How 'Pick-Up Artist' Philosophy and Its More Misogynist Backlash Shaped Mind of Alleged Killer Elliot Rodger

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Students march on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara during a candlelight vigil held to honor the victims of Friday night's mass shooting on Saturday, May 24, 2014, in Isla Vista, Calif. Sheriff's officials say Elliot Rodger, 22, went on a rampage near UC Santa Barbara, stabbing three people to death at his apartment before shooting and killing three more in a crime spree through a nearby neighborhood. 

Women—hot young women, really—owed him sex and, because they reneged on their obligations, Elliot Rodger would get his revenge by going on a killing spree. That was the thesis of a video titled “Elliot Rodger’s retribution,” featuring the angry rantings of the 22-year-old college student before he allegedly went on a murderous rampage through Isla Vista, California, which resulted in six murders, thirteen people injured, and Rodger himself dead.

“You denied me a happy life, and in turn, I will deny all of you life,” he threatened. “It’s only fair.”

This video and others that Rodger put on his YouTube channel were full of language that was immediately recognizable to many: He was speaking the lingo of the “pick-up artist” (PUA) community that feminists have been raising alarms about for many years now, arguing that it’s a breeding ground for misogynist resentment and may even be encouraging violence against women.

“Alpha,” PUA lingo for a dominant male, was in the video threatening the mass murder. Rodger identified as an “incel,” which means “involuntarily celibate,” a term that was developed on web-based bulletin boards devoted to PUA enthusiasts that weren’t finding much luck getting laid. His theories about what “women” are thinking and why they are denying him the sex he felt entitled to came straight out of the theories of mating and dating that underlie the entire concept of PUA. He followed many PUAs on YouTube and was a frequent poster at forums that purported to analyze PUA theory.

Pick-up artistry is a huge, if generally ignored industry, with self-appointed PUAs selling an endless stream of videos, books, and seminars purporting to teach “the game,” which is invariably packaged as a surefire way for men who learn it to get laid. PUAs like to portray themselves to outsiders as doing nothing more than trying to provide dating advice to men, in an environment where most dating advice is aimed at women. But there’s one major difference. Dating advice of the sort you find in Cosmo magazine and other women’s media usually starts from the premise that the advice-seeker has flaws that need to be fixed in order to make her more attractive. But pick-up artistry argues that men who can’t get laid are fine the way they are, and it’s women—the entire lot of them—who are broken. And that by accepting that women are the ones to blame here, the student of PUA can finally start getting the sex he feels entitled to.

Most PUA philosophy is based in a half-baked pseudo-scientific theory of the genders derived from evolutionary psychology. The argument is that women are programmed to overlook “nice guys”, sometimes called “betas,” who are gentlemanly and kind and and instead are drawn to cocky assholes who mistreat them, usually nicknamed “alphas,” Often, women are accused of “friend zoning” the betas, exploiting them for companionship and gifts while getting sexual satisfaction from the alphas. (It’s taken as a given that “alphas” are bad men who can’t treat a woman right and “betas” are nice, though the seething misogyny of many self-identified betas gives lie to that notion.)  

There’s no scientific evidence to support this theory, but since it allows adherents to believe themselves to be unimpeachable victims and to blame women for their loneliness, it remains wildly popular, so much so that men seeking non-misogynist dating advice cannot find it in a sea of PUA literature.

Rodger was a clear adherent to this philosophy of women’s failure to be attracted to the correct men, as he imagined himself to be. “I’m the perfect guy, and yet you throw yourselves at all these obnoxious men, instead of me, the supreme gentleman,” Rodger complained in the video. “I will punish all of you for it.”

Having established that women are stupid and awful for supposedly preferring men that are bad for them, the PUAs then go on to argue that it’s OK to treat women like garbage. PUAs tell their followers that since women are attracted to assholes, then the best way to get laid is to trick women into thinking you’re an “alpha” by acting like an asshole. Even the most mainstream and arguably least offensive PUA, Erik von Markovik (a.k.a., “Mystery”), teaches that the best way to get “hot babes” into bed is to insult them and ignore them in hopes that the women will be feel insecure and sleep with you in order to try to earn your approval.

Since Mystery got famous from Neil Strauss’s book The Game, and a tie-in series on VH1,  PUA has exploded online as various entrepreneurs start their own little empires, and various websites and forums trade increasingly misogynist tips, such as isolating the “target” from her friends or teaching men to keep pushing back “last-minute resistance,” techniques that make it so scary or difficult for a woman to decline sex that they often amount to rape.


Despite PUA guarantees to the contrary, there’s no reason to believe any of this actually makes you more successful with women, which is why a site called PUAhate, which Rodgers was a frequent contributor to, emerged. Members of PUAhate, by and large, are men who bought wholesale into the PUA ideology, only to find it doesn’t work for them.

PUAhate members continue to subscribe, however, to the theory that women are inferior and forbidding monsters, pre-programmed to reject worthy betas in favor of supposedly awful alphas, and their main complaint against PUAs is that they mislead betas into thinking they can game the system. PUAhate, therefore, devolved into a pity session of misogynists explaining to each other how women are the source of all their misery, and the only solution to the problem was to start stripping women of all rights to sexual self-determination.

