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Ever since its release inreferences from blockbuster film, T he Matrix, have become part of popular culture. Initially, following the metaphor of how it plays out in the film, taking the red pill instead of the blue pill meant choosing to see the truth. If you take a red pill, your eyes are opened to the truth of the world, and you no longer exist in the prettier, but fake, world you thought you lived in. But as time went on, this became more than just a line from a movie. But what does the phrase really mean? There are too many definitions of red-pilled in Urban Dictionary to cite them all.
There is no one true definition of red-pillingso red-pilling can be anything. But there is a certain type of person who proudly proclaims to have taken the red pill most often. Men like Cesar Sayocthe man who sent improvised explosive devices to critics of Donald Trump, and far-right conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones.
Even those who use the term in more mainstream spaces do so without much clarity. It got hundreds of thousands of likes, replies and retweets, including from Ivanka Trump. But why would Musk type this dog whistle, and does he know what it means? The truth being that he was a slave, just like everyone else, born into bondage, but kept sated by a silly, untrue fantasyland.
The hero takes the red pill, which is meaningful to these groups who feel the world has mistreated them. Gathering in online echo chambers, they feel like heroes for seeing the world for what it is, for being brave enough to handle it and strong enough to show others. Little do they realise that their red pill of truth often le them down a path of delusion, the very thing they think they are rallying the rest of the world against.
While red-pilling has had some play in the media, it is often through a sympathetic lens. M any people do not truly understand the process of being indoctrinated into this type of thinking or what it does to those undergoing it. This phenomenon is not something to be gawked at or ignored.
Misogyny, white supremacy and anti-Semitism are on the rise, and so is the violence that goes with them, including shootings, bombings and vehicular violence. Increasingly, these bursts of violence come after months or years of conditioning these men undergo. They hang out on YouTube or in internet forums and weave a web of conspiracy theory around themselves, in which they are the ultimate victims, and their scapegoats some unlikely victors in the game of life — groups typically marginalised by society: Jewish people, Black people, other people of colour, and, of course, women.
Price has been watching the red-pill community grow since the early s. He says the ideas started on Internet Relay Chat IRCan application layer protocol responsible for some of the first chat rooms on the internet. Over the years, those ideas have evolved. These groups are actually a collection of servers that connect computers. Starting in the late s, it ran as a basic tree-like communication tool, where each computer was part of the network, but messages were routed only through certain channels, depending on their directive.
The content range from the Dark Web to Hacktivism and everything in between. Because of the technical nature of using these channels, the people drawn to the original communities tended to have tech knowledge and interests in common. A lot of these toxic beliefs and behaviours are self-reinforcing until the point that they escalate and start to become normal ad infinitum. A woman working in tech in Silicon Valley, who asked for anonymity to protect her career and family, says she was part of the original communities.
And then it got worse. It means that threats are more real now. These two feed off each other. But really both want violence. Because the first type of community would make violent threats and laugh it off, saying people took the internet too seriously, when the second group came along making violent threats they were able to claim that they were just in jest — until the moment they actually acted on the threats.
When a member of the community committed a violent act, the rest would then disavow them, claiming they were an outlier. Examples of this type of violence after online activities range from making pipe bombs to carrying out mass shootings. Red-pilling is not a game any more, if it ever was. So, what happens when you accidentally feed into this loop?
That is where I come in. I am a professor of journalism, a reporter, an opinion writer and a woman. As a teacher, I can say that very few of my students know what red-pilling means. Many assume it has to do with politics — red being Republican and blue being Democrat. And although the ideologies do start to align if you squint your eyes, deaden your brain, concentrate on the fringe elements of both parties and ignore all nuance, in reality, red and blue pills have nothing to do with US political parties. As a reporter and liberal opinion writer, I can say that nothing makes you question your purpose more than finding your own work being used by red-pillers to pull people down their rabbit holes.
An outlandish word Girl on girl chat line in Liberal, a provoking phrase there, and an argument taken out of context are all that is needed to get some people to take a hesitant first step towards conspiracy-theory, white-supremacist, anti-Semitic central. In my case, they used my name and a piece I wrote in for TIME to bring the narrative back around to Jewish people running everything, crying racism and being the most privileged of all.
The original article, for reference, was about understanding the riots that happened in Ferguson after the death of Michael Brown and the acquittal of the officer who shot him. I argued that riots were the language of the unheard and that they are necessary for the evolution of society. Not all of the articles written about my piece on right-wing and far-right websites were fire and brimstone although many were.
After all, the writer of this article seems to care about Black people, seems to want economic equality — unless, of course, the people suffering brought it upon themselves. Which, if you look at certain situations in a certain light i. This reckoning, this change, it does not happen all at once. It is a gradual descent, a slow journey. I got off luckier than most because they gave me, as a person, a mere glancing blow and the piece in question was just an afterthought. They called me a Jewess — even though I am not Jewish — then left me alone.
But focusing on my Jewish-sounding name Cunha can be a variant of Cohen was priming, conditioning for the reader. It was a subconscious hint to build the web on top of which red-pillers pile their ideas, their motives and their conspiracies. That is what these men believe — that they are bringing the truth — almost, but not quite, devoid of politics.
He even marketed an actual red-pill product, which he has claimed — incorrectly, of course — could prevent someone from catching or help in treating coronavirus. These groups discuss the evils of women and feminism, and how unfairly they are treated, while sharing conspiracy theories about Jewish people, powerful women or people of colour until their opinions seem like facts. But the movie reference does not work metaphorically. It does not translate to these chat rooms and websites. The red-pillers have a movement with no basis — and this gives it power because a movement with no clear definition is one that can mean anything to any follower.
It can be moulded to fit the particulars of each individual so that each person going down these rabbit holes of propaganda can make the messaging speak directly to them. As a woman, I found there are not many frank discussions about red-pilling amid female academics, researchers or even journalists. Most women I asked to speak to about the topic politely declined. They were too busy, they did not have enough expertise, they could not speak on something so broad, and most honestly, they could not handle the stress of an interview on this particular topic right now.
Perhaps they were afraid. With the main thrust of the current movement being anti-feminist, they Girl on girl chat line in Liberal every right to be. Rational thinking is not at the heart of these attacks. Harder still is to figure out what we can do about them. When a movement does not have a definition, it does not have rules. When messages in the movement are left in fragment form, followers can hear anything they want. And many of them hear that they should attack other people, particularly people who are not cis-white men.
And that is scary. In addition to harassment, many women are simply tired. But his manifesto does not read as rational thinking, it re as a deep emotional hatred of women stemming from his own instability. Beck was quick to mention the work women and other marginalised populations had put in throughout the decades to move equality along, listing education, research, political activism, changing institutional biases, voting in politicians who had been disenfranchised and more.
I doubt anything said here could reach that group. Darlena Cunha. Darlena Cunha is a professor at the University of Florida and a freelance journalist. More from Author. Most Read.Girl on girl chat line in Liberal
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