A Reddit inspired Kickstarter to publish a "PUA" book titled Above The Game has come in for huge backlash after it was revealed that much of the tome's expected content involved advocating behavior that walks a scary line between "seduction" and "sexual assault."
Reddit's misogyny and big PUA (pick-up artist) culture is often lambasted on the web, and it seems in ways natural that a hive of geeks would buy into a suggestion that attracting women is a simple matter of outgaming their built in fussiness about consent and sexual agency.
Reddit is rife with subreddits like r/mensrights, where forcible administration of abortion drugs is considered laudable, and the seduction subreddit where the Above The Game kickstarter was born.
That the Kickstarter now being criticized has raised so much money shouldn't in and of itself be a factor so much as the illustration of wide-scale acceptance of these ideas it suggests should be a takeaway.
Malone speaks for all reasonable people when he first says, "this is a nightmare," noting that he was at first unimpressed by the rape-friendly Kickstarter:
"Watching the video, reading the description, it sounds fairly innocent but a little eye-roll inducing. It’s another book where some nerd, desperate to be liked by women (this is not an insult, we are ALL desperate to be liked by someone we want to have sex with) thinks he’s figured out some cheat code or check-list like routine they can run in a bar to make women sleep with them, as if women aren’t people but a series of subroutines or an obstacle course that they can optimize to get their [expletive] wet as fast as possible."
Malone soon realizes how rapey Above The Game's advice becomes, citing Reddit for this creepy gem:
"To quote Rob Judge, 'Personal space is for p*ssies.' I already told you that the most successful seducers are those who can’t keep their hands off of women. Well you’re not gonna be able to do that if you aren’t in close! ... All the greatest seducers in history could not keep their hands off of women. They aggressively escalated physically with every woman they were flirting with. They began touching them immediately, kept great body language and eye contact, and were shameless in their physicality. Even when a girl rejects your advances, she KNOWS that you desire her. That’s hot. It arouses her physically and psychologically.”
BRB, showering. Both TDD and Malone quote a portion of the book on "game" that reads:
“Decide that you’re going to sit in a position where you can rub her leg and back. Physically pick her up and sit her on your lap. Don’t ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances ... Pull out your c**k and put her hand on it. Remember, she is letting you do this because you have established yourself as a LEADER. Don’t ask for permission, GRAB HER HAND, and put it right on your d**k.”
"This guy is no longer just being weird and creepy on the internet. Now he’s writing a book about how to sexually assault women, and he is using something I believe in (Kickstarter) to ask YOU for money to do it. I am offended as someone who believes in the platform, and more importantly I am offended as someone who believes women shouldn’t be treated this way, and that people who say otherwise CERTAINLY should not profit off saying they should.This isn’t harmless."
Noting that the most vulnerable, awkward-with-women users are susceptible to such horrible advice, Malone concludes:
"People come to these boards because they are scared of being humiliated, and they are saying to the world, 'Tell me what to do, because I don’t know what to do.' And this guy has chosen to tell them, 'You should be a rapist.' ”
After the Reddit rape tips controversy erupted, Above the Game: A Guide to Getting Awesome With Women author Ken Hoinsky told TheDailyDot that the book also has a whole chapter devoted to consent.
The Reddit PUA Kickstarter can be found here.