Published in Catalogue, 2017
For those not inclined to trouble themselves with the darkest misogynist corners of the Internet, you may have never heard of or encountered Reddit’s Red Pill forum. At its heart, the Red Pill is a ‘subreddit’ designed to accommodate the ideologies of the Men’s Rights Movement; peppered with female-loathing commentary, narratives of struggling masculinity, and packaged as a space for male self-improvement in life and dating.
The term “red pill” recalls the famous scene from the Matrix wherein the protagonist, Neo, is presented with the option to swallow either the blue or red pill; the blue pill presents the opportunity to return home to a contented life, sheltered from the truth whilst swallowing the red pill will open Neo’s eyes to the world as it is: the unfettered and confronting wasteland. For these Redditors, the red pill is a sanctuary for those who claim to perceive the world as it is: overrun by misandry, steeply disadvantaging men, and reducible to evolutionary terms of dating wherein individuals are only defined by their sexual and reproductive value. As for the men they believe have swallowed the blue pill, this community belittles them as fools blinded by feminist lies and deceived into believing that sexism is real. In other words, those who exist within the Red Pill are the ‘woke’ minority, we are the bumbling masses.
So, why on earth should we care about it? Why should we care about an online community of sad obsessive men? Why should we care about their deluded ramblings? For a start, it should be mentioned that the Red Pill is a phenomenally powerful cultural force in the strange and perverted landscape in which it exists, they currently boast over 200,000 subscribes (or possibly over a million if we are to believe one claim) that Reddit actually hides the total number of subscriptions that was posted on r/The_Donald – a Subreddit that had its origins in ironic fawning coverage of Donald Trump that was eventually monopolised by genuine and zealous neo Republicans, but that’s a story for another time).
Beyond the Reddit community in which it has staked a looming and abhorrent identity for itself, the Red Pill and its philosophy have been shown to wield remarkable ideological influence. This includes a supportive relationship with former Senior Editor of Breitbart and all-round appalling human being, Mio Yiannopoulos and one contentious relationship with Return of Kings owner and tremendous douchebag Roosh V who once claimed that he was the “father” of the Red Pill (they didn’t appreciate the claim).
The Red Pill has also managed to gain its militant followers and garner widespread media attention due to the extremism of its claims and the sheer scale of sexism that it propagates. ‘Political correctness’ is not a term that holds any weight in this universe. A quick browse through its forum will reveal the absurd and confronting mentality that many of these users hold dear including statement such as, “The only thing that offends a feminist more than the idea of rape is the idea that no one actually wants to rape her”, “Feminism is a sexual strategy that has caused the breakdown of the nuclear family” and one “Red Pill Theory” that I discovered within approximately thirty seconds of scrolling titled “Men build with stone, women with sand” that detailed a concept including the following nugget of wisdom, “Women? Let me explain that for 70% if not all of them in the West are both culturally and biologically engineered to choose the easiest path. Most women choose an easier, albeit parasitic life of exchanging their bodies and pretty looks for me to take care of them.”