How does the seduction, or “pick-up artist,” industry work? In her new book Seduction: Men, Masculinity, and Mediated Intimacy
(Polity, 2018), Rachel O’Neill
provides a sociological analysis of the seduction industry. By using ethnographic and interview methods, O’Neill engages with the industry to better understand how intimacy is portrayed through media, trainings, and men’s experiences using these techniques in the field. This book is rich with accessible and interesting discussions of masculinity. For instance, O’Neill explores how men who attend seduction trainings, as well as the trainers themselves, “brand” their “sexual selves.” The book covers many interesting topics including social hierarchies and the importance of style. O’Neill also tackles issues relevant to current cultural discussions around consent and the intersection and discord between feminism and masculinity.
O’Neill’s next project includes turning an eye to mediated health through studying “wellness culture” and practices of health enhancements including food and diets.
Sarah E. Patterson is a postdoc at the University of Western Ontario. You can tweet her at @spattersearch.