Many men find the red pill or red pill adjacent communities as a result of life kicking them in the teeth. This kick is often related to intersexual dynamics, a wife leaving them, discovering that their wife is deeply disordered, or a myriad of other stories, however these men tend to manifest a case of being “hypomasculine”. This is not surprising given that the past 2 – 3 generations of western men have grown up in a community that not only does not overtly value masculinity, but in many cases demonizes it.
Be it the boys who are medicated for manifesting behaviors that 2 – 3 decades ago would be classified as “boys will be boys“, those who are raised by a single mother without any masculine idol to form themselves after, or those who are raised in a context where they view their mother henpeck their father for most of their formative years, it is understandable that they will struggle when it comes to developing a healthy masculine identity.
A pet theory of mine for some time, is that a boy put into such a situation, tends to go in one of two directions. He will either identify with his mother’s plight, and take on a co-dependent role where he will attempt to alleviate his mother’s neurosis in the hope that this will return her to a state in which she can be the caretaker he desires, or he will grow to reject his mother’s histrionics and instead develop a hyper-masucline identity. In the case of the former, he grows to embody the traits and behaviors normally associated with positive femininity that his mother lacks. In the case of the latter, he grows to reject all female traits within himself completely.
This is part of the reason why books such as “No More Mr. Nice Guy” are doing well, many boys find that the masculine has been beaten out of them after 10+ years in public school systems, surrounded by media narratives that does little except make fun of- and demonize traditional masculinity. This book is a “gateway book” towards developing a masculine identity that is not necessarily the “house cat of maleness” embodied by beer, man-caves and ESPN. While I do think that much of mainstream “male-centered” writing of this nature trends strongly towards blue-pill or at best purple pill narratives, it serves as a less harsh introduction to red pill themes.
“Hypo” is merely a Greek word that means “under”, and the men who fall in this category are “undermasculine”. I suspect that this stems from either being raised by a single mother, where he was put in the role of “her little man”, or where he was raised by a domineering mother and a doormat father, where the household revolved around attempting to control the mother’s moods. In both situations, the child is “parentified” early in life, and actually has to act like the parent of his own parent. This dynamic is a fundamentally unhealthy one, wherein the young boy is trained to predict, disarm or alleviate his mother’s reactions, in an attempt to restore the relationship dynamic he inherently needs in order to develop a health relationship with women later in his life.
Those who have had an erratic boss or been in a cluster B relationship, will be familiar with this dynamic, where life is entirely focused on avoiding the various things that may trigger an outburst from the other person. If an outburst is triggered (which it always is), the focus shifts to disarming the person in order to restore a semblance of balance, when in reality any calm period is merely the calm before the storm. This trains a person to be hyper-vigilant of the states and moods of others, and to be willing to sacrifice their own inner states in order to destructively empathize with the inner states of others.
When men who have been socialized in this manner enter the real world, and they find themselves repeating these same behaviors in their personal and professional relationships. They will avoid conflict, because from experience that merely exacerbates the problem, they will engage in behaviors designed to pacify the other person, and generally do anything in their power to maintain a calm, stable environment.
Hypermasculinity is a state in which a person is overly masculine, and this has become quite common in women who largely adopt male behaviors such as aggressiveness, decisiveness, and ambition in order to become successful professionally. Hypermasculine men often come from similar environments as hypomasculine men, however their reaction is quite different, instead of identifying with their mother’s perceived plight, they grow to resent it. If there is a father present, they will also grow to view him as an archetype of what not to become. Rather than attempt to control, pacify and maintain stability, these men tend to dial it to 11, and to some extent relish the conflict that comes from it.
Hypermasculinity has many manifestations, the most familiar to people is likely to be the personae of hip hop artists, or many that work in professions where a high conflict tolerance is required, such as bouncers. I suspect that to some extent the cause of such behavior stems from the tendency of a hypermasculine man to find inspiration for his masculine self in the antithesis of his father. In effect, becoming the shadow of his own father, in that the young boy rejects all the behaviors his father manifests and embraces all the behaviors his father represses. If no father is present, the son responds by becoming the antithesis of the feminine archetype represented by his mother.
Once the men who has been socialized in this manner enter the real world, they also find themselves repeating the behaviors in their professional and personal relationships. They would rather ensure a conflict happens than to let things simmer under the surface, would rather provoke a person over pacifying them, and in general have a preference towards acting in the world, rather than reacting to it.
