“I'm going to be compared to Hitler,” Daryush Valizadeh told me recently. In one sense, he was referring to Godwin’s Law, the Internet adage that states that any online discussion will eventually devolve into Nazi comparisons.
But in another, Valizadeh, better known as “Roosh V,” was being quite literal. Few people have inspired such loathing online as this seemingly mild-mannered American expat who makes a living selling ebooks about how to pick up girls.
What separates him from the legions of other pick-up artists online (apart from his imaginatively titled travel guides: “Bang Columbia,” “Don’t Bang Denmark,” “Bang Iceland,” etc.) is his extraordinarily vitriolic and misogynistic views about women and society as a whole.
So extreme are Roosh’s views he even managed to land himself on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s quarterly extremism report in 2012, a privilege usually reserved for neo-Nazis and terrorists—while simultaneously risking the wrath of members of the white supremacist site Stormfront for coming to their countries to “defile their women.”
It was in autumn last year, however, that his work really reached a mainstream audience. “5 Reasons to Date a Girl With an Eating Disorder,” an article on Return of Kings, the blog he edits, went viral. It prompted furious responses in the Daily Mail (“dangerously and absurdly trivialising”), Huffington Post (“the dark underbelly of the internet, full of venom and vitriol”), and Jezebel (“inarticulate, delusional garbage”). It also rewarded him millions of outraged pageviews, or “hate reads,” in the process.
Aware that attention is exactly what he wants but nonetheless curious to meet the man behind the social media storm, I called Roosh V up. Over the two hours that we talked about everything from gender roles to the imminent “collapse of the West,” I came to realize the fantastical world he was describing—a dominating neo-matriarchy where men dare not lift their heads—bears no resemblance to the one I inhabit whatsoever. From his determination that natural equals moral, to the claims society stands on the brink of a population implosion, his vision of contemporary society is not only an affront to anyone who believes in basic gender equality but one utterly alien to me.
What follows is an edited transcript.
Why did you move from the States?
Women. That's what got me out the door. American women are lacking, and the grass really is greener! Now seeing what's happening, the political situation, the lifestyle, with everyone trying to accumulate goods and show off status, there's really no reason for me to go back. The female population gets fatter and fatter while their attitude gets worse.
Let’s talk about your work. The blog post about dating women with eating disorders—isn't this demeaning to the 20 million American women who suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lives?
It helps them! It reduces stigma. More insulting is the 150 million women that are fat. Why don’t American women understand that men don't like women who are fat? They're forcing us to search for creative ideas in order to date someone we find aesthetically beautiful.
Isn't it demeaning to reduce a debilitating mental illness by viewing it purely through the prism of the male gaze?
See…that's not for me to say. If it's insulting, that’s a shame, but when you publish you can't guarantee that women and every race and sick person will not be insulted.
It praises vulnerability and fragility as attractive traits. Do you consider vulnerability and potential mental illness sexually attractive?
I did not write the article, but from my own experience a girl who is vulnerable in the sense she is not aggressive and masculine is much more attractive than a woman pretending to be a man. One thing I’d say is I'd rather date a woman who has a “mental illness” and weighs 110 than one who doesn't but weighs 200.
Would you defend traditional gender roles?
Well, yeah. A traditional environment had some problems, but it's better than today where women act like men, men act like women, everyone’s confused and they're making things up like they're "pansexual"; they're this they're that, gender's a “binary construct," cis, trans, even I'm confused! Every year there's another gender I don't know about, that's just chaos.
Do you think homosexuality is a choice?
An environmental choice. I think a lot of people grow up in the middle and they can go straight or gay. In America, we’re giving them a shove into the gay place, like [laughs] "please be gay, it’s great!" It's a sick culture, one that doesn't teach people traditional gender roles. They don’t reproduce on their own, so in the long run you’ll have to use immigration to make up for that downfall caused by your millions of happy gay couples.
So we should discourage it?
I'm saying don't encourage it. Why are you encouraging a lifestyle that—let's be honest—is a deviant lifestyle. It's not normal from a reproductive human viewpoint. Whatever a gay person does in private I don't care, but publicly encouraging it as a superior lifestyle that's seen as equal to everyone…that's nonsense and we should stop that.
But relationships are about far more than reproduction. What about those born infertile, or post-menopausal women. Should they not pursue relationships?
They should be helping those who have chosen to reproduce. They should work to produce for the economy. Everyone should have a role.
What about the challenges women face today? In the U.K., one in five women have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives.
I would have to see how that study figured out one in five. It doesn't pass the smell test. Maybe a woman on a street is called some names, but to think a man is dragging one in five women into some dark alley or park and tries to rip off her clothes just doesn't make sense. We have to talk about what rape actually is. There’s a lot of cases where a woman uses rape to resolve guilt that she was too easy, or cheated on her husband, or to rewrite a sexual episode. Unless there's a clear sign of violence where the woman was hurt, I just can't take a woman's word her boyfriend raped her.
