It’s open season on so-called ‘soy boys’, a neologism for effeminate, weak (‘limp-wristed’) liberal males. This archetype is the target of derision and ridicule by many on the ‘right’. An example of the quintessential soy boy is the Obamacare ‘pajama boy,’ whose perceived effeminacy generated more ridicule than Obamacare signups, and there is even a Wikipedia entry about him. The soy boy meme is the latest iteration of emasculating labels, such as ‘nerd’, ‘beta/omega/gamma male’, and so on, similar to the NPC meme being the successor to the labels ‘normie’ and ‘bugman’. The ‘soy boy’ archetype is similar to the ‘virgin male’ meme that is contrasted to the physically stronger and more self-confident ‘chad’ archetype.
My take is, soys are not defined so much by physical appearance or ideology, but by an internal value system–one that is absolutist in one sense but provisional in another. It seems similar to the IDW, but I don’t mean that pejoratively. It’s about not being deferential to one ‘side’ but weighing the faults and merits of both and arriving at what is the most ‘rational’ choice. I don’t think it’s effeminate either, which is also why the meme is not entirely accurate. I think many wrongly equate effeminacy with not taking a side.
In 2014, I described the beta-male conservative archetype, which preceded the IDW by almost 4 years:
When encountering problems, the Beta Male tends to defer to logic, reason and science – which limits his receptiveness to liberalism. Science and welfare liberalism are incompatible, because the later is based on individual desires and wants, whereas utilitarianism seeks to maximize resources and in an impartial and apolitical manner to maximize utility, hence it’s logical.
They tend to be ‘absolutist’ about not being too partisan or too ideological (yet provisional in their views), which can make debating with difficult because one has to frame an argument in such a way that it does not come across as too illogically motivated, yet still try to convey or impart a value system within the argument. Being provisional is good, because you need to be open-minded in the data collection process–but up to a point, after which you have gathered enough information that I think it’s okay to take a side even if one risks not having all of the facts.
I also observed that the ‘traditional’ archetypes of masculinity were dying off, with ‘alphas’ being surpassed socially and economically by ‘betas’. Three years later, this trend has only intensified.
Yes, these ‘soys’ have a tendency to equivocate and dissemble instead of taking a side, and although history and mythology tends to lionize warriors and leaders, who are assertive and don’t dither–in contemporary society–when you break-down the numbers–soys and virgins seem to be doing pretty well in terms of social status and wealth. Which is ironic because being soy and virgin is supposed to confer less status. As you are commuting to and from your low-status job that barely pays above inflation, soys are getting wealth and status through their intellectual contributions, whether it’s YouTube views, Patreon dollars, viral articles, academic clout and citations, and so on. A lot of people were mad, and justifiably so, at Jordan Peterson for saying that Kavanaugh should step down. “Why did he say that?” “What a stupid tweet!” And it was a stupid tweet, but in terms of earning power and status, look who’s getting the last laugh. Some exceptions are YouTube fitness people, who make make a lot of money despite physically embodying the alpha/chad archetype, and also the likes of of Bill O’Reilly, Limbaugh, Hannity, Ann Coulter, and Paul Krugman, all of whom are hugely successful despite being overtly partisan and combative–but nowadays the most successful people on social media and online tend to be much more nuanced and reticent.
The jocks and chads who were on football team and and had a lot of status in high school have nothing to show for it, as no one cares how popular you were 20 years ago. Over and over again, the people who are the most successful in life as measured by status (online, such as social media, and Reddit, and elsewhere), wealth, and lifetime achievement, tend to be of the soy/virgin archetype. There are obvious exceptions such as actors and athletes, and maybe some CEOs, but overall there are a lot more virgins than chads at the top of the socioeconomic totem pole. This is especially so in an economic environment that, more so than ever, rewards intellect and cleverness (such as for STEM) over physical power.
The social status of virgins and chads follow opposite trajectories in life. Early in life such as in primary and secondary school, chads have much more status owing to physical dominance and athleticism. Chads have a lot of friends whereas virgins and nerds have few. Then after high school, things start to change. Chads ether don’t attend college, of if they do, major in low-paying, low-status subjects such as “sports kinesiology,” and accumulate a lot of debt in the process. But some major in “business” and are more successful financially. Virgins , even in non-STEM subjects, are able to eventually land good-paying employment, but chads are often relegated to low-paying, low-status jobs. The ability to throw a football well may mean more status in high school, but it does last beyond that. Furthermore, in college and beyond, virgins begin to gain status by demonstrating competence and build large social networks online where such competence is valued, such as on Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, Facebook, and blogs, whereas chads recede and have a much smaller network of family and close friends, without a large online presence (with the exception of celebrities, athletes, etc.). Even chads who are successful at business are unable to build large social networks as virgins are. Look at Mr. Money Mustache again, one of my favorite examples, who was probably a nerd in school, who now has more status and wealth than the vast majority of people. It is estimated he makes mid-six figures promoting credit cards and other financial offerings on his website. Another example is Dr. Jordan Peterson, who says he was small and weak as a child, who also makes a ton of money and has a huge amount of status as an adult. Yeah, sports celebrities are an exception to this rule, but there are so few of them that they are statistically irrelevant to the bigger picture.
But also, unlike as recently as a decade ago, online, there is much less tolerance for spouting off uninformed opinions, unfounded generalizations, and conspiracies, and those who have correct and helpful and nuanced opinions are bestowed a lot status by their communities, such as in the form of up-votes, points, ‘gold’, and other digital regalia. As the post-2016 growth of the IDW and centrism shows, people are tired of bullshit, tired of sensationalism and sentimentalism, tired of stupid, overly opinionated people [as the viralness of this meme shows]. If you sound like an arrogant, ignorant chad, you will be punished for it. (Again, this is only for the internet. Offline and in other forms of media such as TV and radio, chads have more leverage). There is a strongly positive correlation between the log-score of one’s digital clout (such as Reddit Karma or Stack Overflow points) and personal income, status, and IQ. So for example, if one takes the log base 10 of Reddit user karma, one gets a power-law distribution. So a 1/10,000 > rarity of Karma corresponds to a 1/200 > rarity of IQ and status, and maybe 1/50 > rarity of income and wealth.
But what about choosing communities and groups that have fewer soys and virgins. The thing is, due to IQ, the shared narratives and the internal value system is invariant of ideology, so avoiding left-wing political forums will not necessarily mitigate it. The value system is the same for finance, left-wing, right-wing, and even crypto forums. You would have to go to a community has has dumber people overall.
Overall, even if one finds soy/virgin mannerisms annoying, it seems to be working for them as measured by the quantifiable data such as status, which can probably explain why the behavior persists in spite of the fact many don’t like it. Also, because humans tend to be status-seeking, behaviors that confer status are propagated. 2 or 3 generations ago, chads and jocks had the upper-hand, but not anymore.