Counterrevolutionary Feminism Ascendant, Part I
A dissident online movement gains traction in the familiar way.
The meaning of the term “red pill” used to be more clearly circumscribed. It was originally lifted from the Matrix franchise for the uses of the manosphere, specifically to describe the experience that united divorced fathers, incels, pickup artists, and MGTOWs of that milieu. Men ingest the “red pill” in the precise moment that liberal feminism—in other words, the dominant social narrative of our time—reveals its inherent misandry to them. For example, a cheating ex-wife puts the father of her children in the poor house through the process of no-fault divorce and keeps full custody despite it all. His illusions of normal life—of fairness and equality—are crushed. He learns in real life that women can be predatory, that the justice system is rigged against him, and this moment of clarity at once shatters years of heavy conditioning. He has been red-pilled.
It started with sex. But since peak popularity of the manosphere, say, mid 2010s, the term has been borrowed by different factions of political dissidents to describe similar moments of presupposition-shattering, life-altering perspective shift. You can now be “red-pilled” on just about any existing narrative: race, religion, the war on terror, the war on drugs, the Democrats, the Republicans, the boomers, the freemasons, the Lutherans, xenoestrogens, vaccines, the moon landing, flat earth, and Disney channel.
The breadth, depth, and veracity of these counternarratives varies so much now as to render the term “red pill” basically ridiculous, but not totally meaningless. It remains useful to describe a very online tendency whereby ideological networks develop around the refutation of what is perceived by their members as a commonly believed lie. Edgy online communities are where memes are born, which is to say, where postmodern culture is born. Because of the viral influence of dissident networks, Big Tech paints with a wide brush when it comes to censorship. Under the authority of mainstream platforms, all dissent collapses under the banner of conspiracy, and any movement that shares structural characteristics with the “red pill” world is viewed with suspicion.
A new kind of red pill community is congealing online, and it has already been subject to all the familiar deplatforming efforts. This is a space to watch.
It began with the trans-exclusionary radical feminists, who gained steam in proportional response to the legacy media’s embrace of the transgender narrative over the past five years or so. These are the feminists who are skeptical of gender ideology—Dworkinites.
Simultaneously, antifeminist women, often former feminists, traditionalists, and religious women, have been sounding off in opposition to liberal feminism’s general disparagement of traditional notions of feminine aesthetic and virtue. The growing popularity of Evie, whose authors Robyn Riley and Amy Mastrine cover many of these themes, is a testament to this groundswell.
Then, the pro-motherhood movement has found new footing, especially in the wake of coronavirus and the draconian, anti-human restrictions placed on women giving birth in hospitals (ahead of giving birth, doctors told me I’d have to labor with a mask on, and that I could choose between my husband and my doula, but both could not be present in the delivery room). Medical paternalism is running up against this movement for women’s bodily integrity by women, many midwives, whose calling card is informed consent. Tangential to this issue, there seems to be growing skepticism about the ethical implications of surrogacy.
Then there is what Default Friend has identified, a coming wave of sex negativity, made up of women who have learned over time that the liberal feminist’s insistence on “sex positivity” and unbounded sexual availability operated more like male license for rape simulation than kink neutrality.
Ironically, the movement that first colonized the term “red pill” would have at one point disparaged the notion of widespread misogyny as a myth of liberal feminism, and might still view any movement that uses the term misogyny or even feminism with suspicion. To cringe at the reappropriation of those heavily loaded terms is an understandable stance, one that I have long shared. But in fact, true and widespread hatred of real women, manifested as an effort to rob them of their happiness and dignity through transgenderism, pornography, surrogacy, and careerism, is a defining issue of the times. Does it surprise anyone that a world order that hates men also hates their natural counterpart? It would be too simple to view the culture’s exuberant celebration of female narcissism as an overabundance of respect for women. Upon further investigation, often by way of “lived experience,” the real, implicit misogyny of clown world has revealed itself over time.
Hell hath no fury like the coming wave of scorned millennials and their juniors, cheated out of their own best interests, seeking compensation for lost happiness in the rubble of their own regret.
Mary Harrington, contributing editor at UnHerd, termed the phrase “reactionary feminism.” I am toying with the idea of counterrevolutionary feminism after Glenn Elmers’ recent interview on Tucker Carlson Today. No matter what it is called, a new women’s movement grounded in bodily integrity, in the immutable material and spiritual reality of womanhood, one which honestly appraises the pitfalls of the progressive matrix, is not only politically necessary, it is well on its way to fruition.
The manosphere was undeniably hateful in some of its more extreme corners, and I hope that the TERFs, tradwives, midwives, mothers, ex-porn stars, detransitioning women, and real victims of sexual and emotional abuse do not descend to that level of insular, all-consuming rage, primarily for their own spiritual benefit, but also to avoid proving Big Tech censors correct in their (deeply hypocritical) accusations of hate mongering.
Counterrevolutionary feminism is the next major red pill. It already has and will continue to be censored, maligned, and misunderstood, especially since the voices which seem to occupy this ephemeral space currently (Mary Harrington, Louise Perry, Default Friend, Abigail Shrier, Alex Kaschuta, Tara Ann Thieke, Scott Yenor,Jennifer Morse, Abby Johnson and more) remain so clear and fearsome. In the words of a memoryholed manospheric icon, pretty lies perish. Time for the lies of the liberal feminist to burn.