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Open Knowledge - A Frame-by-Frame Rebuttal to XKCD’s Pickup Artist Comic

Mar. 12th, 2012

07:20 pm - A Frame-by-Frame Rebuttal to XKCD’s Pickup Artist Comic

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Originally published at craschworks. You can comment here or there.

I agree with Tynan’s rebuttal to the recent XKCD cartoon that makes fun of the pickup artist community:

“…what about people who CAN’T talk like a normal human being? What happens to people who didn’t happen to develop normal social skills? Why is it so evil and manipulative for them to try to learn them? Things like bantering (a.k.a. negging), good storytelling, good body language and eye contact, are things “normal” people do well. They’re also, not coincidentally, what we teach students. You can’t just tell them to talk like a “fucking human being”, you have to show them what that means.”

I was intensely shy in high school and college.  So I undertook a deliberate program to improve my social skills and reduce my social anxiety.  I still have a long way to go (I haven’t been blues dancing in months because I’m embarassed by how crappy my dancing skills are), but I’m much better than I used to be.  Are there socially maladjusted PUA’s?  Sure.  But that’s to be expected, I think.  After all, if they weren’t socially maladjusted at some point, they wouldn’t have been interested in PUA to begin with.  

I think PUA has been a boon to women.  What does PUA teach?  An incomplete list would include:

  • How to be happy with yourself internally
  • How to be independent, not needy
  • What women find a attractive
  • How to be good in bed
  • How to dress well
  • How to be act confident
  • How to tell a good story
  • How to tell if a woman is attracted to you
  • How to eat right
  • How to work out
  • How to tell a good joke
  • How to banter
  • How to be a good leader
  • How to develop self-discipline

What woman would _not_ want a man who successfully mastered those traits/skills?  Some PUA’s no doubt get some things wrong.  And some prominent PUA’s, such as Roissy, seem to be driven by anger and contempt for women.  But on the whole, PUA’s seek to remake themselves into men who women find irrestible.  And that is something that I think should be encouraged, not mocked. 

Comments:

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From:arpad
Date:March 13th, 2012 02:37 am (UTC)
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There is a huge difference between communication and manipulation. And when you teach one you can't teach another no matter how you do it.

So I don't agree.

Edited at 2012-03-13 02:37 am (UTC)
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From:persona
Date:March 13th, 2012 03:00 am (UTC)
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One is attempting to project the ideas in your mind into someone else's consciousness so that they will act in the way you want them to. The other is manipulation.

However, there -is- a big difference between negging and bantering, between a conversation with the goal of bedding and good conversation as its own reward.
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From:ernunnos
Date:March 13th, 2012 02:55 am (UTC)
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Bravo.

Women have whole magazines on how to dress, how to use makeup, and how to manipulate men. It's an industry. But when men try, it's an affront to all that is decent. "I thought he was this brilliant, sparkling conversationalist, and it turns out he had to take a class?! Ew!"

Also, I think it's funny that XKCD is written by a man. The female in this scenario isn't a female. It's a man, writing a female. It's funny because it doesn't happen that way, at least very often. If it were common, it wouldn't be noteworthy.
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From:traumentwerfer
Date:March 13th, 2012 07:21 pm (UTC)
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And those magazines that teach women how to dress, how to use makeup and how to manipulate men are JUST as much an affront to all that is decent as PUA is and are just as bad for those women as PUA is for men (in that it gives them warped ideas of how to relate to the opposite sex, just as those magazines do).

And re: your xkcd critique: My bad opinion of PUA comes from ALL THE WOMEN I've talked to who find it idiotic, manipulative and inauthentic, not from men.

And you know what? These are pretty sex-positive women, not repressed and humorless feminists.
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From:istar
Date:March 13th, 2012 03:18 am (UTC)
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I sorta agree with tynan. Sarcastic social banter = hotness in the pants, and also an acquired skill. Also, it's impolite to respond to a casual neg with a huge ego-destroying revenge monologue, even though it seems funny in the comics.

I don't go out alone often, but i did on saturday, and yeah i got negged by some random dude who obviously wanted to meet me. Har har, hope that gave you a happy, random dude!

