The Rational Male – Positive Masculinity (2017) is the third book of “The Rational Male” series and, on top of the usual analyses on social and female-male dynamics, also expands the red pill philosophy to parenting, marriages, and child-rearing.
Positive Masculinity Summary
About The Author: Rollo Tomassi is possibly the most popular “Red Pill” author at the time of writing.
The “Red Pill” is a mostly-male community congregating around topics of masculinity, male rights, seduction and general self-development as well.
This is the third installment of Rollo Tomassi “The Rational Male” trilogy, the previous two being “The Rational Male” and “Preventive Medicine“.
#1. Don’t Get Married
This is not one of Rollo Tomassi’s iron rule, but for many men in the west, it should probably be.
Under contemporary Western circumstances, there is no advantage for men in a state of marriage and 100% advantage for women
More than “advantages” I would probably talk about risks.
For an average man getting divorced could mean being kicked out of his house and put in dire financial straits.
And if he’s wealthy and the divorce is nasty, a man is often forced to pay huge alimonies even though the wife might not have worked at all.
That is quite a sorry state of affair for men who might want to get married.
#2. Assess Her Long Term-Suitability (Without Being Afraid of Being Called Judgemental)
Not all women are the same.
And men should assess women based on their character, their traits as well as their past.
The “feminine imperative” doesn’t like that, says Rollo Tomassi.
And our culture shames men who judge women as a defense mechanism to gain more power and control for her.
So a man who would judge her for her past will be labeled as “close-minded”, “conservative” or “judgemental”.
My Note: I totally agree here.
These are games played at a social level, and I think they run deeper than “mem-women” interaction.
This is simply one example of the current craze of political correctness.
#3. Assess Her Prior Lovers
Rollo Tomassi says that the number of lovers a woman has is statistically proportional to her odds of cheating and getting divorced.
Women will cover up their sleeping around saying it was a “journey of self-discovery” and that “she’s not that person anymore”.
Rollo Tomassi says:
The single most important thing you can do is to vet her according to her sexual past
My Note: Prior lovers are important, but there is more
The number of previous lovers is important, but I’m not sure it is the most important indicator of the likelihood of cheating.
Also, the relation is not as linear as Rollo Tomassi implies.
A woman with 0 lovers might be more tempted to “try out what it feels with someone else” than one who’s had, say 3.
Or a woman who’s never had an orgasm before is not safer with you but more likely to be “awaken” to sex and might want to try now with someone else again.
But, Rollo says, it’s not just about the quantity, but also the quality.
It’s important for a man to know if she’s been with alpha men before and how you stack up against men.
Women who’ve been with alpha men before will always long for an alpha (alpha widows).
#4. Masculinity Is Not a Mask You Wear
Rollo Tomassi says that our society is always ready to jump on a man who acts masculine.
And one of the favorite ways is to accuse him of “wearing a mask”.
Masculinity is a mask he wears, and not the real him. It’s something he puts on to hide his insecurities
I see what Rollo is talking about it, and I have experienced it as well.
Same as Tomassi, I am not a big fan of accusations of “acting” when you’re just behaving like a man.
My Note: I agree, but masks are also real
Albeit I agree with Tomassi, I would also raise a flag here saying that many men do try too hard often and many also do feel forced to act (I can see the sons of red-pill fathers feeling like they need to put this act just for being accepted by their fathers, for example).
Also read “Alpha male posturing” and “The Mask of Masculinity” for more on the topic.
#5. Seduction Keeps Going in Relationships
Rollo Tomassi says that it’s a mistake men commit to end the seduction phase when the relationship starts.
The PUA skills, including for example the cocky funny, must keep on going in the relationship.
Tomassi discusses some techniques he himself used:
- Take away (see one example in this article)
- Use the “right quantity” of alcohol for
- Breaking up is a demonstration of higher value (read how to deal with break up threats)
- The dread game (ie.: stoke jealousy with triangulation)
My Note: Watch out for toxic relationships
I would only advise the dread game as a last-ditch effort to someone who’s losing interest or to someone who’s already in a toxic relationship and needs to defend himself/herself.
Otherwise, avoid it: why would you want to be a toxic partner in a toxic relationship?
And, finally, he recommends an old manosphere rule to control the relationship, such as:
- In any relationship, the person with the most power is the one who needs the other the least
I discuss the “need her less fallacy here“.
