Online radicalization


There’s always been frustrated males, how they deal with that frustration is cultural. If young men are radicalized by MRAs it’s because MRAs exist.
Young men are just feeding off the prevailing culture and going with it.
Now this does not mean that most people are like that. It means that the lens with which we understand society, culture (and as always by culture I mean pop culture), reflects that.

The problem with that, and this is where I disagree with this:

Is that the way we understand them is also influenced by that same culture that pits us as “the other side” in a contrived plot to create drama out of thin air. Yes, these men are disaffected, but the expression of that disaffection is merely a cultural construct. Telling them it’s impossible to MAGA because it never was as great as they make it out to be in the first place will not cure these men of the thing that drives them to attach themselves to an ideology that provides them an outlet for their discontent.
The same could be said of suicide bombers.


Agreed. I think even Gandhi weighted in on the issue back in the 20s or 30s. Of course, there is little agreement on what those failures are and how to overcome them.


As a lifelong radical, I think of radicalization - online and otherwise - as being A Good Thing. But there is a distinction that I associate the concept of “radical” with “progressive”. Most of what I hear discussed in broadcast media as being radical strikes me as being quite the opposite, movements which are quite regressive, counter-revolutionary, attempting to cling to their status quo. There simply isn’t anything radical about racism, sexism, fundamentalism, nationalism, xenophobia, etc. That’s the same old BS.

What we need is better radicals, rather than groups which, being ignorant of the past, are eager to duplicate its follies.

Um, no, not really.


I had to look up both ‘MRA’ and ‘PUA’ and I still don’t know what the later means because I kept getting results for ‘pick-up artist’.

Dial back the Acronymizers and speak in concrete terms. This world’s already confusing enough as it is.


Pick up artists is indeed what it means.

MRA means Men’s Rights activists, which is a continuum of activists who lean from closer to the feminist view to distinctly anti-feminist:

Much like libertarians have come to be generally associated with Ayn Rand instead of Emma Goldman, MRAs are more to the right/anti-feminist/woman than in the more feminist view.

Hope that helps.


One of the problems is that radical and radicalized generally mean different things, and a lot of these words are used in a very lose way. Socialist and liberal are two other terms that have similarly vague meanings, often meaning almost opposite things depending on the qualifier.

Radical comes from the Latin word for root – whatever your political ideals, you’re wanting to change things in a fundamental way rather than seeking incremental change. This could be a radical return to a past system, or a push for a future one.

It does mean “pick-up artist”. MRAs claim to be a counterpart to feminism, or are explicitly in opposition to it (there’s a large spread among members – some also call themselves feminists, others anti-feminists). PUAs claim to know the rules of seduction and make a science out of manipulating women.


Yes, I get that.

I agree, but I see many societies as being largely defined through racism, sexism, etc through to present day. So I don’t even buy people’s continued adherence as being truly return to a past system. It’s not as if we are reverting to this from a post-racism, post-sexism culture. But I guess some people perceive it that way.


Oh, wow. Frank T.J. Mackey lives.

Still gonna maintain that acronyms, while tidy, can be counter-productively simplistic. Randians aren’t just individualistic, they’re adamantly anti-collectivist. Likewise, as you and @jsroberts both point out , these ‘mens’ rights activists’ aren’t just masculinist, they’re anti-feminist, anti-trans, and generally anti-anything that goes against patriarchal, cisgendered heteronormativity.

My lack of awareness of the PUA movement serves as glowing justification for this discussion. Big ups to you, @Mindysan33.


Happy to help. I think it’s an important issue, so thought I’d see what the folks here have to say. So far, it’s been a pretty productive discussion. We’ll wait and see if this becomes, troll bait, though.


But modern western society is run by atheistic man-hating feminists, donchanow. I guess for some people, the most liberal society on earth still falls far short of what it should be, and for others no theocratic society is truly reformed. People believe different things and most people just want to get on with their lives, which will never be radical enough. Obviously there are big differences in how justified different groups are in their ideologies, but I would probably define radicalisation as the point where your ideals and your group become more important than the actual people around you (even if your ideals say to love people – people are odd like that). I’ve seen that in a number of radicalised Christian groups that require absolute dedication to their cause, and I don’t think any ideology is completely free of zealots.



[Wikipedia] The [seduction] community was brought to greater mainstream awareness with the 1999 drama film Magnolia, in which Tom Cruise portrayed a charismatic yet embittered and emotionally troubled pickup guru who was loosely modeled on Ross Jeffries.

Fun additional fact: Magnolia director and screenwriter Paul Thomas Anderson created and wrote the character Mackey with Tom Cruise in mind.

ETA: Magnolia is my favorite film, as many BB regulars probably already know. If you haven’t seen it yet, patch this hole in your life ASAP.


I saw this get retweeted yesterday…


I’ll get criticised for this, but what the hell.