This theory—that ordinary and worthy men are oppressed by women who refuse to have sex with them—was articulated in Rodger’s 141-page manifesto he sent to newspapers.

Women are incapable of having morals or thinking rationally. They are completely controlled by their depraved emotions and vile sexual impulses. Because of this, the men who do get to experience the pleasures of sex and the privilege of breeding are the men who women are sexually attracted to... the stupid, degenerate, obnoxious men. I have observed this all my life. The most beautiful of women choose to mate with the most brutal of men, instead of magnificent gentlemen like myself.

This sort of rhetoric is fairly common on some of the more embittered PUA forums, and the “men’s rights” forums that have quite a bit of overlap with them. (Jaclyn Friedman wrote about the “men’s rights” (MRA) movement for the Prospect, which you can read here.) The argument that it’s not women who are oppressed, but men who are kept down by women’s “unfair” systems of distributing sexual favors (for PUAs and MRAs, sex is a commodity, not really an activity) is the central organizing principle of both pick-up artistry and “men’s rights” organizing, so much so that the main text of “men’s rights”—Warren Farrell’s The Myth of Male Power—features a woman’s naked butt on the cover, to drive home how men are supposedly helpless pawns of women’s game of sexual distribution.

Obviously, the discourse of male entitlement to female attention has long been a problem in our society. Young men angry at women for supposedly overlooking their charms for less worthy and more brutish sexual rivals existed long before The Game was published or PUA/MRA forums proliferated online. But the internet and the PUA community have created a self-haven for young men engaged in this self-pitying discourse, encouraging them to cultivate that chip on their shoulders, wallowing in misogynist accusations that women en masse are failing them by not giving up the sex these ostensibly unappreciated men believe they deserve. With so many men spending so much time egging each other on, and trying to top each other when it comes to blaming women for their own pitiful lives—to the point of advocating for the denial of basic rights to women—it’s little surprise that one of them would finally work up the nerve to get his “revenge” for all these imagined slights.



I'm 65+ years old, married for 45+ years from age 19, and I have to admit, I've never heard of these PUAs, or had a clue they banded together on social media to slag the women who ignore their advances.

However, I AM fairly active on some social media, and have run into trolls who are misogynistic, insulting, and juvenile. It's too bad the PUA blogs don't have an adult moderator who can recognize the insanely angry denizens there...give a heads-up to authorities (one more flag hopefully paid some attention).

I should say, I've never heard of the type of PUAs described in this article. I guess I've just been lucky to have associated with a host of young men and older men who were/are well-adjusted socially, and especially lucky in my choice of mate. I also guess I've lead a rather sheltered life... ;-)

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Gonna try to be nice, but whatever to all this.. I see the content in this #yesallwomen and I just see a twisting monster rising from the self denial this guys killings bring up. Though he killed.. let me use the metaphor, some of his software was correct but the console was indeed cracked and led to further software corruption.
Wanna know what gets me? I'm a strong person and I've spent my life avoiding fake people. The more I stuck to the unaltered person I am, the more that puts people off. For example, if I started a convorsation about what I really am passionate about I would be considered weird and creepy because I am not supplying the bells and whistles that bedazzle people since it makes me sick. I would call it "benign neglect" because I'm not entertaining you in a way that would compromise my ethics. The screwed up truth is I have to make this phantom limb extension from the real me to have a real (yeah right, more like ANY is the right word) interaction with someone. I mean it makes me sick generally that the more like myself I become, the less relatable I am.
I have a friend who used to be a master of picking up women until it disgusted him in exchange for pursuing who he really is. He Knows the difference; what he would say, what he wouldn't now, and how his outcomes in general change when he just tries to interact on a real basis.
The truth is that back then, he could have screwed any one of you, rearranging the thoughts in your head, which you would go along with because he had the ultimate manifestation of the beast women react to and require to be created. Only difference now is you believe in your hologram high horse. But off duty, ehhh I dunnoo.. Yeah, you would have totally gone for that supplied mask. Seen it. SSSEEEENNNN it.
And.. haha, oh my.. I have a friend

(omit last line typo)

Thank you for perfectly demonstrating the sickness that this article discussed. Your sense of superiority and privilege are both frightening and undeserved.


I briefly read some of the PUA stuff when I was single several years ago. I suppose I'm not surprised by the misogyny that was involved although I wasn't around it and the book I read did not promote it. In fact I would say I learned some valuable, social, skills. I'm a little suspicious of this article because it sounds like it's trying to _blame_ something. Anything. A lot of those PUA community is resentful, single, guys but these aren't necessarily men who are trying to hurt women. For me, I desperately needed to learn some social skills. Extroverted people take this notion for granted. Reading some of the texts helped me realize that eye contact was important... yes, this is how helpless I was in my early 20s. Frankly, some of these texts were useful to help me understand, on a basic level, how to be slightly decent towards women (instead of painfully shy).

