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The infantile beginnings of the Muslim struggle with "The Red Pill"
I distinctly remember a time, I’d say around 2016 when Trump’s nomination was clear, where 99% of the people I asked both online and in real life had no idea what “The Red Pill” (TRP) was. Speaking about “gender dynamics” or “masculinity” in the abstract sense that wasn’t bound by feminist doctrine was utterly taboo in any form of public conversation. It was even rarer in the Muslim community, which was finally starting to notice its severe alienation from the rapidly liberalizing mass culture of the West as the Obama era came to a close.
My interest in TRP as an abstinent Muslim teen had far less to do with the relationship aspect, and more to do with the catastrophic implications on a mass scale feminism had on the upbringing of boys and men. Despite it causing me several problems throughout my youth in high school and university, I’ve always been outspoken on the ever-encroaching prison of Male Purdah that I knew was a core characteristic of the education system I experienced; especially after spending many years abroad beforehand in a Muslim country where schools were gender-segregated — preventing much of the issues with young Muslim folk that has been the talk of the town in the West for the past couple of years, which on the contrary prides itself on the inclusion of women in all spheres of public life.
Muslims in the West by and large came a little late to realizing what TRP is as both an ideology and online culture due to our unique “east and west”, feet in both camps situation. Most of us grew up in households with defined gender roles and traditional ideas about men and women backed by religious scripture and thousands of years of ethnocultural practices. Yet, at the same time, each consecutive generation of us that lives in the west is forced to contend in a sphere where those traditions are considered strange, “old school”, out of place, etc., resulting in a lot of self-compromise when interacting with social spheres outside our own in academia and the workplace. After decades of this, many second-generation Muslims came to the realization when wanting to start families that they didn’t recognize their counterparts of the opposite sex anymore; who had become fully engrossed in the hellish, backward culture of Western Liberalism which refuses to define any limits for itself.
I’d like to focus on the Muslim male perspective here which led to the embrace of this ideology among many, as I’ve studied it and seen it through the hundreds of hours of conversation I’ve had with young Muslim men throughout my time as a writer and critic online, as it’s obviously this subset of Muslims that’s grasped onto the red pill subculture as their boon. The scenarios I’m about to describe used to be for a minority of men decades ago, but they have grown a lot in proportion since, and continue to grow.
For most Middle-Eastern cultures today, the primary rite of passage for men is getting married. I personally find it disgusting and shameful that this is how far we’ve degraded, that this is what’s considered the “big step” to maturity as a Muslim man, especially knowing how marriage was never viewed in this manner by early Muslims; but that’s a topic for another day. It’s the cause of much anxiety and mental, emotional, and spiritual preparation for those of us who come of age. Many Muslim men brave enough to marry in Western nations, vetted the girls well with the help of family, were lucky enough to mature with their spouse past its decadent culture.
Others not so much, finding themselves instead in a state of caveat emptor when it came to who exactly they were getting as a spouse, and at what cost. The big promise of their youth, after all, was that if they maintained a religious and abstinent life free of fornication then God (and by proxy, their parents) would grant them a righteous, grateful spouse that made their sacrifices in their youth worth it. Sadly, this pitiful demographic reaches the proper age and alleged financial suitability for marriage and is hammered between the eyes with a different outcome.
They find out that, despite their greatest efforts, the “marriage market” in their community and elsewhere more resembles a slaughterhouse. They become privy to much of the insane fiscal demands placed on the average bachelor in their area, which for even marrying a girl they love becomes a series of sacrifices they can’t afford to make as a matter of personal survival. I can’t count for you the many stories I’ve heard over the years from readers and friends alike of engagements falling apart due to this reason alone. More often than not, they experience firsthand how the genius parents of these girls encourage these situations repeatedly. It’s quite taboo in the Muslim community, especially in the West, to refer in any way to the fact the modern marriage process for many men is nothing more than a disadvantageous transaction — yet the shameful geriatrics and young ladies who get most offended at this, who scream at you and insist that this is “normal”, forget that they’re the ones who set it up that way — not the men who complain about it — who just want a peaceful married life that doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg, who know for a fact things weren’t always this way.
That’s just one side of the fence. The other comes to married life itself, where the men who survive this demented boomer gauntlet realize the demands made on them don’t translate to the other side of the street. Muslim boys learn growing up in a traditional home what the duties of a wife and mother are, and find out when married their (hopefully) young wife isn’t so keen on fitting that mold. And let’s be honest here, why should they? I don’t even blame them. In all likelihood, this man’s wife gets fed ridiculous modernist delusions her whole life just as he has. She gets fed constant lies and propoganda about how men are and should be, which don’t hold up to reality. She gets told she needs to waste years of her life (where she could have been married earlier in) on a degree she’ll most likely never use; that nothing Islamically is required of her other than a vague set of responsibilities that are never spelled out for her; that marriage is an “equal” partnership (a western definition by the way, with zero references to anything equivalent in Islam), and not a hierarchy where the man leads his household.
