About 'Alpha+Good'

Alpha+Good (sort of a bad wordplay on Orwell and machismo) is a side project that belongs to 'Onklare taal' ('Unclear language'), the umbrella of several of my literary projects in Dutch. This section is almost exclusively in English and comprises my ongoing thoughts on progress, gender, politics and various other social themes. Are you a little lost? This link will take you right back to my home page.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Why pick-up artists are super-creepy

Most people who have seen 'Magnolia' probably remember the character TJ Mackey, a self-made man whose avowed mission is to help shy, confused men score better with women. In a brilliant portrayal by Tom Cruise, TJ Mackey turns out to be a broken egotist with parent issues and pretty misogynist beliefs. Unfortunately, 'Pick-Up Artists' or PUAs fit that misogynist caricature almost to a T - maybe without the daddy issues, but the misogyny is definitely there. Why?

1. In their quest for sex, women are reduced to mere objects. Now, plenty of people, both male and female, can go out looking for sexual gratification and that's fine. However, PUAs take objectification to an extreme that treats women as complex machines where all you need to do is input the right sequence of actions to gain the desired result.

2. It is insincere. Again, everyone has probably given a compliment they didn't really mean, or exaggerated a trait to make themselves look better in the eyes of someone they desired. For PUAs, everything's a game, literally, including the entire faux-scientific-sounding jargon. If you google the term, you'll come across a wide variety of forums with a mind-bogglingly long list of jargon.

3. It is degrading. By assuming that men need to manipulate women into sex, PUAs believe that a woman doesn't desire sex herself. There's a subset of PUAs who concede that women do desire sex but are socially conditioned not to let it on too much (which is unfortunately true), but that doesn't mean that it's a-okay to aggressively pursue sex solely on your own terms, with a complete disregard for another person's feelings and thoughts. Even worse is that some popular PUA tactics rely on actively destroying a woman's self-esteem to make her comply with what you want, which borders dangerously close on rape.

4. PUA culture has a veneer of helping out socially awkward and shy guys. The problem is that what sound advice it has to offer (be confident, learn to accept rejection, dress yourself well, have something interesting to say, don't be a doormat) can be found elsewhere too, and is completely distorted into some weird form of mimicry of how socially successful people behave.

5. It's interesting to note how PUA culture solely revolves around getting laid. Relationships are discarded because PUAs seem to believe that women are vile creatures who will always seek ways to dominate and destroy men. That's not only another example of glaring misogyny, it's also damaging to how men should view themselves - as sex-crazed automatons incapable of forming an emotional connection with someone else.