November 2022 Issue

The Red Pill: Online Misogynistic Rage & the “Science” of Women

Daeli Vargas

The first time I encountered Red Pill content was around my third year of community college in 2019. Like many others with access to the internet, especially those in my generation (Gen-Z) and who might be introverted, I turned to the internet to get my “social fill” and escape the physical world. Little did I know, I would stumble upon video recommendations with worrying titles like “Female Nature Never Changes – MGTOW” by Canadian YouTuber, Sandman, who posts Red Pill content nearly every day.

A lot of these videos had MGTOW in the titles or as hashtags in the description boxes. This acronym, which stands for “men going their own way,” was created by a group of frustrated cisgender, heterosexual men who felt wronged by women and modern-day feminism (which many in academia find hard to define but some argue that it is a fourth wave of feminism that started in 2012); and as a result, have decided to cease their romantic, and in some cases, sexual interactions with women. This was at a time where I was insecure in my own social interactions and not wholly aware of feminism. These things made it easier for me and many other young girls and women, to internalize the things that Red Pill YouTubers would say about women, dating culture, sex, and masculinity.

The first thing to get me on the path of accepting the Red Pill was to believe that MGTOW and other groups like MRAs (Men’s Rights Activists) and incels that fall under the Red Pill philosophy, were becoming increasingly popular and would in turn, make more women single. Red Pill groups were relatively unpopular pre-pandemic and could be traced back to the mid-2000s, but have become more prevalent during the pandemic by image consultant/self-proclaimed dating coach, Kevin Samuels (who passed May 2022) through his YouTube call-in shows, and Fresh & Fit through their podcast. This was worrying to me at the time because I did not want to miss out on romantic relationships with men which are considered to be the highest form of a relationship. The problem with this narrative is that singlehood is not a societal issue unless we are not comfortable with our singleness. Thus, this narrative pushes women to believe that their purpose in life needs to center around the presence of a man.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to get married, and indeed, some women do have the desire to get married one day. However, with the rise of this anti-feminist, anti-woman content on YouTube, this desire is employed to encourage women to transform themselves into a more idealized kind of woman, i.e., a stay-at-home wife/mom who always puts a cishet man’s needs first. This desire is easy to use as a manipulation tool because women have been taught to second-guess themselves and do the emotional work of others, particularly cishet men. It is no doubt that there are cishet men and women that want sex and romantic relationships with each other, but since a lot of cis-het men have fallen prey to this Red Pill rhetoric, romantic and sexual relationships between cishet men and women will become strained.

As I have consumed the Red Pill, I have taken notice of some of the things I was thinking. I believed that feminists wanted control over cishet men and that women naturally wanted cishet men to be the leaders in relationships. I believed this because Red Pill YouTubers would manipulate the definitions of certain words and concepts. An example of this is “friendzoning.” Many redpillers believe that women too often friendzone the “nice guys” and that feminism only reinforces women’s “need” to friendzone these men, making them overly confident that they deserve the “chads” or top-earning and physically attractive men in the country. This is an unfair representation of feminist women because there are many of us that support feminism for the opportunity to explore various aspects of our womanhood. Feminism at its core is not about making women feel superior to men; it’s about letting women explore their identities without the guilt and shame that have ravaged so many of our women predecessors. Women are also allowed to “friendzone” men if they are not attracted to them romantically or sexually because the bare minimum does not guarantee men anything. Much less if men do “nice things” in expectation of sex and romance. As for Chads, a lot of us do not want nor care about them because a lot of us are satisfied with a man who isn’t conventionally attractive, works a decent job, and wants to live comfortably.

Another example is “penis envy.” The idea that feminist women are secretly envious of men and all the stereotypical feminist things they do are because they want to be men. This Freudian term has been co-opted by redpillers to make women question why they are feminists in the first place. While I do believe that some women use their feminism to primarily compete with men and have valid reasons to be envious of what men can do without the multiple societal pressures that lands on women, the idea that women want to work and may act “masculine” in order to get to where they want to be does not mean they are necessarily envious of men or want to be men. It either means they are comfortable acting in certain “masculine” ways and/or know that traditional masculinity is prioritized and required as a way of existing in many U.S. workplace cultures. Not to mention, both men and women can have a masculine and feminine side.

For the sake of further explanation, I will give one last example of how redpillers have manipulated words to serve their anti-feminist hatred. It is “pair-bonding.” This term, used in animal biology, is the ability that humans have to connect with each other neurologically, typically during sex. It has been used by MGTOWs to justify shaming women who have had or have multiple sexual partners. It said by MGTOWs that the higher a women’s sexual partner count is, the lower her ability to pair-bond, which would make her less marriageable for a man because a woman’s future children may carry the sperm of her past partners and will be most likely to cheat on her husband (I am not kidding). Redpillers have women down to a science and make it seem like these concepts would not also apply to them. While I do think hookup culture has many disadvantages, especially for women, listed in articles such as giving men who sexualize women frequently more access to sex, the idea that women are forever tied to their sexual partners because of their lack of pair-bonding ability needs some reliable, relevant scientific evidence.

Both men and women are complicated beings, even if Red Pill YouTubers like Sneako (who has been recently banned on YouTube and other platforms), Andrew Tate (banned on many social media platforms as well), and others in the manosphere (online male spaces) try to advertise otherwise. Women are not out to get men either, and if we have ever gotten too far as per the #MenAreTrash hashtag back in 2016, I believe we had our reasons. There were and still are too many cishet men who have neglected women’s needs that it just makes sense to say all men are trash. Redpill YouTuber, Donovan Sharpe, who believes all women fantasize about rape serves as an example. These kinds of hashtags also don’t always lead to extreme action outside of the internet. I certainly don’t think the #MenAreTrash hashtag got women to start killing men. Unlike some in the manosphere who have killed women: violent involuntary celibate men. But really, I think people need to get off these internet debates and have more in-person conversations. I think we’ll all be better off that way.

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