The point being, Rodger was a creepy, dangerous, misanthrope, and we may never fully understand what led to this. Considering that I was also once a 22 year old virgin, I'm shocked that someone would use that as an excuse for their rampage. I'm always shocked by misogyny as well. Unfortunately, misogyny has a long history and it would be short sighted to say some modern group of people led to his hatred of women. There are simply too many men out there who continue a tradition of hating women. You could probably even start with the bible.

Stopped reading at " argues that men who can’t get laid are fine the way they are, and it’s women—the entire lot of them—who are broken." You call yourself a reporter? Do your bloody research. PUA teaches its ALWAYS the guys fault. Yeah its half based on pseduo-science and can be viewed as mysoginistic literature, but you know what I find sexist? The fact the likes of Cosmo and OK can spout nonsence about how to attract the perfect male but if you so much as hint at helping pick up women, you're a criminal . Most the people in the pick up community are people who have no success with women whatsoever, which just breeds mental illness. Like it or not, sex is a biological necessity. We have drive to want sex (thats not based on pua pseudo-literature, that just fact). Yeah, there's extreme cases like this nut job who takes things out of hand, but why smeer a community based on one lunatic? PUA is more about self-improvement than picking up women anyway. Ask any good psychologist and they can tell you most of the teaching of living an "alpha lifestyle" parallels CBT and other treatments for anxiety and depression.

There's no doubt Elliot Rodger is a nutcase, but to say this PUA interest is the cause of his crime is as frivolous as saying what he ate from breakfast is what caused it. He also came from a very privilaged/ wealthy family, does that mean we should all be calling for a Marxist revolution?

Shorter Adam Lynch: Men want hints how to pick up women. Women want hints how to find a mate. Same thing!

No, they're not the same thing. Not at all.

"[M]ost of the teaching of living an "alpha lifestyle" parallels CBT and other treatments for anxiety and depression." Seriously?

You're one scary dude.

Very good article. MRA's/PUA's/MGTOW's are all the same. They all hate women for various reasons. Elliot fits right in with them. That manifesto sounds like it was written by any one of those creeps in the manosphere.

This has to be talked about and I'm glad it's happening. Let's not stop exposing these groups for what they are.

Basic PUA philosophy (when I say basic, I mean the first thing you are told)
"It's your fault:
If something goes wrong, it’s not her fault. She’s not a bitch or mean or uptight. YOU did something wrong. Look to yourself first. How could YOU do it better? That’s how you’ll improve and grow.

Don't take it personally:
Being “hurt” is a waste of energy. Use failure as learning lessons to improve from. Failure is the backdoor to success"

Some misogynist food for thought, not quite women are stupid, inferior and broken now is it? It's about breaking down initial barriers so you can really get to know each other mixed in with a self improvement plan which says; be well groomed, go to the gym, smile, keep your head up, be interesting.... If I was Neil or Erik I would look into suing you guys for putting my name on this.

Exactly this, poorly researched and hugely biased. Pretty disgusting journalism.

The thing is pick up artistry works. I have seen it in action, it is very little as you have described in the article. This is poorly researched and biased.

All I will say is that simple tricks work on simple minds.

I knew that the PUA side of this tragedy would be picked up and ran with. Having spent a little time on the blog Man Boobs I'm vaguely aware of this part of the misogynist swamp. And I'm not surprised that some would race to the defense of the "art." But all you really need to know about the folks who peddle the "art" is that there were some using the tragedy to advertize their particular system. Seriously, some classless yahoo was saying if the shooter had only used system that was being peddled by the classless yahoo our young hero would be scoring with babes. When you peek even a bit under the hood of Pick Up Artistry the Misogyny just starts to ooze out of every crevice. Not only are you getting to bang the ladies by the dozens, you are getting to nail the trophies. No more "settling" for "fives " it's going to be sevens and above from here on out. No need to develop a personality, just a few few catch phrases and strategic moves and in the sack you go with a hot babe. Try as you might to put a happy face on the "art" it really does treat women as nothing more as high value sperm receptacles, vaginas with issues.

But still the whole subject is a proximate cause. The big two issues are still a nation that allows small arms to be sold like candy and a metal health system made of Swiss Cheese. The shooter had a long history of metal health issues, issues that should have been addressed but were not. Part of the puzzle was that the Metal Health System has been decimated by budget cutting brought about by mindless troglodytes of the right who have a Jones against the public sphere.

And seriously, how did a young man with such a long history of mental health issues purchase a weapon in the first place? That is seriously wrong. I can almost hear the NRA trolls whine about the knife. One, that goes back to the failure to have the young man under closer medical supervision. Two, at worst it lowers the body count. We are well beyond the point where we need to listen to the 2nd Amendment extremists arguments ( or to be more blunt damn lies ) about how sensible measures of gun control are an abomination and will not work. If you have been in treatment since childhood , are still in treatment, and have a history of being antisocial, you do not get a weapon that can slaughter people on an industrial scale. You do not get to play Rambo; have a nice day.

