How Pickup Artistry Evolved Into A Masculinity Movement and Philosophy

I was a philosophy major in college. I remember the day I told my grandfather, an engineer, that I was majoring in philosophy. The next morning we were eating breakfast and he handed me the newspaper. Typical of his laconic wit, he said: “Jordan, I appreciate your decision to major in philosophy. But it seems the philosophy firms aren’t hiring at the moment…”

I still get a chuckle from our interaction. But I do not regret majoring in philosophy for a second. Philosophical treatises opened my mind and inspired me. I find my classical philosophical background to be more practical than one would imagine, and I continue to study classical philosophy and apply the principles to my everyday life as a trial attorney.

For thousands of years, wise men wrote about topics like ethics, virtue, and even the death of God. Plato taught the wisdom of Socrates through dialogues and conversations with other people. Aristotle wrote to identify natural order in the world. Marcus Aurelius wrote his Meditations as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement. Plutarch wrote about the lives of Spartans. Augustine taught us how to learn. Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus made us question the point of our existence.

Ultimately, many philosophers put their thoughts into working philosophies, such as objectivism, metaphysicsutilitarianism, etc. Aristotelian ethics is a philosophy developed on how humans should live best.

Working philosophies had a profound impact on the development of society.

Sadly, modern liberal arts academia has become essentially useless and almost incomprehensible, strongly influenced by third wave feminism. For example, being born a man and identifying as a man actually has an academic term – “cisgendered.” Meaning academics actually have studied this concept with a straight face. In another instance, a sociology professor recently said that “white men were ‘the problem’ for America’s colleges”, while at the same time starting a fake online dating profile using the identify of another person. You can even get a degree in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality now at Harvard University. What is that?

At the heart of this field is the assertion that gender and sexuality are fundamental categories of social organization and power that are inseparable from race, ethnicity, class, nationality, and other categories of difference.


Needless to say, we’ve moved far from the days of Aristotle and Camus, and philosophizing about important yet practical topics like a natural order, morality, primary cause, virtue, ethics, and the meaning of our existence. It seems to me that academia is currently focused on pushing a third wave feminism ideal.

As a single guy in my 30s, all of this feminist gender studies stuff has absolutely no practical application to me. It won’t help me be a better lawyer, make more money, or live a more fulfilling life. In contrast, I will often refer back to classical philosophy for inspiration or perspective. A manuscript on cisgender heteronormative white male privilege, not so much.

Interestingly, a “masculinity movement” and philosophy is rapidly growing on the internet. And it’s worth taking a look at it.

There has never been much of a push to examine what “masculinity” is, as far as I’m aware. Certainly not from an academic perspective. I went to a conservative Catholic college, and there were no classes offered on masculinity (“You wanna lean more about masculinity? Join the football team”). I’m not even sure the topic of “masculinity” has been seriously analyzed since Roman virtus.

So what is this new “masculinity movement”? How did it happen? And does it have any practical application?

Well, it started with some guys trying to get laid. Nice guys with good jobs were wondering why women weren’t physically attracted to them, even though they “were doing everything right.” Then in 2005, Neil Strauss came along wrote “The Game”, which began to analyze the nature of sexual encounters between men and women in a very mainstream way.  Before reading The Game, I thought this is the way it worked – you work hard, be nice, and someday a good woman will see you as a person worth spending time with. Strauss’s book turned my ideas about sexual relationships on its head. Basically, his book is about how he went from a short geeky balding guy to a guy who has dated a lot of hot women. Strauss practices approaching random women, develops clever opening lines, and ultimately becomes proficient at bringing home women he meets in bars and nightclubs. It’s a fun read, although more of a memoire than a guide on picking up women.

Men like RooshV began to create forums to improve their own “pickup skills”, meet other guys to hang out with, and develop their “game.” One of the popular places for that is the RooshV forum, which is hosted by Roosh, who is also the author of a book called “Bang.”

Ultimately, it lead many men to ask bigger picture questions. Why did they need to develop game in the first place? If they had a good job, were loyal providers, and were emotionally available, why weren’t women sexually attracted to them?

