Three Easy Pieces of the Red Pill
- MGP: Men Got Problems
- GA: Gynocentrism Awareness
- CW: Caution of Women
In a healthy debate, the sides agree on where they disagree.
As wise as some commentators in the manosphere are, the movement’s major value lies not in the teachings of any individual, but rather in the mere fact that these discussions are taking place. The mainstream reacts with fear and hysteria to the knowledge that we men are talking to each other seriously about our lives and issues; witness this reaction as evidence that these discussions are necessary, substantial, and impactful.
Paul Elam has described trying to express the full scope of the men’s rights movement as akin to understanding a blizzard one snowflake at a time. An alternative, simplifying perspective would be to view it as a tree. The leaves are numerous, but most trace back to a few major branches. The danger of simplification is that ideas not easily categorize may be pushed to the margins. However, there is also much to gain.
The manosphere can be a confusing place. Newcomers encounter a cacophony of ideas, many tinged with anger or frustration. Outsiders bent on demonization can cherry-pick the most offensive bits and hold those up as representing the movement’s core beliefs, like the Southern Poverty Law Center inventing a straw man “male supremacy movement.”
There is also the internal sniping: pick-up oriented men call MGTOWs pussies, while MGTOWs call them stupid and deluded, and both call MRAs ineffectual chumps, while MRAs call both immature or extreme. It’s good fun. The point is not for us to agree, but to map out where we differ, and understand what separates us all from the normies. The fact that we focus on our disagreements may add to the fog, but it is also healthy and natural, a necessary part of people hashing out ideas and stumbling towards a clearer picture.
In this article, I will pursue a particular categorization of arguments that results in a definition of the red pill, based on three necessary components. In the tree metaphor, these three ideas are branches coming off a single trunk (i.e., different perspectives on one deeper truth, selected to succinctly capture the most important red-pill lessons). The three ideas are not new, and this article will not focus on proving/documenting each one, but instead will explore how different perspectives on them divide the manosphere into its sub-groups. Abandoning the tree imagery, the remainder of this article will use the metaphor of an atomic particle (“Redpillium”), with the three essential ingredients making up the nucleus. In the role of electrons are other, related ideas which are influenced by the nucleus.
A key distinction is that the blue-pill world (1) is unfamiliar with the three nucleus components, while (2) being aware of the electrons, but viewing them differently than would a person possessed of red-pill knowledge. No doubt, some in the manosphere have versions of the red pill where the nucleus includes more ideas than the three below. Stretching the atomic metaphor, those could be other red-pill isotopes, which is fine. This article discusses three necessary components, though some may see them as not sufficient. That is, in my humble view, the lack of any one of these three elements renders a person not red-pill.
The Manosphere Sub-Groups
The participants in the manosphere often disagree on the details or consequences of the three nucleus ideas. We argue about them constantly, and our different viewpoints divide us into factions. I will attempt to describe these groups, recognizing that my definitions are imperfect, that many people do not fall neatly into any one group, that I am surely missing nuances, and that the situation is evolving so rapidly that much of what I describe will quickly become outdated.
First, are the Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs), who seek to ease problems that afflict men, such as homelessness, suicide, incarceration, under-education, and forced alienation from their children. Second, are Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOWs) whose guiding principle is to deny women influence/control over their lives, specifically by never marrying or cohabitating. Third, are traditional conservatives (Tradcons) who, as I will argue below, fail the test of being red-pilled, yet they are relevant because (1) they recognize that society’s indifference and demonization of men is undermining men’s ability to be strong, productive citizens, and (2) their association with political conservatism allows them a large platform to influence mainstream discussion.
The fourth, and final, group currently lacks an established name. Exemplified by Rolo Tomassi, Richard Cooper, and the “Red Man Group,” they have transformed what was previously called the pick-up artist (PUA) community into something more sweeping, rendering the PUA moniker inadequate. For the sake of this article, I will call them the “Red Men.” Like prior PUAs, the Red Men have a focus on succeeding with women, but they do not see this as a stand-alone issue. Instead, they promote an overall philosophy of taking on life unapologetically, with open eyes, discipline, confidence, and resilience. They believe that such a stance makes a wide array of life accomplishments attainable, including with women.
This can-do mentality is not inherently red-pill. Shelves could be filled of mainstream self-help books touting similar messages—so in the Redpillium framework, those ideas are electrons. What makes the Red Men different, and will ultimately determine their place in the manosphere, is their promisingly firm commitment to open eyes, which includes taking in red-pill knowledge.
