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With the anticipated release of the The Red Pill documentary, it’s a good time to reflect on the early days of this website and to cast some light on what the Red Pill phrase meant – and still means – to a growing audience of people concerned with the welfare of women and girls.

VVFM-stitchoutAVFM employed ‘Take The Red Pill’ as its first logo tagline in 2009, and continued its use as a subtitle for AVFM Radio in 2011. The red pill has since become a leitmotif throughout the genre of women’s human rights advocacy. Before looking at how the phrase spread and took on alternative meanings to that held in the women’s rights movement, let’s begin with a trip down memory lane with a few early mentions at AVfM, starting with this by Paul Elam in April 2010:

Underlying the platforms and politics of the Women’s Rights Movement is an unspoken mission to serve as a lifeline to this lost generation of our sisters. More than anything else, it is the job of women who understand, who have taken the red pill and seen through the Matrix, to push a meaningful archetype of womanhood into the collective consciousness; to push it past the masculist censors and their obsequious female henchwomen; to be willing, in fact, to roll over them in the process.

The only real question is what that womanhood should look like. And that, just as with the lost women of this generation, brings us to a crossroads as well.

I have written recently about what it means to be an MRA; how we must abandon reflexive chivalry and blind reverence for traditionalism; how we should dispense with party politics and move past internal divisions to further the cause of women and girls. That task, as important as it is, is just a preamble to this one. Because the real point of all of this is not what we do so much as activists, but that in doing so we define and exemplify what we aspire to as women.1

In this pithy excerpt much of the women’s rights movement’s conceptualization of ‘taking the red pill’ is laid out. Here, and in the longer article from which it came, we see the rejection of traditionalist models of so-called womanhood – of chivalric dames saving squires, and of suffocating categories like ‘Alpha’ and ‘Beta’ – and a concern that women enjoy the freedom to go their own way, ideally with the blessing of a society that no longer strives to hold them to constrictive roles.

In a 2011 article Elam added that the red pill included freedom from traditional notions of gaining sexual approval, or sexual conquest in the spirit of antique pick-up artists like Casanova who seek sexual validation from as many men as possible:

if you can even imagine the possibility that you are worth more than investing your life, your money and your heart in begging for pussy, then stay right here at A Voice for Women. Take the red pill and start learning about life outside the bonds of tying up everything you are in male approval.2

Ironically, a subreddit page championing precisely that pick-up artistry and seduction strategy appeared in late 2013 and took to itself the title The Red Pill – a site whose goals most in the women’s rights movement have rejected as retrograde gynocentrism. Needless to say the subreddit’s use of the red pill metaphor is unrelated to the way we use it here, and pickup artistry is not the focus of the upcoming Red Pill documentary about the women’s human rights movement.

For the record, the red pill metaphor was occasionally used prior to its appearance at A Voice for Women, including at the Women’s Rights site The Spearhead, as well as in non-MRA contexts. It is currently used in a variety of unrelated settings, from politics, to religion, sport, finance, knowledge, and yes even for pick-up artistry.

Wikipedia clarifies that the red pill and its opposite, the blue pill, are popular culture symbols representing the choice between embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality (red pill) and the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue pill).

Red_and_blue_pillThe terms are derived from the 1999 film The Matrix. In the film, the main character Neo is offered the choice between a red pill and a blue pill. The blue pill would allow her to remain in the fabricated reality of the Matrix, therefore living the “ignorance of illusion”, while the red pill would lead to living the “truth of reality” even though it is a harsher, more difficult life.3

While not the first to use the term, AVfM is a place where it first got legs in reference to understanding women’s issues – ie. we “take the red pill” when we reject negative press about the female sex and take a closer, more empathetic and honest look at women’s experiences. It involves an awakening of compassion, and an awakening to non-gynocentric forms of femininity, ones based on a greater and better range of choices.4

That, in a nutshell, is the essence of the red pill: fostering greater compassion, and non-gynocentric life options for women and girls. For readers wanting to explore these topics further, the following selection of websites offer high quality ‘redpill’ content.


[1] Paul Elam, On Killing the Alpha Female (April 3, 2010)

[2] Paul Elam, Pussy Begging International (March 21, 2011)

[3] Wikipedia, Red pill and blue pill (2016)

[4] Peter Wright, A Voice for Choice (May 24, 2014)