Virtue signaling is the act of signaling compliance with norms, i.e. compliance with values shared within a culture. Excessive virtue signaling is also called a moral panic. People virtue signal to either…
- to reinforce norms (i.e. reduce the chance of others acting in disfavorable manner),
- to lower the chances of being socially excluded for violating the norms and evade shaming (especially when one is vulnerable/low status or has violated the norm or a tendency to do so),
- to elevate one's status by appearing virtuous, or
- to put somebody down (intrasexual competition).
Either way it is conductive to reproductive success, explaining why humans do it.
When women lie about their sexual preferences, e.g. when they say looks do not matter and that even nice and weak men are attractive, they engage in virtue signaling as feminism and political correctness push norms for women to value these things.
Runaway virtue signaling[edit | edit source]
Virtue signaling itself reinforces the norms, so over time the norm becomes stronger and then the need for virtue signaling becomes stronger.