Monthly Archives: May 2014

Snippet: today in What Creeps Me Out About PUAs, or Women Are Not A Game

Silly me.

While reading a discussion about a PUA today, I inadvisedly jumped off to a pualingo link (running it through donotlink of course, to deny these creeps the web traffic) and Oh My Dog… the entry on “compliance momentum” reads like something out of a freakin’ interrogation guide. The pseudo-military pseudo-psychologist language (“target”, “compliance”, “rewarding good behaviour”) and ass-covering “you totally shouldn’t use social pressure and all her actions should be uncoerced and not the result of power plays, winkwink” while discussing how to manipulate someone’s emotions and insecurities to gain power over them is disgusting. So far as I can tell “compliance momentum” is a synonym for “establish a basis for guilt-tripping a girl about ‘leading you on’ when she decides she wants to set a boundary.”

Then there’s the entry on Field Reports, which read like a bunch of gamers collaborating on how refine their technique against a particular boss enemy. You’re using the wrong weapon! No, you have to parry first, THEN you can use the Spear! She’s immune to Elemental damage!

These ideas, and from my experience a lot of PUA mentality, share two certain base assumptions:

That women are essentially interchangeable, like the dudes you kill before you get to the Boss

This one is obvious. Any mindset that tells you there’s a “right way” to pick up women is fundamentally flawed and assumes that individual variations between types don’t matter. To extend my further analogy, it’s treating a woman at a bar as an Orc that you have to jump towards, sidestep an attack then backstab! Instead of as Jenny, who works in marketing but is thinking about doing something a bit more meaningful, who likes to chat with people but has a thing about being touched on the elbow, who can’t stand insincere people. So any attempts to “escalate kino” are likely to frustrate the PUA when she recoils at him moving his hand up her arm, and his body language is going to totally tip her off that he really couldn’t care less about her job. Then the Field Report will no doubt pick apart the “tricks” he should’ve used to “close” despite the fact that what actually happened was he went for a backstab and found out Jenny wasn’t an Orc, but an actual person who can’t be reduced to tactics.

That any simple and reasonable idea is still reasonable when amplified and turned into a “playguide”

This one is more insidious. Because on the face of it, and in the shallow end, a lot of PUA ideas seem innocuous and even beneficial. Helping shy guys talk to girls, that’s totally a worthwhile pursuit, isn’t it? Most people do in fact only allow a minimal amount of touch with people they’ve only just met, and become more comfortable with greater tactile interaction as they spend more time together. It’s just common sense that someone will be more agreeable to later suggestions if they’ve found earlier ones agreeable, surely.

Theeeeeeeeen you go starting to think of those ideas as the rules of the game engine rather than as consequences of individual people’s preferences, and it’s a short jump to the idea that “women” are just a particular class of enemy that needs a particular set of equipment or skills to defeat. And then you start buying into the idea that if you’re unsuccessful in defeating them, you just need better equipment or to level up your skills! So you go deeper into the community, and look for cheat codes. This is where we get to ideas like “negging” and “compliance”, which in the PUA world are discussed as just showing you’re a Manly Guy who Knows What He Wants and can Win Women Over With His Force Of Personality. Whereas negging is actually seeing if a woman is vulnerable enough or insecure enough to swallow the mouthful of shit you gave her in order to get the compliment, and compliance is the process of continually disrespecting a woman’s boundaries to see how much she’ll force herself to put up with because of social norms about Not Making A Scene and Not Overreacting and generally questioning her own autonomy.

Then you get to the far end, where these guys have entirely bought into the mentality that Women are indeed an enemy that needs to be defeated, and that any impediment they put up to letting you sleep with them can be overcome if you’re just aware of what glitches to exploit in the game engine. This is where we get truly awful concepts like the Anti-Slut Defence, a construct PUAs have invented to justify sexual assault. The basic premise is that no woman wants to think of herself as a “slut” even when she really wants sex, so when she wants to change her mind about the idea just before the deed is done, it’s just so she can think of herself as a “good girl” and she really wants to go through with it – it’s just another way of playing hard to get, and once you’ve fucked her you won’t hear any more about how she didn’t want it because you’re so good in bed, amirite?

Of course if you think that’s reasonable you’ve swallowed a lot of harmful assumptions – that women have no right to revoke consent, that the fact she changed her mind it had nothing to do with seeing you for the predator you are once you got her naked, that women shouldn’t want sex and will not admit that they do, that women say “no” when they really mean “yes”, that women who don’t complain afterwards were fine with the experience and certainly not raped, that women who DO complain are just regretting the act and really wanted it at the time…. I really could keep going but you get the idea.

This is what feminists mean when they call PUA a “guide to rape”.

Women are not a game.


First post: Isla Vista and misogyny, or Why Men Need To Step Up

A week ago I’d never heard of incels. I’d always assumed that MRAs were a fringe group of bitter divorced ex-husbands and PUAs were entitled spoiled brats, and that both groups were tiny slivers of resentment. I thought that people who rejected the PUA mentality finally grew up and realised that it was bullshit because it’s about treating women as less than human and tricking or intimidating them into sex.

