Do You Take The Red Pill Of Performative Gender Expression Or The Blue Pill, Where Tomboys Become Trans Forever?

On any given day of the week, an unsuspecting individual, usually female, will go viral on X, formerly known as Twitter, often for crimes attributed to her more in imagination than in reality, and used as fodder for their ideological preoccupation with making some tangentially related point about modern women.

By Jaimee Marshall6 min read
Pexels/mahdi chaghari

Prominent factions have developed on social media, dividing people into zealous camps united by resentment and projection, be they the red pill circles that stoke division between men and women by feeding men advice on how to conquer rather than cherish women or their radical feminist counterparts, whose accounts are a countersignal to this movement, but no more emotionally mature or sophisticated in content. 

A Historical Account of How We Got Here

There have been four waves of feminism since the late 19th century, evolving from a movement about suffrage into workplace equality, reproductive rights, and re-defined gender roles. As this movement evolved, feminists narrowed in on specific sects of society that seemed to exclude women. The third wave, however, sought to deconstruct traditional notions of gender and sexuality while addressing sexual violence and reproductive autonomy, sometime between the 1990s and 2000s. Today, most scholars would agree we're in the fourth wave of feminism which began around the early 2010s. This wave has sought to amplify historically marginalized voices by centering their feminism as part of a holistic intersectionality that cannot be extricated from other isms like racism, homophobia, transphobia, and classism. Ironically, this movement that fought for women's rights and the destigmatization of female desires for autonomy, independence, and careers now sets its sights on deconstructing gender altogether. 

The fourth wave contends that women's issues can never be divorced from the plight of any other marginalized community and they cannot be exclusionary, even to their biological counterpart – men. The only litmus test imposed on a man before being given permission to encroach on women’s spaces and movements is self-identification. We have now arrived in a curious predicament, where gender is this ambiguous nothing – an antiquated box used historically to imprison women. We know, though, that powerful movements create equal and opposite reactions. As feminists increasingly centered power in the domain of the masculine, predicating female success on conquering male-dominated industries, careers, and interests as our own, having detached casual sex much like a man would, and deconstructing male and female roles altogether, so that they blur into a meaningless blob of vaguery, the message internalized by generations of women was that only the masculine had value.

Enter: The current year, where younger women are finally beginning to reject girlbossery as a false god that enforces masculine ideals of success onto women, regardless of how psychologically damaging or exhausted they make many women feel. Millennial and Zoomer women are increasingly leaning into movements centered around the divine feminine. As a result of a cultural force of nonbinary gender expression, where men are celebrated for putting on dresses and women are celebrated for being CEOs, a “return to tradition” mentality has bled throughout all factions and political persuasions of men and women in an ironic rebellion that brings us back to the status quo. 

The Interconnectedness, for Better or Worse, of Online Subcultures

We see, on one side, women completely rejecting not just traditional gender expression but the existence of gender altogether. On the other side, we see them finally counter-signaling by coming full circle and embracing feminine power. Take bimbofication, for example – the reclamation of exaggerated hyper-feminine beauty, sexuality, and a semi-ironic ditzy persona. It’s a reclamation of this carefree, glamorous, sexual persona, much like the black community has done with certain slurs, re-defining them by embracing rather than rejecting them. Whether it’s bimbofication, divine femininity, self-identified hypergamous women who follow SheRaSeven, or trads, we are seeing a split within modern female identification – people who believe gender is entirely socially constructed or that gender expression ought to be very specific.

Men who have perceived a culture-wide condemnation of masculinity as toxic support antagonistic forces like the red pill movement and revere unapologetically masculine stereotypes like Andrew Tate. They provide men with a very clear blueprint: make a lot of money, buy a lot of expensive cars, don’t simp over women, and women will flock to you. These men often describe women as pawns in a game to be played and conquered, insisting it’s just “the way things are” due to women’s hypergamous nature. This lifestyle, often born out of a resentment or paranoia about women constantly searching for a higher status man, ironically ensures they exclusively attract the most hypergamous women in the world.

This type of manosphere content that scrutinizes women is usually self-fulfilling. Build an entire persona and lifestyle that attracts a certain type of woman, complain about said woman, and extrapolate that onto all women. If you sprinkle in some grains of truth in the process, it seems all the more credible. The bimbos and followers of SheRaSeven seem to be a response to this male-female dynamic. SheRaSeven is something of a female version of a pick up artist for sugar babies in training. She essentially teaches women to treat relationships with men as transactional by leveraging their beauty and sexual power to get something out of the relationship, such as money, security, a lavish lifestyle, and princess treatment. However, it may not be fair to ascribe this viewpoint to traditionalists, as the people who espouse these views are never actually very traditional, but they are at least adjacent to the trad movement through association and posturing. They’re more like outrage bait artists who capitalize on the most provocative elements of trad women and manosphere men.

New-wave traditionalists express such narrow beliefs about gender roles that any slight deviation from the divine feminine or divine masculine constitutes transsexualism. 

Gender expression has become increasingly regressive and performative within these online spheres, so much so that seeing a woman who doesn’t immediately conform to a very limiting definition of femininity triggers this contemporary brain rot. Before you know it, she becomes the focal point of deranged discourse on the essence of femininity, with glamorous former beauty queens turned news commentators spouting vapid talking points about how helping your dad hammer a few nails makes you in essence a man.

New-wave traditionalists express such narrow beliefs about gender roles that any slight deviation from the divine feminine or divine masculine constitutes transsexualism. But, of course, it doesn’t make her a man, which may upset ice queens riding on perfectly manicured nails and microbladed eyebrows. Liberals get enraged witnessing a woman softly narrating her sourdough baking video, ascribing a litany of other beliefs onto her, like Christian nationalism. In all cases, it seems the element of choice and variation has been erased. Gender roles are sold in bundle packages along with a ton of additional ideological baggage you never signed up for.

