Taking the Red Pill


An interesting new viral movement has been gathering momentum lately: A lot of young people are proudly reporting via YouTube and other sites that they’ve “taken the Red Pill.”

No, that’s not another new drug. Nor does it have anything to do with a similarly named “pick-up culture/anti-feminism” discussion on Reddit that some people are kicking about there. Instead, the Red Pill declaration is actually a more general proclamation of independent thought … as well as being an obvious metaphorical nod to a certain science-fiction classic. So, let’s start there.

In the trippy sci-fi flick The Matrix, a resistance leader named Morpheus offers the tech-focused hero, Neo, the choice of taking a blue pill or a red one. The blue pill will let Neo comfortably remain in the repressive, deceptive world that he’s been a part of and completely blinded by. “You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe,” Morpheus tells him. But the red pill will have him “tumble down the rabbit hole,” he’ll see the world for what it really is and have to honestly face everything about his life that was a lie.

So what does that mean for the individuals at the heart of the Red Pill movement?

Well, they say it’s all about shaking their lives up: They’re questioning things that they’ve been taught and always just taken for granted as being true. Or as one YouTube poster who goes by the user name Blonde in the Belly of the Beast put it: “You begin to see through narratives you’ve been told your whole life about gender, race, culture, globalism, sex, society, relationships. You begin to develop an intellectual curiosity that you apply to your life, to find answers for yourself.”

That’s a pretty big deal in this day and age when it’s generally believed that young people tend to approach social and cultural issues with a monolithic perspective. In fact, it’s that very collectivist mindset that these Millennials are pushing back against with their social media commentaries and online declarations.

Blonde suggested that her “red pilling” experience was akin to that “point in middle school, or maybe a bit younger, when you realize—perhaps based on an error that your parents made—that they don’t hold all the answers. I think this happens to everyone. In a single moment it puts a tremendous weight of personal responsibility on your shoulders and frightens you, because you realize that your journey is your own.”

Now, some people on the outside of this intellectual campaign have said that the whole thing is a negative political ploy. They claim that it’s something designed to keep young people ignorant of important social issues. But some Red Pillers say that couldn’t be further from the truth.

You can find teens and twentysomethings voicing perspectives on all sides of the political aisle, for one thing. And their postings declare that theirs is a broad quest to actually explore the truth behind these cultural and social issues. They state that their movement is something prompted by an accumulation of personal experiences, a questioning of society’s dysfunctions and a common recognition that they’re tired of being told what they can and cannot think.

One self-described feminist named Laci Green, for instance, said, “The Red Pill is a meme that refers to the realization that the world isn’t nearly as simple as you thought it was. … The question, of course, is: ‘What is the truth?'” She balks wholeheartedly at the fact that some social media fans who used to cheer her views have suddenly savaged her online simply because she’s raised a few questions and has actually taken the time to talk to people with opposing views.

And that is truly what all these Red Pillers have in common. If you watch their videos and read their blogs, they all proclaim that cognitive dissonance is vital, and that becoming more well-read and focused on self-improvement is key. Or as Laci Green put it, people should be “questioning even the seemingly unquestionable and being willing to adjust their beliefs as they get new information.”

Personally, I can’t help but see that fundamental skepticism as being positive in many ways. Let’s face it, we tend to want others to believe as we do: to see the world through our filter. But isn’t it important that young people actually search for truth and think through their social, cultural, moral and spiritual choices rather than walk in lockstep to the piper’s tune of the culture at large?

As I’ve looked through some of the Red Pill vids I’ve watched bright and curious young people report their emotional shock at how just raising a few questions about their pre-processed secular worldview has helped the scales fall away from their eyes. “I can’t unsee what I’m starting to see now,” one teen guy declared. And doesn’t that give us all hope for the chance of seeing a better future?


Who wrote this?