It’s not that it’s not true: it certainly is.
But it presupposes a win-lose relationship and a combative attitude.
There are better and healthier ways of being the leader in a relationship.
- Relationship power dynamics: the basics stages of power negotiation
#6. The Feminist Celebration of “First Woman To…” Are Ridiculous
Rollo talks about women celebrating for another woman doing something for the first time, as if it were a crushing blow to the “patriarchy’ and as if they all won together.
He is right.
Unluckily if you’re on social media it’s hard to escape.
Men do it too.
A woman gets in a position of power of responsibility, and people find a reason to celebrate it.
And when there is no woman doing something for the first time, now we start getting the “second woman ever” or “third woman in 20 years” kind of “news”.
I find it sectarian, divisive and, well… Purely idiotic.
Positive Masculinity Criticism
I’d like to preface this section of “Positive Masculinity” criticism saying that I focus more on the criticism in my reviews than on what I agree on.
There are already plenty of positive reviews for Rollo Tomassi’s work, and many people who will visit this page already know how his work can help.
For my part, I believe I can provide more value by focusing on the criticism.
For a video overview of the red pill pitfalls, see here:
For this specific book, keep on reading:
#1. Children-Inculcation Can Be Harmful
“Positive Masculinity” discusses parenting and child-rearing.
It’s good to instill good values in future generations, but what’s “good” is debatable.
In my opinion, a good education should provide the framework and fundamentals and then let the children decide what to build -or if to build at all-.
Rollo Tomassi obviously doesn’t it that way.
A lot of guys with teenage sons want to hand them a copy of “The Rational Male” before they turn 18. Or maybe 15. Some even say 12.
I have to think that this is too late
I shuddered reading this.
This echoes my previous criticism in “Preventive Medicine” that the way Rollo interprets Red Pill is sectarian and cult-like.
I think that the sons and daughters of fathers who are going to grow liberals will have a poor relationship with these types of red pill fathers.
And I feel for the LGBT sons and daughter of red-pilled fathers.
Red-pilled fathers are going to emotionally impact on their own LGBT sons and daughters of red-pilled fathers.
Can’t you also see a huge emotional train-wreck looking with a gay son being inculcated into Rollo Tomassi’s ilk of masculinity?
And I would instead advise men not to try to push anything on their children.
After all, you never teach preaching from an altar. You always teach by example and by virtue of who you are.
#2. Bad Masculinity Inculcation
I certainly don’t consider myself a “feminized” person.
And some do consider me a red pill writer.
But the way Rollo recommends raising boys is not one something I agree with and for sure it’s something I would have hated growing and strongly rebelled against.
This is his recipe for men:
- Include your sons in exclusive male spaces
- Only men are allowed in those spaces
- In a feminine world it’s important he feels valued in those “male-only spaces”
- He must learn to socialize like a man before he is feminized by society (ie.: meet with a purpose and communicate to reach that purpose instead of talking for talking’s sake)
- Institute some kind of rite of passage for him from being a boy to being a man
- The right of passage must be uniquely male for which only boys are qualified for
This is typical “strict father morality” as seen in the manosphere.
It echoes Jack Donovan in “The Way of Men” and what Sebastian Junger writes in “Tribe”.
And to me, they feel like kids in kindergarten. You know when boys say “we don’t play with girls?”.
Yeah, that’s what it feels like to me.
I was that boy… In kindergarten.
But today… Today I prefer playing with girls :).
#3. Should We Complain Mothers Put Children First Instead of Their Husband? I Don’t Think So…
I felt Rollo Tomassi’s compaining that mothers put children first felt like whining.
What should a man expect, that his wife keeps babying him instead?
Rollo Tomassi says that a man who complains about is accused of acting like a child.
That does sound childish indeed.
As a matter of fact, Susan Forward, therapist and Ph.D., says that wanting to be put first is a salient trait of misogynists, some of whom haven’t completely pulled away from their mother and now still seek to be mothered (Forward, 1986).
It’s funny because Rollo does talk a lot about “male burden of performance”, but he does not seem to accept it in this area.
Sure, I can understand that it might be somewhat painful for a man to be “dethroned” and when a baby enters the scene.
I totally can.
But at the same, I can’t agree with a man who stays stuck in that mindset and complains about it.
