the primary trait that separates humans from other animals. It's what makes us unique, able to direct our lives and our civilizations. It's what makes markets and science and philosophy and love possible. It's a really important topic!
Choices, choices, choices (simplified view of agency)
In practical terms agency is all about our ability to make good choices consistently. By “good” I mean choices that are likely to lead to biological success, reproduction and happiness.
If you consistently make good choices you will create a good and probably long life.
If you constantly make bad choices you will create a bad and probably very short life.
Most of us make a mix of good and bad choices. We have partial agency. We get mixed results.
Historically situations of suffering and sacrifice that required very high levels of agency to survive were eugenitic. War, famine, plague, etc. killed the low agency men and any women that relied on them for survival. Sometimes women whose men did not demonstrate sufficient agency could find new men and partially escape the consequences of bad decisions, but more on that later.
We are asking the wrong question
The question “Do Women Have Agency?” is flawed because agency is not binary, it exists on a spectrum probably with a normal distribution that almost certainly follows the Pareto Principle.
It helps if we think of agency as a trait like IQ. There are many questions we might ponder involving women and IQ, but no one would ask “Do women have IQ?”. The question is absurd, it's as absurd as asking “Do women have agency?”.
Individual women can be placed on an agency bell curve. Like all human traits agency will be unevenly distributed. Most women are average (with I suspect a tight cluster around the mean). The best quintile of women will have far more agency than the middle quintile of woman who will in turn have far more agency than the bottom quintile. This however tells us very little about specific women and how agency relates to them. We need to go deeper.
So what questions should we be asking about women and agency?
To get the right answers we need to ask the right questions. Below are some enlightening questions related to women and agency.
What factors affect a woman's ability to exercise her agency?
(While I am writing this post about women, the following principles also apply to agency in men.)
The following factors affect a woman's ability to exercise her agency:
knowledge limitation (ignorance)
intellectual limitation (intelligence)
mindfulness limitation (impulse)
physical limitations (body)
instrumental limitations (technologies)
the impediments placed upon her by others.
A basic working (practical) knowledge of philosophy, politics, human psychology, science (especially female biology) and her own inner self (self knowledge) are essential for any woman to demonstrate agency in her life. Ignorance reduces her ability to pilot her life in a healthy direction or even to follow the leadings of those with greater agency.
Displaying agency requires many choices to be made, therefore IQ plays a massive role in a woman's ability to demonstrate agency. If she can't understand the issues and questions she is facing how can she know which sources of information and guidance are true? This factor alone reduces much of the world's population to near zero levels of agency, a fact that is well recognized in laws that do not hold the mentally incompetent accountable for their actions in the same way as the rest of the population.
We are born with very little impulse control. As we mature we should be exercising our abilities to control ourselves and regularly improving. Even as adults we can dramatically improve our ability to control our impulses using techniques such as mindfulness meditation and bio neurofeedback training. Still, there will be some limitations to our progress in this area both due to genetics and possibly structural issues in the case of damage caused by drugs, physical injury or childhood trauma.
Illness, severe disability and old age can reduce our ability to exercise agency especially if it affects our mind, mood and energy levels.
European peasants living in the middle ages often died from what we now call “easily preventable diseases”, mostly waterborne pathogens. They were not reckless or foolish, they simply lacked the technology to protect themselves. They did the best they could with the technology they had. As technology progresses humans are more capable of expressing our agency (control of ourselves and our world) and doing so in new areas previously unavailable to our ancestors.
In an extreme case, if you are starving to death it's virtually impossible to demonstrate agency. Humans in severe deprivation, fear or distress tend to revert to animal like thinking. Desperately trying to survive. In that case, while agency might be needed more than ever, many people simply cannot muster it up.
A slave has significantly reduced agency as does a political prisoner or someone living under an oppressive regime. Powerful governmental or societal pressures that change incentives can also alter the amount and ways that people use their agency. (See the welfare state for its agency reducing properties.) Alternatively, strong and generally benevolent social pressures can reduce a woman's need to demonstrate agency enabling lower agency women to successfully pass on their genes.
Women always suffered less than men when they did not show agency. Even if her entire tribe dies due to a group failure to show agency most women will be accepted by a new tribe of men.
How much agency does the average women have?
Everything about women is structured to help them be successful mothers. Therefore, we should expect an average women to posses the optimal amount of agency to maximize her fertility and care for her children.
But there is one big problem with that. The optimum level of agency was set during the thousands of years that humans lived a fairly simple and primitive existence where women were presented with few choices.
In addition, until recently western societies had a strong and protective patriarchal culture that reduced selective pressures on women to have greater agency.
Currently, women must make decisions that their female ancestors never imagined. The lifestyle and political choices they now face are new and often unprecedented in human history.
Average women are simply not evolved to deal with the challenges they are facing. We can see the results in increased depression and the widespread use of psychotropic drugs as women unsuccessfully attempt to deal with the overwhelming number of choices they must now make.
