I'm a long time member of a nerdy Meetup group. What can I do about a pick up artist related event that's going to happen today?
I've been the member of a meetup group for nerds and geeks for almost four years. In the beginning the group and people were both great, but things have started to change, especially recently. Last week, one of our members posted a meetup advertising for a special session with a "relationship counselor" called Dr. Dennis Neder
, who wrote a book about being a "real man in a woman's world". I suspected this was probably a pick up artist, but didn't really think of it much afterwards.
A few days gone by and there was a some debate about it in the comment section. My friend, let's call her Ann, reacted strongly to this, saying she was very offended by this. But the host, who was another friend named Mae, was trying to get people to go and saying this was totally legit. At this point, I started looking into Dr. Dennis Neder. I found one of the free books
he authored. I skimmed through it, and found most of the typical PUA claptrap. Stuff about insulting women back who reject you, using "coercion and psychological pressure" on women to go out with men, hypnotism, and other things.
At this point, I kind of felt that I had to say something. People who go to the Blue regularly know there's topics about women being harassed, especially at events for nerds, geeks, and atheists, which is most of the kinds of people this meetup group has. In fact, someone on the blue responded that I should speak out about this
, or else it's just enabling that behavior.
So, I took my findings and summary of the book and posted them on the comment section for the meetup. I pretty much said that this book was sexist and had a warped view of women, men, and relationships. And that people should be offended by this. I was glad that I posted something, because Ann's post expressing her offense at this meetup was deleted, on a trumped up technicality of containing profanity and name-calling. And nobody else was really bringing up the salient points.
I also took my concerns to an assistant organizer, who was a close friend of mine, and she attempted to talk to the other assistant organizers and the head organizer, but nothing is being done at all and the head organizer has decided to let the meetup go through because of the potential for "valuable discussion and debate" (she has a history of being way too hands off about any remotely controversial issue).
This meetup is probably going to happen (about 18 are planning to attend), and Mae said she intends to post more if it's successful. There's no precedence for this sort of meetup, so this has never been something we've done before. I really don't like seeing this sort of thing legitimized, especially in a meetup group that's been a significant part of my life. And Mae seems to be pushing really hard to promote this meetup, which is unusual (she never was pushy, and has never done a meetup before). Which makes me think think this she's getting something more out of this. I mean, Neder himself is probably just thinking nerds are an easy target to sell his tapes and books to, or hook up with, or something.
So, at this point, what can I do? I don't think I can go to the Meetup.com staff, because they mostly wash their hands of anything that goes on at a meetup itself. I have the support of one assistant organizer and a few other members, but that's it.