I do get the concern with PUAs. The whole toxic waste dump and swamp that is the purview of Man Boob is a vile nasty place to visit. The natives of this swamp are a rather sorry lot filled with resentment, male privilege, hostility, self pity and bone crushing stupidity. PUA are just one of the residents of the swamp and par for the course. Still it is hard to sus out how many are real threats to those who are just Cheetos-stained wretches banging on a Window XP box they use to download p0rn, that is mostly harmless. My real concern is how this tragedy is just one more example of how a man with a serious dysfunction corrected his sense of dis-empowerment with a automatic weapon. He made the world right and reasserted his privilege by gun play. And that is meme that is getting way too popular from the badlands of Nevada to the Suburbs of Florida we have all these marginalized men running around with Automatic Weapons. And as long as they kill the right people were mostly OK with it. Black Teen in a hoody at night -- go for it! Stand Your Ground !! Little kids in a grade school -- you monster!! CoEds in SoCal, too random dude, we can not use the "she was asking for it" excuse.

It is incredible how the PUA/PUAhaters make it clear their goal is to bed "hot" women and in the same breath they are upset at even the notion that these women in return have similar preferences for "hot" men. So clearly all men have right the be with any women, but women who are not up to their standards of beauty are not even part of the equation? Aggrieved entitlement anyone?

If you want to say that there is some correlation between the videos this guy posted and PUA teachings.. that I don't know.

But your article is an absolute JOKE for writing this "pick-up artistry argues that men who can’t get laid are fine the way they are, and it’s women—the entire lot of them—who are broken"

I have read different 'pick up artist' type material from various authors, seen several videos, and talked to several men who have also read these types of things. The above COULD NOT be further from the truth. It's the complete opposite. The fact is that most men are clueless when it comes to women and the idea is to learn how to grow as a man, become a better man, and become more appealing to women. To say a guy that is unattractive to women and can't get laid would think there's nothing wrong with him its ludicrous. The idea is to work towards becoming more attractive, a better communicator, funnier, your BEST SELF... whether you are trying to date or have a relationship.

This article is complete uninformed garbage.

Say what you want about the PUA community. It is the only community that has helped me become relevant as a man and sexual partner. I took all the other advice; nearly all of it was junk, especially what women had to say. Today, after years of hard work and perseverance, my loneliness is over. To light a woman up emotionally, to see her face brighten at the delivery of a sincere, well-delivered compliment, to flirt with her, and yes, to take her back to my apartment and fuck her...that is a gift that no one will ever take away from me. Not you, and not the hordes of finger-wagging prudes of both genders. It's OK if you've got an axe to grind, but you are guilty of the most irresponsible sin in journalism: not having done your research. Yes, there are those in this community who manipulate women, but this community has matured, and the manipulators are smaller in number every year. The rest of us are a large, mostly invisible, loosely-knit group of men who share ideas and advice, and who enjoy each other's criticism. Victims? I have RARELY heard a wingman blame a woman for rejecting him. Most of the conversation is about what he could have done better, differently. Judge us if you must, but be aware: your snap judgment and dismal opinion will never be a match for OUR experience. We are creating the relationships with women that WE want, on our terms and on our timeframe. And if you're good-looking and extremely lucky, you just might have an encounter with one of us that you'll remember fondly for the rest of your life.

"We are creating the relationships with women that WE want, on our terms and on our timeframe."

Yuck. Men like you should have a mechanical product to have sex with. The world would be a better place if you had "relationships" with something other than a human being.