A man of the household who wants to be a leader needs to take the leader’s burden.
And it’s a simple deal, really, the leader’s burden is to do what you must do without expecting a reward.
If the reward comes, great.
If not, welcome to the leader’s burden.
You know you’re doing the right thing, and that should be all you need.
It’s not true leadership if you expect someone to baby you, reward you, and take care of you.
The core of leadership is that you take care of others.
Sure, you might wish sometimes someone put you first.
But expecting that is truly the wrong mindset.
The Godfather said well:
Women and children can be careless, but not men
That could be translated into:
Women and children can expect to be taken care of, but not men.
Or at least, not men who aspire to be leaders’ role models.
#4. Confuses Self-Gene Enslavement With “Alphaness”
Rollo Tomassi says:
Top tier men don’t raise other men’s children, and she knows this
But I must wonder if it’s “top tier” who don’t do it or simply more selfish, callous men.
I think many men who read on red pill sources and learn on some evolutionary psychology -much of it wrong, BTW-, end up committing a typical mistake which in psychology is referred to as “naturalistic fallacy“.
The naturalistic fallacy postulates that “what’s natural is good”.
Thus, Rollo Tomassi seems to imply, what’s good for the genes is good.
But I take a different view: what’s good for the genes enslaves you.
I paraphrase Richard Dawkins here, author of “The Selfish Gene“:
Learning about evolutionary psychology should help us free ourselves from the dictatorship of the genes, not become its slaves.
To be clear, as of now, I wouldn’t even think of dating a woman with children and raise them.
But I wouldn’t judge the quality of other men only because they get into relationships with women with children.
Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Hugh Jackman, they all adopted.
And some of the men I respect the most are those who have been able to break free of their selfish-gene condition (I’m not there yet, BTW).
That’s true freedom.
#5. Weak Mindset on “Comparing” With Previous Lovers
I do agree that the quantity and quality of her past lovers is very important.
It’s a crucial aspect of relationship power dynamics to understanding what’s his leverage and whether or not she will look up to him.
But I think it’s rather unhealthy for men to obsess about it and the best way to be the leader of the relationship is, paradoxically, to not worry about it.
Because confident men don’t need to compare themselves.
Confident alpha men just are alpha.
They don’t run computational tables to make sure they are.
#6. The Orwellian Case of A Society Designed Against Men Is Overblown
“Positive Masculinity” paints a picture of an Orwellian society designed against men.
In my opinion, this is overblown and exaggerated and it permeates much of Tomassi’s work.
For example in “Positive Masculinity’ he writes:
The Village will teach your boys to feel shame for being less perfect than girls (…) to the point that transitioning their gender to girls will be the norm (…) the village will…
Again, same for the previous books, Rollo Tomassi analysis feels like he’s seeing a pre-planned, super effective, 1984-style brainwashing propaganda machine designed to emasculates men.
And in part, I do see and agree that there is a strong cultural undercurrent in our society that is somewhat misandrist.
And I, as well, reject it.
However, it’s not nearly as powerful -or threatening- as Rollo makes it out to be.
Society is much more complex and fragmented with countless forces moving in all kinds of directions.
Most societies, and especially modern societies. do not lend themselves well to the control of a single minority group.
It just doesn’t work like that.
Just as an example, there are also strong and opposing misogynist forces present in our society.
Heck, Rollo Tomassi’s success might be the perfect example of that.
And to come back to that quote, I don’t personally see around myself any risk that boys will be shamed for “being less perfect than girls” and I don’t think that any boy’s bigger threat is “being transitioned to a girl”.
#7. I Don’t See A Gender War For Education
“Positive Masculinity” makes the point that our current education system favors girls instead of boys.
Rollo Tomassi says that boys are diagnosed with ADHD four times more frequently than girls are.
And that women get more bachelor degrees than men do.
Well, I’m not sure men are diagnosed with ADHD or get fewer degrees because the schools are designed for women.
But alas, I’m not an expert on this so I can’t comment.
What I do comment on though is, again, on this mindset of “boys VS girls”.
It shouldn’t be a threat to men that women are doing well in education.
Men are free to earn those same degrees.
Move your ass and get it :).
#8. Misogynistic & “Women VS Men Frame”
Here we go again :).
But if anything, it might get worse here.
