Pick-up Artist Culture: Feminist critiques

'Pick-up artists' and PUA cultures and communities are hotbeds of misogyny. Pick-up artist culture has been subject to various criticisms:

  • A women-hating, virulently anti-feminist culture.
  • Focuses on coercive strategies: manipulate women, ignore what women say, push past ‘No’, etc.
  • A commodity model of sex. Premised on male entitlement
  • Takes away women’s humanity
  • Treats human interactions as a formula
  • Offers a combative view of gender relations
  • Spreads highly traditional, violence-supportive views of men and masculinity
  • Overlaps with other anti-feminist men’s rights groups and websites

Here are some accessible feminist critiques of PUA ideology and practice.

There is a small academic literature on pick-up artists and communities, as follows:

  • Almog, R., & Kaplan, D. (2017). The nerd and his discontent: The seduction community and the logic of the game as a geeky solution to the challenges of young masculinity. Men and Masculinities, 20(1), 27-48.
  • Clift, Elana J. (2007). Picking Up and Acting Out: Politics of Masculinity in the Seduction Community. PhD thesis, Department of American Studies, The University of Texas at Austin, May.
  • Hambling-Jones, O., & Merrison, A. J. (2012). Inequity in the Pursuit of Intimacy: An Analysis of British Pick-up Artist Interactions. Journal of Pragmatics, 44(9), 1115-1127.
  • O’Neill, Rachel. (2015) The Work of Seduction: Intimacy and Subjectivity in the London ‘Seduction Community’. Sociological Research Online, 20(4).
  • O’Neill, Rachel. (2018). Seduction: Men, Masculinity and Mediated Intimacy. Polity.