Sexuality & Culture

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 299–315 | Cite as

Feminism’s Flip Side: A Cultural History of the Pickup Artist

  • Andrew Stephen King
Original Paper


This paper provides a historical account of the ‘pickup artists’ (PUA) phenomenon, tracing the origins back to the early 1970s when more liberal attitudes towards sexuality were on the rise in the West. Today PUA advice not only includes information about seduction techniques, but also programs about self-improvement or so-called ‘inner game’. Seduction and dating gurus can be found across the internet—from individual bloggers to dating coaches and relationship experts—all providing niche services and products on how to seduce and/or have fulfilling relationships with women. By addressing the moral panics around the PUA discourse, the paper seeks to illustrate the connection between second wave feminism, as a discourse increasingly interested in the idea of ‘gender egalitarianism’ and the popularity of seduction techniques for men based on emerging scientific research.


Pickup artist Seduction Attraction Feminism Dating advice Moral panics 



This study was 100% self-funded.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Andrew Stephen King has received no grants or research funding from any external, commercial and/or institutional sources.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Creative Industries FacultyQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Wall Street English InstituteBeijingChina

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