red pill

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From a scene in the 1999 film The Matrix, where the main character, who lives in a virtual world known as the Matrix, is given a choice between a red pill that will allow him to learn the truth about the Matrix and a blue pill that will return him to his simulated life.


red pill (plural red pills)

  1. Something that enables or compels a person to overcome illusion and perceive harsher reality.
    • 2003, Glenn Yeffeth, Taking the Red Pill, page 148:
      To take the red pill is to choose to take responsibility for our lives, both on the personal and larger social levels.
    • 2011, Stephen Arterburn & Linda Mintle, Lose It for Life: The Total Solution, →ISBN, page 49:
      Do you want to continue to live in the false world of dieting, where emotional pain is numbed, health risks are ignored, and false promises are made? Or do you want to take the red pill, as it were, and see the reality of a world in which food and eating don't dominate or take over your life?
    • 2012, Yanis Varoufakis, Joseph Halevi, & Nicholas Theocarakis, Modern Political Economics: Making Sense of the Post-2008 World, →ISBN:
      We can offer ourselves the option of taking the red pill and, when the circumstances are right, we shall not be able to resist the lure of the naked truth; however hard it may be to stare it in the face.
    • 2013, John C Alessio, Social Problems and Inequality, →ISBN:
      Until the media and economy are democratically structured and regulated, the best people can do is take the red pill -- that is, utilize the alternative media for information and thereby purge their neurological systems of large misleading segments of their past education and the mainstream popular media.
    • 2013, David Mint, What is Money? A Quest to Answer the Question of the Ages:
      As you choke down the red pill, we will begin to expound on that eternally important question that few people have bothered to ask, save once, likely around the tender age of four [...] the eternally important question, "What is money?"
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:red pill.
  2. (more specifically) Something that causes someone to believe in gynocentrism in modern society.
    • 2019, Seneca, Roger L'Estrange, On Anger: Wisdom for Men: An Antidote for Red Pill Rage:
      One of the unfortunate outcomes of a red pill awakening (i.e. to learn the true nature of men, women, our culture's abject gynocentrism) is red pill rage: anger at the raw deal dealt to men by unconstrained gynocentrism and a sexual market place that is far too risky for an awakened man to tolerate.
    • 2020, Laura Bates, Men Who Hate Women: From Incels to Pickup Artists, the Truth about Extreme Misogyny and how it Affects Us All:
      The foundational tenet of taking the red pill is at the root of almost all the major manosphere groups we will look at in this book, including pickup artists, so-called Men's Rights Activists, and Men Going Their Own Way.
    • 2021, DMPaul Smith, Taking The Red Pill - The Bitter Truth: The Red Pill Mindframe And Alpha Male Strategies to Avoid Female Manipulation And Deception In Relationship And Dating:
      Reading this book and taking the red pill will give you the red pill mindframe and liberate you from simping and you'll receive wisdom in dealing with women and avoiding manipulation.
  3. (by extension) The subculture of men who share a belief in the gynocentrism of modern society; manosphere.
    • 2017, Peter Wright, Red Pill Psychology: Psychology for men in a gynocentric world:
      Most red pill thinkers will have already debunked this one and replaced it with a better story.
    • 2017, Player Mastermind, Gold Diggers and Sugar Daddies: The Red Pill Guide to Hypergamy:
      With the growth of 'the red pill' and similar such groups among men there is a growing realisation that life is very different in dating for 'alpha males' compared to everyone else.
    • 2018, Donna Zuckerberg, Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital Age:
      The problems faced by men in America—the problems the Red Pill community points to as proof that we live in a gynocentric society—have deep historical roots; however, the Red Pill represents a new, dangerous phase of American masculinity in the internet age.
    • 2019, Andrea Long Chu, Females:
      Indeed, this is the surprising core of the whole Red Pill theory of seduction: never stop begging for it.
    • 2019, James a Deprisco, The Catholic Red Pill: A Guide for Men:
      If you are attracted to the truths presented in Red Pill culture, but are put off by any morality or atheism present, this book is for you.
  4. Used other than figuratively or idiomatically: see red,‎ pill.

Usage notes

More recent usage is overwhelmingly associated with Western far-right identity politics and the MRA movement, and the process of white supremacist/alt-right recruitment,[1] especially on the internet.

Derived terms


red pill (third-person singular simple present red pills, present participle red pilling, simple past and past participle red pilled)

  1. To enable a person to overcome illusion and perceive harsher reality.
    • 2018, Gautam Malkani, Distortion:
      Fuck's sake. All this brainful red-pilling and you just trying to throw me off the trail again.
    • 2019, Jack Suss, Soul Enticed II: More Essays in Unlearning, page 146:
      Being “red pilled” would surely soon become the rage.
    • 2020, David Neiwert, Red Pill, Blue Pill: How to Counteract the Conspiracy Theories That are Killing Us, page 87:
      Now, I believe Q is President Trump, working possibly with Stephen Miller, to drop this information behind the scenes to get a campaign going, to red-pill people as to what is going on with the Storm, and their takedown of the Deep State, which includes the Deep State pedophile scene.
  2. To cause someone to believe in gynocentrism in modern society.
    • 2019, Alexandra Minna Stern, Proud Boys and the White Ethnostate:
      YouTuber and sister traditionalist Lacey Lynn commented on this video, extolling Faucheux and Collett because they had “red pilled me and I owe yall so much.



  1. ^ Andrew Marantz (2016-10-31), “Trolls for Trump”, in The New Yorker[1], retrieved December 1, 2017:
    There is a lot of discussion in certain parts of the Internet about “red-pill moments.” [] “Red pill” is good branding—it’s cowardly to live a lie. On many message boards, though, the lie being dismantled is gender equality.

Further reading

See also