The red-pilled communities that make up the Manosphere are full of widely accepted though unexamined premises. A perennial favorite of these is “the wall,” an age threshold at which women shed their outward sex appeal, transforming into unwanted (and functionally invisible) old crones. According to especially bitter men, women tend to wear out their looks, or “hit the wall,” by 30, or even as young as 25. This they take as a comfort: Any attractive woman who won’t give them the time of day will soon have a taste of the misery that comes with rejection.
Like much of the pseudoscience and sociological claims you read on incel and men’s rights forums, this is complete bullshit, easily dismissed if you have even a minor awareness of reality. However! On the subreddit r/FemaleDatingStrategy, where women take a hard-nosed and unsentimental approach to the indignities of dating men, some users are less interested in debunking the concept than turning it around. Last year, they seized on publicity photos of the cast of Friends as evidence that men, rather than “aging like fine wine,” hit the wall harder than women. “Those are men in their prime, right?” wrote one commenter, adding laugh-cry emojis.
While not all the women in this forum are interested in wielding a tenet of the Manosphere against it — a vocal minority protests lending “the wall” any legitimacy — many can’t help noting the weight gain, receding hairlines and blemished skin of no-longer-youthful men. In theory, they’re triggering the guys who assume they’ll have the sexual charisma of George Clooney at 50 or 60, but that assumes those guys are reading these threads. Really, it’s a practice of calling men ugly or repulsive in order to maintain the high-status mindset that characterizes the FDS philosophy, which emphasizes the necessity of “weeding out” undesirable, low-value suitors.
“I often find women to age way better than men do, I don’t understand where this idea came from,” writes one FDS member about “the wall” as typically explained by red-pill groups. To which another responds: “Hilariously, with the appearance gap getting wider and wider, it’s really becoming impossible to gaslight not only themselves but also women into thinking women have any sort of ‘wall’ compared to these pot-bellied wrinkly bald scrotes. Wonder what kind of cope they will come up with next?”
It’s a penetrating insight into how misogynists seek to keep women down while puffing themselves up, but it’s also a reminder of the superficial concerns that everyone, regardless of gender or orientation, brings to sex and romance. For every positive FDS post about a woman blasting through the wall by aging beautifully — 71-year-old Sigourney Weaver on the red carpet, a TikToker’s 40-year-old aunt — there’s plenty more chatter on the tragic fate of the male body. It’s no different from the attitude they’re critiquing.
Oh well. On the one hand, this reversal is fair game: When someone declares you worthless, you can’t help pointing out that they’re no prize themselves. And it’s true that a dude is no candidate for a relationship while he believes in the wall. Yet mirroring a toxic culture isn’t an effective way of unraveling its dogma. Far more constructive are stories in which a 30-year-old woman awakens to the patriarchal lie and finds that, rather than being spent and discarded by men, she is more sought-after than ever, partly because of her maturity and self-assurance.
Although, if we’re truly keen to preserve wall theory, maybe there’s a compromise to be struck…