I thought that mass murder was a big red line marking the Moral Event Horizon, and that people wouldn’t come together to condone a mass murderer’s actions even if they agreed with parts of his worldview.

I was a lot happier a week ago.

Now I’m sick to death of seeing “NOT ALL MEN~!~!” plastered all over the web. I’m almost moved to tears by the resignation and despair emanating from the #YesAllWomen hashtag, where so many women have told their stories about everyday abuse, rape, harassment, stalking, and generally having men ignore their boundaries … and the response to these stories is that the women hate men?! I can’t even fathom that level of self-centred-ness.

I’m sickened by the number of men trying to argue for some kind of twisted state-sanctioned obligation for women to put out for any man who wants sex. Or that if The Murderer had just learned better tricks to fool women into sleeping with him, lives would have been saved, and just BY THE WAY we have a book you can buy which details those tricks!

The thing that fills me with the most rage and sadness? That newspapers, TV news, bloggers, commentators, they’re all scratching their heads and saying “What caused this? Why did this man turn violent?”

It’s not a fucking mystery, guys. This individual left 141 pages of venomous ranting about women’s inferiority, about how he thought they should all be punished for the “crime” of not worshipping him. He left a goddamn YouTube clip detailing what he was about to do – murder women he felt had denied him what he deserved.

We know why he did what he did. HE TOLD US. Because he thought women existed to serve men’s desires, and more specifically his. Because he didn’t think of women as people, not really. Because he’d grown up in a world that had reinforced the message, time and time again, that what he deserved was whatever he wanted, because he was a (white cis able-bodied affluent) man, and that made his wants and needs more important than other people’s. Because he surrounded himself with other men who believed, as he did, that if he wasn’t getting what he wanted from women, it was the fault of women.

This is rape culture. This is misogyny. This is all too typical, and all too accepted, and all too depressing.

Why isn’t misogyny being discussed as a factor in this horrific incident? My guess is the same reason that air pollution and sunshine aren’t – because they’re accepted as such constants that most people don’t even acknowledge their presence.

Mental health wasn’t the issue here. Let’s flip the “Not All Men!” defence for a minute. Not All Mentally Ill People go out and kill people. In fact, statistically speaking they’re far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. Millions of people with mental health diagnoses are not going to go out and kill women who don’t sleep with them.

Gun control isn’t the issue. It’s certainly a factor, and that’s a whole other discussion I’m not gonna have here because while I believe gun control is a feminist issue I don’t think it was the primary problem in this case. The fact that the first three people killed by The Murderer were stabbed is pretty clearly indicative that gun fetishism wasn’t this guy’s major malfunction.

And women were not to blame. I shouldn’t even need to say this because c’mon, what the fuck? You cannot fundamentally believe women are people and also believe that they were responsible for this fuckwit’s actions. If anybody thinks getting turned down for a date or sex is justification for violence, that person is the problem, not the person who turns them down. I’m not sure I can put it any more succinctly than that except by screaming incoherently.

The problem here was misogyny – the hatred of women. The refusal to accept women as valid agents of their own lives. The denial of their humanity. The attitude that when a man wants something, it’s a woman’s duty to provide it with a wink and a smile. The poisonous entitlement of Nice Guys(TM) who are anything but, and resent both women who don’t fall for their deceit and men who gain female attention through honest, up-front interaction. The mindset that “involuntary celibacy” is a huge problem that requires the world re-aligning to grant the complainer everything they want with no effort on their part. The fact that domestic violence kills every day and it’s not newsworthy. The wounded-bear rage of “Men’s Rights Activists” who hide their crusade to punish women behind a veneer of legal and ethical pseudobabble and flimsy statistical “evidence”. The sneering contempt of “Pick Up Artists” for women’s values and wants and boundaries. The constant, ever-present depiction in popular culture of a guy who Won’t Take No For An Answer as endearing, determined, truly devoted, until the incredibly hot girl realises she’s been in love with him the whole time – and the guys who fall for that idea without ever acknowledging that it’s really stalking.

It’s all part of the same insidious thing, guys.

This incident has opened my eyes to how many men there are who genuinely think women are not worthy of making decisions about who to date, kiss, fuck or spend time with. That disgusts me. Men are better than that. We are. We need to let these men know what we don’t share their caveman views about women’s inferiority. We need to step up and show the world how many men their are who don’t think of women as blank canvas for the projection of our desires or trophies to be brandished to prove our Man Power. We need to reinforce positive ideas about the value of women’s perspectives and opinions. That we won’t tolerate them abusing women’s insecurities to get into their pants. That we believe in appreciating all that women have to offer the world and that we want equality, not domination.

Women are people. Men are also people. Can’t we just be people together, without stupid notions of “winning” and “losing”?

Striving towards a world where equality isn’t laughed at as an idea,