#HowNOTToPickUpAsianChicks: Comedian Kristina Wong Launches Web Series to Review Pick-up Artists’ Self-Help Books

We’re all aware of the sad, lonely, angry corner of the internet known as the “Seduction Community“, where self-described pick-up artists coach one another on how to “score” with women. We’ve all read the think-pieces linking pick-up artistry and other facets of the so-called “Manosphere” to the radicalization of young white men. We’ve all speculated about how online meninist spaces draw from antiquated and pseudoscientific notions of bioessentialism to perpetuate racism, misogyny, and general anti-social antipathy.

Above all, we’ve all turned our noses up at the pick-up artist community’s unwavering (and unwaveringly racist and sexist) fascination with Asian and Asian American women — a fascination that motivates some to write articles extolling the virtues of the submissive Asian woman (whom they describe as the solution to western feminism) while it encourages other to travel to Asia to engage in on-camera street harassment.

And still: most of us harbour a twisted fascination with knowing just how absurd and ridiculous pick-up artistry and other anti-feminist subcultures are. We all wonder: how seriously can people who label themselves “pick-up artists” — and who do so with no hint of irony — really take themselves? After all, pick-up artistry is a self-styled self-help community that insists they exist to help romantically-struggling men. So, what does pick-up artistry self-help really sound like?

Today, comedian Kristina Wong took one for the team, and compiled a group of powerful and funny Asian American women to find out just how deep this rabbit hole really goes.

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Masculinity vs. “Misogylinity”: what Asian Americans can learn from #UCSB shooting | #YesAllWomen

The wreckage of Elliot Rodger's black BMW sedan after his deadly shooting rampage Friday evening. (Photo credit: Jae C. Hong / AP)
The wreckage of Elliot Rodger’s black BMW coupe after his deadly shooting rampage Friday evening. (Photo credit: Jae C. Hong / AP)

On Friday evening in the residential neighbourhood of Isla Vista in Santa Barbara, California, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger stabbed his three young Asian American housemates – George Chen, 19 , Weihan “David” Wang, 20, and Chen Yuan “James” Hong, 20 – to death while they slept. Rodger then drove his luxury BMW coupe to the Alpha Phi sorority where he opened fire with two legally purchased handguns on three female passersby; two – Katherine Cooper, 22 and Veronica Weiss, 19 – were killed, while a third is recovering in hospital. Rodger proceeded to the nearby I.V. Deli Mart and fired randomly into the store, killing Christopher Michael-Martinez, 20. He then drove through the streets of Isla Vista, shooting randomly at pedestrians and striking two cyclists with his car; by the end of the night, he had wounded 13. A brief firefight ensued between him and sheriff deputies, which ended when Rodger crashed his car into another vehicle. Rodger was found dead in the drivers’ seat of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

By Saturday, several YouTube videos created by Rodger – including one uploaded just hours before the attack that appeared to offer a motive for the deadly shooting – were discovered, along with a 140-page autobiography-turned-hate-fueled-manifesto. These items, along with Rodger’s frequent posts on BodyBuilding.com and PUAHate.com forum boards paint a disturbing – and disturbingly detailed – portrait of a narcissistic, mentally disturbed, lonely, woman-hating man-child so deeply twisted by American racism, classism, and sexism that he found a way to rationalize mass murder. Sparked by an abundance of macabre primary source material, over two hundred thousand news articles and think-pieces have now been written about Rodger (according to Google’s latest count) and the feminist hashtag #YesAllWomen – initiated in response to Rodger’s documented misogynistic motives – remains one of the top 5 trending topics on Twitter.

I have over the last four days stayed silent on the UCSB shooting as I tried to parse my own thoughts on Friday’s violent attack. I watched some of the YouTube videos and read Rodger’s manifesto.

In the end, I couldn’t shake the same chilling reaction I felt when I first read about Friday night’s violence: I had seen Elliot Rodger’s brand of radical hatred before. I had seen it within the comments section of my own site for a decade. I had seen it from members of my own community.

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