Mating skew refers to mating success difference between individual members of the same sex. In other words, mating skew is a scientific term for the severity of the chad-incel dichotomy in a species, or the inequality of dating in a species. A closely related concept is, "reproductive skew", which measures the same, but for reproduction.
A high mating skew (for example, among males of a species) would mean that a few individuals of that sex effectively monopolize mating.
Theories of an “incel rebellion” inevitably stemming from a high mating skew in society seem to be on shaky grounds, as research into the effects on human sex ratio on violence and mating behavior provides conflicting evidence on the role a large number of unmated males play in driving social instability. It is more plausible that widespread mating skew among a human population serves more to cause physical lethargy, disengagement from IRL social situations, and a decline in altruism among young males in these societies rather than necessarily leading to widespread chaos and societal collapse.
Relevant human studies
Mating skew may increase with sexual options in monogamy
In 2009, Lenton et al. found that as the number of mating options in a monogamous speed-date increased, so did mating skew among the participants of these speed dates. In other words, high choice of partners in monogamy may exacerbate the incel-chad dichotomy, and monogamy may only benefit incels when human freedom is curtailed. The researchers attributed the high mating skew to decision fatigue when having to choose one person among many. Lenton & Francesconi (2011) instead attributed the high mating skew to confusion about desired qualities when there is a larger number of mating options.
It is not known if these findings would apply outside of dyadic (one on one) mating contexts such as speed dating or online dating, as individuals may take more complex and harder to correctly evaluate traits into account when making mating decisions in broader social settings. Intrasexual competition, social pressure, complex “extended phenotype” related cues, and simple propinquity may play more of a role in driving these decisions in those specific contexts.
For further reading
- doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2008.08.025 Lenton, A. P., Fasolo, B., & Todd, P. M. (2009). The relationship between number of potential mates and mating skew in humans. Animal Behaviour, 77(1), 55–60.
- doi:10.1007/s12110-013-9186-8 Betzig, L. (2014). Eusociality in history. Human Nature, 25(1), 80–99.Betzig, L. (2014).