Sailer on Status

Steve Sailer also pipes up on status with a Saileresque argument:

Men can invent all the status hierarchies they want, like World of Warcraft (as noted by Half Sigma), but women don't have to be impressed by them. Ultimately, some status hierarchies (e.g., the Forbes 400) are higher status than others (e.g., nerd competitions like World of Warcraft) because the highest status male hierarchies in America are whichever ones attractive women are most impressed by.

First off, Steve makes it out that status competition is just a male thing. It emphatically is  not. It's true that women don't have to be impressed by gamer geeks, but a large part of my point was that nobody has to be impressed by anything. Men don't have to be impressed by Playboy bunnies or heiresses either. But I'll go with Steve's phallocentrism to keep it simple, and because, naturally, I know more about status and mate competition from the guy side.
Some subcultures attract fewer women, and some attract more. But we can enjoy status without ever cashing it in for a mate. So it is possible that guys who already have below average mating prospects feel more free to opt into status games that women aren't generally impressed by. They might do better with women if they rated a solid middle on a dimension more women cared about. But maybe still not that great, and at the perhaps high cost of diminished experienced status. If the quality of woman attainable as a mediocre guy on a broadly respected status dimension strikes the guy as disappointingly low, then loneliness (mitigated by technology and the extralegal service sector) plus high status as a geek may be a better deal overall.
And of course, there always are some women involved in any male-dominated subculture. Some are outliers who just happen to like whatever the guys are doing. And others stumble in and discover that the scarcity of females creates such intense competition that available females can reap all sorts of benefits in terms of attention, emotional investment, and command of material resources that may not be otherwise so easily available to them. The geek who opted for status may find himself with a good woman after all, and, better yet, one who is more likely to admire what he's really good at.
I agree that other things equal, a guy with a lot of money, or a guy who's famous, is going to have an easier time matching up with an “attractive woman.” But this may also cause a filtering problem, with lots of “attractive women” who you won't really like pulling out all the stops trying to convince you that you really do (ever watched The Bachelor?) The really satisfying match can get lost in the shuffle. And somehow I seem to know lots of fellows who are with wonderful, attractive women despite the fact that their attributes are not in furious demand among women in general. I know I'm counting on it! Furthermore, my sense is that a guy who jumps on a broadly admired status dimension, and makes a mad dash for the top just so he can find an attractive woman, is likely to end up rather less happy than his divorce lawyer.

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center