The terms “red pill” and “black pill” have become increasingly common in online communities focused on self-improvement, dating advice, and masculinity. While these ideologies offer some insights into personal growth and development, they have also been criticized for promoting problematic and often misogynistic views on gender dynamics and relationships.
The Red Pill Ideology
The term “red pill” originates from the 1999 movie “The Matrix”, in which the protagonist is given the choice between taking a red pill, which reveals the truth about the world, or a blue pill, which allows him to continue living in blissful ignorance. In the context of gender dynamics and relationships, taking the red pill means embracing uncomfortable truths and rejecting conventional wisdom. Red pill ideology tends to emphasize traditional gender roles and often takes a critical view of feminism and progressive social movements.
Proponents of the red pill argue that men should focus on developing their masculinity and asserting their dominance over women. They believe that modern society has become too feminized and that men have lost their natural role as protectors and providers. The red pill also stresses the importance of self-improvement and developing a strong sense of confidence and purpose.
The Black Pill Ideology
The black pill ideology is a more extreme and nihilistic version of the red pill. Adherents of the black pill believe that modern society is irreparably broken and that individuals have little agency or control over their lives. This can lead to a defeatist attitude and a sense of hopelessness.
Black pill ideology has been associated with the online subculture of “incels” (involuntary celibates), who often express frustration and anger at their inability to attract romantic partners. Some incels advocate for violent solutions to their problems, which has led to concerns about the radicalization of young men on the internet.
Criticism of the Red Pill and Black Pill
Both the red pill and black pill ideologies have been criticized for promoting problematic and often misogynistic views on gender dynamics and relationships. Critics argue that these ideologies perpetuate harmful stereotypes and contribute to toxic masculinity.
Many people who identify with the red pill or black pill ideologies are looking for ways to improve themselves and their lives. However, it’s important to approach these ideas with a critical and open-minded perspective and to reject any views or beliefs that are harmful or disrespectful to others.
Here are some opinions from famous people on the red pill and black pill ideologies:
- Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has been critical of the red pill ideology. In a 2020 tweet, he said, “Take the red pill” is “just a meme” and “any critique of feminism for its own sake is inherently flawed”.
- Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychologist, and the author have been associated with the red pill ideology. He has argued that men need to assert their masculinity and that women are naturally more agreeable and nurturing than men. However, he has also distanced himself from the more extreme elements of the red pill and has spoken out against misogyny and violence toward women.
- Feminist writer and activist Gloria Steinem has been critical of the red pill and black pill ideologies, arguing that they promote harmful stereotypes and contribute to toxic masculinity. In a 2018 interview, she said, “The idea that men are naturally dominant and women are naturally submissive is a dangerous myth that has been used to justify all kinds of oppression and violence.”
- Author and podcaster Sam Harris have also been critical of the red pill and black pill ideologies. In a 2019 episode of his podcast, he said, “There are certainly people who are interested in self-improvement who have taken the red pill and see something valuable in it. But the problem is that it’s been co-opted by a lot of people who are just angry and bitter.”
- Actress and writer Lena Dunham has been critical of the red pill ideology, arguing that it promotes misogyny and sexism. In a 2017 essay for Harper’s Bazaar, she wrote, “The red pill is the story men who have been denied their power have been waiting for, and they will stop at nothing to spread it because it’s the story that justifies everything they feel: their rage, their confusion, their entitlement.”
- Author and feminist activist Roxane Gay have also been critical of the red pill ideology, arguing that it promotes toxic masculinity and encourages men to see themselves as victims. In a 2018 essay for The New York Times, she wrote, “The red pill ideology suggests that masculinity is under attack and that men need to fight back. But the truth is that toxic masculinity is the problem, not the solution.”
- Comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan has expressed mixed views on the red pill and black pill ideologies. While he has been critical of some aspects of the red pill, he has also expressed sympathy for men who feel marginalized or emasculated. In a 2019 podcast episode, he said, “I think there are some good ideas in the red pill. But like anything else, it’s been co-opted by people with bad intentions.”
- Journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell have been critical of the black pill ideology, arguing that it promotes a sense of hopelessness and nihilism. In a 2018 interview with The Guardian, he said, “The black pill is this idea that nothing matters, that everything is hopeless. It’s a very seductive idea, but it’s also incredibly destructive. It leads people to give up and not try to make things better.”