What happens when your boyfriend discovers the 'Red Pill' community
It’s a feminist’s waking nightmare. The man you love stumbles upon a misogynistic online community and finds himself agreeing with many of its major talking points.
My boyfriend recently discovered The Red Pill, a Reddit forum where men’s activists gather to discuss male oppression. Here, thousands of bitter dudes convene to rail against our cultural understanding that men are the most privileged members of society. The opposite is true, they insist — women have it better than men.
I’m no stranger to the Red Pill and other chauvinistic men’s rights groups.
I’ve spent countless hours talking with pick-up artists, (primarily) men who have mastered the art of seducing women; Men Going Their Own Way, scorned straight dudes who have sworn off sex and relationships with ladies; Incels, fellas who have grown furious, and even become violent, because they can’t get laid.
Almost every time, I walk away from our conversations understanding where they’re coming from and agreeing with their perspectives. I initially assume they must be total assholes for their involvement in men’s rights groups, but sometimes end up actually liking them.
This time was different. This was my boyfriend, and he was bound to see a very different side of the Red Pill-ers than I had.
Sure, these guys are cordial when you get them over the phone. Presumably, the ones I’d talked with were less misogynistic than most of their counterparts, given their willingness to explain their perspectives to a feeble-minded woman like myself.
But on Reddit, the platform where he had spent Lord-knows-how-long absorbing Red Pill rhetoric, people are fucking awful. Under the veil of anonymity, these men are free to spew endless hate about how women are the fundamentally weaker sex. About how their thought processes are uniformly idiotic and effortlessly manipulated. About how you should strive to have sex with as many of them as possible, and do so by treating them like shit.
When my boyfriend first found the Red Pill, he tried to glean an understanding of the community’s ideals by reading through its most popular discussion threads of all time. He brought up some of the topics he found most compelling, presumably to discuss them with me, because he values my opinion or some shit.
For example, the firing of a male Google software engineer who wrote a manifesto criticizing Google’s efforts to close its gender gap. My boyfriend agreed with the guy’s assertion that Google should not make a concerted effort to hire more women and racial minorities, and consequently discriminate against white men.
The Google manifesto became cherished by the Red Pill community in part because of its support for the idea that biological differences make women less suited for leadership roles. Its author insists that women lack assertiveness, and thus have a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up and leading. They have more “neuroticism” and therefore can’t handle high-stress jobs.
The memo fed into the Red Pill conviction that evolutionary differences should lead to each gender carrying out its designated role in society. Of course, my boyfriend concedes, men and women are biologically different.
Yes, I respond, but this person is drawing limitations on women’s capabilities. Asserting that men should be leaders and women should be subservient. Impeding women’s ability to advance their careers, and then likely agreeing wholeheartedly with one of my favorite Men Going Their Own Way mantras: that the gender pay gap is more of an “accomplishment gap.”
Our argument starts here, but does not end for hours. We go on to debate the need for feminism in a culture that seems, to him, entirely equal already. We discuss the finer points of Red Pill sexual strategy, which he obviously finds merit in, evidenced by his ownership of the pick-up-artist’s bible, a book called "The Game." We hash out the pros and cons of Stoicism, debating if cold showers or refusing to masturbate can really improve our quality of life.
Ultimately, my boyfriend’s discovery of The Red Pill wasn’t an awakening to some “truth” he’d been missing, although that’s what the title’s Matrix reference would have us believe. It was a lively debate to have over beers, and a fascinating insight into how profoundly our genders influence our perspectives.
Now, I offer a warning to my fellow women, who believe their partner the most progressive, female-friendly, gender-inclusive, social justice warrior the world has ever known — there’s a little bit of Red Pill in him, too.