Thursday, June 20, 2013

Seduction Artists (Possible Trigger Warnings)

(WARNING: The following post will contain strong, graphic content.  It will quote passages from the above book.  Many of these passages are graphic and at best, extremely problematic.  Potential rape, sexual assault, and physical violence triggers.)\

(This is not the blog post I intended to write for today.  I have other things I want to talk about.  And I largely missed the train on backlash and outrage because it all happened yesterday. But I want to vent my spleen.  Because of that, interspersed through the post are hopefully funny and positive messages to try to make you feel not as hopeless by the end of the post, although God knows no one would blame you if that's how you did feel.)

*headdesk headdesk headdesk headdesk headdesk *

I am at a loss for words, guys.  How in the ever-loving fuck did the above project get funded--not just get funded, mind you, but get MORE THAN 8 TIMES IT'S GOAL!?

You may not know what I'm talking about.  Let me explain.

Have you ever heard of Nice Guys?  Not nice guys, as in, good people who happen to be men that are genuinely decent and honest and awesome.  Those guys are...well...nice.  No, I'm talking about Nice Guys.  These are the guys that complain about the Friend Zone, about how they can't meet women, about how they can't get girlfriends.  The reason they've become known as Nice Guys is because one of the most common things you'll hear them say is some variant of "Why does [female friend] not want to date me instead of that asshole she's dating?  I'm a nice guy!"

The above project (brought to my and the world's attention by Casey Malone) is a big bag of pulsating ass cankers because it continues to perpetuate a very dangerous and disgusting subculture in America, and that's the world of the pick-up artist.  It's the world in which guys figure out "tricks" to meet women and get them to start dating or (more usually) to have sex.  These guys have all kinds of technical terms for various tools of the trade, one of the most common of which is negging--that is, throwing out a double-edged "compliment" that insults at the same time that it "compliments."

The idea is to lower women's self-esteem imperceptibly to slowly make them more and more willing to engage in sex.  You lower their standards enough that they eventually think they can't do any better than you, in other words, and should be grateful for the attention of deemed to give them.

You see the problem right?  The icky shit that is present right from the get-go?

The above project backed on Kickstarter, if you watch the video, sounds innocent enough.  It sounds like it's just a how-to guide for meeting people.  However, it is a handbook that is intended to reveal tricks like the aforementioned negging to convince women to sleep with the guys practicing the tricks.

To echo Seanan McGuire from Twitter, women are not video games.  You can't just enter a cheat code to unlock the secret pussy level.  They are human beings.

This whole subculture reeks of misogyny because the basic premise is not on meeting people and making genuine connections, but on figuring out ways to trick people into sleeping with you.  It makes me sound anti-sex, which I'm not.  I am, however, anti-douchebag, and anti-treating-fellow-human-beings-as-if-they-are-objects-that-only-exist-for-my-pleasure.

Because this book teaches incredibly dangerous lessons.  It doesn't just put the wind in the sails of a few lonely guys looking for encouragement, it encourages the already overly dominant rape culture.

What do I mean?  The following quotes are all taken from the passage "Physical Escalation and Sex," which has since been removed from the Reddit he originally posted it on...probably because of all the shit he is deservedly getting.  Thankfully, it was Google cached so you can see the joy for yourself.
"Obviously everyone's beliefs and situations are different, but I am writing this section with sex as the goal. Adjust appropriately if you are more interested in slowing things down. Just keep in mind that it's MUCH easier to enter into a fruitful relationship with a woman AFTER you've made her cum a half-dozen times. And that's true whether you're looking for a wife, girlfriend, friend-with-benefits, or anything in between." (emphasis mine)
 On Nice Guys:
Man #2: The Non-sexual Nice Guy 
The Non-sexual Nice Guy is, by all accounts, a friendly person. He tries to be kind. He hopes that, by being nice and cordial, he will win the girl. He holds doors, doesn't complain much, and gets lots of compliments from women. He shirks away from public displays of affection. He's deathly afraid to offend others. He "likes" girls' Facebook comments often. He too, goes for the kiss at the end of the night, and more often than not, is rebuffed. He has had the "Let's just be friends" conversation more times than he's proud of.
There are a few problems with the above section.  1) It assumes that people that act decently toward other human beings are non-sexual because...they're...nice?  2) The person being described is clearly a Straw Man meant to represent the ideal weakling. He shirks away from public displays of affection?  What, when other people do it? What business is it of his?  Or when someone does it to him? Because if you're shirking advances, that's why you're not getting laid, dude. 3) The stuff being described that the Nice Guy is doing is treating someone like a human being, but only for the end goal of getting sex.  So, he doesn't deserve sex, or any physical or emotional intimacy from anyone because he is using being nice as a disarming tool to trick people, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is being a dick.