I do feel that all humans would benefit in their love lives by working on the things you listed.
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From:vyus
Date:March 13th, 2012 07:35 am (UTC)
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until women start to take responsibility for their actions instead of running off on remote control, learning how to operate the remote control is a perfectly honorable activity.
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From:traumentwerfer
Date:March 13th, 2012 07:25 pm (UTC)
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And for those women who don't take responsibility for their actions, I completely agree, but it sounds like you're making a blanket statement and judging all (or most) women as incapable of taking responsibility for their actions which seems pretty silly to me.
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From:vyus
Date:March 13th, 2012 08:08 pm (UTC)
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of course, i'm making a blanket statement. unfortunately, it's still mostly true. know a lot of chicks that don't want a diamond ring as an engagement token?

because that's pure baudrillard simulacrum, man, an idea that's been implanted in those pretty little heads by mass marketing that has no value, monetary or traditional, behind it at all.

of course, this particular habitry isn't limited to women. but methods to exploit and manipulate boys already abound. they're just so commonplace - in headlines at every checkout line, for example - that it's not worthwhile to comment on.
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From:traumentwerfer
Date:March 13th, 2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
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I do know a lot of chicks taht don't want a diamond ring as an engagement token, but then I live in the silicon valley bubble of geeks and alternative lifestyles, and I realize that it's true, the brainwashing is the majority of American culture, and my little bubble is just that.

But is the solution really to fight manipulation with further manipulation?

I believe there have to be non-brainwashed women who think for themselves out there somewhere, even amidst mainstream America. And maybe it's just about how you go about finding women that will determine how to find those.

Or maybe it's about how you approach them. Often we find what we expect to find, but maybe if you actually approach women as intelligent, self-aware people, they might start responding that way. Maybe. And if not, educate them on what authenticity means if that PUA bullshit hasn't already poisoned you against what it means to interact genuinely with a woman as if she were an actual person.
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From:vyus
Date:March 13th, 2012 08:40 pm (UTC)
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you cannot not manipulate. you said it yourself in your last bit -- "maybe if we approach women as intelligent, self-aware... they may start responding that way."

that's manipulation. giving a certain input in order to influence output. but it's also BS; single external events cannot change a person on their development line. if a gal is watching MTV regularly when she's at home, no amount of self-actualization pushed on her by a shmoe at a pub is going to make her jump from narcissistic to pluralistic.

but, if that method works for you, awesome! don't get me wrong, i'm not ragging on your methodology, or your viewpoint, or what have you -- i don't feel any particular need to have people act like me. i just happen to find piaget's theory of development to be more appropriate when approaching people, rather than thinking that the majority of 20 somethings would actually be self-actualized if only we just treated them all nice-nice.

just like a set of PUA rules is not going to turn a nice guy into a misogynistic asshole. just like anyone using carnegie's "how to win friends and influence people" can attempt to manipulate and still be authentic. just like influencing someone to buy something can still be a positive event.

i myself am not a PUA person. i'm just highly observant with experience in marketing narratives.
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From:traumentwerfer
Date:March 13th, 2012 08:49 pm (UTC)
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It's true, there's no way to avoid crafting our input to influence output. I just prefer to do it without lying or putting the other person down.

just like a set of PUA rules is not going to turn a nice guy into a misogynistic asshole

Actually, I think it can - certainly not always, but see etherealclarity's response to Tynan in this thread. And *that* is really my main beef here.

I think there are ethical and unethical ways to do marketing - I think there are enough unethical methods and culture in PUA that make it problematic.
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From:etherealclarity
Date:March 13th, 2012 10:23 pm (UTC)
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"know a lot of chicks that don't want a diamond ring as an engagement token?"

*raises hand*
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From:vyus
Date:March 14th, 2012 02:04 am (UTC)
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you may very well be. but you can't be saying you're the majority. we live in a world where snooki is a millionaire and people believe the prius is an environmentally friendly car. people, on the whole, are lemmings with little interest in taking responsibility for what they suck into their belief system.

and frankly, people ought to be able to do stupid shit without everyone going batshit crazy. that's part of growth and having fun.
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From:daphnep
Date:March 13th, 2012 12:02 pm (UTC)
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''Negging'' = bantering...really?
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From:blorky
Date:March 13th, 2012 12:36 pm (UTC)
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"How to be happy with yourself internally - How to be independent..."