There's certainly a lot of frat boy idiots with low character and wit that are attracted to the PUA community. The "teachers" in PUA don't make any attempt to conceal that they're trying to teach men how to get laid. Is wanting to get laid if you're a man wrong? Well I guess it depends on whether or not you're talking to a third wave sex positive feminist or someone like Andrea Dworkin who thinks men are inherent rapists. I for one sympathize with third wave feminists who focus on choice and individualism. What's getting lost in this discussion, and so many discussions about gender, is that people are fundamentally unique individuals and shouldn't be responsible for what others of their gender, race, faith, etc. are doing in the world. That's guilt by association... Pick up definitely works. And it's primarily not because of the reasons that many women dislike, namely dishonesty and manipulation. In fact no dishonesty or manipulation is required at all although many use it which I find morally problematic. Unless you argue that asserting confidence, asserting your intentions, and not being overly invested in outcome is manipulation. Just having the confidence to approach women and talk to them without any expectations of what they're going to do for you is exactly what puts them at ease enough to be attracted to you. If you show too much investment in impressing a woman, and are trying too hard to find the right things to say, you're going to be in your head and she's going to detect that you're not being authentic, natural and relaxed. What PU mostly teaches men is to not put women on pedestals, to not be afraid to talk to them like human beings, to improve yourself in whatever ways you want, and techniques to get over the fear of rejection. I've never participated in any actual PU seminars because I just find the majority of the men to be super bro's and not my kind of people. Nonetheless I watched a bunch of their videos and read some of their books and applied their techniques in the bar where I work and sure enough it works. Not every time, but fairly often once you're good at it. Most men never learn to do this, they have an average of 6 to 10 partners and eventually get married. Using PU techniques I can initiate sexual contact (making out) within 15 minuets of meeting someone which at one time I thought was impossible. Being a bartender definitely gives you a big advantage but I've observed male customers in that bar do the same thing and they're usually successful. It's always a strange moment when you recognize another PUA just through observing their game. Unless they're a "natural", which is the fortunate 5% of men who just effortlessly float through the world with women falling into their laps. Most of these guys are blessed with good looks and very affable and friendly personalities that people are just drawn to. If they could bottle that it would make billions...So how does this relate to Elliot Rodger? Only tangentially I would argue. I actually find it highly problematic that political activists are using this tragedy to push their agenda without getting all of the facts and relevant information analyzed by professionals. I certainly agree with Rebecca Solnit's notion of a "toxic soup" which makes up the cultural environment Rodger was influenced by. But we're all in this toxic soup together and we're not all killers like Rodgers. In fact most misogynists will never hurt women like this. Most guns will never be fired at a human target. Most video games players maintain a sufficient grip on reality to avoid going off the deep end. Most people that watch violence and sex in media still have healthy relationships. So what was different about Rodger that this confluence of toxic elements made him snap? Well a first year psychology student could answer that question after reading his manifesto. He obviously was suffering from severe attachment disorder from neglect by his biological mother, and also envied his father's seemingly effortless ability to obtain the love and affection from his mother and later his stepmother. He was then bullied repeatedly for being small and his parents were by and large neglectful of creating an environment where he felt wanted but rather were wrapped up in their bullshit Hollywood affluent lifestyles. If he had Aspergers then the need to form a bond with a parent was ever more crucial. But in his manifesto he stated over and over again how he felt abandoned by them and that they just made decisions for him that frightened him without his consent. His insistence that he deserved love and affection because he was a God was the tantrum of an infant who was neglected. He then recreated this pattern when attempting to obtain love and affection from his peers and because of his shyness, small size, awkwardness, and deep deep anger, he was unable to interact with women in a way that the found desirable for obvious reasons. So they had to suffer as he suffered. Because no one ever soothed his suffering. He was certainly no Alpha Male. He was no PUA. The best thing for him might have been to actually do some of the seminars PUA's teach just to get him out of his shell instead of playing online games in a dark room and slowly boiling over. Pick up is social and most people that go on killing sprees are extremely anti-social and isolated. So even if he had been hanging out with some douchebags it might have averted this disaster. He may have also been on anti depressants which have been linked to violent behavior in some instances. At some point Rodger lost touch with what we would consider to be reality and some sort of separate psychopathic personality emerged. No qualified clinician would read a manifesto where he talks about chopping people's heads off and rolling them into the street and flaying people alive, with delusions of being a dictator in a dystopian racially pure future, and conclude that that is a person who is free of mental illness...So misogyny? Yes it surely played a role. But it's a maddeningly simplistic analysis based on the available evidence. He targeted women who would not give him love which were symbolic of his mother. But he also killed and vowed to punish men that got that love which is him symbolically murdering his father. Sorry to be a mansplainer but the analysis is just too ideological driven to be taken as gospel.

Turns out, the guy this article is about was a member of an "anti-PUA" site, and against the PUA community... I'm guessing this was missed during your research, but I would like to request a fair retraction or re-write based on this (I'm presuming new) information.

kaminz_nanna wrote:

Turns out, the guy this article is about was a member of an "anti-PUA" site, and against the PUA community... I'm guessing this was missed during your research

I'm guessing you don't read for comprehension very well. The second section of the article (it starts with a big red "D") begins

Despite PUA guarantees to the contrary, there’s no reason to believe any of this actually makes you more successful with women, which is why a site called PUAhate, which Rodgers was a frequent contributor to, emerged. Members of PUAhate, by and large, are men who bought wholesale into the PUA ideology, only to find it doesn’t work for them.

I get the strong feeling your article was constructed to gain views based on the incident and attaching the term PUA to smear that group as being the same. Let's be clear, this person was a psychotically deranged individual and not once did I see a reference to PUA other than He makes zero mention of ever trying anything a skilled PUA would recommend. So my question is, why do you make mention of the PUA community? Are you trying to sensationalize your lack of writing skills or viewer ship by including PUA in the article? That's just a lazy ploy.

Clearly Elliot was troubled very early in life and hated most things in their natural order. He imagined life should exist in his idealistic terms and because it didn't he felt society should pay with their lives. It had zero to do with PUA so it doesn't even deserve mention.

As we can see through his writing, he had zero social skills. Had he embraced some form PUA teachings he may have gained enough confidence to actually attain his goal of meeting a woman and having the sex his mind was so consumed with.

I have a firm belief he had sexual identity issues and couldn't cope with them. I also believe that this end game outcome would have happened eventually whether he had any PUA experience or not. He was deranged and even if he had a woman problems would have arisen, like they do in any relationship, and he would have gone off on some sort of other rampage.

Folks, here's the deal. Bad stuff happens in the world. It happened yesterday, it will happen tomorrow, and again in the future. We spend way to much time doing analyses as to why and what we can do in the future to prevent it. Crazy can't be stopped in a world of 7 billion. We can prevent it for a moment but it eventually show it's ugly face.

