At the beginning of November, online activist Jennifer Li started the campaign, #TakeDownJulienBlanc.
As a result of Li's efforts, Julien Blanc, a Swiss-American pick-up artist and self-proclaimed “international leader in dating advice,” had his Australian visa revoked and swiftly left the country when protesters demanded he be deported.
A YouTube video also emerged of 25-year-old Blanc speaking to a male audience in Japan.
In the video, he makes racist remarks and mentions tactics, like choking women and pushing women’s heads into his crotch. RSD, the company that employs Blanc, has since dismissed the video, calling it “absolutely stupid.”
The public reaction to these revelations has been, in Blanc’s words, “overwhelming.” When a clearly nervous Blanc appeared on CNN on November 17 to apologize for his actions, he stuttered his way through the interview.
He did not fail to let out a series of disingenuous tropes, however, including, “I’m, like, really sorry.”
Watching the interview, it’s hard to believe this is the authority on picking up women. Men around the world have attended and even paid to hear Blanc's advice on “banging hotties.”
In light of the publicity RSD, Julien Blanc and "Pick-Up artistry" are receiving in the news, women everywhere are identifying their own experiences with men using pick-up techniques.
When in doubt, here are some telltale signs you’re talking to a pick-up artist:
He uses shock tactics.
This could be anything from jumping in front of you on the street to grabbing your hand at the club to apparently mock-choking you...?
Whatever the method, the aim is to get your attention in a way you can’t ignore (despite how much you may want to do so).
He insults you.
“You would be cute if you dropped 10 lbs.” “You’re wearing too much makeup.” “Your shoes are terrible.”
This is one of the more obvious and repugnant moves in the playbook. The theory is that if a man compliments a woman, she won’t be interested because he’s just another guy trying to sleep with her. But, if he insults her, it will make her insecure and, in turn, seek his approval.
The hope is, if he keeps this up long enough, she will jump into bed with him in order to win him over and validate herself.
He recites lines from a playbook.
Does he sound rehearsed? If so, it’s probably because he is. He has either practiced these lines before, or he’s practicing them right now.
He hits on other women.
One of two things is happening: He’s either not getting the desired reaction from you, or he is doing it in front of you in an effort to make you feel insecure. This tactic goes hand-in-hand with insulting.
He is attempting to evoke a specific reaction: insecurity (insecurity = approval seeking).
He gets angry when you don’t respond to his advances the way he wants.
If he’s been buzzing around you like a fly all night and you flat-out reject him, he could likely become angry and frustrated he’s spent so much of his precious time on you without closing.
He oozes false confidence.
Most of the men who take pick-up workshops, like Julien Blanc’s, do so because, for some reason or another, they have not had success talking to women. Many times, this is a question of confidence — or lack thereof.
Spotting fake confidence is just like spotting a fake Chanel bag: It might look real on the surface, but when you get a glimpse of what's inside, you know that sh*t is fake.
He doesn’t ask questions; he only makes statements.
Never appearing too interested in a woman is another psychological game men play in order to make women believe they are not interested at all.
If he never seems invested, he never gives you the power to reject him.
He challenges everything you say and dismisses your opinion.
“You seemed like a smart girl until you said that.”
Belittling you or dismissing your opinion is yet another sign he is trying to prey on your insecurities and make you feel stupid and worthless.
He won't let you walk away, or won’t take no for an answer.
You’ve tried to be polite. You’ve made it clear you’re not interested, but he still won’t leave you alone.
Pick-up artists teach that persistence often pays off, so if you want something, you have to fight for it. This method is not only aggressive and forceful, it also borders on harassment.
He looks like this guy...
Memorize this face.
No women have yet come forward with allegations of abuse against Julien Blanc. I suspect the reason for this is because he is all talk.
He may be a loathsome assh*le, but I don’t truly believe he has been physically violent toward women. This in no way justifies his behavior because he has still promoted his opinions to an audience.
Some men, however, aren’t all talk. Some men will take this advice very, very literally and, therein, exists the danger.
Promoting strategies of manipulation, and trivializing something as important and necessary as consent, feeds rape culture, which is the bigger problem.
Some lonely, sex-starved man listening to a self-righteous, 25-year-old pipsqueak will feel that he is allowed to manipulate and abuse women in order to have sex with them.
This is much bigger than Julien Blanc. If these tactics don’t often work, Julien Blanc, RSD and pick-up artists around the world would cease to exist.
Hence, why women need to be aware, and also why women have more power to end its prevalence than men do.
Accepting emotional or physical abuse of any kind perpetuates this cycle and gives men the message that it’s not only effective, but also acceptable.
So, what’s in store for Julien Blanc? Maybe he will go back to teaching socially awkward men around the world how to get laid. Maybe he will be forced to grow a giant beard to disguise his now-recognizable face.
My guess is, karma will be a bitch — but he won’t be able to choke her.