Main Character Syndrome and Modern Women
Those of you who spent too much time online might have come across an alternative label for people who in previous eras would have been described as narcissists. This label, aka “main character syndrome” is usually used to describe the self-absorbed, insufferable, entitled, dramatic, narcissist influencer-types who are constantly fishing for compliments and attention. However, as you will soon see, these influencer-types are just the visible tip of a massive iceberg. We just notice them more easily because their most outrageous behavior is amplified by social media. Somewhat lesser versions of this syndrome are however extremely common, to the point where the vast majority of women in western (and many other) countries display the underlying mindset to varying degrees of severity. It is also my opinion that this is a major driver for a lot of contemporary social trends- from high rates of divorce, inability to form pair bonds, high rates of single motherhood, childlessness and high rate of anti-depressant use.
While the term “main character syndrome” is not especially old and came into vogue after smartphones and social media platforms allowed old-school narcissists to act more narcissistic, the origin of this mindset is much older and dependent on certain socio-economic conditions to mainfest itself. I myself first noticed this mindset upon moving here in the late 1990s, though if I had done the same in 2024 it might have been less obvious. To understand what I am talking about, let me describe you what really caught my attention. See.. in most places throughout the world and most of history, people had a fairly good idea of their real status and options in the society in which they lived. Sure.. they were ambitious people and narcissists in every age, but their behavior usually had some connection to the reality of their situation. What struck me when I moved here is that every two bit waitress, retail clerk and pretty much every woman who was not truly wealthy acted as if she was on the cusp of becoming famous, successful, rich or finding a guy with that kind of money.
In the beginning I thought this was a phase which most women grow out of, once they are past their teens and early twenties. But the more I looked around, the more it became obvious to me that women did not grow out of this mindset. Their investment in this worldview kept increasing with age, to the point where women who were no longer young and beautiful usually displayed far higher levels of disconnection from their true market value than their younger versions. If I had a dollar for every time I came across a 30- or 40- something woman who was certain that she would find her magic guy soon or would somehow get that magic promotion or break in her job or career, I would be a very rich person. And they act as if they have endless options even when every aspect of their mundane and often pathetic existence screams otherwise. It is as if they have not learned anything from their lived experience, which is hard to reconcile with them being not mentally-retarded.
My point is that ‘main character syndrome’ aka contemporary narcissism has been the default mindset of most women in western countries for a few decades now. We can certainly come up with all sorts of theories and explanations for why they behave like that and what is the precise mix of socio-economic conditions which facilitated this shift. My favorite theory involves women in the West internalizing the value system of neoliberalism, something I have briefly touched on in a couple of older posts. Your theory might differ, but regardless of how they might have reached this point- it is indisputable that they have reached that a few decades ago- perhaps starting in the 1970s and 1980s? In the past two decades, this has reached a level where it is the new normal. If you disagree with this assessment, tell me about the last time you met a woman around your age (or younger) who was not a self-absorbed, insufferable and greedy cunt who didn’t think that she was just one lucky break or dream guy away from finally “winning”. Not an easy task, is it?
To summarize, the ‘main character syndrome’ seen on social media platforms and among “influencers” is just the most overt and well-known manifestation of default worldview for vast majority of women in Western (and many other) countries in the past few decades. In future posts on this topic, I hope to go in some detail about the many socio-economic factors which allow and fuel this mindset.
What do you think? Comments?