“Online Orthodoxy”, or rather online “Orthodoxy” is a strange mixed bag depending on the platform on which you engage with it. On Twitter, for example, you have mostly right-wing reactionaries, conspiracy theorists, and Jay Dyer fans (but I repeat myself). On Reddit, you have largely left-wing, Orthodoxy in Dialogue types. My thoughts today take aim at the former.
While it may not always seem so, I do love the so-called “Orthobros”. While their zeal is often misplaced, I’ll take it over apathy, and while I believe they would be better suited turning off screens and grabbing a prayer rope, their interest in matters of theology and matters of history is at least something upon which a strong foundation can be built.
The one silver lining I can’t seem to find, though, is the bizarre obsession with “Chad” culture. I’m sure you’ve seen the memes. Orthobros tend to want to be like Chad, but they tend to fail in doing so in the same way that brand accounts generally fail to shitpost with the level of quality that @Wendys does. Like when Burger King tries to insult the twitter mastermind at Wendy’s, so too does an Orthobro often look like a fool when he tries to exude the Mediterranian masculinity that is “Chad”.
I say this as a Millennial talking to a vastly Gen-Z-populated community. This is partly why I try to be very charitable when reading through my Twitter feed. I remember my angsty teenage years and early 20s. If my parents saw my AIM chats or my Myspace posts, they probably wouldn’t “get it”, the same way I assume there’s much I don’t get with Zoomer Twitter which frequently overlaps with Orthodox Twitter.
There’s a certain appeal to being on the inside of an esoteric joke, and outdoing one another with hot takes on Cookie Monster’s baking efficiency is certain to draw a response from those on the outside, especially half-wit journalists. I understand this completely. This kind of social media use is intended to trigger those with whom you don’t wish to engage in actual discourse. The Gigachad thing doesn’t seem to have the same effectiveness. Female Orthodox on Twitter have repeatedly confirmed this.
The oft-heard complaint is that there are no good women with whom the young would-be Chad can ultimately settle down. The blindingly obvious reason for this is that the Trad Wife the average Chad is seeking is simply not an active social media user - she is an active saucepan wielder. And should a prospective Trad wife - with cradle Orthodox chastity, convert Orthodox zeal, right-wing political takes, and the burning desire to marry - take a break from sandwich making to venture online, I wonder to whom she would be attracted?
The problem is that the perfect Trad Wife tends to have much higher aspirations for marriage than your average Chad on social media. That’s why there are “no good women”. The women being sought after exist on higher planes of existence.
Gandhi famously said, “be the change you want to see in the world.” The principle applies here: be the man your prospective wife would actually want to marry. A Trad Wife is one who believes that within a marriage a man sacrifices his life daily for his wife, and a wife submits her will daily to her husband. I’ll say this plainly. If you’re expecting a woman to submit herself to you, you’d better be worth submitting to. If the only public persona you give off is one of demeaning women and self-aggrandizement, women who believe the “Trad” things about marriage are going to look elsewhere, as they should.
This is why the memes about Cookie Monster are different from the memes about wife-beating. Unless you believe that treating prospective spouses the same way you treat political opponents is an effective strategy, mayhap it’s high time to abandon the complaint that the supply chain of good women is the problem on Twitter.