Nope. PUA exists only when there's an external measure for success which is *entirely* dependent on other people.
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From:etherealclarity
Date:March 13th, 2012 03:33 pm (UTC)
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I just posted a response to the article you link to, but I thought I'd repost it here:

Tynan,

I absolutely understand where you are coming from with this, and why you are trying to defend the PUA community.

Here's the problem, though.

Now, granted, I'm an outsider. I am not a part of the PUA community. I have certainly read quite a few articles written by men in the PUA community. Leaders. Or if not leaders necessarily, certainly members with quite a large following. Those articles can range from reasonable and helpful (similar to your response here) to downright disgusting and unquestionably misogynistic. And certainly, the latter (being more inflammatory) gets more attention.

But it doesn't get more attention simply because it is inflammatory. If that were true, a large portion of the comments on those sites would be argumentative. In fact, what I have seen is a huge outpouring of concurring with said nastiness. Most often, these are men who, because they have been repeatedly rejected, have turned to bitterness and misogyny. Sometimes these are men who started out misogynistic and used the contents of those articles to justify their misogyny. And sometimes these are men who didn't start out misogynistic, but read the articles and realized that PUA is not only a way to change their lives, but also a way to put some of the blame on their past failures with women on the women themselves by mentally devaluing them as a whole. (Let me clarify this for a moment: There is value in "devaluing" individual women, in the sense that many of these men focused on only one woman and put her on a pedestal, so to speak, and by devaluing individual women they are able to reduce the pain of rejection. This is healthy to some extent. But it becomes not healthy when they instead - as they often seem to do - devalue women in general, across the board.)

The more virulent members of the PUA community encourage this kind of thing. That's why 'negging' isn't called 'teasing'... it's called 'negging' because you are pointing out something negative. The PUAs whom I have read have described negging in a VERY different way than you describe here... as quite literally a way to take women down a notch and make her desperate to earn the man's approval.

And these more virulent members also seem to be both the most public ones - or at least the ones shouting the loudest. So, as with any kind of group, this is what any non member (such as Randall) is going to picture when they think of PUAs.

You may think that what you are doing here is 'setting people straight' about the PUA. Unfortunately, that's not really what's happening. You outright dismiss that the misogynistic vein of the PUA is anything more than what is present outside the PUA, and that is simply not true. And here's why: in normal society, extremely misogynistic people, particularly those who are PUBLIC and LOUD about their misogyny get shouted down, because people find misogyny so repulsive. Within the PUA community, however, they are, if not celebrated, they are acknowledged as having something valuable to say, or at the VERY least are somewhat ignored. Not shouted down. Not condemned. The PUA community is not policing its own. If your views of the PUA are truly the mainstream and majority opinion, why are you not addressing the loud vein of misogynists using your name to spout ugly rhetoric?

THAT needs to be your priority. Not defending the community against attacks from the outside. But addressing the real poison on the inside that is spurring those attacks in the first place. Or, barring that, not calling yourselves by the same name as those who have hijacked it. Creating a place for men who genuinely want to learn social skills, who want to grow and learn as people, and be more socially successful without thinking of women as objects to be won or used and then discarded. Because there definitely IS use for that. But you can't expect society at large to view the community that way with it in the state it is in today.
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From:lds
Date:March 13th, 2012 04:04 pm (UTC)
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So if I'm understanding correctly, the PUA community is exactly the same as the religiously feminist community, with all of the exact same failings?

I'd never heard of "PUA" before the XKCD comic and subsequent commentary, but it'll be interesting to observe, now, whether advice like yours can be applied consistently among group-minded males and females alike, or to see who continues to hold them to different standards.

