Steve Sailer contemplates the riddle of women and their whoring for handbag status. It’s a worthy topic, because handbags appear to confer no sexual market advantage to women, and yet women spend inordinate time and money acquiring the latest trendy makeup container. “Hey, sexy mama, I noticed your Birkin handbag, and it is turning me on!”… said no straight man ever.
“But, CH…” you ask, “if, as you claim, the sexual market is the one market to rule them all, how do you explain women and handbags?”
Easy there, brosephus. I think the best explanation is the one Steve gave: Women use handbags as a signal they can carry with them everywhere to advertise the alpha male-ness of their husbands/lovers, and the women’s ability to secure commitment from their alpha men. Since most people will presume the burn money for the handbag came from a
soulmate wealthy male donor, the pricey handbag serves as a relatively inoffensive proxy for a woman’s own SMV.
Why the connection between alpha males and HSMV women? Because we subconsciously know in our ape-shaped brains that the more attractive a woman, the better able she will be to land herself a high status man who, himself, will have the options open to him to capture the interest of beautiful women.
Why doesn’t the kept woman just flaunt her pretty face and sexy body to send the same signal more directly? Because in the world of alpha males with sexual market options and the women who circle them like hawks, that is a little too threatening to other HSMV women in her social milieu. She risks total social ostracism from other women if she sluts it up beyond the acceptable norm for her group.
I have another theory about women and handbags that parsimoniously bridges their behavior to the primary demands of the sexual market: Handbags are a sort of runaway sexual selection module gone haywire, similar to brawn on men, a secondary sexual display in men that is still attractive to Western women despite the environmental conditions having radically changed so that male muscularity is no longer needed for survival. But some men take it too far, bulking up in the gym well beyond the point of usefulness, and most women don’t have any special preference for men with bloated roid muscles.
The handbag, under the female inverse of this theory, is just an extension of a sexy, hip-hugging cocktail dress and beautifying makeup. The former do increase a woman’s sexual appeal to men, and women, knowing this on a deep limbic level, have evolved to maximize their efforts at improving their appearance. This evolution for female self-beautification has “spun out of orbit”, resulting in the modern predilection for collecting and showcasing feminine accessories like handbags, despite male indifference to them.
Philomathean adds some heft to the sexual market primacy theory of female handbag collection,
Handbagism is a signal of aggression females employ to communicate the accumulation of tangible and intangible resources.
This is a good point. Women can be aggressive with one another, but their particular brand of aggression doesn’t make headlines or rouse moral umbrage because it isn’t delivered through fists and projectile weapons. “Handbagism” is aggressive signaling to other women who could be potential poachers of husbands and boyfriends. An expensive handbag is one way a woman intimidates her competition from entering the arena. It says, “Hey, my man is fully committed to me, and deeply in love with me, as you can see by all the stuff he lavishes me with, so you’d be wasting your time trying to seduce him away from me.”
Remember, sexual infidelity is a man’s worst fear, while love and resource infidelity are a woman’s worst fear.