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Tightrope routines : a feminist artist interviews the internet's most infamous misogynist

  • Author(s): Washko, Angela
  • et al.
Abstract

Tightrope Routines is a storytelling performance based on seven months of exchanges between feminist artist Angela Washko and pick-up artist, author, blogger and notorious manosphere leader Roosh V. The performance began with a provocation called BANGED. BANGED was a project initially proposed as a platform through which I intended to interview women who have had sexual encounters with Roosh V (a former industrial microbiologist who now writes textbooks inclduing BANG, Day Bang, Bang Iceland and ten more printed guides on "picking up girls and getting laid" across geographic and cultural boundaries). Ultimately these accounts would amass into a text-based compilation of parallel accounts to his conquest narratives. I intended to distribute calls to find these women through mainstream media articles, Craigslist, physical posters in selected cities and more. This project became much more complicated when Roosh V voiced his awareness of it online. From that point forward, I decided to shift focus onto the author's underlying motivations, moving away from feminist artistic activism and toward a more empathetic digital ethnography of his self-titled manosphere community, making attempts to facilitate conversations with him across our extremely polarized online communities. The performance outlines the story of this process from planning the original project to inadvertently interviewing the international playboy himself to gathering responses from a variety of publics to reassessing of my own initial intentions. Ultimately Tightrope Routines serves as a testament to my experience shifting from activism to ethnography in spaces of extreme hostility toward women and feminists and is furthermore a story of what tactical media could shift into in today's increasingly stratified media landscape

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