Hours after 22-year-old student Elliot Rodger shot and killed 7 people near a Santa Barbara university campus in California on Friday night, an internet user on a messaging board site asked, “Will [A]merican women become nicer after today’s attempt?” “I heard that New Yorkers became a lot nicer after 9/11,” he wrote. “Could this happen to women as a gender after today’s events? I’m seeing that some feminists subreddits are toning down their anti male vitriol after today’s incident.”
The message was posted on the PUA Hate Reddit, one of many pages dedicated to exposing the tricks, lies, manipulations of pick-up artists (PUA) who purport to teach men how to attract beautiful women. The internet’s numerous anti-PUA sites aim to prevent professional pick up artists from shaking down young impressionable men who are desperately trying to meet women. But several websites reviewed by ThinkProgress, including ones Rodger himself posted to, betray deep rooted misogyny and homophobia, as well as users who feel entitled to have sex with beautiful women.
For instance, some of the messages posted on puahate.com — a site Rodger utilized — advise men what to do “if you have an average jaw,” ask “how do guys get there hair like this,” and encourage users to “rate Johnny Depp´s eye area on this pic.” Others even upload pictures and elicit tips from the community for how to alter their appearances in order to maximize their chances of meeting and having sex with beautiful women. This user summed up the goal this way: “I would just like to get to the point where I can bang a girl whenever I want ie 5 times a week.”
But much of the content is far more offensive. A May 11th tweet from @puahate, the official twitter account of puahate.com retweeted, “Feminists always date some beta male faggot who claims to be s male feminist. I never lold so hard in my life.” Similarly, one internet post profiled in a 2012 Jezebel article on the pick-up artist backlash notes, “A HB5 [hot babe whose hotness is a 5 out of 10] with gonorrhea is still higher value than a male 9 in western society. Oh, but wait. Necrophilia exists. So, to sum up: women can be DEAD and get laid more than an average looking male.” Another user wrote, “Honestly I don’t know what to do- set up a male model’s profile and lure out stinky bitches to educate and purify, or set up a fake stupid cunt ugly profile and lure out all the losers men who message me to say how beautiful I am and how much they would love for me to become their princess.”
Rodger’s videos, in which he premeditates his murderous rampage, and 140-page manifesto, echo many of these themes: utter frustration that beautiful women cling to all the wrong men and ignore his far superior qualities.
“You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me. But I will punish you all for it,” he says. “It’s an injustice, a crime, because I don’t know what you don’t see in me. I’m the perfect guy. Yet you throw yourselves at all these obnoxious men. Instead of me. The supreme gentleman. I will punish all of you for it [laughter].”
Following the shooting, many in the anti-PUA community sought to distance themselves from Rodger by deriding his physical appearance, Slate’s Amanda Hess points out. “Short lower third and gay midface, with zero brow ridge,” one user said. Another posted, “Nobody gives a shit about some socially deprived, narrow-clavicle twink with a delusional sense of self. He’s a poser,” he said. “Nothing will come of this, you sensationalist losers. Certainly not national coverage.”
Meanwhile, forums dedicated to propagating pick up artistry seized on the tragedy to hawk their services. “He is self-delusional and massively entitled, but exposing him to game may have saved lives,” Roosh of Pick-Up Artist RooshV’s forums wrote. Strategic Dating Coach commented on one of Rodgers’ YouTube videos this way: “THIS is why we do what we do,” Strategic Dating Coach weighed in. “TO PREVENT THIS SHIT!!! He should have gone to our website and got our personal dating coaching or purchased one of our products. IF ANYONE NEEDS HELP, CONTACT US! Don’t ‘suffer injustice.’ ”