Viral Article on How to Talk to Women Wearing Headphones Exposes ‘Modern Man’s’ Dangerous Sense of Entitlement

Viral Article on How to Talk to Women Wearing Headphones Exposes 'Modern Man's' Dangerous Sense of Entitlement

The internet rightfully shamed a pickup artist approach to hitting on women, but the problem runs much deeper.

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There exists, in the lower echelons of the internet, a sordid collection of poorly written, awe-inspiring manuals, drafted with the express purpose of teaching today’s sex-starved bachelors how to become the ultimate PUA (pickup artist, in lower-echelon internet-speak). These articles are filled with obnoxious, categorically false assumptions about how women like to be approached, coupled with laughable advice (or, it would be laughable were it not so pathetic), designed to help men up their game and score with the ladies.

Enter How To Talk to a Woman Who Is Wearing Headphones, a 2013 guide by Dan “the Modern Man” Bacon, a self-proclaimed dating and relationship expert who runs an advice website.

The article is what you would expect from the guy who once wrote, “most of the time when a woman says ‘No’ to sex, but doesn’t forcefully push you away, she just wants you to give her a little more time.” His advice in this case involves ignoring the obvious physical cues that suggest a woman would rather listen to music than engage in the first place (otherwise known as: wearing headphones). Bacon then advises that a man seeking the girl’s attention wave his arms in her face and flash a “confident, easy-going smile” that proves he’s definitely not a serial killer.

This sage advice is coupled with a deep analysis of a woman’s motivation in wearing headphones in the first place. “Some women wear headphones because they don’t want guys or anyone else to speak to them,” the article says.

Some women also wear headphones because Beyoncé’s Lemonade is far more entertaining than the boorish ramblings of a random stranger who may or may not be an immediate threat to their personal safety and is definitely an immediate threat to their current state of contentedness—but I digress.

Bacon also includes a sample conversation for men to parrot if they hope to bed the fair maiden who is simply begging to be approached—despite her brandishing the universal symbol of unapproachableness: “Hey—I know it’s not normal for people to talk to someone with headphones in, but I was walking along and saw you and thought—wow, she’s hot, I have to come over and say hi. I’m Dan, what’s your name?”

Hi, Dan. I’m: It’s None of Your Business, please leave me alone, and thanks for reducing me to my physical appearance under the assumption that I a) enjoy having my physical appearance commented on by someone I’ve never met; and b) await with bated breath for someone to demand my time and attention in a public space.

Bacon’s article resurfaced this week, inspiring much-deserved criticism from the Internet Proper, but his sentiments are hardly unique. These how-to pickup guides have permeated the worldwide web in recent years, suggesting men try everything from approaching women at a bar to stalking them on the street.

“When a cute girl walks by, follow her until she hits a Don’t Walk signal,” men’s rights activist and “Make Rape Legal” campaigner Roosh V wrote in 2012. “This may take a few blocks of stalking. The logic behind this method, especially for you day game newbs [newcomers to the PUA ‘lifestyle’] is to talk to girls who are already stopped because it has a higher chance of leading to conversation than trying to stop them while in movement.”

Yes, please do chase women down the street. That’s a surefire way to prove you’re not a psychopath.

The objectification of women is nothing new. That the internet provides a forum for men to perpetuate this objectionable and potentially dangerous advice is the real issue. Pickup artists and men’s rights activists flood the pages of sites like Reddit’s r/TheRedPill, which calls itself a “discussion of sexual strategy in a culture lacking a positive identity for men.” These forums provide the modern man with a safe space to discuss “spinning plates” (having multiple, non-exclusive sex partners) while simultaneously lamenting how feminism has destroyed Western civilization.

As I write this article, the top post on r/TheRedPill is titled, “Women are Children.” It reads in part:

“Women live the most protected, sheltered lives. They are safe from almost all danger—war, crime, and violence. They are safe from almost all consequences, receiving fewer if any punishments for crimes (/r/pussypass). When a woman makes a mistake, society bends to absolve her and protect her from these consequences. Even the most life-altering events (having a child) puts little to no actual burden on a woman. She is free to do as she pleases, completely oblivious to the world around her that makes her comfortable life possible.”

That’s the reality of these so-called advice columns. They’re one arm of a greater movement that aims to reduce women to their physical appearance, fantasizes about ways to manipulate female interaction and portrays women as the weaker sex that also, somehow, oppresses men. It’s the dark, not-so-secret corner of the internet—and it’s part of the reason we’re wearing headphones in the first place (though mostly the reason is Beyoncé. Seriously).