You are completely right on the money.

People are looking for someone to blame; Elliot was a member of PUAhate and apparently was subscribed to a number of other PUA channels on YouTube; therefore, the PUA community is ultimately to blame. Hogwash.

I'd like to add that this statement:

"Dating advice of the sort you find in Cosmo magazine and other women’s media usually starts from the premise that the advice-seeker has flaws that need to be fixed in order to make her more attractive. But pick-up artistry argues that men who can’t get laid are fine the way they are, and it’s women—the entire lot of them—who are broken" completely false.

By and large, the best of the so-called "PUA" community is focused on the idea that men in general should be working on IMPROVING THEMSELVES in order to lead more fulfilling lives, and part of that life involves attracting more women. What's wrong with that?

What I see is less of a problem where women-hating misogynists are warping the impressionable minds of men and moreso a problem where the internet offers a halo for anyone who seeks to have their opinion validated, regardless of whether it's right or wrong. The problem isn't that there's a supplier for this way of thinking, but rather that there's a demand for it. Take for instance the "fat acceptance movement." You will see some people argue that women have a right to feel good about their body weight (like with PUA's, you'll see some argue that men have a right to feel masculine.. which does not equate to raping or abusing a woman!) Yet like with PUA's who'll act like sex is owed to them, you'll see members of the fat acceptance community who'll act like they're entitled to have the man of their dreams, regardless of their own status (and frankly, treating obesity isn't a relationship-oriented issue, but rather a health one.)

I don't disagree with the concept that certain women find a sexually-robust man when their young, only to find the quintessential "nice guy" once they've spent themselves on a bunch of men (I know a lot of "nice guys" who took on single moms because the dude who was "hot" couldn't be bothered with enjoying fatherhood.) And frankly, if there were enough women who didn't respond like Pavlov's dog when the PUA throws out their "Mack tricks", it wouldn't have caught traction the way it has (I used to have a roommate who was a very successful PUA; I could be one easily if I didn't mind explaining to teary-eyed women that the sex didn't mean anything the next day, but I have a conscience.) Yet while that's going on, there's plenty of nice girls who're routinely overlooked by supposed nice guys for the reasons which were stated over in the article: The guys who slander women for wanting to hook up with the "hot guy" are too absorbed in their own selfishness, insecurity, and/or ignorance to appreciate who's available while they broadcast their sense of entitlement onto "hot women."

If the rules of dating were focused more on relationship-building than hooking up, there wouldn't be much of a need for this type of thought in today's society. Yet as we're seeing a generation of people raised either in single-parent homes or divorced families, many of them were, at best, unable to learn how to form relationships based on love and, at worst, people who were raised to learn how to hate someone instead of love them. Throw that in with our hashtag and porn culture, and you have an emerging youth who know to get busy, but don't know how to build upon that (and that extends to too many people in their early 30s as well.)

If I could set out a dating contract between the two different genders it would be this: Women have a right to feel pretty without being harassed, threatened with sexual violence, or indebted to put out for the first guy they meet who buys them a drink. But if a guy does buy you a drink, at least say thank you and be gracious for the gesture instead of laughing at him in front of your friends. No woman deserves to be objectified, but no man should believe he's only relationship-worthy if he's "willing to be made fun of" (something I've heard women say, verbatim.)

This article is truly awful. So much generalizing and misinformation.

The author makes it sound as if the majority of men who read/subscribe to any advice in the so called "PUA" world are needy, entitled, misogynistic ticking time bombs who will eventually go postal and kill or rape someone. Please.

Are there some viewpoints in the PUA community which could be considered borderline misogynistic? Yes. Does "borderline misogynistic" or even "completely misogynistic" accurately describe the VAST majority of men who might be involved in the PUA community?

Of course not. Do we really need to be asking this question?

Look, the best of the PUA material out there is actually focused on self improvement, upward mobility, and building confidence. Some of that has to do with getting dates and possibly becoming more intimate with women. Of course, as with any large group of people, some will take it too far. There are feminists and feminist websites out there who's views border on misandry, but we're not seeing people writing articles about them are we? For crying out loud, there was an episode of The View where they were talking about a woman who cut off her husbands penis and ran it through the garbage disposal, and by the end of the segment the whole incident was nothing but a joke with the hosts laughing over and over. Imagine the outrage coming from the other side if it were a woman who was the victim of such perverse sexual violence, and the male hosts were having a laugh about it.

Elliot Rodger was a maniac. He was going to be a maniac regardless of the views he read coming from the PUA community. This article, and many others I have read in the days following this tragedy remind me of the Tipper Gore days in the 80's, when tightwad republicans sought desperately for someone to blame for the "kids today" and singled out "Heavy Metal" music as being the root of all evils. Please.

Evil is evil. Please don't be so desperate for someone to blame that you end up grasping at straws and condemning an entire group for the actions of one very sick young man.


The show with the penis/garbage disposal incident is called "The Talk". It is not "The View" as I had originally claimed.

