A Horrifying Realization

I had a horrifying realization today: my subconscious views single women as a scarce resource. (This is in the context of wanting a wife.)

This is horrifying for several reasons, the first of which is that women are not a resource, scarce or otherwise. They are individual, unique people. Not that I don't expect that to be obvious, but I think it's worth stating. It is also the view of my conscious mind, which is why I find this revelation about my subconscious so horrifying.

But there are two other reasons that I find this mindset (that single women are a scarce resource) to be horrifying. The first are the implications that come from that mindset, and the second is the origin of that mindset (because if it arose in me, it can arise in others).

It seems to me that emotions have their home in the subconscious. As I understand it, we emotionally process stimuli far more quickly than we intellectually process that same stimuli. This means this mindset (that single women are a scarce resource) has a strong influence on emotional, and therefore initial, reactions to things. It probably is a significant contributor to my first thought upon seeing a woman I find at least vaguely attractive to be to wonder if she would be a good wife. To be clear, I do not like this reaction, nor do I find it useful, therefore I endeavor to disregard it, but nevertheless it exists.

Also, this mindset (that single women are a scarce resource) likely leads to anxiety that, as I get older, I'll be less and less likely to be able to find a wife, because all of my options will have been snapped up. Again, this isn't helpful or useful to me, but I can't deny it exists. (As an aside, I'd rather be the one found and "snapped up.")

So, the subconscious belief that single women are a scarce resource leads to reactions and anxieties I do not desire. I imagine, as I tug on this thought thread, I'll likely find even more things that this mindset leads to, but for now, I am left with another thing to examine: how did this mindset develop in the first place?

As I think on it, I suspect there are largely two factors, one of which is social and the other of which is environmental.

The social factor is the way I was inadvertently taught to view sexual/romantic relationships, which is as a predator (male) and prey (female) relationship. There is a lot to unpack with this alone, and it really deserves its own discussion (one I've done, if you're willing to listen to an old podcast I did on the subject). As a quick summary, the job of the predator is to catch and consume the prey, while the prey's job is to avoid getting caught and consumed. When applied to sexual relationships, this means men are rewarded for having as much sex as possible, while women are punished for engaging in the same behavior. It also puts the pressure on men to be the ones to initiate sexual relationships and demands that women function as the gatekeepers of sex and play hard-to-get. It also is an artificial set of expectations that have socially developed, likely largely in society's subconscious equivalent, and do not accurately reflect personalities of individuals or their desires. Anyway, this mindset encourages viewing women as a resource for men to acquire. Hopefully it is also a way of thinking that is going away. I think I largely acquired it from media and how romantic (and sexual) relationships have often been portrayed by that media.

I also have generally been in environments where single women are very scarce from a relatively young age. Starting with middle school (6th grade, about 12 years old), my friend group did not include any girls—not that I was looking for a romantic relationship at that time. I then went to a video game programming college (technically it covered more than programming, but at that time, the campus was split such that those in the art program were not on the same campus as the programmers). This college had very few women in it. Even after graduating, I went to work with friends I'd made at that college. Again, the environment effectively had no women in it. (Since then, I've been doing stuff online—YouTube and streaming on Twitch—which in certain ways is very isolated.)

Additionally, other activities I engaged in tended to have few women, whether that was Friday Night Magic at the local card shop (this was quite a while ago; hopefully trends have changed) or the Pokémon club I went to at the aforementioned college. Further, the very small church I went to contained primarily young, married couples. So while there were technically more women there, none of them were single.

Thus it was that society taught me to view women as a resource to acquire, and life experience taught me to view single women as scarce. Put those together, and you get the idea that single women are a scarce resource.

I'm left to wonder what I do now. I don't want my subconscious to hold this mindset, as it is all kinds of unhelpful (not to mention disgusting). But how do I uproot it? Actually, can it even be uprooted, leaving its place empty? Or must it be replaced? If so, how and with what? I don't have the answers to any of these questions (yet), but I do know this: I couldn't even begin to ask them until I'd realized I had something to ask them about!

Ultimately, I'm glad to realize that I have this subconscious mindset lurking around, because it means I can do something about it. Even simply acknowledging that it exists helps me to undo it and its influence.

I call that a good start.

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