I’d thought I was done with talking about “Above The Game”, Ken Hoinsky’s Kickstarter to self-publish a pick-up manual. Looks like I’ve got a bit more to say.
Hoinsky’s project was successfully funded despite the hue and cry, and the money was released to him as per standard Kickstarter policy. In the aftermath, Kickstarter issued an apology, saying that they should never have allowed the project in the first place because of its distressing content and apparent advocation of sexual assault. They backed this up with a $25,000 donation to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. I heartily approve of all of this; Kickstarter proved that they were sincere in their regret and backed up their words with positive action.
Part of the fallout from the project’s sudden infamy involved Kickstarter promising that they were no longer going to allow anything that smacked of a “seduction manual”. From their statement:
We are prohibiting “seduction guides,” or anything similar, effective immediately. This material encourages misogynistic behavior and is inconsistent with our mission of funding creative works. These things do not belong on Kickstarter.
I didn’t comment on it at the time, but the decision to ban any “seduction guides” or anything similar struck me as throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Yes, Hoinsky’s advice was incredibly troublesome and encouraged men to try to push past a woman’s “no” to until she literally forced him away… but wouldn’t banning all dating manuals or guides be tarring an entire industry with the same brush?
Now, obviously, I have no small amount of self-interest involved, seeing as I write a dating advice blog that regularly talks about how to get laid. I consider myself to be a feminist ally (albeit one with a Feminism 101 level of education) and would like to think that my advice is sex-positive and encouraging of enthusiastic consent; frankly, I rather resent the idea that I’m encouraging misogynistic behavior because I’m teaching people how to find new sex partners. Besides, I might want to crowd-fund a Dr. NerdLove project some time, and I’d hate to get disqualified because I’m associated with bad actors.
But the part that I find more troubling about this new policy is the way it implies that wanting to learn how to have more sex at all is somehow inherently bad and can only be done at the expense of women – an attitude I’ve seen expressed in many places after the scandal erupted.
So last week I talked about why pick-up is so damn skeevy.
This week, I want to defend it.