No, Negging Is Not The Future of Flirtation

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No, Negging Is Not The Future of Flirtation

Does negging work?

A friend of mine got bored one night and decided to take some sexy pictures. She sent them to one of her “friends,” and said, “They’re nice shots, right?” He responded, “If you say so …”

Yes, he’s kind of an asshole, but his response showed more than just a lack of reputable character. It’s another example of a discouraging trend rooted in the art of flirtation. It’s called “negging,” and it isn’t doing anyone any favors.

The idea behind negging is to undermine a woman’s confidence by putting her down with subtle jabs. In this way, the man thinks he has taken control of the conversation and pushes the women into earning his approval.

The Seduction Science article “Negging Women – 10 Awesome Negs That Work” asserts that beautiful women are perhaps most “in need” of some negging. The author writes, “Their {beautiful women} whole reality is based on having power and having acceptance and adoration through their good looks. Take that away and their whole reality crumbles and they’ll do anything to get it back.”


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The term “negging” was first popularized by American pickup artist (PUAs as they’re known online) and journalist Neil Strauss in his 2005 book “The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists.” The book serves as an instruction manual or sorts for PUAs and outlines the most effective techniques men should employ when pursuing beautiful women — with negging being one of them. The problem? It just seems too easy to blur the lines separating Strauss’ advice from blatant misogyny.


PUA Julien Blanc, 26, who says he can teach men to “develop panty-dropping masculinity with this rock-solid structure to self-generate the powerful emotions girls crave,” has also risen to fame for his seduction techniques. But not all press is good press. Most recently, Blanc became the first man ever denied a visa on grounds of sexism.

The negging enthusiast was scheduled for a series of events in England, but after an online petition to get him banned from the country gained more than 150,000 signatures, the British government complied with the requests and denied Blanc entry into the U.K. Officials said he was barred from the country on the grounds that his presence was “not conductive to the public good.” According to The New York Times, that discipline is usually reserved far-right activists and terrorism suspects. The decision came just a week after the Australian government withdrew Blanc’s visa and forced him to leave the country.

A lot of the recent controversy surrounding Blanc can be traced back to an unfortunate series of tweets he posted last month. Images of Blanc pretending to choke women were showcased on the social media site, which went viral under the hashtag #ChokingGirlsAroundTheWorld.

Since then, a number of online petitions have sprung up in several countries where Blanc had scheduled events in the coming months, including Canada.


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It’s not hard to identify why Blanc’s techniques are so problematic. Yes, they do straddle the very thin line that exists between persistence and harassment, but it’s more than that. Blanc’s teachings are consistent with the idea that women are apparatus-like beings that can be decoded and won over with the help of a simple formula. It would be nice if women could be considered something more than a target. Maybe a human perhaps? Blanc’s message, unfortunately, strips them of this title. And the repercussions of doing so can be very dark.

As Nicky Woolf of the New Statesman explained in 2012, “The lingua franca of scientific seduction is pretty unpleasant. Talk of ‘targets,’ ‘acquisitions,’ ‘sets’ and so on put my teeth on edge. Language has power, and if every interaction with the opposite sex is coloured by a certain vernacular set — in this case the metaphors are all militaristic or hunting ones, perhaps with video games as their origin — then that is likely to colour the way the people who use it think about women at a fundamental level, even if they did not already think of them in this way.”

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