Jun 25, 2013
07:08 PMThe Connecticut Story
"Above the Game" Author Ken Hoinsky Discusses "Rape Guide" Controversy
Ken Hoinsky, Milford resident and the hopeful author of Above the Game: A Guide to Getting Awesome with Women—a book he likens to a self-help book but others deem a step-by-step almanac of sexual assault—says he now understands why referring to half the population as people who want to be led, dominated and have their hair yanked can come off as offensive.
And he’s sorry about it. So sorry he’s planning to fix some of those “horrible, loaded words,” but he also wants to remind everyone who’s characterizing him as a creep, douchebag, monster or misogynist that the passages that talk about intercourse are just a small fraction of the total work. The entire idea is to help men seduce a woman by becoming attractive, not with gimmicks or trickery. Hence the name, Above the Game.
“I will absolutely apologize for offending people with some of the things that were in the guide, some of the themes and some of the wording, but I will absolutely not apologize for my mission, which is helping as many men out in the world as possible,” Hoinsky says.
Hoinsky's work made national news last week when certain passages of a draft of the book posted to Reddit went viral, and his campaign was booted off the crowdfunding site Kickstarter.
In context—the book instructs men how to be more confident, figure out what they want and go after a woman. The passages that raise trouble however use language that read like a rape manual.
A chapter of the book instructs men to place women on their laps, put their hands on private areas, pull their hair—and if they say no, to stop. Take a break. Then try again later in a “no doesn’t always mean no” or “no means yes” fashion.
From the guide on Reddit:
Remember, she is letting you do this because you have established yourself as a LEADER. Don’t ask for permission.
If at any point a girl wants you to stop, she will let you know. If she says “STOP,” or “GET AWAY FROM ME,” or shoves you away, you know she is not interested. It happens. Stop escalating immediately and say this line: “No problem. I don’t want you to do anything you aren’t comfortable with.” Memorize that line. It is your go-to when faced with resistance. Say it genuinely, without presumption. All master seducers are also masters at making women feel comfortable. You’ll be no different. If a woman isn’t comfortable, take a break and try again later.
Physically pick her up and sit her on your lap. Don’t ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances.
Yeah, he sees how that can be seen through a lens of promoting rape, he says, but that’s not the goal. There were several other chapters that explained how to talk to women, feel confident, date, talk and act, which if done successfully will lead to consensual activity. He plans to meet with experts regarding sexual assault and women’s rights to write the tips in a way that doesn’t promote sexual assault.
The rest of the information in the guide isn't nearly as inflammatory:
You cherish women. You are genuinely delighted by women. You cannot help but celebrate their beauty. You aren't afraid to show flashes of vulnerability - you are the "bad boy with a heart" that women fantasize about. You have incredible love and compassion towards women, but no neediness. You realize that all women desire passion, good sex and adventure. It is your mission on this planet to bring that to them - to make them feel sexy, loved and beautiful.
Hoinsky says he doesn’t want to play the “victim card” with all the threats he’s received. He said he’s made poor word choices but he’s being judged on an “unfinished draft.”
At all points referring to the book, Hoinksy refers to it as his “mission” or his “message.” He stands by both, but perhaps not the words he used to get it across.
“Most of my message is if you want to get good with women, become a good person. Become better at being a human being and building human connections. And guess what? Women will find you more attractive. Wow. That’s my earth shattering stuff,” he says with a laugh. “It’s not about pulling hair and whatever else is in there…that’s not what it’s about.”
Hoinsky’s self-described seduction guide was posted incrementally on the web on Reddit. He went on Kickstarter weeks ago to raise $2,000 to have a book published based on those passages, after several people in the online community asked him to. He preferred to publish the book himself, calling the act of selling an idea to publishers “demeaning.”
By the end, Hoinsky raised well over his goals and surpassed $16,000. But that was before Kickstarter pulled the material down off its site and issued an apology, referring to the post as offensive. Though they didn’t cancel the project before it was funded—and Hoinsky will go ahead with the publishing—they apologized profusely for allowing the project to be posted in the first place. They’re prohibiting other seduction guides from being funded on their site.
This was prompted by blog posts that pulled small portions of the entire body of work out and pointed to them in outrage.
Hoinsky stresses that he does not promote rape, sexual assault or any kind of forceful physical interactions that aren’t consensual. When he writes the words “Don’t ask for permission,” he say he’s writing for the male wallflower. He’s telling the guy who is afraid to talk to women he doesn’t have to ask to touch her arm.
“I’m writing for shy, nerdy, introverted guys who are terrified of approaching a woman and terrified of touching a woman and maybe have never done that in their entire life. So telling them that it’s okay to try to touch a woman, it’s okay to kiss her, it’s okay to be a little passionate in the bedroom—that’s okay for them. Those are my readers, that’s my audience,” he says. “I’m not writing for Jersey Shore alpha bros. I’m writing for nice nerdy guys who just happened to be really shy around women.”
That being said, Hoinsky realizes that a book being distributed to a wider audience needs to be changed so people can’t use it as some have suggested. But he doesn’t believe what he wrote was wrong, per se. Just not right for a bigger audience.
“I wouldn’t write it if I didn’t believe it," he says. "I know I get a lot of flak…I’m trying to stay away from force, dominance and these horrible loaded words…but I stand by the words. I really do believe that what I wrote is true, it’s just some parts that were written the way they’re written could lead to problems. So I’m fixing that.
Hoinsky grew up in Milford, and traveled around the globe before returning to live there. He’s been married for five years. He works as an executive recruiter, though sitting in Café Atlantique sipping coffee less than a week after his pet project created a firestorm of threats via social media, he suggests that he might consider working on this book full-time now. He sees the opportunity in creating a crafted message that is helpful to both men and women.
First, he’s meeting with different groups to try and work out the language of the book so he can better get his point across.
“The biggest accusation somebody said, they said somebody, somewhere is going to read this book and rape somebody because of it. That’s devastating. If I found out that actually happened I would be devastated. I don’t want that to happen. I’d be a monster if I did,” he says.
The book will include all the right angles—he wants it to be helpful for men but also get a seal of approval from women.
“It shouldn’t be shameful for men to want to seek out advice in regard to their love life,” Hoinsky says. So he wants this book to be the “holy grail” of information for guys to have happy lives and do it in a way that’s explained respectfully.
“If people really read the book the follow the book and make it a part of their life, they’re going to come out of this and become a better human being," he claims. "They’re going to have empathy and compassion and they’re going to have love for women. They would never hurt them. And what kind of woman wouldn’t want men like that in the world?”
Hoinksy still plans to publish the book independently, and those interested can purchase it at abovethegame.info.
"Above the Game" Author Ken Hoinsky Discusses "Rape Guide" Controversy