Pua online dating conversation
"The underlying idea of that community is that the modern day is getting to be a more and more difficult time for men," said Lewis.
"They think that any increase in women's sexual agency is a threat to their dominance in the dating scene." That anxiety is expressed through posts that advocate the manipulation and dominance of women, or, in some cases, the abandonment of romantic relationships altogether.
Some even went so far as to call him the "Red Pill candidate." Now that Trump is in office, Red Pillers think they have an opportunity to bring their views into the mainstream and are attempting to convert the public, otherwise known as "normies," to their version of reality, according to Lewis.
"They're trying to spread misinformation to social networks, to amplify their messages using Twitter hashtags, to try to get Trump to retweet something," said Lewis.
"It just made it where people can actually still retain that anonymity without having to put on a white hood," he said.
Lewis noted these communities use mainstays of internet culture -- humorous memes and language -- as a recruiting tool online.
Once you start from that basis, it's really easy for it to snowball." Josh said he experienced this firsthand. "As soon as I started realizing that they weren't just limiting their vitriol just to women, as soon as they started targeting people of color," he said.
"The alt-right and a lot of the men's rights activists, they [don't] calm that fear [of emasculation], they kind of stoke that fire." He said he spent nearly 13 years down the Red Pill rabbit hole. "There was this very small voice in the back of my head saying, 'Hey, idiot, wake up, they're talking about you.'" Josh is black -- and he said when he was Red Pilled, he turned against his own race, becoming sympathetic to white nationalist causes.
The subreddit, which has more than 200,000 subscribers, bills itself as a place for "the discussion of sexual strategy in a culture increasingly lacking a positive identity for men." These forums have posts that offer tips for picking up women, conversations about eating healthier and threads with fitness advice.
Some posts even go as far as to say that women want to be raped, calling rejection "token resistance." "It can be really vicious," said Lewis.
"In their mind, it really shifts the idea of rape and erases it." Reddit updated its content policy last week saying it would "take action against any content that encourages, glorifies, incites or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or a group of people." In a message to moderators, it acknowledged that enforcement "may often require subjective judgment." The company would not comment specifically on the Red Pill groups.
Some point to the Red Pill community as a gateway to the alt-right and a breeding ground for toxic views tied to racism and anti-Semitism.
According to Lewis, once someone believes that men as a group are oppressed by feminism, those feelings of animosity can widen to include other groups as well.