In a child development vocabulary, the final stages of brain development as a child approaches adulthood are the third stage where the brain can develop motor action plans using ideas that are tied to concrete objects. The fourth stage called "formal operational" is where the brain operates on ideas about abstract objects.

The common element appearing in the plague of young men (going back to the Unabomber event) is the persons are developing elaborate action plans based on an emotional pain. Each of these individuals has become caught between the third and fourth stage of motor skill expression. Specifically, they have become trapped in a kind of prison of literalness. They have to use "a real gun" for example.

What I am saying in this post is: We are seeing an older child who has partially transitioned into the formal operational stage of mentation. From the outside we can say that individual needed a very specific self knowledge or self understanding or self forgiveness or self laziness or self directed sense of humor.

I point to Plato's Meno dialogue as one place where the problem of right action and youth are expressed: What is virtue? Does it consist of hurting your enemies and helping your friends?

This whole article fails on one key point: PUAhate is an anti-PUA site.

In other words, Elliot Rodger and Amanda Marcotte stand together (or stood, in the case of the killer) in their attitudes toward "Game" and PUA tactics.

Author wrote:

"But pick-up artistry argues that men who can’t get laid are fine the way they are, and it’s women—the entire lot of them—who are broken."

That's actually incorrect. In fact it leads me to believe the author has not really researched the PUA community much, if at all, because one of the basic lessons those guys teach is that guys are NOT fine the way they are. They don't dress appropriately, lack self confidence and social skills. Those PUA programs are actually designed to correct those "flaws" while teaching body language and social psychology to help in attracting women. Just about every major PUA program abides by these basic guidelines.

I was mildly interested in the PUA phenomenon, mostly for entertainment purposes and have watched alot of those videos and read some literature. It's dismissive to paint them with one brush. They raise alot of valid points. Their biggest problem though is they focus too much on sleeping with lots of women.

And this article is in danger of missing the forest for the trees. The shooter was mentally disturbed. He was a misogynist and had he not been drawn to the PUA community, he still would've found some other outlet for his anger. The PUA community does not create psychos. And not all men who want sex, but need help, are misogynistic ticking time bombs of rage. We live in a society that puts such a huge divide between the sexes, they nearly speak different languages. And since women tend not to initiate relationships (men usually have to approach women), it is only natural that certain men will not be good at this and need advice. The increasing level of technology only aids in creating more and more anti-social people, so you will have more and more men not being able to survive the dating world.

Mass murdering psychos have little to do with this. Those people have existed for thousands of years. If you want to blame something, blame the easy access to guns.

Interesting to see so many ardent defenders of the PUA movement. OK, so the author was wrong; it doesn't teach that "you're OK the way you are." It tells you to improve yourself. (And people pay money to get that advice?) The trouble is that the movement appeals to immature, emotionally stunted men (I'm a man) who can't understand why Kate Upton doesn't knock on their door and offer to service them sexually.

What these guys need to be told is life is different from their fantasy world, and that women, while they do enjoy sex, are more likely to want to have sex in the context of a caring, committed relationship. (And in spite of all you read about the "hook-up" culture, that remains true.) So stop thinking that if you just work out more, groom yourself better, and bone up on current events, you'll be able to bed a supermodel.

Start thinking in terms of having a relationship with someone. Try to move beyond self-absorption and obsession with your own needs to a point where you can actually be interested in another human being. Stop thinking about "picking up" girls. Find someone who you actually might want to spend some time with. BE with her. Don't PRETEND to be interested in who she is; BE interested. Talk with her; spend time with her. If sex doesn't happen naturally, and that's the direction you want things to head, then bring it up. "Is there any chance we might move beyond being buddies?" If the answer is no, then be content with her friendship. You need friends, right? Maybe through her you'll meet someone who can become more than a friend. (But remember that the best sexual relationships start out as friendships.)

Above all, be patient; this Rodgers kid was 22. When I was his age, I hadn't slept with anybody, either. I hadn't even had a real girlfriend. Sometimes I felt lonely. But I remained engaged with life; I didn't spend endless hours in front of a video screen. In time I met the girl who became my wife. Sometimes it takes a while to happen. Too bad Rodgers gave up so soon and left the world in such a horrible way.

I think there is a piece sincerely missing from the perspectives of the commenters here who are defending PUA. Ok--if there is some sense of community that builds your confidence, I'm not judging that and understand that it is hard to struggle with social skills etc. But the idea that you must change yourself to trick and manipulate women can't possibly be truly helping you. I don't know what KIND of women (or idea of women) you are after. But most women that I know who are genuinely interested in love are after the person not fake attributes that can be learned. Of course talking to people and learning confidence is helpful in all kinds of ways in life. But trying to manipulate and persuade people to sleep with you is not the way to attract women. You'll be endlessly frustrated by artificial relationships and lack of genuine interest, because you're being artificial yourself. No, not everyone is going to be attracted to the "real" you. But that's the whole thing. When you meet someone and the feelings are mutual it is pretty special and uncommon. It doesn't just happen with any passing woman you deem "hot."

