Nearly a week has passed since many of us sat and watched ‘The Seduction Game’ on BBC Scotland. A disturbing but yet memorising programme which highlighted the existence of so-called ‘seduction coaches’ who are selling courses to other men on how to bed as many women as quickly as possible. I use the word memorising because I know many watching the programme were thinking “is this really happening in the UK?” The programme provided the answer.
These coaches are part of a growing industry who in many ways are preying on both vulnerable women as well as vulnerable young men who are provided with words and ways to move their perceptions to reality. A reality that legitimises misconceptions and fantasies, providing a confidence they are acting appropriately.
The free use of the acronym LMR (LAST MINUTE RESISTANCE) to suggest to men that when they feel that sex isn’t going to happen, they need to up their game was a showstopper for many. The tactics used to overcome LMR, reduce our relationships and intimacy to games, positioning girls and women as conquests, as opposing pieces in a chess game. In any game there will be a winner and a loser.
It’s clear that these coaches are selling a game where it’s the paying male customer who will be the winner. Does that mean that the woman is identified as the loser?
In this game there are no winners. Girls and women are reduced to sexual playthings. Men are losers as well. The cumulative effect of the previous years of their male socialisation provide the basis for their toxic and destructive use of their new skill set namely to hassle, harass and persist. Even when a woman tries to communicate a lack of interest they are trained to push on. This blurring of consent will see many men continue to struggle in their relationships as well as coming into conflict with the legal system.
Whilst seen as ‘a bit of fun’, the lessons provided by the coaches perpetuate previous learning. Intimate advancements are not identified as a mutual connection of desire or agreed exploration of love. They are based in a display of masculinity which puts many young men, both in dangerous situation exposed to both ridicule and breaking the law. There are no winners in this game.
As someone watching the programme, a number of emotions were justified. The under-cover reporter Myles Bonnar told a story of uncomfortable truths. He made ‘visible the invisible’ provoking a range of responses. From my own network I sensed the anger and disgust from many who had never really thought about this subject. Why should they? This doesn’t really concern them. Comments online continued with this theme with many calling out the nature of what they had watched. Again, it was clear that the programme had lifted the lid on a subject that many had never previously considered.
I think the benchmark for many in society is still “If I don’t do that then it has nothing to do with me” or they don’t know anyone who has been affected by these issues. This is a dangerous stance and one that actually fuels the behaviours further. Silence from a society provides a safety net for these coaches. It shows we don’t care about this issue. It was the reason why when confronted many of these men said, “We’re providing a service” or “We are doing nothing wrong”. Silence is the infection that protects the perpetrator. Silence as the infection needs treated.
Whilst I agree that laws are not always being broken these acts further add to a climate where levels of sexual violence in Scotland continues to rise. Since 2010 there has been a 108% increase in levels of reported sexual violence. Last year there were around 2500 rapes reported to the police. Often when we see these types of statistics, we fail to realise that there are people behind these numbers. That’s the first mistake society makes.
Behind these figures there are people we care about, people we love, work with and play sports with. They are our sisters, brothers or best friends.
Over this past week how many of us have forgotten about this programme? Have we moved on to something else? Has our anger been put back in its box until the next expose? There will be another, and another until we think and act differently.
So, what needs to happen? How do you move from a place of anger to action?
First question is why many men see the need to make use of these men to coach them in this way. Many of the men using this service are vulnerable, suggesting society needs to do better in developing boys into good men.
Those who have their own sons or those working with boys require to engage with their boys in a proactive and ongoing conversation that is honest allowing boys to be given the space to fully process the culture they are growing up in. Consent isn’t something we should rely schools to teach. We all have a role here. Not forcing kids to do something they don’t want to do is a good start. I’m not referring to tidying their room. Not forcing a child to kiss or cuddle granny at Christmas is a good start. (By the way I loved both of my Grannies).
Men in society have a clear role. We are the guideposts and our boys are looking form guidance. Whether as fathers, police officers or other professionals working with boys raise your boys to respect girls and women. In fact raise them to practice respect to everyone.
Watch this clip from the film, the Sandlot and despite their young age you will see the lack of respect that this group appear to have for ‘girls’. You throw like a girl becomes the ultimate insult. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_nlFhMUMO8)
What are you doing that reinforces this message? What are you doing to counter the message? It’s important that all men consider these questions. Boys learn from people they connect with. Are you that person?
Whilst women commit violence the vast majority of violence is committed by boys and men. That’s a fact and an uncomfortable one that far too many men are still not able to dig into. If we want to protect our sons and daughter’s men need to dig deeper and move from anger to action. Watching the Seduction Game provides a teachable moment for men to see a role in the prevention of these issues.
An old blog but one that provides some focus for men to be the leaders we need them to be https://ggoulden.wordpress.com/2017/11/03/10-things-men-can-do/
Getting angry about something is easy. Moving from anger to action is that bit more difficult. I get that. I was just angry once however learning more about myself and what’s happening allowed me to move forward.
Sexual violence remains a major issue and one that requires a shift in our collective approach. It’s happening on our watch to people we love. As a society let’s move forward together.
Watch The Seduction Game – https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000990t/disclosure-series-1-2-the-seduction-game