It’s a normal day just like any other day as you browse the Internet in your home office avoiding the work in front of you that needs to be done. After logging off Facebook, you scroll through Reddit looking at pictures of people’s dogs and recycled jokes. One post catches your eye, and you click on it, wondering what you’ve found. You sit back in your Herman Miller Aeron chair (which you can buy refurbished at Beverly Hills Chairs) and scroll through the posts on the monitor. Congratulations, you just stumbled onto r/TheRedPill, the cancer of the Internet, home to men’s rights activists and pick up artists.

pill, pills, red pill, medicine

Now you must be wondering, what is TheRedPill [TRP]? If you’ve seen The Matrix movie, you’ll recall a scene where Neo, the protagonist, is offered the choice between a blue pill and a red pill. The blue pill will take Neo back to his normal life, and the red pill will allow Neo to awaken to the true reality of the Matrix. This is the reference that TRP makes. According to Red Pillers, the things they’ve learned about love and romance from the society and mass media around them are a false misrepresentation of reality. The popular framework of relationships constitutes the blue pill. Red pillers argue that by taking the red pill, men will realize the truth of reality. They argue that feminism has taken over popular culture. They’ve devised a methodology of pursuing women, and share what they call “sexual strategy” with each other.

According to TRP, the blue pill consists of advice that tells men to be themselves, and that the right girl will eventually come along. On the other hand, TRP utilizes a whole new set of terminology to discuss sexual strategy. Some of the terms used most often or regularly used include sexual market value [SMV], alphas and betas, dread game, frame, plates, shit tests, and the wall.

Sexual Market Value

Sexual Market Value, or SMV, is a term used by multiple subreddits. The term refers to a person’s characteristics, both physical and mental, that make them desirable as a romantic or sexual partner. Common characteristics include physical appearance, clothing style, one’s job or occupation, and social skills. The higher someone’s SMV is, the more they are in demand. This applies to both men and women.

Alphas and Betas

While the terms alpha and beta conjure up images of wolves for many people, TRP uses the terms to classify men. Alphas have swallowed the red pill and are generally successful in their pursuit of women. Alphas have a high SMV. Betas are seen as unaggressive, and unsuccessful in their pursuits as a result of their blue pill mentality. Betas who befriend women to pursue them but are unsuccessful are called orbiters, as they “orbit” around the woman.

Dread Game

The concept of dread game revolves around creating a sense of “dread” or jealousy within the woman, whether she’s your wife, girlfriend, or what they call a “plate.” According to this strategy, by making their significant other jealous, the men become more desirable.

Frame

TRP defines frame as “the context in which something is perceived.” Maintaining frame in a situation for a red piller generally means keeping up alpha behavior. Frame is often used to describe one’s attitude or behavior in interacting with women.

Plates

Plates are used to refer to women with whom the man has a non-exclusive sexual relationship. They are called plates as an analogy to having a lot of plates at a feast. When eating, you would generally rotate and switch out plates of food. TRP transfers this mentality to women.

plate, plates, food, feast, meal

Shit Tests

Shit tests are supposedly performed by women to test or to gauge a male’s alpha traits. Almost anything a woman says or does can be construed as a shit test if the man perceives it as challenging him.

The Wall

The wall refers to the age at which women start losing their physical attractiveness. While this age will vary from woman to woman, red pillers generally agree that the average age for the wall is 30.

While the self-prescribed description of TRP as a place to discuss men’s sexual strategy seems innocuous enough, scrolling through the posts will reveal a much more toxic attitude behind this philosophy. Some of the advice from TRP is actually reasonable, such as setting up goals for yourself and self-improvement. However, many of the posts on TRP reek of misogyny, with one post even claiming, “Women want to be raped by a high value man.” Once someone accepts some milder tenet of TRP, it can be easy to slide down the slippery slope to it’s more extremist views. TRP philosophy and practices are not only detrimental to women, but to men as well, even if they themselves may not realize it. For most users who peruse TRP, they discover it at a vulnerable, dark point in their lives. Many of them are lonely, socially awkward self-proclaimed nerds who are easily swayed to believe TRP ideals and become angry and bitter after swallowing the red pill. Newcomers are encouraged to vent and rant about women, which only fuels their hatred and anger. They stereotype women as whores who just use men for their money, or as children who don’t know what they actually want. AWALT (All women are like that) becomes almost a sort of mantra for them. Women are objectified as plates and rated on a number scale. With this narrow-minded and toxic view of women, red pillers will be unable to have an actual fulfilling relationship of any kind. TRP is full of posts in which men announce their divorce as a result of TRP ideology. In a post on r/marriedredpill, one user describes how he tried to practice dread game on his wife, except he was unsuccessful in making her jealous. Instead, she agreed to a divorce. Another user posted that he “Just walked out of a 13 year marriage,” leaving his two kids behind. Furthermore, the toxic masculinity of TRP restricts men from showing emotion or any kind of weakness, as they must always maintain frame. Red pillers who do not keep to this standard risk being called a beta buck from their peers. TRP acts very similarly to a cult, as they indict new members to their philosophy and utilize a set of terminology to frame the world. The posts in TRP create a hostile environment not only for women but to newcomers as well. One post’s title reads, “You shouldn’t post if you are new. You should STFU and get learning.” Another proclaims, “The Red Pill is not democratic. It cannot be in order to be a viably beneficial system for men.” The moderators of the sub ban anyone who dares to question TRP philosophy. This creates an echo chamber effect, in which users simply post and read posts about TRP without any debate or questions from outsiders. This echo chamber validates and reinforces red pillers’ ideas on women and relationships.

While these ideas are mostly shared online, these vitriolic posts create consequences in the real world. One only has to turn on the news to see the barrage of violence against women. Elliot Rodger, a young man of only 22 years old, went on a shooting spree near the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2014 precisely because women rejected him. He not only uploaded a Youtube video titled “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution,” but he also wrote a whole manifesto detailing his life and his motives. While he was not a user of TRP, Elliot considered himself an incel, a term short for involuntary celibate, and he posted in other online forums, such as bodybuilding.com and PUAhate. He also utilized TRP terminology, and called himself the ultimate alpha male. Unfortunately, Elliot Rodger was not even the first shooter to think this way. A few years earlier in 2009, George Sodini opened fire at an LA Fitness in Pittsburgh. He too, cited the lack of attention from women as his motive for the shooting. Instead of a manifesto, he left a website that he posted to over a nine month period. On the website, he laments that he did not have sex since 1990. He complains that women don’t give him a second look. These are the real world consequences of what is termed the “manosphere.” Women are subjected to gendered violence and objectification, and even someone who proclaims, “Grab her by the pussy!” can be voted in as POTUS.

While this particular subset of the Internet can be really disheartening, not all hope is lost. TRP gains new members, but it loses members as well. Men who renounce their TRP ways often post in other subreddits such as r/TheBluePill, r/exredpill, or r/PurplePillDebate. While r/TheBluePill is a subreddit based on ridiculing TRP, r/PurplePillDebate is a subreddit where red pillers and blue pillers can debate topics relating to TRP philosophy. Former red pillers often cite the toxic environment and the anger present in TRP as reasons for leaving the subreddit. Some leave TRP because they realize the methods and techniques don’t work for them in real life. Now that you know what r/TheRedPill is, you can slink down in your chair and cry for the fate of humanity, but at least you’ll be crying in comfort – Aeron chairs are made of breathable mesh, and the upgraded model has a lumbar pad for back support. Do you feel better now? Good, just don’t go onto r/incels.

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