Monday, May 26, 2008

Changing the way people think

One of the reasons i love Abigail is that she does amazing work. Specifically, she runs SWAT - the sexual wellness advocacy team at University of Oregon in Eugene. This innovative program uses students work with interactive workshops and peer theatre work to present to other student groups about sexual assault and how to avoid it.
It is edgy, oft uncomfortable work as they do skits of acquaintance rape where the audience gets to interview the perpetrator, their friend who is convinced they have not done anything wrong and other characters who make this charged scenario more complicated. There are few places which are doing such innovative and experimental work and every school should be.

While in Eugene recently, Abigail and i did an Honest Seduction workshop together, which went pretty well. We were competing with a rare sunny day in Eugene and a folk music festival and still managed to get a room full of people, mostly because Abigail has a fan club in town.

But what was most fun and exciting about the visit was i got to do a presentation to her SWAT class and brainstorm about the next generation of what their work might look like. I presented the basic concepts we are working with in the honest seduction work.

I tried out my new Huxley rant. That this great author best known for Brave New World actually wrote (in my opinion) a better and more important book called Island. But what is fascinating about these two stories, the first dystopian and the second utopian, is that he two cultures Huxley uses the same tools: Sleep learning, mood altering drugs, social stratification, cohesive rituals. So it is, in my thinking with seduction.

Classical seduction (the pickup artist - "power over" type) has developed a tremendous number of tools over time. Honest seduction has much to learn from these pros. Specifically, if you change the intent with which you approach a new relationship, most of these classical tools are actually appropriate: humor, story telling, focused attention, fashion and scent, seductive attitudes and more.

What was most exciting about the SWAT worskhop was the prospect of adding Honest Seduction content to their work on stopping sexual violence. The thinking is that it is not enuf to be critical of what is wrong, there is a need to propose what kinds of behavior should replace it. "How to pick up girls* and keep them: An introduction to Honest Seduction" was a name for a new workshop (where the * was "boys, transgenders, etc"). My propogandist, revolutionary heart beats faster at the prospect.

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