A common counterpoint to the motto told by Red Pill guys that “women aren’t submissive anymore” is that “the men we meet aren’t worth submitting to.” This is a valid complaint. Most men, believe it or not, are acutely aware of the fact that part of the reason their woman isn’t submitting to them is that they’re doing something wrong. Thus comes another terrifying realization to the naive Muslim men in this scenario: they were never taught how to deal with a wife in their care. After decades of prudish, vague, outright insulting lack of guidance by the generation made up of their parents, Islamic teachers/Imams, and other figures, they realize they know nothing about the “game” required to keep up a loving and sustainable relationship with a woman. There’s no getting around this: without the internet, the vast majority of Muslim millennial and Gen Z men would be completely lost on this subject.
How do you seduce your wife? How do you satisfy her intimately? How do you handle it when she’s upset and you don’t know why? What’s a good romance/work-life balance? What percentage of Muslim men under the age of 30 were given even barebones answers to any of these questions or related from a source that wasn’t the internet, often from non-Muslim sources that don’t have their religious context and constraints in mind? It doesn’t take a statistic to know for a fact that it’s very few.
So, naturally, you end up with hundreds of thousands of Muslim men like this across the developed world, failed by those meant to mentor them in their masculine endeavors, floating online clueless as to the solution to any of their marital and sexual issues. Some are single, some are married but are on the rocks, and many are divorced.
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Then the past five years happened — and what was once a niche set of online forums and blogs that was primarily the domain of non-Muslims fell into the laps of nearly every young Muslim man with a smartphone. Men like Daniel Haqiqatjou and Mohammed Hijab who excelled in Islamic polemics against the feminist and liberal movements thrived alongside more materialistic figures such as Andrew Tate, Sneako, and those who more often than not just had something to sell you.
The online reactions by Muslim women to this change were not surprising to anyone who followed these topics at an academic level before TRP blew up. Islamic anti-feminist literature by renowned scholars of Islam, both in the West and the Muslim world has been plentiful for decades, but it’s never reached the levels of intense, emotional wrath and virality that it’s reached today; and contrary to what most people hyperreacting to this phenomenon may think, most Muslim men are smart enough to realize it doesn’t fit the Islamic model 1 to 1. Thus, for our generation of phone-addicted internet consumers, there came the natural demand in this market for Muslim figures and content that presented the “Muslim version” of what guys like Andrew Tate (before his conversion to Islam) were to non-Muslims, waking them up to the reality of the scam they’ve been enduring for years now.
I’ve followed the “manosphere” as it spilled into Twitter en masse following Trump’s election (yes, it absolutely had a lot to do with it), and when it comes to viral communities of this sort there’s always a general trend. The most productive, content-savvy, business-minded influencers in the space thrive and gain a lot of followers, some gather around them and copy their style, hoping for similar fame and attention; and the majority lurk and absorb it all. Many figures are eventually proven to be vapid grifters and demented perverts with nothing positive to offer long term, while others mature and find their niche in other areas like politics or fitness. Those first stages of notoriety become hilariously embarrassing, as intellectual weak points become exposed in a space where no one really knows what’s going on yet. Then, once all those popular figures find their respective niches, the big ideas of this subculture get digested into the mainstream, both for better or for worse.
Online Muslims who are inclined to “self-improvement” spaces are following a similar curve. Many young guys (and some girls) are starting to rise up as podcasters, YouTubers, and Tiktokers who make content almost exclusively on the topic of marriage, relationships, and women; and as usual, they use the moniker of “Islamic Content” to cover up their amateur tactics, despite almost none of them having a formal Islamic education or the 1 on 1 mentoring of a scholar. Of course, I’m included in that. I consider my Islamic education subpar compared to what it should be. But I’m not claiming to be a teacher or guru on anything marital. I’m just a humble internet addict with a novel out (which you should buy for other reasons entirely)
The main problem that I’ve been leading onto in this essay, then, becomes this: what is the message we’re letting out here when it comes to TRP, and why?
I don’t know about you, but my commentary on such matters is mainly because I want to bring more young, intelligent, sensitive young men onto our side as those who seek to shed the shackles of the wretched Western liberal longhouse I described above. Most men attracted to TRP in its early days were hurt, traumatized men by and large because the space required effort to find. The fact it’s gone mainstream should indicate to you that this state of “hurt” has wounded many men, in some way, on a massive scale. Lots of those writing vicious tweets and making out-of-line youtube videos about the evils of feminism are utilizing this growing, bottled-up anger for their own benefit, and don’t seem to have this intention at all. Not to toot my own horn here as some caring individual — but the lack of care and choir preaching that yields nothing vital and serves only as a vehicle for increasing subscriber counts is apparent for many who claim to be fighting the good fight.