Many women are very uncomfortable with expressing their agency to its maximum potential. They don't want to be faced with a myriad of decisions. They crave masculine leadership, guidance and protection from fathers and husbands. They want to focus on feminine things and forget about the dark and dangerous world out there. This is not a fault or a negative. We should not hold this against them. They are instinctively protecting their ability to be agreeable, soft, sweet and gentle with their babies.
Conclusion: The average woman has enough agency to follow the lead of a strong and assertive man, raise small children and care for a house, which isn't enough to fully address their needs in our modern western societies, especially if they are young and lack guidance from their fathers.
How much agency should we expect a great woman to have?
No human can demonstrate perfect agency however most of the people involved with the SMV4K community are significantly above average, they are looking for above average romantic partners so that they can raise above average children.
What's the minimum level of agency that a redpilled, K-selected man should expect?
Everything we mentioned for the average women plus the following:
She readily takes personal responsibility for her actions.
She chooses only virtuous people to be in her life.
She is capable of managing her money (at minimum no debt).
She is capable of managing her own health (mental and physical).
She doesn't have major vices.
She makes mostly positive decisions.
She seeks to improve her ability to have agency.
She has sufficient self knowledge to understand her virtues, motivations, strengths and weaknesses.
She believes that morality is objective and rational (even if she believes that it comes from a divine source).
How can we judge a specific woman's ability to exercise her agency?
“You will know them by their fruits.” - Jesus (Matthew 7:16)
What is the outcomes of their life choices? Is their life improving or degrading? Are they becoming better people or getting worse?
How do they express themselves and how do they talk about their lives? Do they display a bitter, victim mentality when confronted with opportunities to display agency?
How do they deal with events that are truly out of their control? Do they attempt to make the best of the situation or do they surrender and give up their agency?
Do they promote realistic levels of agency in others or do they look for excuses?
How can someone, man or women increase their agency?
Of the 7 elements of agency we can all improve at least 5 of them; knowledge, mindfulness, physical limitations, resource limitations, and impediments created by others.
knowledge limitation (ignorance): Study philosophy, learn directly from others who demonstrate agency, learn from your past experiences. Keep taking in knowledge.
mindfulness limitation (impulse): Practice impulse control. Learn meditation techniques that strengthen your brain's ability to self regulate.
physical limitations (body): Eat in a way that best supports your health. Exercise, get stronger, fitter, healthier. Do what you can to maximize your health.
resource limitations: Escaping poverty and dependence on people or systems that diminish your agency is vital to maximize your personal freedom.
the impediments placed upon her by others: Eliminate people who are making you weak. Cut them out of your life and your heart. If those people are only shadows of the past, mindfully let them go. Make friends who will set healthy boundaries and good examples.
How can you help loved ones to exercise their agency?
Lead by example. Demonstrate your mastery of agency. Be deliberate in explaining why you make certain choices so that they can take in the lessons. Teach them the skills they need to develop their own agency. Expect them to be the best that they can be.
Historically agency grew partly through suffering and exposure to risk. Allow them to be exposed to reasonable risks. Let them feel the full consequences of bad decisions.
Help them find structures that limit their potential to make unhealthy decisions. That may include philosophy, religion, peer pressure, etc..
How will a woman's level of agency affect your relationship with her?
A woman with below average agency will require a lot of hand holding and micro management. She will be expensive to keep and maintain as she is likely to make a lot of costly decisions that you and your children will end up paying for.
A woman of average agency (vast majority of women) will make a great mother and wife, provided that she is willing to be fully submissive to your leadership and assuming you know how to be the leader that she needs.
A woman of above average agency will be a major financial and lifestyle asset to you. She will manage the money you make with great prudence. Her ability to spot danger and make good decisions about diverse topics such as who to trust, how to feed your children and how to network with other women will strengthen your family and improve your reputation in your community.
A woman of above average agency will also need to be lead with much greater skill. Be careful not to crush her spirit by removing all decision making from her. Let her have her realms and responsibilities where she is the master.
Lastly, the woman of above average agency will be far more careful in choosing a mate than other women. She is looking to marry up on the agency spectrum. If you want such a women you must be ready to demonstrate that you are worthy of the value she will bring.
Dont expect more of people than they are capable of giving. Not all humans have sufficient agency to be awarded the right to self determination. Whether it's due to low intelligence, ignorance or personality flaws a large portion of people are simply unable or unwilling to consistently make good decisions. We need to learn how to quickly identify and avoid such people.
Most women do not have sufficient agency to vote or even to choose a spouse without the support a mature patricharical structure to guide her decisions and prevent crafty r-selected men from even being on option.
Most women do have sufficient agency to be good wives and mothers provided they have some level of outside structure that imposes healthy boundaries and limits their options.
The real danger lies with women who both refuse to exercise their agency and at the same time will not follow any form of healthy structure. These women are destroying society and creating the meme that women have no agency.
So, how should we answer the question?
Do women have agency?
Yes and no. Some do, some don't.
Some have more, some have less, its a spectrum.
Avoid anyone with a mixture of no agency and hubris.