Anti-feminism – ‘The Red Pill’ makes me feel sick
No platforming won’t work with groups like this…
JACK BENDA, Week 3: Jack talks about ‘The Red Pill’, an anti-feminist Reddit group, and he doesn’t even know where to start.
Frankly it made me feel sick when I first started looking through it. I got that gut feeling of ‘this is really bad’. I am even worried that by writing about it I’m giving it a platform, but I’m not for censorship, and I hope that we can all agree that it is really screwed up.
Even the title, ‘The Red Pill’, carries some pretty strange ideas. If you’ve seen the Matrix then you’ll know that taking the red pill is a symbol of seeing through the illusion of society. This illusion is part of a complex system set up by intelligent machines to use human bodies as mini electricity generators while our consciousness is inside a computer (I know… just watch it after exams).
That’s a great name – perhaps it could be a metaphor for big business and exploitation? No. Governments and the electorate? No. The glass ceiling? Warm, but no. They are using this metaphor to argue that modern society is a ‘feminist culture’ – that ‘the frame around public discourse is a feminist frame’ and that ‘we’ men have ‘lost our identity because of it’.
There is a lot going on with this group. A lot of misused buzzwords, assumptions about human beings and openly sexist, misogynistic discussion threads and articles. My personal favourite is ‘Women are machiavellian in nature… The evolutionary theoretical basis for this is due to smaller size and inferior musculature women had to learn to use men as tools’.
I laughed at that one at first, then I saw the little bar at the side of the page telling me that nearly 110,000 people were following this sub-Reddit. That thread had nearly 200 comments when I last checked. People are really engaging with this, and positively agreeing with views that are both sexist and anti-human.
They reduce the man to masculinity and the woman to oppressors – a bizarre inversion of some “difference feminists” or “second-wave feminists”. Just like ‘Red Pill’, some strands of these feminist movements believe that women are biologically and psychologically superior to men, and that a “feminine” society should be formed. Look at Valerie Solanas’ ‘SCUM Manifesto’, short for the ‘Society of Cutting Up Men’.
But what is perhaps most striking about the sub-Reddit is the sort of language that it uses to describe women. The threads constantly comes back to the ‘biological’, trying to sound like scientific studies. They draw on liberal philosophical mantras – ‘Maximizing happiness is the goal of every living creature on this planet’ – while talking about ‘socialisation’, ‘strategy’ and ‘oppression’ – the language of modern feminism.
It comes across as a studied, logical conclusion. The rhetoric is pretty amazing. You could easily write an English essay on it. And I think that that is what is so terrifying about it – the ideas aspire to being “universal truths” while apparently empowering men. That is why people are getting behind it – because the language is empowering and powerful.
It’s not just exclusive to anti-feminism – you can see it in neo-Nazi propaganda. Just replace “woman” with “Muslim”, “Jew” or “immigrant” and suddenly you realise that the argument becomes transferable. But what is motivating our obsession with adversary?
There is something really wrong in our world right now. We are constantly looking for a scapegoat; for someone to hate for the sake of hating, and some banner to stand beneath. In my past columns I have spoken about how we are always trying to find someone to blame and a label to subscribe to, and how this often distracts us from the real issues.
It’s very easy to shout at an individual politician, a group of people or a particular race, creed or colour. But actually tracing where this obsession with meaningless labels and constant war comes from is really hard. In my past columns I’ve traced it to modern capitalism and the obsession with ‘owning’ something.
I am convinced that we are not inherently designed to hate what is different from us – as a human I cannot believe that we can’t do any better than that.
We have to start breaking down these ideas of being defined by our biology or history. Of course socialisation and culture have a bearing how we think, and of course the way our bodies work will influence how we live, but we are better than allowing that to define all that we are.
Take the real Red Pill and realise that we have the potential to be more than just a gender.