What I see, as many of you do when you look out into this growing space, are grifters of all sorts, men and women motivated by deep-seated rage and resentment (the defining emotion of our time), who even if are factually correct don’t understand the task at hand. You have some of these teenagers with hundreds of thousands of social media followers spitting out pickup artist scripts with no direction or long-term planning — just clickbait material — not realizing the ridiculous ripple effect they’re causing on a daily basis. Not even despots ruling over similar numbers in a kingdom of the ancient world had this much influence on such a scale throughout their lifetimes.
I don’t think it’s anyone’s job to yell for teacher over this kind of irresponsibility, but it’s about time the more mature, learned, level-headed guys who don’t care for shallow machismo or “villain arc” Gen Z idiocy take the reins. We need admirable figures who provide competing ideas for how to fix these problems that don’t involve schoolmarm scolding to please aging turbanjabi activists, or un-Islamic tirades meant to stir up clicks rather than teach anyone anything.
The defining aspect of Western regime ideology many get sucked into is that feminism, or the “eternal feminine” is as important to them as a pagan idol was to ancient peoples. They have their own rituals, cult-like purity tests, humiliation tactics for disbelievers, and wicked ideas about how to make their ideology somehow even more polarizing to neutral parties. When you turn “the red pill,” even if you don’t name it, into this mystical thing that all Muslims must be “awoken” to, you’re making the same ridiculous error Muslim feminists do with their beliefs. It’s especially foolish when you paint yourselves as a niche, special group that can easily be squared away.
Remember, how did the Prophets and sages of similar times confront such wickedness and misguidance? They didn’t intentionally cause outrage for their own amusement, or to fill a bottomless hole in their hearts. Our father Ibrahim (AS) pulled a clever trick to bash (no pun intended) his point across to his father and people without saying a word. Our answer lies in examples like this — the gentleman’s mockery.
You don’t target individuals and single them out just because they attack you, for example. There come desperate times when some people need to be grilled to high heaven in public for the common good, but your arrows to your ego aren’t included in that. This is very stupid politically as well — all you’re doing then is making people afraid of being your next target, flipping them against you and what you believe. You also don’t get to use this correct realization of our situation as a way to satisfy some Underground Man urge you have because of your own personal issues.
The best method to bring people onto your side with any political or social endeavor isn’t just by showing the evil ways of the other side — it’s by doing it with ease, fleetingly, with a smile on your face and some wit to match. You need to show that you can get your hands dirty without diving into the filthy sewers whole as they have.
I’m not appealing to your compassion here. The level of harshness when it comes to the critique of liberal infiltration of our communities, of feminism, of the general weakness we’re trying to hammer out of young Muslim boys and men — all this needs to be the same. But just as in Dune, how you couldn’t just jab your sword at the shield straight on and had to strike it from an angle with calm and focus, the same applies to how we deal with this cultural malaise before it swallows us whole.
Be kind, just not too much though. That can be a bad thing, remember?
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Another common point that’s brought up is “well you guys should just marry from your home countries where the women are nicer, prettier, more religious, and more submissive.”
This brings up a complicated issue. This statement isn’t really wrong, in fact, it’s true for a majority of men who marry from abroad, both Muslim and otherwise. If you can manage it, it’s much easier emotionally, it costs far less, and the woman demands much less of you. So why is it wrong? Because it’s a short-term, unsustainable solution at a community level. Think about this logically. If all the Muslim men here marry from back home, who is marrying our women? They’re not just going to sit back and die alone. The more this trend goes on, depending on the community, the more it pushes Muslim women to seek matrimony outside of their community with illicit men far more willing to be with them, which brings a whole host of other issues.
It doesn’t solve anything at a macro level. You should also consider the massive resentment it builds within communities when the parents all realize their daughters are utterly undesirable to their male counterparts despite experiencing the same environment (a cruel, poetic fate, isn’t it?), who would rather get a girl from thousands of miles away that won’t give them a stroke before they’re 40.
Also depending on where you go, unless your home country is still a third-world backwater, the women you dream of are likely modernizing just as fast as the girls did here in the 2010s because of social media. Maybe you’ll get a nice pre-modern wife now, but will your little brother or son have the same opportunity in the coming decades? Think about it.
I’m not saying that this is wrong, also. If you want to marry from abroad, go ahead. But just know it won’t solve the root of the issue, which you’ll realize when you find out your daughters could end up just like those women your age you couldn’t stand. Do I have the answer to this? No. But it’s a Kurosawa samurai sword slash that you can’t fix with just a bandaid and some ibuprofen.