But it gets worse:
This scenario happens all the time. A man is on a date with a woman. The man fails to touch the girl and only goes in for the kiss at the end of the night. He goes home alone. His internal dialogue says, "WTF why won't girls hook up with me? I guess I'm in the friend-zone again." 
Meanwhile, the woman goes home, confused, wondering if the guy likes her. Her internal dialogue says, "I thought that was a date. I guess he just wants to be friends?"
This is another confused moment in this guide book.  See, he portrays the Friend Zone as a place that women put men in earlier because they have no interest in the guy for whatever reason.  But here it's just a silly misunderstanding between the two of them, ha ha ha!  But why on Earth would they end the date thinking the other only wanted to be friends when they end the night with a kiss?  I mean, I guess it depends on the kiss, but since the words "goes in for" are used, I'm assuming it was romantic in nature.  Like, it wasn't a polite peck on the cheek?  Clearly he made the first move?

Now, misunderstandings happen in relationships all of the time, and this is a situation that could have been avoided through more communication between the two of them.  But does the author advocate more communication?  Does he advocate talking to your partner and figuring out their likes and dislikes?  Perhaps asking, "Hey, could I see you again?  Could I kiss you?  Would you like to continue the great time we've been having at my place or yours?"  Nope.  His solution is physical intimidation.  No really:
ALWAYS BE ESCALATING! That entire miscommunication could have been avoided if the man had just escalated physically. Don't fall into that trap!
All the greatest seducers in history could not keep their hands off of women. They aggressively escalated physically with every woman they were flirting with. They began touching them immediately, kept great body language and eye contact, and were shameless in their physicality. Even when a girl rejects your advances, she KNOWS that you desire her. That's hot. It arouses her physically and psychologically. (emphasis mine)
Like, you see the problem with this, right?  At the end of the night, instead of asking his date, "I really like you.  Do you mind if I kiss you?" the man should have been pushy and aggressive?  Because nothing says sexy like a guy that doesn't know when to quit, amirite ladies?

This also continues to reinforce the "she was asking for it" ideas of rape culture.  When women are raped, you often hear things like "she secretly wanted it," "she secretly liked it," "she was asking for it."  It took forever to get the concept of "no means no" in the popular consciousness, and it did a little bit to dispel the whole "she secretly wanted it" thing.  Not 100%, but better.

However, "no means no" is a flawed concept because it relies on the woman having to say "no," otherwise that implicitly means the greenlight, which is bullshit.  This encourages men to physically dominate women and force them into sex.  Even if they reject you, they secretly like it.  Just keep at it.  Eventually you'll wear 'em down.  Because nothing is sexier than whining until someone throws you a pity fuck and/or is too scared of you and what you might do to say no.
The concept of "waiting for signs" or "Indicators of Interest" was commonplace in older pickup theory. It is 100% garbage and needs to be erased from the face of the planet.
Never, ever, ever, wait for a SIGN before you escalate! You will miss out on the vast majority of chances if you sit around waiting for SIGNS. Men are notoriously bad at reading women's minds and body language. Don't think that you're any different. From now on you must ASSUME that she is attracted to you and wants to be ravished. It's a difference in mindset that makes champs champs and chumps chumps. (bold emphasis his, underlined emphasis mine)
Is that how you deal with human beings?  Like, if you're eating at work, do you just walk up and take your coworker's dessert because you wanted it and you just assumed they'd be willing to let you have it?  It doesn't work for regular old material things, so why in the fuck would you treat a human being this way with their body?
Decide that you're going to sit in a position where you can rub her leg and back. Physically pick her up and sit her on your lap. Don't ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances. (bold emphasis his, underlined mine)
Now that you have made your intentions abundantly clear to the girl with your body language, touch, and words, you will find yourself in situations where women are very receptive to your advances. Now is the time to ramp up the physical escalation. Hopefully you've managed your logistics and can get her into a private, intimate setting for what follows...
Isn't it interesting that in this section, the author talks about how body language can be hard to read (for men), and that therefore you should just operate under the assumption that they're attracted to you, and then, IN THE SAME SECTION, goes on to say that your action are justified because you were signaling them to your prey (no better term for it) with body language??

image from: the new
It's much more effective to sneak a kiss in during the date, at the first opportune moment. It diffuses the awkwardness of sexual tension. Grab her and kiss her. Sneak it in when she least expects it. 
I would like to point out that sexual tension is not awkward...or it shouldn't be.  Sexual tension is hot.  It's not just the act of sex, that build up to the moment, that is so incredibly sexy.  Why would you want to diffuse that?  Also, grabbing someone and kissing them is sexual assault.  The best way to gauge this is to imagine someone that you're not attracted to grabbing you and kissing you with no warning and without asking.  You like it?  No?  Then don't do it to someone else.  It's rude.