Like, will you actually be this vocal to any religiously feminist organizations? I'll be watching the comments to crasch's journal entries to see!
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From:etherealclarity
Date:March 13th, 2012 04:18 pm (UTC)
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I don't comment often on crasch's posts, primarily because I don't spend that much time on Livejournal anymore.

But yes, there are a lot of insular groups that have this problem, including feminists. I find militant feminism disgusting and am happy to tell people so. I also dislike that there are numbers of feminists talking about how the 'militant feminist' is a straw man invented by men. It's not. It's also not the majority of feminists, but if I want to call myself a feminist, I either need to distinguish myself from the beliefs I find destructive, or work to clean up the name of feminism internally.

Luckily the community has been doing some of that on its own... I can't tell you how many people I've known who are reluctant to call themselves feminists simply because they are afraid of being grouped in with the misandrists. And the misandrists don't usually JUST call themselves feminists, because they realize that the word has changed its meaning over time and it isn't entirely descriptive of what they're trying to say. But that doesn't change the fact that there's a problem.
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From:lds
Date:March 13th, 2012 05:22 pm (UTC)
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I'll tell you what I do to "police my own," if you tell me what you do to police your own!

I'm a motorcyclist. I sometimes drop by motorcycling forums that draw a number of the illiterate, stale-cigarette-smelling "bikers" of a bygone era, who sit around in clubhouses and get drunk and whine about the time they used to be able to brawl like animals in bars. These are members of dog-pack-like social orders, almost up to the point of licking each others' nuts! Needless to say, the misogyny is rampant in this group, as their outlaw gangs don't let women in. So they think they can get away with the same sorts of comments on the motorcycling forums that they do while they're sitting in their little no-gurlz-allowed clubhouses, staring at their almost-empty bottles of Schlitz Malt Liquor.

When they make these comments, I make fun of them for their insecurity. I point out the similarities between their clubs and dog pack behavior, and when I do, it usually turns into a pile-on fest with other non-outlaws, like the Blue Knights (police motorcycling club), Red Knights (firefighter motorcycling club), Christian Motorcyclists Association, Black Sheep, and other non-outlaw organizations emboldened to say, "uh, yeah, why ARE you so scared of women?" I try to draw it to the conclusion that non-cowards join Harley Owners Group or Star Touring Group or other riding groups that treat both sexes the same and welcome them equivalently, because we're not as insecure as they are.

(Big tough outlaw bikers tend to turn purple and pop veins when anyone talks to them like this, which you can see on the internet as their grammar and spelling drops from about a fourth-grade level to a second-grade level. This just eggs on the teasing: dog-pack-minded people don't do well on text-based media, it turns out. A number of us have actually been threatened with violence! Over the internet! for daring to "disrespect" them in their misogyny.)

It works. Those who take a dogmatic, religious view toward women's inability to participate make themselves look like idiots, and those with a broader, more inclusive view are emboldened to speak up, and the norm shifts toward those who don't seek to exclude people based on sex.

Even among my military friends, when the subject of women in certain MOSs comes up, I casually drop an, "I dunno, I don't think Heinlein was too far off in Starship Troopers." Of course, most of them only think of the movie, in which the women in the military were mostly forgotten except for their role as eye-candy, but there are usually several who are better-acquainted with Heinlein's actual writings and are ready to agree that, yes, we could be doing things better.

Those are just a few examples of where I specifically go to where the misogynists are, and say potentially-unpopular things for the purpose of changing the cultural norm in favor of egalitarianism for women. Tell me a few stories about where YOU go to where the misandrists are, and say potentially-unpopular things for the purpose of changing the cultural norm in favor of egalitarianism for men!
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From:etherealclarity
Date:March 13th, 2012 05:39 pm (UTC)
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This isn't a contest for whose balls are bigger. I said that if you are going to self-identify with a group whose public image is so terrible, either distinguish yourself from the group or work to make the image better. If you defend the group by denying reality, you're not helping things.

I don't go where the misandrists are because I don't like misandrists. When I happen upon a misandrist, I mostly speak my mind. Generally, that only happens on the internet, because I don't hang out with misandrists and I don't happen to spend my time in places where misandrists frequent.

