Female Memetics
Grimes' Got Memes

The Science of Nobility delves into the role of the Y chromosome on the social antler, i.e. the memetic footprint of males. Here, we delve instead into the female memetic footprint, its evolutionary role, how it differs from the social antler, and what purpose it serves. Throughout this essay, I demonstrate female memetics using Grimes as our case study. For more information about the emerging field of genopolemology, please visit the Research Institute of Genopolemology.

The Memetic Footprint

Here are 2 things to remember about memes:

  • Memes are the unit of cultural evolution much like genes are the unit of biological evolution.
  • Memes are made by brains are made by genes.

What is the memetic footprint?

The memetic footprint refers to the sum total of memes that a set of genes can take credit or authorship for.

Social Antler Theory

How do you know if a thing is part of your memetic footprint? If it’s associated to you and it can be sensed in some way, it’s part of your footprint. Here are some examples; it is something that can be:

When you add intelligence to the mix, you get a more sophisticated memetic footprint, like that of Grimes. When you add male-type neurodevelopment and testosterone to the mix, the memetic footprint becomes a social antler – a genetic weapon to be used in male-male competition, e.g. a new technology, scientific theory, or artwork.

The winners of male-male competition pass on their genes and the determinant of victory is the social antler, i.e. the memetic output of male-type neurodevelopment, high intelligence, and high testosterone. The more formidable the social antler, the greater the likelihood of victory.

The Science of Nobility

Evolution of Female Memetics

Females sexually select for males which are respected by other males, provided that, like Grimes, they are sufficiently pretty to do so. However, males respect the winners of male-male competition. So whether women are aware of it or not, they are ultimately selecting (or attempting to select) men with formidable social antlers. Unsurprisingly, Grimes was very successful in that regard.

Musk LOL

In any case, there are no known genes on the Y chromosome which code for intelligence-related proteins. Since men were the ones selected for their social antlers but intelligence genes are on the non-Y genome, this means that women have inherited genes for intelligence because it was first selected for in men; see the Y-Dominance effect.

That being said, female intelligence can be used to enhance attractiveness. If you take 2 women with equal levels of physical attractiveness, the one with the more sophisticated memetic footprint will be more likely to be sexually selected by a male with a formidable social antler. This is an example of like attracting like, also known as “assortative mating“.

More importantly, this tells us how and why intelligence is also selected in females.

Purpose of Female Memetics

While women can use memes to enhance their individual attractiveness, there are other ways in which memes can help pass on their genes. Genes tend to have copies of themselves in other people. As such, another way to pass on your genes is to help people who are genetically similar to yourself reproduce. When people like yourself breed, they end up passing on copies of your genes.

When this type of altruism takes place in the context of family members, like parental investment, this is called “kin selection”. When such altruism targets members of a group that is more inclusive than the family (e.g. an ethnic group), it’s called “group selection”.

In the case of female memetics, kin selection can take the form of passing on values and lessons to offspring or solving peer social problems (e.g. helping with a sibling’s marriage). However, group selection is particularly relevant to artists like Grimes.

People tend to cluster together according to shared traits, because the more traits you share, the greater your genetic similarity. In fact, friendships unwittingly tend to form with people who are genetically more similar to each other to the point of them being, on average, 4th cousins:

More than any other species, humans form social ties to individuals who are neither kin nor mates, and these ties tend to be with similar people. Here, we show that this similarity extends to genotypes. Across the whole genome, friends’ genotypes at the single nucleotide polymorphism level tend to be positively correlated (homophilic). In fact, the increase in similarity relative to strangers is at the level of fourth cousins.

Christakis, N. A. & Fowler, J. H. (2014). Friendship and Natural Selection. PNAS (111), 10796-10801.

In other words, there are types of women in the world and Grimes represents one such type. Her memetic footprint doesn’t just help her individually pass on her genes. Rather, women like her, in general, are given a leg up in the dating market. So the female memetic footprint is more than an ornament; it’s a form of altruism for women like themselves.

Altruism of Female Art

Grimes, like women in general, doesn’t just spread her memes to become more credible than other women or to deliberately place herself in a position of being depended on; that’s something men do with their social antlers. Women don’t have social antlers.

In the case of female artists, the idea is to associate pleasure with the phenotypes of the artist in question. This is accomplished thanks to the effect of art on the nervous system: neurons that fire together wire together. Let’s recall Pavlov’s famous experiment. If you ring a bell every time you feed a dog, the dog will begin to associate the bell with incoming food. With repeated exposure, neurons for bell sounds repeatedly fire alongside neurons for food (pleasure). As those neurons wire together, the firing of one of those will trigger the firing of the other, such that Pavlov’s dog would eventually salivate whenever he heard the bell, regardless of whether he actually got food.

When Grimes produces artwork like the one below, the effect it has on men is to make neurons for a “hot girl” fire alongside neurons for an “artsy girl”, i.e. a girl who is fun, adventurous, open to experience, creative, intellectually libertine, and sufficiently stubborn so as to go against the grain.

With repeated exposure to Grimes’ memes, those neurons will wire together such that thoughts of a “hot girl” will trigger thoughts of an “artsy girl” and vice versa: thoughts of an “artsy girl” will also trigger thoughts of a “hot girl”. In so doing, Grimes is helping artsy girls like herself pass on their genes.

Similarly, the effect it has on women like herself is to associate “being artsy” with “being desired”. Not only is that inherently a positive effect on artsy women’s mental health (i.e. a well-deserved self-esteem boost), but it also encourages artistic endeavors.

In a world that presents young aspiring women with the false (and ridiculous) dichotomy of either being a baby factory chained to the kitchen vs being a childless careerist spinster, one must wonder if perhaps applying the science of female memetics might present healthier, more pro-social alternatives, like being an artist.

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Conceptual Open-Source License (COSL)

The original ideas and arguments presented herein are published under the COSL license.