What if a woman's been drinking and passes out?
If she's unconscious, that sounds like rape, but if it was her boyfriend…I dunno, this is the problem; we're losing all sexual human instinct. Well if this guy is hurting his girlfriend, she should break up with him. I think we just have to use common sense. If she likes him and he sleeps with her when she's half-asleep, is that rape and does he deserve to go to jail? I'm not a lawyer but that's the silliness we now have to face. It used to be simpler. The definition of rape is expanding every year.
Isn’t it hypocritical to criticize “sluts” while making your living from teaching men to sleep with as many women as possible?
Men don't get to choose what they get from women. In the last 20 years, women announced they don't wanna get married right away, they want to focus on their job, have fun. So I'm teaching guys to get something anyway. I could stay home and cry that no woman wants to marry me, or find out what I have to do to take advantage of this new goal women have.
Then what's the problem if women sleep around?
It leads to families not getting made, birth rates going down, cultural collapse from within. The benefit for me—sex within a date or two—is good, but for culture, society as whole, it's obviously going to lead to some kind of collapse.
Your notion of feminism suggests a total abrogation of moral responsibility, whereby nothing is a woman's fault. That's just not the case.
That’s the road we're on. There's a case in the U.S. where a woman, Andrea Yates, killed her kids, and the National Organization for Women said it's not her fault—it's because there's a “lack of mental health help for women suffering from post-traumatic stress blah blah blah…” A woman who killed four kids, and this group is falling over themselves to say it’s not her fault.
I’m not familiar with the case, but if she was genuinely mentally ill then that would absolve her of some responsibility. You can’t be morally responsible for your actions if you have no grip on the real world.
We're making up mental problems for women at all stages of their life so they will never be held completely responsible. Lets say I marry a woman and she kills me, guess what: I put her in an unstable state, I was verbally abusive, emotionally abusive, even though I was just a normal guy. They'll always find an angle.
Are you optimistic about the future?
Not at all. Things are getting worse; there's still a long way down to go and guys are only now starting to wake up. I just don't see anything on the government level that is turning back the damage the progressive-leftist ideologies have done in the last 30 years. I think we'll see another 10 years of them making strides then there'll be a point where men will be sooo sick and tired, maybe we'll see a countermovement stem from that.
You claim a woman’s value is solely derived from her “fertility and beauty.” Why not her intelligence or character?
It goes against biology. Men genetically prefer women for fertility. This is evolutionary biology; I'm not saying anything weird or strange. I just think the best fit for most women is to be moms and apparently this has become a revolutionary idea. We have intellectual pursuits, drink wine, but lets not joke ourselves—our purpose is to reproduce.
So if you had a daughter would you be comfortable with telling her that her worth isn't derived from her intelligence, character, or personality, but from her looks?
I would be comfortable telling her to be as beautiful as she possibly can to get the best man she possibly can, yes.
But not to live the best life?
I would make that girl have the longest hair…Yes, I would educate her, so that when she's out of college, it's time for her to use the beauty nature has given her to get the best man she can.
In the U.K., feminist campaigners have been receiving very graphic and near-constant threats on social media of genital mutilation, sexual assault, rape, etc. What do you make of this?
First of all, that's not something I do. But why would a man threaten a feminist with rape? Because he's angry. And why is he so angry? That's a question feminists don't want to find out. I'm not saying it’s right, but to threaten someone with genital mutilation would take a lot of anger—why don't we ask why? Men aren't angry because they can't get a beautiful girl every night; it's because these groups attack what it means to be a man. Feminists need to understand when they face these attacks that these men feel like they're causing their own problems.
Are men and women equal?
Absolutely not. They're not equal; they're just not! A woman can be a genius and win a Nobel Prize, but there's something about being a man that drives us to accomplish, to achieve, to experiment. The entire modernist movement is "training women to act like men with small dicks." They've got such a chip on their shoulder, such penis envy; we're telling male students not be doctors just to prove your equality nonsense.
Have you any examples of this?
It starts when they're young, they're drugged first of all. Little boys are being given Ritalin and turned into zombies. At the same time you're encouraging women to go into science with support groups and everything. Do I have paper in my hand that shows this? Well, no. But this is happening in schools now. When you train girls from a young age, "You can be an astronaut," brainwash them, then of course they're all gonna say, "Oh I wanna be accomplished." But I don't think that's in a woman's nature.
In your ideal world, to what extent, if at all, would women engage in the public sphere? Would they do work, engage politically, vote?
I haven't spent a lot of time idealizing what the world should be like. I can give you the broad statement that the woman should serve the home and serve the man, simple as that. Winston Churchill said if we allow women the vote, every liberal cause under the sun would come forth, and we've seen that. If you want a traditional society allowing women to vote won't work because they're not going to want that. But can you really take away the vote? It's really hard to take something back, so we've got to be realistic. I'm not a politician or an anthropologist; I'm just a guy who wrote about how to get laid and unveiled all these other factors.
Screengrab via YouTube