A better example (for me) might be Objectivism. You've got a lot of strong opinions on both sides of the fence. I identify as being, at least in part, objectivist. As such, I feel badly when people criticize objectivism as being a bunch of 'Ayn Rand cultists'. But I don't respond by saying "objectivists aren't like that. I don't say things like 'There are just as many crazies in objectivism as there are in the populace at whole' or 'people misunderstand objectivism and reasonable self interest'. I explain that there are different schools of objectivism and that I'm more in the Nathaniel Brandon camp than the 'everything Ayn said was golden truth'. Because let's face it... she said some supremely unreasonable things (like how a woman should never be president), and there ARE a number of vocal objectivists who take everything she said as truth. And when I encounter a hard-core objectivist, I speak my mind about our differences.

I commented on this particular article because the concept of PUA intrigues me. Because I have a lot of good guy friends who could probably benefit from some of the things that The Game or other PUA materials teach. But at the same time, I can't fully get behind it because of how rampant and unchecked the misogynistic vein is within it. And the way to fix the problem of public image isn't to defend and deny, but to police internally and distinguish publicly.
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From:lds
Date:March 13th, 2012 05:49 pm (UTC)
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That actually works for me. I wasn't trying to make a "whose-balls-are-bigger" contest; I was just trying to suss out whether you were just another hypocrite lecturing others on how THEY should behave, or whether you understood the ramifications of what you're prescribing. If you've taken a stand to "police" your fellow objectivists internally, then YES, that overcomes my suspicion that you might be yet another hypocritical busy-body. Thanks for that example, and thanks also for taking your stand on that particular issue, because I sometimes feel that objectivists and I would have a lot in common IF they could overcome some of those image problems you're talking about.

So, much appreciated.
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From:etherealclarity
Date:March 13th, 2012 06:01 pm (UTC)
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Sorry if the balls contest wording came off as brash or rude. I was trying to cut off any potential pissing contest. Generally those aren't very productive ;)

I tend to see the world more or less in shades of grey, so I run into this problem with a LOT of different dogmatic groups. As a result, there aren't a lot of communities that I feel comfortable being wholeheartedly a part of. But I do try sometimes. And I try not to be hypocritical about addressing things that I consider problems.
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From:etherealclarity
Date:March 13th, 2012 05:43 pm (UTC)
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Also, to clarify a little bit - It isn't my mission in life to 'clean up' the image of Objectivism, either. I am prepared for the funny looks and happy to educate people on what objectivism means to ME, but I'm not in any way going to try to defend the objectivist 'community'. I'm not active in the community itself. There aren't any communities that I feel like I'm actually a part of that have such a bad public image problem.

Though even if there were, I'm sure I'd be at least somewhat blinded to the problems within it. Alas, we are all human. We want to believe the best in people and we are all subject to confirmation bias. I do try to keep an open mind though.
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From:traumentwerfer
Date:March 13th, 2012 07:39 pm (UTC)
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Your reply says it much better than I could. Would you mind if I reposted your reply in another social media forum? If so, how would you like attribution to be made, if at all?
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From:etherealclarity
Date:March 13th, 2012 07:45 pm (UTC)
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Feel free. I guess just link back to this post?

I'd be curious to see where you've posted it. The discussion is interesting to me. :)
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From:evelynne
Date:March 14th, 2012 12:52 am (UTC)
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Creating a place for men who genuinely want to learn social skills, who want to grow and learn as people, and be more socially successful without thinking of women as objects to be won or used and then discarded.

Oh my goodness, yes.

I was also ridiculously shy in high school, and actually learned how to be comfortable socially by "copying" other people's conversational tactics in college. So I am wholeheartedly in favor of breaking down social interaction in a scientific way and giving people ways to practice it and learn it, little by little. And I agree that PUA does some of those things. As Tynan himself pointed out,

Even outside of pickup, I've noticed that I'm just a better, more social, person. When my wing and I go through the mall to check our bags and eat lunch, we're chatting and joking around with all the employees, making them laugh and have a slightly better day.