The distinction between Red Men and MGTOWs can be hazy, which is ironic given that MGTOW’s defining characteristic is avoiding women, while Red Men are associated with pursuing them. Stepping down below the obvious, the most common definition of MGTOW is men who will not marry or cohabitate. A Red Man might pursue women while never intending on a serious commitment, and while doing so may not personally identify as MGTOW. Yet other MGTOW might regard him as one of them whose current hobby is chasing women, and might predict that he will eventually find the hobby unrewarding and scale it back.
The Three “Nuclear” Components: MGP, GA, and CW.
Nuclear #1: MGP
Men Got Problems, but society does not recognize/emphasize those problem to the degree it would if they afflicted women.
The litany of these problems is likely familiar, and includes suicide, homelessness, incarceration, early death, parental alienation, among many others.
For MRAs, MGP lies at the center of their red-pill thinking, leading them to advocate for relief of men’s problems and raising social awareness.
Many Tradcons understand MGP (which makes them the closest thing the manosphere has to a mainstream ally). For example, a Tradcon might raise MGP in order to attack the left by undermining the left’s claim of moral high-ground (i.e., the left claims to be compassionate, but their indifference to men shows their hypocrisy). Another common Tradcon invocation of MGP is that society needs to stop undermining men, or else men will not be able to fulfil their traditional producer/provider roles.
MGTOWs and Red Men are aware of MGP, but believe it is fruitless to try to convince society to care about men. When Red Men focus on MGP, they see it as demonstrating the need for men to strengthen themselves and become resilient, because they cannot expect caring or sympathy. MGTOWs mostly agree with Red Men, but place greater emphasis on (1) men’s solidarity in this shared burden, as well as (2) contempt for the women who constantly moan about their own problems while completely ignoring men’s.
Nuclear #2: GA
Gynocentrism Awareness: society idealizes women, overemphasizes them and their wants, and enforces this through shaming and threat narratives.
For example, society says that feminism should be the sole movement with a monopoly on discussing gender relations (gynocentric: only the female perspective), MRAs dissent and are met with shaming (MRAs are a bunch of pathetic losers), and threat narrative (what MRAs really want is to abuse women or turn them into second-class citizens). Some in the manosphere believe that gynocentrism is an inextricable part of human nature, while others think it is something we can fight back against, now or in the future.
Tradcons are lacking in GA. Some recognize the female-idealization aspect, but miss the female-overemphasis. Possibly, some would agree that women are emphasized more, but quibble over the judgemental statement that women are “overemphasized.” For example, they could follow an evolutionary perspective and argue that men’s proper place it to be considered disposable. (I would consider this thinking an example of the “appeal to nature”/ “naturalistic” fallacies.)
MRAs and MGTOWs grasp GA, and emphasize the illegitimacy of the social control mechanisms that enforce it (i.e., shaming and threat narratives). They encourage men to develop internal, psychological resistance to these tactics.
Similar to their view of MGP, when Red Men address GA they tend to see it as heightening the need for mens’ toughness and self-reliance.
Although GA is perhaps the deepest and most far reaching of the three ingredients of the red pill (for example, it causes MGP), no group makes it their primary focus (it is more often the cause behind the focus).
Nuclear #3: CW
Caution of Women.
No woman in our culture could escape the message that she would be foolish to blindly trust an unfamiliar man, but the reverse side of that message is missing. Men are encouraged to seek fulfilment and existential validation through their relationships with women. We naturally want women to love us, and society does its best to whip that desire up into a desperate obsession. In view of the many potential dangers women carry, a more mature culture would teach men to keep that urge in check. Instead of shaming men when they fail to put women first, we should shame them for ever letting this woman-thirst steer their lives. The third piece of red-pill thinking is for men to develop their own personalized sense of CW.
With some exceptions, MRAs are soft on CW, striking a gentlemanly stance of, “We would very much like men’s issues to be addressed, but in seeking this must honor the feelings and uphold the reputations of women as a group.” The MRAs are still better than Tradcons, who seem to lack CW entirely, and prefer for men to march dutifully ahead in their traditional, disposable role. When Tradcons address CW, it is usually an attempt to talk men out of it. MTOWs and Red Men embrace CW with gusto, though approaching it from different angles.
My own CW odyssey began about two years ago. At that point, I had been dipping into men’s issues for awhile, and had gradually become convinced that MRAs were sharing important information that was unrecognized in society. At that point, I firmly expected that women would get onboard, if only they knew. How naïve. I can now confidently inform readers, based on repeated experiences, both of my own and others I know, that almost all women respond to the very notion of men’s issues with revulsion and discomfort. To most readers here, this is like telling you that the sky is blue. Both men and women surprised me, though not in the same way: towards women, men are loyal to a fault; while women are loyal only to themselves. I resisted this new information for some time, but eventually understood that I needed to correct my opinion of women.