The Hegelian Dialectic
What has become known as the Hegelian dialectic (despite him never using it), is the combination of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. In this dialectic, a thesis gives rise to it’s own antithesis (opposite), and the two are reconciled through synthesis. Both the hypomasculine and hypermasculine man are formed by their relationship with their parents. The role of parents to a child is very central to their healthy development, and from my observation, children become either the thesis or the antithesis of their upbringing, meaning that they either recreate an environment similar to their upbringing, or one that is diametrically opposed to it.
In the hypomasculine man, the mother forms the thesis, and he strives to become the antithesis of his own mother. The child becomes a source of stability, the mother represents a source of instability, the mother is volatile, the child becomes calm. This list of behaviors and traits could be quite extensive, but a simple way of creating such a list is to think in terms of dichotomies. This construct, is not a productive one, as a person is defined based on circumstance and necessity.
The hypermasculine man is in many ways more complex, the hypo-masculine is merely his mother’s opposite, embodying positive female traits, whereas the hypermasculine man is the opposite to his mother (and potentially father’s feminine traits). Major difference between the hypermasculine and hypomasculine man, is that the latter is shaped as the antithesis of his mother’s negative female behavior and traits, whereas the former is shaped in a crucible of resentment for those very traits. The mother (and father if present) both represent feminine archetypes, in the case of the mother, one could refer to her as a witch, and the father as a caretaker, thus the hypermasculine man is shaped into the antithesis of feminine archetypes.
Summary and Conclusions
The inventors of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung, both subscribed to the theory that a woman’s relationships with men is shaped by her relationship to her father, and likewise that a man’s relationship with women is shaped by his mother. While this has become somewhat of a running joke as the “Blank Slate” was adopted as a principle throughout the western world, and Carl Jung’s theory of the Anima and Animus was interpreted literally as “men should become more feminine” and “women should become more masculine”, instead of being read figuratively in terms of archetypes, one cannot deny that humans are pattern based biological machines.
Humans are shaped by our experiences, and a large aspect of psychological self-improvement is self-analysis, to determine your innermost beliefs, unhealthy patterns and negative beliefs. This is often an uncomfortable process, but a very beneficial one, as the adult you should control you, not a child that had very little power in the world. However, this may become a dangerous path where one designs a victim narrative for oneself, and instead of accepting responsibility one slips into self-pity. A major difference between the hypomasculine and hypermasculine man, is that the former responded to his situation by letting the outer world dictate his inner states, behavior and beliefs, while the hyper-masculine man takes responsibility for his own behavior and inner states.
The latter has shades of stoicism, where one accepts that one cannot control what happens in the world, but one can control one’s own reaction to what happens. Where the former is an attempt to control the outer world in order to protect one’s inner states, in essence one does what one imagines the other person would want in order to control the other person’s behavior, so as to protect one’s inner state.
In most of my essays, I tend to advocate balanced approach, for the same reason why figuring out your BMR, and then adding or subtracting a few hundred calories is a good way to dial in your diet. Find a reasonable and attainable starting point, develop the habits and mindset to maintain it, then experiment to move forward in the direction you desire. In terms of body recomposition, this creates a situation in which the damage is limited if you are not dialed in. However, when it comes to this topic, I’m going to adopt the position that it’s better to go over the top masculine than to attempt a balance and end up too low.
The primary reasoning being that while some adaptation to the outside world is necessary, being overly sensitive to external forces robs you of control of your own life. This is very similar to the ideas of internal and external locus of control, which represent to which degree a person feels they have control over events that happen in their lives or if such events are outside of their control.
To take the example of the hypomasculine man, he attempts to control his circumstances, inner states and context through managing the inner states of others. In childhood he would have become hyper-sensitive to the signals that a storm was coming, and then engaged in behavior to avoid that storm. In contrast the hypermasculine man attempts to control his context and circumstances by controlling his reaction to them, in other words state control.
The former sees that another is about to hit the button, and does everything in his power to dissuade them from doing so in order to maintain order in the outer world so that it does not upset his inner world. The latter sees someone about to hit the button and provokes them to hit that button, as his preference is to deal with chaos in the outer world, as opposed to chaos in his internal world.