Znak Politechniki Warszawskiej

Become the Master of Seduction, or How and Where to Look for Information

phot. BPI

We often state that if something can’t be found on the Internet, it doesn’t exist. However, are we supposed to believe everything that’s published on forums, blogs, or social media, and then apply it?

Dr Adriana Bartnik from the Faculty of Administration and Social Sciences of the Warsaw University of Technology, and Dr Anna Krajewska from the Faculty of Applied Social Sciences and Resocialisation of the University of Warsaw, have analysed posts written by the online subculture called the “seducer community”. Their studies say a lot not only about seduction strategies, but most of all about our approach to information and – more generally – the modern society.

Aim: Get the Target

“I’d like to emphasize that I practice the most interesting, the most pleasant profession in the world”, says Dr Bartnik. “Diving in New Zealand wouldn’t provide me with so much satisfaction, as obtaining knowledge, satisfying my curiosity. Sociology is a branch of science concerned with society and what happens there, what occupies people. Tools used by this science allow us to differentiate facts from opinions. Although Dr Krajewska and I practice rather different sociology branches, we are obligated to be constantly curious about the world when we participate in the scientific profession. As early as several years ago, seduction forums and training pages have started to crop up on the Internet. Because there was no scientific literature on this phenomenon, we decided to analyse available and the most popular websites on the topic”.

These studies resulted in the scientific paper titled “Seduction Strategies. Sociological Analysis of Selected Online Forums”. Dr Bartnik and Dr Krajewska write in their paper that users of analysed forums are “followers” of the so-called PU (from English “pick up”), i.e. a method for seducing women based on neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). Such programming covers techniques that are meant to change though patterns and action schemes (that is, reprogram a person). Everything to reach the specified goal which, in this case, is seducing a selected woman (called a “target” by PU “followers”).

The researchers have pointed out that the “seducer community” is connected not only by the formatted method of action, but also language, full of acronyms and terms borrowed from English. For example, PUM is a Pick-Up Master, AFC means Average Frustrated Chum, a man who can’t pick up women and doesn’t want to learn, and PIVOT is a female friend who accompanies the seducer to places where he might find a woman (and she’s conscious of her role). The PU “follower” slang also includes a ten-point classification of women: from UG (Ugly Girl, rated 1 to 4) to SHB (Super-Hot Babe, 9-10, or even 11 points).

phot. BPI

Differentiate Facts from Opinions

“We noticed that seduction is presented on the forums just like a computer strategy game, a RPG of sorts”, says Dr Bartnik. “They approach another person like an object. ‘A woman is like a washing machine: select an appropriate program and it’ll work’. ‘If you train well, you’ll always be a successful seducer’. This type of thinking is quite ridiculous; it has nothing to do with science. Besides, science must be socially responsible, taking advantage of science is always safer, although using science without thinking mostly ends catastrophically. We, scientists and teachers of the Warsaw University of Technology, cooperate with the business environment, which gradually becomes socially responsible. We should remember that this idea has been transferred to the world of business from the world of science. We should expect such approach from other environments, including training or coaching communities. A modern scientist and above all – a teacher – must be socially conscious, and should be aware of his or her impact on the audience. Analysing these forums, we notice that the alpha male is the perfect type of man, while the woman should be passive, devoted, giving in to his actions. Such traits as shyness in men are stigmatized there, made fun of. There’s nothing bad about shyness. Some people like their friends feisty, others prefer shy people. Even TV ads have got it better: washing powders and personal hygiene products sell the cleanliness trend, and we generally like when everything is clean and smells nice”.

The researcher from the Warsaw University of Technology emphasizes that the masters, whose recommendations are applied by users of analysed pages, are convinced about being right. It’s contrary to the scientific approach, which must involve doubt and uncertainty. “In science, especially focused on studying people: their emotional states, views or health, people are relationship subjects, and we don’t always know everything about them”, says Dr Bartnik. “We can’t create a perfect procedure that works in all situations. Searching for complete solutions is natural, but we have to remember that there is no Harry Potter’s wand, which will do everything for us. Magic pencil and Arabela’s ring do not exist, there is no magic. It’s important to be able to sift through information, which is something that, I think, Polish schools haven’t been teaching properly. As a teacher, I believe that young people have a problem with reaching credible sources of knowledge. They treat the Internet as a source of scientific, expert knowledge, they can’t verify information online, separate facts from opinions. This approach is taught by mathematics, logic, sociology and, in a way, also law. It’s an extremely precious skill. Interestingly, the University’s students, especially senior students, have this skill, but they don’t always use it when verifying information about the social world. This is why, during the first lecture, I always try to teach them the habit to verify sources, also for human and social sciences that I teach. Thoughtless use of the Internet as a source of scientific knowledge, and not as a source of information, often ends in disgrace. I suppose that the common mistake in email correspondence – beginning the message with ‘welcome’ – may also have the same origin. No one who is well educated writes like this, even if others do”.

This growing role of the Internet as the source of knowledge (and views) is exactly the reason for which Dr Bartnik and Dr Krajewska, normally working with issues concerning law and sociology of law, decided to study online forums for PU “followers”. “It was a challenge for us, but a sociologist is a type of scientist that should, occasionally, work in other areas and majors, to gain some perspective on his or her work”, says Dr Bartnik. “Furthermore, gender is one of the most important categories of sociology, which is why analysing seduction forums interested us”.

It should be emphasized that the researchers have approached this topic in 2008, when the discussion about dangers concerning blending the virtual reality with the real world has only begun to become loud. It’s the proof that Polish science is one step in front of trends.

Wearing Masks

Dr Bartnik notices that online posts analysed by her and Dr Krajewska indicated completely different conclusions concerning women’s expectations towards men than indicated by sociology and social psychology research. “If we ask women what they like in men, we’ll know that, but if we ask men about the same, we’ll learn what men think that women like in them”, says the WUT researcher. “A similar mistake was made in the last election campaign. The answer to the question ‘who will win the election’ doesn’t let us say who will win the election, but on who the respondents will vote”.

In her scientific work, Dr Bartnik also works on public information access, the Courtroom System, and mobbing. She notices some important similarities between the latter and actions of the “seducer community”. “PU ‘followers’ pretend to be masters of seduction, mobbing is also often a type of mask-wearing instead of being yourself, wearing the mask of a boss who – according to someone’s beliefs – employees would want”, says the researcher. And she adds: “Constant role-playing may lead to distortions of identity and looking-glass self, because such person knows that others stay with him not because he is what he is, but because he pretends to be someone else. Who, then, likes him, if no one knows him?”

 

Agnieszka Kapela

Office for Promotion and Information