To merely say that I started rethinking my assumptions about women shortcuts a great deal of psychological work. First, I needed to understand that I was allowed to view women differently. Men are inclined to see the best in women, to not judge them, to try to understand their point of view, forgive them, not hold them accountable, and most especially to believe that harboring ill feelings towards women as a group would make us deplorable. It took me about a year to let go of that idea and realize that it is fair to judge women by what they do and say. I support women’s freedom to act and speak however they choose within the law, but they cannot also insist that men see them as angels.
In developing their CW, men often turn to scientifically based principles such as female hypergamy, Briffault’s law, and women’s dual mating strategy. The process is personal, practical, and situational. For example, if a man believes that he would not receive adequate due process in the case of a female accusation, his CW should incorporate this. CW conversations often offend normies’ gynocentrism, resulting in boilerplate reactions of shaming and threat narratives. (GA: man-hating draws shrugs, while woman-hating draws torches and pitchforks.) Society is biased to assume that if women are allowed to share and discuss freely, the resulting ideas will be virtuous, but men enjoying that same freedom would produce something toxic. I disagree, and am not afraid of men talking.
As noted above, MRAs tend to tiptoe around CW, while Tradcons try to dispel it. The real evolution of CW thought is occurring distinctly between MGTOWs and Red Men. MGTOWs fight the issue at the root, attacking the idea that being with a woman is even desirable. A common catchphrase is, “The juice is not worth the squeeze.” A MGTOW-lite philosophy holds that men will be happier if they de-prioritize women in the lives, which includes fighting their thirst enough to not put up with bad female behavior. (E.g., Paul Elam.) Some MGTOWs’ interpretation of CW is to avoid all romantic contact (“MGTOW monks”), though nobody knows what percentage.
Unlike MGTOWs, Red Men’s discussion of CW does not focus on reasons women are undesirable—although they do caution against imagining any woman to be solution to one’s life (“oneitis”). Instead, they more try to understand the ways that women are crazy, so as to avoid going crazy themselves.
In the “Redpillium” model, the nucleus is surrounded by electrons—ideas that are not unique to red-pill individuals, but that are influenced by red-pill thinking. Here are a few examples:
Electron #1 Pick-up Game.
Many men follow a simple strategy for finding romantic partners. They work hard, maintain themselves, get their lives in order, and then they wait for a promising opportunity. Sometimes, they wait years; sometimes, the opportunity never comes.
Men wanting a more proactive approach need to develop a set of strategies (“game”). Game, in of itself, is a part-way red-pill concept. Players need to be practical about the nature of women (CW). A man who works up the gumption to approach women will usually be rejected. When keeping up game on a regular basis, these rejections threaten to be ego shredding. He works hard and takes care of himself; he knows that he is not chopped liver; but women do not feel about him anything like the way he feels about them.
His resilience to carry on can be boosted by the knowledge that men see women in a much more generous light than vice versa. Men find the average woman fairly attractive, while women are only physically attracted to a small fraction of men. The gaming man can de-personalize his rejections by understanding the statistical truth that women are cruel in their evaluations of men.
The women’s-nature side of CW is inescapable for the pick-up community. Promisingly, the Red Men now also hint at the other half of CW: questioning how much they should prioritize romantic success, and unlearning the programming that women are the measure of a man.
Electron #2 Self-reliance.
As the red pill teaches men about their own disposability in the eyes of society, it reinforces in them the need for strength and self-reliance. They cannot expect others to recognize their humanity. This realization tilts many red-pill men towards libertarian thinking, while also having the healthful effect of prompting them to take ownership and responsibility for their lives because, with nobody to help them, bootstrap power is all they have.
Electron #3 Gender Politics.
Whenever our politicians take up a gender-related policy, their gynocentism is in the driver’s seat. Both the policies themselves, and the debates surrounding them reek of the assumption that women and their wants deserve primacy. Personally, my GA and MGP make me skeptical that a decent political discussion of gendered issues is even possible in the current cultural climate.
Electron #4 Welfare and Taxes.
In a democracy, as long as men are loyal to a fault, while women are loyal only to themselves, tax-based wealth redistribution will take money from men and give it to women. This fact nudges red-pill thinkers to favor conservative/libertarian low-tax policies, but that view is not a consensus. Others, instead, recognize the female favoritism as a blemish on the policy, but are willing to accept that burden in order to help people through the benefits.
For readers who identify with the manosphere, I hope that my descriptions of your attitudes rings true. If not, please contact me and explain. You can email me at email@example.com. For other readers, I hope that this introduction helps you to understand what lies at the core of red-pill thinking.