Slowly, men began to realize that while acting feminine was the politically correct thing to do, and it got them lots of likes on Facebook, it didn’t exactly land them girlfriends. I’m sure all you single guys in the dating market have heard this line: “you’re a really nice guy, but I just don’t feel the spark.”

And why is that? It turns out that even in a world where men are encouraged to act feminine, women still prefer having sex with masculine men. That’s no secret, either. According to Sheryl Sandberg:

“When looking for a life partner, my advice to women is date all of them: the bad boys, the cool boys, the commitment-phobic boys, the crazy boys. But do not marry them. The things that make the bad boys sexy do not make them good husbands. When it comes time to settle down, find someone who wants an equal partner. Someone who thinks women should be smart, opinionated and ambitious. Someone who values fairness and expects or, even better, wants to do his share in the home. These men exist and, trust me, over time, nothing is sexier.”

Basically, Sandberg suggests that women should have sex with men they’re physically attracted to, and then “settle down” with boring guy who will buy the house and faithfully go to work everyday. The same guy who gets cheated on all the time.

The “women like jerks” phenomenon has been dubbed “The Red Pill” on the internet. Namely, being too emotionally available will get women to say what a “nice guy” you are, but not much else. The reality is that “chicks dig jerks.”

Another good example is lyrics by Alanis Morissette in the song “Unsent”. This is what Alanis has to say about “Terrance”, the nice guy:

dear terrance
I love you muchly
you’ve been nothing but open hearted and emotionally available and supportive
and nurturing and consummately there for me
I kept drawing you in and pushing you away
I remember how beautiful it was to fall asleep on your couch and cry in front of you for the first time
you were the best platform from which to jump beyond myself
what was wrong with me

Compared to bad boy “Marcus”:

dear marcus
you rocked my world
you had a charismatic way about you with the women
and you got me seriously thinking about spirituality
and you wouldn’t let me get away with kicking my own ass
but I could never really feel relaxed and looked out for around you
though and that stopped us from going any further than we did
and it’s kinda too bad becasue we could’ve had much more fun

It turns out nature works exactly as intended. Women prefer masculine men. Men prefer feminine women. And when we start to mess around with that, it’s frustrating for everyone involved. It’s unfair for both sexes. Women are told that they “should” like the sensitive boring nice guy with a decent job, who never lifts weights, and does yoga instead. Men are told they should act like the nice guy women aren’t that into. Then both sexes are left frustrated with how complicated dating is. Once a man understands what women truly desire, rather than what they say they desire, dating is less frustrating for everyone.

Of course, such a concept is not exactly politically correct, and in fact flies in the face of what you read in the mainstream media.

As men realize that women desire masculine males, Pick Up Artistry has evolved from exchanging silly opening lines into a movement focused on development of masculinity. The mainstream media calls these bloggers “The Manosphere”, which actually involves writing about a broad range of men’s issues. The topics covered involve male self improvement, physical fitness, entrepreneurship, the study of classical philosophy, and developing a laconic wit.

Others have used it as a vehicle for challenging third wave feminism and mainstream media bias. Topics like fake rape allegations are being discussed in the news. The mainstream media’s bias towards over-inflating the dangers of “campus rape”is also coming to light. In #GamerGate, attorney blogger Michael Cernovich was able to show that feminists and females unfairly get favorable treatment in the mainstream media.

RooshV took it a step further, and decided boil these concepts down to a working philsophy in one of his recent pieces entitled “Neomasculinity“. Roosh has essentially complied all the red pill knowledge of the manosphere into a working philosophy. Personally, I think that’s a huge and important endeavor. I encourage everyone to read it, even if you disagree with it, think it’s stupid, or find it distasteful.

There are critics, sure. Rollo Tomassi over at The Rational Male has called it “the PayPal version of the red pill.” On the other hand, Alex Jones made a positive video about it. Regardless of your opinion, people are talking about the subject and that’s important.

But one thing is certain. Roosh’s working philosophy of “Neomasculinity” has injected some intellectual rigor into the discussion.

So what’s it all mean?

