A little backstory on pickup artists (PUAs): they are men and women (but usually men) who see what they do as teaching social skills. Their students, as they see it, are hapless men who just need a few bro-pats on the back in order to have the confidence to go forth into the jungle of pussy and skin their first pelt. But what PUAs actually advocate is out-and-out manipulation. Getting women into bed is reduced to a game with rules to follow, a code to crack. PUA methods vary, but all pickups socially and emotionally manipulate a woman. Men are taught to engage in certain behaviors to make her feel “safe” in his prescence and even to intentionally insult her (“negging”) to put her off guard. (A decent background explanation of online PUAs is here on Buzzfeed; my piece about men training to be PUAs in NYC “charm school” classes that ran in the New York Press a few years ago tells you how they behave “in the field.”) Sounds dehumanizing? It can be. It’s disturbing then, but not entirely surprising, how some PUA sites overlap with “men’s rights activist”/MRA sites — best known for being angry hornets’ nests of bitter men who rant their misogyny in any comment thread that doesn’t ban them. Although the two communities are distinct, there’s a scary amount of overlap in their attitude towards dealing with that alternate species known as women.