First thing that bothers me is calling these predators and pervs MEN. They are as far from being decent, attractive, desirable adult males as one can get emotionally,

I knrw plenty of alphas when I was young. I was never impressed and generally found out that after just a short time in their company their mouths and their sense of entitlement was quite repugnant. I knew plenty of betas, and the ones that are decent and intelligent and caring were the ones I always thought were of better dating material than the alpha jocks and the jerks. I must have been very lucky because I never had to deal with anything like this new breed of weak and vicious whiners.

I wouldn't be young again for anything in the world.

"Hot" young women? "Laid"? Do you see what language you are speaking Amanda?

"Pity session"?

Egging on?

Male entitlement just needs to rub Amanda the right way.

Here are some tips from philosophers people like Amanda enjoy:

"I can't be the only guy who loves when a woman licks that soft patch of skin in front of my ears." –Jamie, 23
"When I learn to kiss you, hold the back of my head gently in your hand. It's tender yet sexy." –Donny, 34
"Wet your lips and moan that you can't wait to taste me." –Sam, 22
"If we're somewhere semi-public and can't go at each other, press your hips against mine and massage me with your pelvis." Henry, 25
"Whenever you're in the mood, guide my fingers between your legs and let me feel your wetness. The male brain is programmed to respond to that every time." –Stanley, 26


I have to admit this is one of the stupidest articles I've read on the internet in a very long time, comparable to the likes of Jack Chick and his evaluation of religions outside of the King James Only movement in it's inaccuracy.
Having been an avid internet user for a few years, having read The Game (without considering myself a PUA or any variation of such), and just frankly been an active member of male society, I can immediately see the flaws in the article, and how much of a hack the author is.
1) Terms like "alpha" and "beta" are not exclusive to the PUA movement. In fact, from what I remember about reading The Game, the terms "alpha" and "beta" weren't even used to denote men, and if they were, they had to have been used few times and far between. Such terminology is used to denote men by society in general, and doesn't even share origins in the PUA community. That the author doesn't know this speaks rather heavily on how little she knows about the issue.

2) This sort of mentality is nothing new. Similar to how about twenty years ago Marilyn Manson was blamed for the Columbine shootings, or how about thirty years ago the band Judas Priest was blamed when one of their fans committed suicide, or about ten years ago when video games were blamed for every single act of violence that was committed among America's youth (a trend maintained to this day), there's the common fault in this kind of thinking: find something the perpetrator did or partook in, ignore the perpetrator's character, spend all day whining about how we should take action against that thing.
That we keep shuffling back to media-blaming whenever some act of violence occurs is really quite pathetic. It doesn't help anyone, it misleads people, and it ignores the underlying truth of why it happened: the victim was mentally ill, had problems of his own, and acted upon them. The sooner we as a collective people can get that through our thick skulls, the sooner we can actually do something about it.

3) Pickup artistry itself doesn't seek to blame women for anything. If anything, the artist blames himself for his own failures, hence why the community is made up of people whose pursuit is self-improvement. As it's been said in the above-mentioned book, it's important to be yourself, but you have to be your BEST self, which a lot of people don't exactly know.
I can't speak for every PUA, but the ones I've read up on in The Game don't embrace the idea that women are flawed, stupid, or inferior creatures. It's merely up to men to better themselves to ensure others find them appealing. Ross Jeffries, whose style of artistry has been denoted as "evil" it effectiveness at times (by himself no less) teaches his students to embrace one rule: leave the woman better than the way you found her.
This doesn't sound like the bitter advice of a misogynist, and it certainly doesn't sound like the words of a man who'd go on a murder spree because of his own sexual frustration.

I could go on, but I think I've made my point. I can't help but feel that this is what happens when a feminist comes to the table on issues regarding men, namely one with a title as egregiously paranoid as "It's A Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments"

Are you kidding me?? I will be the first to tell you that there are misogynist groups inside of the PUA community but Rodger's behavior and mind were shaped by PUA Hate.

He was the victim of society's pulling the wool over the eyes of men. That in order to get a girl you have to have a nice car, money, a good outward appearance, etc. and be a nice guy. No PUA would EVER.. EVER!!!!! describe himself as the supreme ultimate gentleman. That is sexual suicide.

I am very embarassed to admint that 15 years ago I told girls who rejected me things like "Every one of my female friends says I'm the sweetest guy in the world and any girl would be lucky to be with me!!!!!" Yeah. That's why I didn't get girls back then, and that's why Elliott never got girls. That and his horrendous HORRENDOUS attitude and vibe.

I am thankful as hell that PUA Hate went down.

My main argument against feminism is that it will create more men like Elliott Rodger. The PUA community saved me from being miserable because I used to suffer like him, although obviously not all of us are psychotics who will go kill people. I was also heavily bullied in high school yet I never ended up shooting up a school.

Men listen very keenly to what women say they want and they follow it verbatim and they get rejected over and over and over when they do that. Who doesn't get rejected? The alphas. Alpha isn't PUA lingo. I suggest you learn about evolutionary biology and educate yourself. Also learn about wolf packs and other animals where there are alpha males and beta males. You come off extremely ignorant to the informed reader.

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(If there's one thing we know about comment trolls, it's that they're lazy)