Bob Hoose is a senior associate editor for Plugged In, a producer/writer for Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey, a writer of plays and musicals and one-half of the former comedy/drama duo Custer & Hoose. He is a husband, father of three and a relatively new granddad.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 16 days ago
A well written piece but you did not address MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way). This looks to be an extreme backlash to what they are calling 4th wave feminism. I kept seeing MGTOW on YT videos, so I decided to check it out. I found myself in agreement with much of what they claim about today's women and attempting to have any kind of meaningful relationship with them. With the epidemic of STD's and feminist thinking, it's a "Buyer Beware" market for men. Men (Including myself) are walking away from this so called market for their own protection... Their mental and physical health as well as well as their wealth and assets which are stripped from the man by biased family courts. Feminists claim that MGTOW's are TFL's and other shaming and insulting claims against them. Sure, there is a percentage of men like that but that number is being dwarfed daily as more and more men "Take The Red Pill" and abandon relationships with women. #METOO has done more to push men into MGTOW in far greater numbers than in the past. This could snowball into a society changing event, the likes we haven't seen since the Civil War. It's growing that fast.
Anonymous 7 months ago
It is important for people to know that if they want to know truth, they will need to seek God for truth, as all truth in knowledge comes from Him. 
His Word says, For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
"My ways are not your ways,
and my thoughts are not your thoughts."  Isaiah 55:8-9
Anonymous 7 months ago
The "matrix" concept is quite valid and applicable, both for this world and the next

And the reality is that taking the blue pill is not a viable option, in either case.

As someone once said, "you can avoid reality, but you can't avoid the consequences of avoiding reality"

The decades leading up to this generation have been a descent into avoiding reality, be it dubious entertainment/music, celebrity/sports worship, technology, drugs, social media, etc, etc - all these things and more make it not only difficult to see real-world truth, but even more so spiritual Truth

If people can't even recognize the mortal dangers lurking in the here & now, how much more so will they not be able to see the perils to their own souls?

As a result, now more than ever we need Christ - to heal us and save us - He is the "red pill" this generation needs!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
charitysplace 8 months ago
I like this movement.

Question absolutely everything, systematically. You'll be better off for it in the long term.
bobed 8 months ago
This new "red pill movement" should think of a new name. The redpilling name already belongs to a certain ideology.
Evan Weisensel 8 months ago
COMRADE! Is that ideology you speak of Glorious Communism for Great Mother Russia? For everything in the Motherland is red with the passion of toppling the upper class swine with our patented yet free to the people borscht cannons!

Real talk tho, what ideology does the name red pilling already belong to?
bobed 8 months ago
It literally says in the second paragraph of the blog, which I am assuming you did not read.
Evan Weisensel 8 months ago
Oh.... That Red Pill. I assumed you were talking about a different type of red pill not associated with the other two mentioned in this post. Which I did read, thank you very much!
bobed 8 months ago
My point is that the redpill movement is already very widely known and associated with a group of men who basically believe women are all irredeemable and should be avoided (they're closely associated with the MGTOW movement). If these other red pill people want to be respected, they ought to change their name. 
Evan Weisensel 8 months ago
Ok. Thanks for explaining it to me. Yeah, those types of Men' Rights Activist type Red Pillers are insufferable.
RIcoSuaveGuapo 7 months ago
No, that is an unfair assessment. *Some* men think that way.  Others simply recognize it as this is the way things are in terms of relationship dynamics, and adjust their behavior/expectations accordingly. I consider myself "redpilled." I love my wife, my mother, daughter, sister, etc. I do not hate women - I just have a far more realistic, grounded view of them as a whole than I did growing up. 
Anonymous 7 months ago
"Some men think that way. Others simply recognize it as this is the way things are..." So, some in the movement think that women are inferior and irredeemable, and "others" also believe that? You haven't actually indicated that anyone in the movement, let alone yourself, doesn't feel that way. Your vague wording doesn't actually contradict the negative view of "redpilling" that anyone else here has expressed.
RIcoSuaveGuapo 7 months ago
Nah, they're one and the same, in principle. The mens' rights "red pill" is simply seeing male/female relationships as they *are*, not as we were taught they should be. (the whole "be nice, be yourself, and the right girl will just fall in your lap" nonsense that most men were taught over the past 40 years)