We all know the guy who does whatever his girlfriend or wife orders him to do. You ask him if he wants to hang out, and his trained response is, “Let me ask my wife.” They joke about the “Ole Ball and Chain,” but is it really a joke? Or does it seem like an accurate description of their relationship? He has allowed or even wanted to be imprisoned by the desires of his wife. These men have lost frame.
The concept of framing or frame has many applications from the political to the intergender. The idea is that people act under established frameworks. All people have a framework or set of assumptions they use to navigate life. Your religion, politics, maxims, etc.. are all examples of different frameworks. These are ideas you’ve usually chosen to have influence over you. That’s what makes frame powerful. Whoever or whatever has it can influence people.
People and organizations are always trying to influence us. The most obvious example is advertisements. Ads try to compel us to buy something or to make an action of some kind. Usually, an ad will use emotion and a perceived benefit to get us to do what they want. And while marketers may be the most obvious example, our coworkers, friends, spouses, etc.. all directly or indirectly influence us in similar ways. This interpersonal understanding of frame is how the Manosphere defines frame. Someone who “has frame” is the person who has the influence in a situation.
I’ve referenced the concept of frame in the past. But I figured it was time to define it and discuss it as I think it’s probably the most crucial concept the manosphere talks about. It’s undoubtedly the most practical. Understanding and establishing frame is the one thing any man can do that will instantly make his life better. He’ll become more attractive and more assertive.
Frame can be a bit of a nebulous concept. It’s something you feel. But a way to understand frame is what or who is influencing your actions. It determines under what assumptions you are making decisions. In most interpersonal relationships, you should have the frame over yourself. A simple way to test if you have frame is to ask yourself, “Am I doing this because I chose to?” If not, there’s a good chance you “lost frame.”
In the example of the married friend above, he “lost frame.” The base assumption is that the wife is in control of the family. He defaults to her. He is operating under “her frame.” She leads the family, and the husband submits to her desires. Frame and leadership are intertwined, and it’s clear that in many marriages, the head is the woman. Having a consistent frame in your marriage is a must if you’re going to be the head of the household.
To quote Rollo Tomassi:
Frame is everything. Always be aware of the subconscious balance of whose frame in which you are operating. Always control the Frame, but resist giving the impression that you are.
Frame isn’t just about romantic relationships. Friend groups tend to have a leader. These guys often have influence over the group, and that may not be a bad thing. However, I’m sure you have a manipulative friend who gets you to do something you don’t want to do. That person, too, has a frame over you. Think about every salesman you’ve ever encountered; what do they try and do? They try to establish control. They try to put themselves in a position of influence. This is why a lousy salesman comes off as pushy, and a good salesman comes off as a mentor.
Frame is a part of every interpersonal relationship. And a weak man generally does not have a frame. This why I say being aware of this and working on your frame will instantly make your life better. You will be in control of yourself. Most men spend their lives trying to get other people to like them. They’re constantly operating under the frame of others. This is draining and makes them miserable.
You need to focus on doing what you want to do. YOU need to be the primary influence over YOUR actions. And the truth is, people will like you more for it. Men and women will give you more respect. You’ll be considered more attractive and more of a leader. Working on your frame will make your life better.
Two things to understand:
- Frame isn’t a license to be selfish. You should do what you want to do. But what you want to do should be virtuous. It’s a reminder that you have free will. You need to orient your will accordingly towards God.
- Frame isn’t static. You will not always have it, and that’s okay. Many binary thinkers learn about frame and then think they need to consistently control the frame of every interaction. That’s stupid. Sometimes you won’t have frame. As I said, there are a lot of people who are trying to gain influence over you. It takes energy and strength to block all that out. You won’t always have it. And if frame is a new concept for you, then it’s going to take time for you to develop a “strong frame.” Having frame is a most of the time kind of concept. Society has rules; it’s okay not to always have a frame.
Frame is a big topic and a concept that is better felt than rationally understood. But by starting to look for your frame and the frame of others, you’ll begin to understand the idea. As a man, you are free to do as you please. Are you oriented towards and choosing virtue? Are you doing what you want to do? Who and what has influenced your decisions? If you’re not happy with those answers, you likely don’t have a frame, and you should begin working to improve.