And then we get back to horrifically problematic advice:
Likewise, when you get a girl home. I highly advise to go for the makeout as soon as possible (In the back of the cab, in the elevator, as you're opening your front door, etc.) This sets a sexual tone and diffuses awkwardness that can lead to additional resistance. 
While you're doing this, grab her by the hips and pull her into you. Press your groin right into hers. Make her feel your erection. Trust me, this turns women on incredibly. 
Let your hands roam free. Squeeze her ass. Rub the side of her breasts. Rub your hands up and down her legs. Make her push your hand away as you get closer to her vagina. Fucking ravish her. 
Grab her hair on the back of her head, by the base of her neck, and pull it back aggressively. Pause and stare her in the eye before going back in.
These aren't just awkwardly worded phrases.  These demonstrate that a serious sociopathic lack of empathy and understanding of fellow human beings.  Every single description is not just tips for how to make her happy, it's about how to be as aggressive as possible to squash any objections she may have.  You're wearing her down and eventually forcing her to have sex.  That is fucked up.
Grunt, moan, tell her how fucking hot she is. Tell her you love her tits. Tell her how fucking hot her pussy is. This is not the time to be shy!
*snicker*  This part just made me laugh.  I mean, I'm trying to imagine saying this to my wife, or having my wife say something similar to me.  It just sounds goofy and awkward.  Maybe it's the emphasis he has on fucking hot, but it sounds like something someone parodying college bros would write.

It should be noted that this next passage is in the "Sex" section.  However, based on the way it's written, I believe this is supposed to be used after making out  So, you've been making out, touching each other a little, and then...
Pull out your cock and put her hand on it. Remember, she is letting you do this because you have established yourself as a LEADER. Don't ask for permission, GRAB HER HAND, and put it right on your dick.
Tell her to suck your dick. Be dominant. Tell her how fucking hot she looks with your dick in her mouth.
Be passionate! Passionate sex equals good sex! This is NOT the time to be shy.Slip on a condom and fuck her like a champion. Pull her hair, slap her ass, move her around. Fuck her from the back, let her ride you. Experiment with each other! Ask her what her favorite positions are. Touch her everywhere, including her arms, legs, throat, face, and breasts. Make her cum with the force of the hammer of Thor. Rock her fucking world.
All emphasis above is his.  I mean, forcing someone's hand on your dick without permission, forcing someone to suck your dick, pulling someone's hair, slapping them...this all sounds fucked up.  And remember this isn't isolated.  If someone is into spanking during sex, hell, more power to them.  But people into kinky sex have safe words, they have safeties set up to ensure that things don't go awry.  This guy is encouraging all of this dominance to ensure that the prospective woman doesn't object, that she doesn't fight back.  This is rape in every sense of the word.

It's interesting that after all of that.  After all of the encouragement to do with the woman as you please, don't wait, kiss her, grab her, pull her into your lap, kiss her without asking, make out with her, grind your crotch into her, force her hand on your cock, force her to suck your dick, THEN you can ask her about what positions she's into and how she likes to have sex.

I just...I don't even.  The fact that this book was published exposes a deep sickness in this culture that needs to be dealt with.  And soon.


Kickstarter responded to the outrage that the project caused thusly:
"This morning, material that a project creator posted on Reddit earlier this year was brought to our and the public’s attention just hours before the project’s deadline. Some of this material is abhorrent and inconsistent with our values as people and as an organization. Based on our current guidelines, however, the material on Reddit did not warrant the irreversible action of canceling the project. 
As stewards of Kickstarter we sometimes have to make difficult decisions. We followed the discussion around the web today very closely. It led to a lot of internal discussion and will lead to a further review of our policies."
For much better words on why this is absolute shit and terrible, go read Casey Malone's follow-up post.


Kickstarter apologized.  See here for the actual apology.  See here for my thoughts.