As someone who has spent more than a decade completely captivated by astrology, this feels personal. Surely these potential suitors can't be talking about me? My fingers tighten on my Tarot-themed phone case as I fume over the unfair, preconceived opinions of men I've never even met.
"Astrology tattoos are a major ick," one boldly asserts. Another match kindly lets me know that, as a journalist, I am "too clever to believe in all of that rubbish."
I rush to Instagram in search of reassurance from my male followers in the form of a poll. Instead, an insulting 30 percent of them confessed they would never date someone who was keen on astrology. I'm offended but not shocked. A study by Pew Research found that 37 percent of women believe in astrology, compared to just 20 percent of men — and sadly, this isn't the first time I've come up against those with an astrology aversion.
There are thousands of viral memes and TikTok videos that all seem to echo the same opinion: people who like astrology are naïve, stupid, unhinged, and undateable. I turned to the experts to get to the root of the issue.
Why Do Straight Cis Men Seem to Hate Astrology?
While some of the most successful astrologers are men (big up Russell Grant and Jonathan Cainer), astrology is typically seen as a women's club. According to psychologist and sex therapist Barbara Santini, astrology has been "feminised" over time, meaning many men dismiss astrology purely because its demographic is largely made up of women and queer folks.
Astrology advertising and merchandise, from mystical stationary to zodiac makeup palettes, are undeniably directed towards women and femmes, playing into gendered stereotypes. Even astrological social media accounts often have feminine screen names. Take, for example, @glossy_zodiac and @astrlgybabe.
As a result, many men don't feel welcome in the community and react by guarding their masculinity and undermining astrology. "To most men, astrology is too girly or immature, which explains why they disagree with it or deny its validity," Santini says. "This creates a negative perception of astrology and the women who like it. For some men, the refusal of astrology is linked to toxic masculinity, which does not allow them to enjoy the same things as women."
What Is a Birth Chart?
More frustratingly, there's a huge misconception around what astrology actually is. When Jack from Hinge or Joe on Tinder thinks about astrology, his mind is likely to jump to newspaper horoscopes and memes — and that's part of the problem.
Both of these are forms of star-sign astrology, which ignores the existence of the birth chart. There is no way that all Virgos will come into money this week or that every single Taurus is a materialistic foodie who loves a lie-in. Star signs are just a form of entertainment, not the pinnacle of astrology.
It's the birth chart, a map of the sky at the time you were born, that reveals the good stuff. It details exactly where each planet was at this magical moment in time. Every planet has its own unique energy, and their placements reveal a little nugget of information about each person, from their sexual kinks and likely career path to their attachment style and romantic tendencies. (Star signs, on the other hand, are dictated exclusively by the sun.) I, for example, am a unique combination of Aquarius with an Aries Moon, Libra Ascendant, Capricorn Venus, and Pisces Mars. Admittedly, I probably wouldn't believe in astrology if I didn't know this and thought that astrology meant that every Aquarius has the same traits.
Ironically, male resistance to astrology could be written in the stars.
"Men might have an issue with being reduced to a vague box. And can we blame them?" male astrologer Ekow Assifuah-Eshun says. "Look at the watered-down star-sign astrology that is being put out. It's not the full story. Men are victims, too."
Ironically, male resistance to astrology could be written in the stars. In astrology, the sun represents masculine energy, and the moon represents feminine energy.
"The sun is all about your core values, and it's ruled by fixed sign Leo — so men in general tend to be a little more stubborn in their beliefs," astrologer and manifesting coach Melanie Bentley-Moore explains. "The sun is the centre of our solar system. It's stuck in one place, and the planets move around it. In the same way, men may naturally expect the views of women to move around and meet theirs."
Interestingly, Bentley-Moore has never had a paying male customer. "Whenever men show interest in booking a reading, they never go through with it," she says. "One guy mentioned that he was scared of what it would reveal. I think men like to stoically stick to what they know. If a man is more receptive to astrology, it will probably show in his chart through lots of feminine placements (Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, and Pisces)."
Is Astrology Linked to Witchcraft?
This might sound far-fetched, but hear me out. The male discomfort with astrology could stem from social conditioning that dates back to the witch trials of the Middle Ages. That one-night stand who was creeped out when he saw the sage and crystals on your nightstand? Yeah, it's giving major "burn the witch" vibes.
In the medieval period, and even before that, many women earned a living from spiritual trades such as herbalism and divination, which were seen as natural feminine gifts. However, as the Catholic Church grew wealthier and and more powerful, it started to vilify these trades. Even though astrology was still studied by male scholars, women were persecuted for similar practices. Women who were caught performing these newly "evil" activities, such as healing and palm reading, were punished and burnt at the stake.
"The church leaders felt threatened because they wanted people to follow their god and find their answers in the Bible, as opposed to the Earth, skies, and intuition," Ceryn Rowntree, therapist and author of "The Divine Feminist," says.
Maybe that's why men see astrology as false and threatening — it's a belief that's been passed down from our ancestors.
Is Astrology Scientifically Proven?
Men who dismiss astrology always whip out the same argument: there is no scientific evidence to support astrology. I hate to break it to you, but astrology and astronomy were actually studied together as a science until the 1700s.
Kings and queens hired trusted astrologers to help them make political and military decisions, and medieval physicians looked to birth charts to diagnose patients. Astrology didn't fall out of favour until the Enlightenment period, when the Church and scholars decided that astrology wasn't worth studying anymore, and we just . . . listened.
"The people with the money got to shape what we study and know as science today," Rowntree says. "There might be no scientific proof of astrology, but that's because there isn't funding for research. Maybe if we were to fund a study on 'does technology go haywire during Mercury retrograde,' the research would find that it does."
And just FYI, some studies have shown support for astrology. A Colorado State University study found that vets see a dramatic increase in the number of pets rushed to the emergency room on a full moon: a 23 percent increase in cats, and 28 percent in dogs. More of this kind of study, please!
There is no straightforward answer to why men generally dislike astrology, but if I've learnt one thing from my research, it's that this isn't going to change any time soon. Toxic masculinity, dulled-down newspaper star signs, meme culture, and social conditioning act as barriers to men discovering the richness of astrology, and that's not their fault.
So, the next time you're mocked for liking astrology, take a deep breath, light some incense, and send them the link to this article. You might just find your match with a covert astrologer yet.