In my view, the masculinity movement is not about becoming a “pickup artist” who tricks susceptible women into sleeping with them. It’s not about advocating for “men’s rights.” It’s not about exchanging clever opening lines.

It’s about physical fitness. It’s about building a business, and being independent. It’s about guys interested in developing into masculine men – the type of man a woman might even enjoy being around. It’s about calling out media bias. It’s about embracing your inner gorilla.

But call it whatever you want to call it. “The universal order and the personal order are nothing but different expressions and manifestations of a common underlying principle.” -Marcus Aurelius

8 Responses to How Pickup Artistry Evolved Into A Masculinity Movement and Philosophy

  1. […] I’ve heard rumblings about some of the stuff Jordan Rushie explains, it was never really worth my time to look into it. I’m well past my dating years, and have […]

  2. tgt says:

    Wait… This wasn’t a parody? The stupid… it burns.

  3. Sam says:

    They’re on to something. There has been a concerted effort from Enlightenment/Humanist/Progressive intellectuals (De Sade, Marx, Marcuse, etc.) on through state-parnered corporations, academic departments, and think-tanks to “liberate” men and women from “pre-scientic” traditions, mores, norms, reproductive strategies, etc. for the purpose of expanding workforce participation, consumption, taxation, and minimize the influence of familiy structures.

    With sex unrestrained, the Pareto principle (applied to sex selection) has kicked in, and the Pickup artists have adapted accordingly.

  4. rivelino says:

    “Working philosophies had a profound impact on the development of society.”

    i like this quote.

  5. rivelino says:

    good post and good summary. it seems pretty clear that you know what you are talking about. however, one important point about the red pill that you are missing out on. it’s not just about understanding what women like in men, or what makes an attractive man, even more than that, it’s about understanding the true nature of women, their dreams, their tendencies, their inherent strengths and flaws, because its by truly understanding women that we can really fulfill them and make them happy.

    a few months ago, having a debate with other bloggers, i wrote this post “the three essential lessons of the red pill”, i hope you can read it and let me know your thoughts:

    rollo liked it and retweeted it:


  6. Sam says:

    Like Horace said, “You may drive out Nature with a pitchfork, yet she still will hurry back.”

  7. “In my view, the masculinity movement is not about becoming a pickup artist”

    You couldn’t be more right. Even putting aside the shameless hucksterism endemic to so many purveyors of pick-up (“for only $3000 I’ll show you how to approach 100 women in one night and get dates with nearly 3% of them!”) most PUA types don’t value the best interests of men as a group, instead holding up the age-old system where a few good men deserve rewards awhile the rest just have to live with being unvaluable.

    The bigger picture you mention is definitely what we should be looking at. For instance, why on Earth are people like Sheryl Sandberg giving young women such dire dating advice? (Is it because she was called “bossy”?)

  8. Days of Broken Arrows says:

    “For instance, why on Earth are people like Sheryl Sandberg giving young women such dire dating advice?”

    Because she can make money doing it and because it does suit women, like it or not. That advice might be lethal for men in society, but women get the best of both words: a fun time dating and a cash payout whether or not the marriage works out.

    The problem is not Sandberg’s advice. The problem is the “frame” is broken. Years ago, that frame would have been provided by the media, the schools, your parents, and your friends. In other words — the culture. And it would have clearly stated that Sandberg’s words were *women’s* advice, designed by and for women and NOT for the benefit of men.

    But because feminism is so entrenched in the media, those who challenge it and say “Wait — this doesn’t work for men” are accused of sexism or worse (i.e. new idiotic catchphrases like “violent words”). Our culture now assumes that what’s best for women is best for all and woe is he who attempts to question that.

    This is really the larger problem. Feminists have been around for all of our lifetimes. The issue facing us now is that their ideas have become mainstream and coming up against them is like committing a sin, but today’s priests and nuns now take the form of those who control our media, our schools, and to a large extent our businesses.

    It’s a cultural problem, but it’s difficult to see this when you’re inside the culture. It’s only when you start piecing together specific incidents — like why certain men get fired or shamed in the media — that it becomes clear.

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