MRAs and PUAs speak to those people because feminists don’t. Men are not a uniform group. Increasingly nowadays, movements are not a uniform group. There are many different people, including women and men who care about women, who see a number of issues affecting men that are generally not being addressed by feminists. Nor should they necessarily be addressed by feminism, which can legitimately focus particularly on women’s issues. But instead of working alongside groups focusing on men and promoting good practices, feminists want to be the only show in town and insist that every one of these groups is full of women-hating white supremacists. They certainly agree that men have problems, and insist that these are due to patriarchy and will of necessity be solved once feminism deals with it. However, they are not issues that are taken particularly seriously by a lot of feminists, because of the implicit claim that anyone who advocates for these issues is a rabid misogynist. The idea that patriarchy is the only issue ignores women’s self interest and agency in culture in the past and present, and assumes that a feminist society would treat men fairly. Maybe it would, maybe not. Feminism needs to listen to men if this is to be true though. Of course you can find many examples of violently sexist men in men’s groups – there is a lot of sexism and racism around and there are large, asymmetrical problems primarily or directly affecting women. Those who do hate women will congregate in those groups, and spread their hate. But people become interested in men’s issues for many reasons other than the desire to promote white male dominance. For example:

  • Providing a group that talks about men, their roles and their particular needs. Men will continue to make up roughly 50% of the population in the future, so unless you want to have 50% representation in feminist groups, you should encourage positive spaces where men can discuss gender and society in a feminist-positive way. This will include them making their own decisions and exercising their agency. It does not have to mean that they deny women’s agency or negate feminism, and working together while breaking down the myth that promoting feminism is not opposing men is a good way to promote positive results.
  • Encouraging positive male role models in society
  • Helping those insecure men to be confident as constructive members of society who respect women.
  • Advocating for issues that affect men. Some of these issues relate to women too, but men have a different perspective. Positive social change involves respectful negotiation, not demonisation of each other.
  • Not every woman is an angel. I happen to know a few vindictive or abusive women and men who they have abused. This is often not taken seriously enough, or cheap words are used to dismiss it. However, it can be helpful to have groups focusing on men, since a lot of women’s groups or DV shelters focus exclusively on female victims. Custody laws can protect vulnerable women and children, but they can also victimise men (see above point about women not being angels). One friend is currently going through this, and his ex is making up a lot of lies about him, that he can show are not true. However, in order to counter these claims he would ruin himself, since he’s already homeless and job insecure since the divorce. He will have to fight an uphill battle at a heavy cost, and the men around him are saying to forget about it and not fight in court – it is fruitless and he will lose everything like some of them have.

There are examples of feminists who say that it should include men, but these are generally like the he for she movement or calling men to be allies. Here’s the thing though: allies fight each other’s battles – it isn’t a one-way deal. I have been on BoingBoing for about 10 years as well as reading many feminist sites, and at times it is seriously hard to find positive encouragement of good behaviour among the criticism of the bad behaviour. I know that the bad behaviour is a problem that feminists are particularly concerned with, but the scope has to be larger than calling out evil – there needs to be a more welcoming attitude toward men who are insecure and want to navigate difficult issues. Calling them sexist pigs will not change anything other than making them more entrenched in their poisonous ideologies. You understand this when it comes to Islam – building bridges is much more constructive than throwing stones and alienating people, even though I can do the same as this article and find 100 examples of extreme sexism among Muslims and Muslim groups – but there need to be more places that encourage people toward a more feminist perspective rather than using shame and name-calling as a motivator.

Counter male insecurity by proving that feminists are not themselves insecure.

(I won’t respond for a while since it’s late, but I’m not ignoring anyone)


OTOH, I’m a feminist because it counters the sort of bullshit toxic masculine culture that fucks me up and it’s the best way to get what I want - A more equal society.

That’s an internet thing. Everyone is just itching to shit all over anyone else.


Mixed in with a bit of “you don’t deserve a cookie just because you’re observing the bare minimum standards of decency required to qualify as a not-shitty person”.


Sure they do. Those guys just don’t like what they’re being told when they do. Full stop.

“No, you can’t treat women as objects.”
“No, you don’t deserve a woman.”
“No, women are not a prize.”
“No, women don’t have to defer to you simply because you’re a man.”

Since this counters, oh, the last few centuries of culture and all of those wonderful post-WWII models of how (white) men should have all the things, it doesn’t go over well.


I like you so please don’t take this as suuuuper negative. I mean well and I think you do to but…

The above (and much of what you wrote) comes across, to me as a white, het, guy, as a privileged dude telling women how they have to behave in order to coddle the more privileged, historically ill behaving, men in order to get the men to behave like human beings towards women.

While I agree that there are more and less helpful strategies, I understand why a lot of women might say “F’that!” to these kinds of suggestions. It is on men to be decent human beings and learn, amongst themselves if necessary, how to do it.


Probably because it’s absolute bullshit. Feminists speak to men and these guys don’t want to listen and stamp their feet when they point out that lonely men don’t have to deal with the psycho-aggressive behavior of an entitled dude.

Dudes abusing other dudes through toxic masculinity isn’t the fault of Feminists and they certainly provide the support for dudes to be better to each other as well.


Closely related to “it is not the responsibility of black people to teach white people how to not be racist” and “it is not the responsibility of Muslims to convince Christians that they aren’t all terrorists”.

In all those cases, some outreach and education from the underclass might be useful, but it is not an obligation. Reaching out to those who harm you is exhausting and often futile; not everybody has time for that shit.


I decided to give your post a like because I think it’ll prove a helluva bone for everyone else to chew on.

And pick. While you make some good points, there are–and you called it–some others that I feel are mistaken or go astray. I wish I had time available right now to expand on this. I will when I have the time, though. And when I’m not typing on a damned mobile.