Well, that's cool! Learn some social skills and make the whole world a little better. That is attractive. But earlier in the post he says,

But now, even after just eleven days, I realize I'm probably at a level where I could stop improving and have an above-average dating life. Say that I get a solid number every two days. That's fifteen attractive girls a month that will meet up with me. Even if I was really bad at following up and just played the numbers game... those are pretty good numbers.

Granted, he's talking about what he's learned from PUA and success rates are part of that, but ... EW. He's counting up girls like they're chickens. It doesn't even seem to matter what girls they are. They're "attractive". Not people he connected with over a common interest, not somebody who might be a good friend, just random interchangeable attractive girls.

And then there's this:

In reality, sometimes I run out of good things to say and I ask her about her dog. But that's okay, because two sentences later, I'm talking about something interesting again.

This just made me laugh. You let her contribute two sentences about her dog? So the only point of interacting is to impress her with your own scintillating topics and witticisms? What about HAVING A CONVERSATION!? You talk, then she talks! You ask each other questions and listen to the answers! Sometimes people think you're an amazing conversationalist when all you do is ask questions and listen!

This is why PUA skeeves me out. If men have trouble with social skills and want to do better -- even if their primary reason for doing it is to find women to date -- I think they'll be a much more well-rounded and attractive individual if they apply this learning process to EVERYONE, not just sufficiently attractive women, and cut it out with the bean-counting. Focus on getting to know people of all genders and ages, and being genuinely interested in them as individuals, and all sorts of good things will follow.
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From:evelynne
Date:March 14th, 2012 01:02 am (UTC)
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Oh, and BTW, I know that in the next post he mentions that other people are grossed about by this numbers approached, and defends it by saying once he gets to know a girl better he DOES think of her as an individual, and he doesn't talk about her out of respect for her privacy. But the bean counting still squicks me. It reminds me of the time a guy was hitting on me at the grocery store and as soon as he found out I was married (I try to let them know early on) he made a face and basically said, "See ya."
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From:randallsquared
Date:March 14th, 2012 01:25 am (UTC)
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Wait. You'd feel *less* squicked if some guy who was hitting on you moved on from "try to hook up with woman" to "try to get woman to cheat"?
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From:evelynne
Date:March 14th, 2012 01:40 am (UTC)
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No. :) The problem was that I had precisely one potential value to him and no others. He couldn't even be bothered to wrap up the conversation we were having. I've had guys find out I was married and good-naturedly complain and continue to banter a bit and give me a chance to thank them for expressing an interest in me before they depart.

Besides, from even from a getting laid standpoint, narrowing your focus only to single women means you're missing out on networking. Married women like to introduce their nice guy friends with their nice girl friends whenever they see some potential compatibility. And I can't tell you how many times I've asked people how they met their spouse (I ask this question a lot) and the answer was "through friends".
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From:evelynne
Date:March 14th, 2012 02:05 am (UTC)
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I feel like I it sounds like I am slamming men here when in fact I am just as critical of the boneheaded shit women do, too. One thing I can't stand is when a woman gets dressed up sexy and then gets mad or dismissive of any man who approaches her who doesn't meet her "standard". Just because SHE doesn't find him attractive doesn't mean he's not a good guy or that he's not attractive to others, not to mention he at least has the good taste to find HER attractive. I have always felt honored by any attention I got from men whether I was attracted to them or not.

Also, everybody on my f'list has heard this about fifty times, but my cubic zirconia engagement ring cost less than half of what we paid for my husband's engagement TV. And I still have the ring. :P
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From:lds
Date:March 14th, 2012 02:24 pm (UTC)
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In my keeping with my philosophy that "the misanthropic view is always the correct one," I've observed that a rather large subset of both men and women respond to their hormonal urges with all the grace and judgment of my pet pug, who humps stuffed animals in the middle of the living room. It becomes the most important aspect of their lives, above companionship, above trusting and mature relationships, above common interests and values, above shared goals and dreams. I'm beyond criticizing these people now, since I understand them and can relate to them in exactly the same way I understand and relate to my pet pug, humping stuffed animals in the middle of the living room.