Gender Roles: Is It All Performance?

There's this pathological insistence on labeling activities as inherently feminine or masculine, with claims that performing certain behaviors or interests excludes you from either camps. Manosphere gurus and female trad LARPers insist that the gender binary can only be affirmed through narrow gender expression. Men helping their wives in any capacity with their newborn babies, washing a dish, going to therapy, or liking outdoorsy women with Southern accents are gay. Women who don’t have perfectly manicured nails or who are resourceful and self-sufficient by learning useful skills regarding cultivating their own food and maintaining their own house are spiritually men.

We're in the midst of a war on normality, where the chronically online now "perform" masculinity with Lamborghinis, money, and a cartoony machismo that feels forced and inauthentic. Women perform femininity through tradwife cosplay like children roleplaying adults. A woman is more than a costume and a man is more than his Bugatti collection to anyone with normative discernment, but because we live in a time of extremes, being a warm, bubbly, compassionate, kind, and sweet woman is no longer the bedrock of what makes a woman a feminine woman. Now, it’s as superficial as her clothing, hobbies, and abilities. Launching a war over these inconsequential hobbies and using them as evidence that American women are basically men only affirms the socially progressive view that gender is all a performance not rooted in anything deeper.

Differential Markers Between the Masculine and the Feminine

Masculinity and femininity have a myriad of components to them, some of which have to do with visual expression, but also temperament. A warm, compassionate, nurturing disposition is characteristic of a feminine woman, while a stoic, logical, courageous disposition is characteristic of a masculine man. These are stereotypes not divorced from truth, but of course there is variance between individuals. The most reliable behavioral difference between men and women is in interest – women are more interested in people, while men are more interested in things. The most significant personality difference between men and women cross-culturally is that women are much higher in agreeableness and neuroticism. There are, though, men with feminine temperaments (Jordan Peterson, by the way, describes himself as temperamentally feminine) and women with masculine temperaments, but if a human is missing a leg, it doesn’t make humans any less bipedal in nature.

According to the scientific literature, men and women are more alike than they are different, even cross-culturally and in societies where men and women are the most different. However, what small differences do exist are of some significance. These differences only become more pronounced in the most egalitarian societies, which indicate to us that they are not culturally learned or socially constructed but manifestations of our biological predispositions. 

A tomboy is a woman with masculine traits, which can consist of wearing masculine clothing, playing physical sports, or other activities usually associated with males, but what we associate with the masculine in clothing and hobbies is more malleable and variable cross-culturally than temperament. I notice it’s always these hyper-disagreeable, competitive, unpleasant, and unempathetic women who are the loudest on social media in starting witch hunts against supposedly “masculine” women participating in male-coded things, even if she exhibits a strikingly warm, nurturing, kind aura about her. There is an intrasexual competition angle at play here, no doubt. 

Women are women regardless of what they wear or the hobbies they partake in; the existence of tomboys need not be pathologized. 

We don’t need to burden men and women with tyrannical monitoring of their interests. About one in ten women has a masculine temperament, while about one in ten men has a feminine temperament, according to clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson. That’s quite a lot of people occupying the world in some start of variance of gender norms. Quick, start them on hormone therapy and fundamentally alter the course of their lives forever – or, accept that people have personal preferences, perhaps for ultra-masculine or ultra-feminine women that are perfectly valid, but the tomboy love is no less so, and judging by the opinions of males on X, in no short supply. Women are women regardless of what they wear or the hobbies they partake in. Their existence need not be pathologized

Hypocrisy Manifest

We are now holding men and women to standards that the smuggest, most dogmatic drivers of this discourse cannot themselves live up to. Most conservative "traditional" women in the modern era are working women, fully able to financially support themselves without a man. “Tradwives” cosplay a lifestyle from a time that no longer exists, made most obvious through the medium they express their nostalgia through – a video-sharing platform where women can monetize and create their own followings, paradoxically becoming a fixture of desire for thousands of onlookers while preaching modesty and submission. Divine femininity accounts on X preach about the importance of being a feminine woman, all the while chastising women for being "masculine" despite exhibiting masculine temperaments.

It's all become a farce, a war on normality, and it's not convincing anyone that these culture war players are any more sane or reasonable than the liberals who think being drawn toward masculine toys as a child means that they're trans. These new subcultures continue to branch off into continually divisive movements with uncompromising ideals. Around 2014 to 2016, we saw the anti-feminist movement bubble up as a much-needed response to the ridiculous onslaught of made up grievances constantly being spouted by mainstream feminist thought at the time. These movements have continued to branch off into increasingly radical, out of touch ideologies which are, by the way, not composed of the same people. 

Now there is a sizable manosphere community, who go much further than the anti-feminist commentators, ultimately just echoing the same sentiments as the feminists but from the opposite point of view; it’s horseshoe theory in action. These movements continue to create equal and opposing forces, with radfems now forming a significant online following due to increased radicalization and demoralization, seeing that women are being held to impossible standards. This drives unsuspecting men into red pill circles, and so on. These chain reactions will continue until it collapses like a house of cards.

Closing Thoughts

Armchair social commentators present us with a false dichotomy: the blue pill, which permanently sterilizes tomboys with gender hormone therapy for failing, unironically, to adhere to the gender role binary, or the red pill, which ostracizes men and women with atypical interests of their gender. Simultaneously, political divisions have become more pronounced, echo chambers trap already resentful people in negative feedback loops with self-fulfilling prophecies, and outrage bait gets amplified on social media, fueling disingenuous takes for clicks and ad revenue. 

Support our cause and help women reclaim their femininity by subscribing today.