The Santa Barbara student who shot and killed 7 people Friday night was part of the so-called “PUA Hate” community on the internet, dedicated to exposing the lies of Pick-Up Artist community (PUA), and misogynistic in its own right. Elliott Rodger wrote in a 140-page manifesto that he would “punish” women at a University of California, Santa Barbara, sorority house for not being attracted to him.
In response, a website popular with Pick-Up Artists is arguing that “six lives would have been saved” if there were a societal mechanism for men to learn “game” and “masculinity” and that “more people will die unless you give men sexual options.”
The Pick-Up Artist community purports to teach men how to have sex with women. The author of this post, RooshV, considers among his fundamental principles that “Women are sluts if they sleep around, but men are not” and that “A woman’s value is mainly determined by her fertility and beauty,” whereas “A man’s value is mainly determined by his resources, intellect, and character.”
While conceding that Rodgers was “undoubtedly mentally unstable,” RooshV suggests that “[h]e was not that much worse off than many socially awkward males who grew up isolated as teenagers” and that the pick-up artist community could have helped him “achieve intimacy” and thus avoid murder.
RooshV also blamed the “American media, the blogosphere, men’s rights activists, and progressive organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center,” for “creating a cultural environment that allowed this massacre to occur.” Therefore, “It is them (sic) who must accept responsibility for these seven deaths and make the moral change to their ideologies in order to prevent such an act from happening again.”
The post comes after a number of other Pick-Up Artist commenters suggested the shooting could have been prevented if he had been exposed to “game.” The website, Return of Kings, has long been a source of misogynist commentary that has baited feminists with its outrage.
But as Amanda Marcotte writes, the PUA community also explains Rodger’s view on women. Most members of the so-called “anti-PUA community” once followed pick-up artist commentary, before finding that it didn’t work for them. “PUAhate members continue to subscribe, however, to the theory that women are inferior and forbidding monsters, pre-programmed to reject worthy betas in favor of supposedly awful alphas, and their main complaint against PUAs is that they mislead betas into thinking they can game the system,” Marcotte writes.
The Pick-Up Artist mentality is grounded in the idea that women go for the “bad” boy over the “nice” guys — reflected in Rodger’s view that, “I’m the perfect guy, and yet you throw yourselves at all these obnoxious men, instead of me, the supreme gentleman.”
And this idea has burgeoned on the Internet not just in its initial PUA form and “PUA hate” groups. It has also seeped into general conservative commentary. In a reaction to the shooting for the conservative magazine the American Thinker, Jack Cashill blames feminism for Rodger’s “sickness” that he describes this way:
A generation or so ago a woman might have looked for a man who was kind, loving, pious, generous, faithful, hard working. The women in Rodger’s circle, as he saw it, looked for men who were hot, hunky and/or rich, none of which he was.
Cashill concludes that this “sickness” “set in when [feminists] and their ideological allies began to dismantle protective institutions of lasting value like family, community, nation, faith, and married love.”
An online campaign to expose the more subtle manifestations of these attitudes toward women erupted over the weekend in response to the shooting. Thousands of women and men shared their personal experiences with rape culture, street harassment, and domestic violence under the viral hashtag #YesAllWomen.