Return of Kings, Roosh V and the changing face of misogyny

 

Over the past week, social media has been blasted with articles and updates about Daryush Valizadeh, more commonly known as Roosh V, and his online hate group Return of Kings (RoK). They had a special ‘straight boys only’ meeting day set for Saturday the 6th of Feb in no less than 165 different cities around the world. The meet was cancelled because Roosh could “no longer guarantee the safety or privacy of the men who want to attend”. Why could he not guarantee their safety? Well, it had something to do with Anonymous doxxing Roosh, a few petitions (Australia, Canada, UK, Scotland), and a women’s only boxing club, but mostly the fault lies with the seriously despicable beliefs held by the RoK founder and it’s members.

The general picture is pretty clear; Roosh and his supporters are notoriously anti-women and anti-homosexuality; in fact, they’re pretty much anti anything that’s not a white, cis male. While Roosh V began by styling himself as a “pick-up artist” (PUA), he and RoK actually promote archaic notions of female inferiority and subservience to men, and the alpha male/beta male concept. They also advocate raping women as a form of social control. There are an infinite number of things wrong with all that is Roosh V and his various acronyms, so we’ll just have a look at a choice few.

“Pick-up artist”? I think you mean misogynist.

The face of misogyny, like any resilient infestation, has been adapting. Hating women has become profitable, and make no mistake, these men do hate women. The last few years has seen an influx of so-called “pick-up artists” traverse the globe and arrive at our shores, pledging to teach men who will listen how to attract and seduce women in any country. Except that’s not what they’re really teaching. You may recall a similar scenario in November of 2014 when Julien Blanc, another PUA and all-round scumbag, was kicked out of Australia following a nation-wide uproar over video footage on his Youtube channel. Blanc’s “seduction techniques” involved choking random women on the street, forcing their faces into his crotch, and encouraging men to view women as “targets”. What he was actually doing was sexual harassment, and he was charging up to $3000 to show his followers how to emulate him. Blanc and other members of the ‘seduction community’ (I know, cringe, that’s what they’re actually called) promote the disrespect and dehumanisation of women. These people are actually making money from teaching men to become misogynists.

Roosh V is no different. In fact, he’s even worse. Should you have the intestinal fortitude to read the articles on Roosh V’s website, you will see the dark, sinister sinkhole that is this man’s ideologies.

Daryush “No means no… until it means yes” Valizadeh.

“Modern women are too broken, unreliable, and narcissistic to be [sic] give men anything reliable besides fornication…”

This is a quote taken directly from an article on the Return of Kings website written by Roosh himself (Note: he still lives in his mother’s basement). This is not the same article in which he suggests making “…the violent taking of a woman not punishable by law when done off public grounds”, but it is one of many (and I mean many) articles he has written in which he promotes the subjugation of women. This guy honestly thinks women are only good for sex and he wants other men to think that way too. He is prolific, obsessive even, in his documentation of what he deems as the destruction of femininity in Western women. For him, this destruction is obvious when a woman does not appreciate his aggressive and demanding attempts at seduction and flirtation, or just doesn’t wear high heels. His advice on how to restore this apparent loss of femininity is to remove the autonomous rights of women. So not only should it be legal to rape women, they should also be stripped of their personal freedom (otherwise known as a return to the Middle Ages). In regards to the legal rape article, Roosh quickly claimed that it was satire and stuck a disclaimer on the article once heavy backlash began to pour in after it’s publication. Having read a whole tonne of horrible articles written by and about Roosh in which he describes his sexual encounters (which would be considered rape by most), I am inclined to believe that he was being serious about legalising rape. Even if it was satire, the suggestion that rape be used as a form of social control over women is not funny in any way, shape, or form.

Troll in the dungeon? We really ought to know.

A lot of people have been questioning whether or not to take Roosh V and his RoK followers seriously. There are dubious accounts regarding the size of his group of supporters, and the question of whether this all isn’t just one big, cleverly orchestrated media stunt. People such as Waleed Aly from Channel Ten’s ‘The Project’ have called for people to ignore all things Roosh V related, and focus their attentions instead on promoting safe spaces for women, such as Lou’s Place. Advocating safe spaces and anti-domestic violence organisations should most definitely be our number one priority, but I think the “ignore it and it will go away” approach is ineffective. RoK and Roosh’s website are just a sliver in a much larger, much scarier section of the internet known as the “manosphere” (again, cringe). The manosphere network of blogs, websites and forums range from generally opposing feminism to “punish all women” in their extremism. No joke. Remember Elliot Rodger, the Isla Vista shooter from 2014 who gunned down four men and two women? He was a manosphere regular and aspiring PUA whose rhetoric was quite obviously influenced by the websites and forums that make up the manosphere. Roosh V even wrote an article about the shooting entitled “No One Would Have Died If PUA Hate Killer Elliot Rodger Learned Game” (and yes, it’s as despicable as it sounds). While it cannot be said that this online network is directly responsible for inspiring Rodgers’ actions, the mentality that is promoted in these spaces is growing more dangerous and more influential with each passing day.

So far, more people have stood against these misogynistic PUAs than for them, and I have enough faith in humanity to believe it shall stay that way. There will be more Roosh Vs and Julien Blancs trying to sell their various forms of vitriolic rhetoric to men across the world. There will be more men who hate women, and homosexual men, and anyone who isn’t like them. But just like we did to Blanc and to Roosh, we will stand up and say no. No to their hate, and their poisonous beliefs. This isn’t just about stopping some seminars or meetings anymore, this is about working actively to change the way we think about each other so that we don’t threaten each other’s safety. This is about one day not needing “safe spaces” because we have made all spaces safe.

 

 

Image: Jewcano, Flickr, no changes made.

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