It still irritates me sometimes, to be exposed to their little rituals of identifying each other, but it helps me to think of my sweet little pug despite his inability to control his animal impulses, and how unrealistic it would be for me to EXPECT him to control his animal impulses. He's a dog. He isn't going to care whether he met his stuffed animal "through friends." It works best when I treat him like a dog.

I've become far more patient with the clumsiness of certain humans when I view them through this same lens.

Also, hope you don't mind if I add you... I accidentally clicked on your journal instead of "expand" to view your next comment, and saw you waxing thoughtful on what I perceive to be Spinozan/Einsteinian pantheism, which is a favorite topic of mine. Those guys were awesome.
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From:evelynne
Date:March 16th, 2012 02:37 am (UTC)
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How come I think the pug is cute humping the stuffed animal, but not so much the humans playing goofy dating games? :P Sometimes it seems like even when a long term relationship is the end goal, it's too easy for it to become all about the game rather than the end goal of finding someone you're compatible with.

You'll have to wade through a lot of little outfits posts to get to the thoughtful ones, but I do try to write them occasionally (the thinking is constant, but I find it difficult to get my thoughts on paper). I did not know about Spinozan/Einsteinian pantheism and am having fun checking it out!!
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From:crasch
Date:March 15th, 2012 04:52 pm (UTC)
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A very well-written response! And I agree, Tynan's argument would've been better served had he addressed the misogyny in the PUA community.

With respect to "negging", the idea is that the most physically attractive women receive compliments and supplication constantly. If you do the same, you'll simply be lumped amongst the multitude. "Negging" is supposed to be mild teasing designed to show you're not just another supplicative guy, and that you have sufficient options that you're not afraid to risk pissing her off.
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From:etherealclarity
Date:March 15th, 2012 05:31 pm (UTC)
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I do like the approach of 'negging' that you've supplied here and that Tynan explained in his post. Like I said, that's not the definition I got from one of the more misogynistic PUA sites that I happened across. And I sorta wish that if they meant mild teasing, that they'd call it something more like teasing. At the same time though, it does sorta rub me the wrong way that the approach is "most physically attractive women receive complements constantly." And really, that's only true in certain contexts. It implies that you are only going to bars or clubs, and once there going immediately to pick up the most devastatingly attractive woman there. Because only those women are really the ones that get constant compliments. And really, if that's your dating pool to begin with, and if that's all that matters, well, the whole thing ends up seeming much more shallow than the "let's learn some social skills and meet new people and improve my dating life!" sell that Tynan is giving in his rebuttal.
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From:patrissimo
Date:March 15th, 2012 09:06 pm (UTC)
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What I think you are missing here, as pointed out below, is that what matters is not just the definition of negging, but the word itself. It's a word that encourages a (literally) negative view, which is a problem if we're trying to defend PUA from charges of misogyny. The choice of word says something about the attitudes of those who created it, and it influences the mindset of those who use it.
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From:patrissimo
Date:March 15th, 2012 09:04 pm (UTC)
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Heh, I agreed with Tynan's rebuttal, and didn't think the comic characterized PUA fairly...yet I also wholeheartedly agree with what you say.

What I have a problem with is when people jump from "PUA contains and encourages misogyny in some people" to "PUA is misogynistic and evil." By helping awkward men become more socially fluent and better understand people and the dynamics of romantic/sexual interaction and attraction, I believe PUA helps many men become less misogynistic by overcoming the self-confidence and incompetence that lead them to fail at dating, which leads them to lash out by hating & devaluing women.

Unfortunately, as you point out, some kinds of PUA, by mechanizing these interactions, encourages some men to dehumanize women. And the PUA community contains some strong elements of bitterness and misogyny, and it doesn't contain enough loud leaders repeatedly saying "misogyny is wrong, bitterness is ugly and will make you unhappy".

BTW, I occasionally write to a blog called PUA4LTR about pickup techniques in long-term relationships. If you feel like writing your comment up as a post there, I'd be happy to feature it as a guest post.
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From:traumentwerfer
Date:March 13th, 2012 07:23 pm (UTC)
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I think your list of things to learn that are important is great, but I'm not yet convinced that PUA teaches those things in a way that is authentic and positive.