For example, talking about his wife not being sympathetic to his pain:
Due to species’ beneficial hypergamy, women fundamentally lack the capacity to empathize with the male experience
And Rollo Tomassi really seems to believe that women are out to destroy male bonding, in some sort of pre-planned, concerted effort of”divide and conquer” strategy.
Talking about women “inserting themselves in male spaces”, including the locker room, he writes:
(…) to restrict and control traditional male bonding while also fostering infighting amongst in-group and out-group men
Why would they do that, listening to Tomassi?
Because “men congregating together are a threat to the feminine imperative”.
And criticizing the MGTOW movement he says:
This only serves to cede power to the feminine imperative
Obviously, Rollo Tomassi sees the world as a power struggle between men and women.
And that’s a position that I cannot agree with and which I strongly encourage any reader here to distance themselves from.
To paraphrase Greene in “The Laws of Human Nature“: the only way forward is understanding that our only belonging is to the human race.
#9. Positive Masculinity is Conservative, Strict Father Morality to “Being a Man”
Rollo Tomassi says the red pill should remain apolitical.
But it hardly is.
A good chunk of the manosphere is conservative or plain right wing.
Or, at least, it inherits much of the conservative framework.
You can see it quite clearly both in “Positive Masculinity” and in Tomassi’s previous work.
Tomassi embraces what Lakoff defines “strict father morality”.
And that’s where I diverge.
Albeit I’m equally allergic to the political correctness of the effete liberals, I’m also much more liberal on typical conservative themes such as “fatherland”, “rules”, “traditional family” etc.
- Overly Emotional Narrating Voice
I didn’t like the narrating voice. It sounded robotic, which can be OK. And it had some good melodic range.
But it sounded too complain-ey to and whiney for me.
Not the type of voice you’d want for a more balanced, neutral work -but then again, “Positive Masculinity” does not seek to be neutral and balanced-.
- Some studies not quoted
Tomassi says that there are studies proving that women without a father or with a beta father grow with daddy’s issues.
I would have really liked to take a look at a study linking “betaness” to daddy’s issues.
- Some so-so game advice
Rollo Tomassi says that “irrational self-confidence” is one of the key tenets of game.
But I disagree. That’s quite unhealthy and only tries to apply a superficial layer of appearances to personal insecurities.
Much better to build an antifragile ego instead.
This is what I also enjoyed about “Positive Masculinity”:
- The “TL;DR Phenomenon” Rant
LOL, that was a good one.
Rollo says that whenever he makes a “TL,DR” note many readers attack his conclusions without even reading the actual text.
Welcome to the iPhone generation :).
- The Sharol Salzberg Spoofing
I couldn’t stand Salzberg’s “Lean In“.
And Rollo’s spoofing of it cracked me up.
- Some good examples of “beta husbands”
Albeit somewhat extreme and albeit I’m not a big fan of the expression “beta”, there are great examples of, well… beta husbands.
For example, Rollo says:
I have some friends who tell me how fortunate they are to be married to such understanding wives that she allow him to watch hockey on their guest bedroom TV
LOL that was a good one.
And a great example of what to avoid (ie.: falling into a mindset that a partner should “allow” you to do what you like doing).
- Rollo wearing black at a pink-sweater party
LOL that one was fun.
Rollo Tomassi attended a “pink sweater” party showing up, of course, in a black T-shirt.
And, of course, the topic of his insecurity came up.
I remember similar reactions when I refused to take a picture with a huge pink bottle.
And of course, I also rarely show up dressed as you’re “supposed” to dress.
Positive Masculinity Review
Of the whole “Rational Male trilogy”, this was possibly the least relatable for more free-thinking readers.
There are still great ideas, but also somewhat more extremism, more “us VS them” mindset and sectarian views of masculinity.
In my opinion, it’s not benefitting Rollo Tomassi to stay stuck in the red pill only.
By having become one of the thought leaders of the movement, he might be tempted to “intellectually curl up” on his own theory and refuse to consider possible alternative views (groupthink).
And, under the pressure of his own followers, he might be nudged towards more and more extreme positions.
In sum: some good ideas and some great analysis of systemic (and unconscious) manipulation, including some acute observations on group dynamics.
But also very one-sided, misogynistic and potentially toxic for male-female relationships, if taken literally.