Helen Pluckrose

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Helen Pluckrose
Pluckrose in 2019
EducationUniversity of East London (B.A.)
Queen Mary University of London (M.A.)
Occupation(s)Author, cultural writer
Known forGrievance studies affair
Notable workCynical Theories (2020)

Helen Pluckrose is a British author and cultural writer known for critiques of critical social justice[1] and promotion of liberal ethics, most notably in the grievance studies affair.[2][3][4][5][6]


Pluckrose completed a degree in English literature at the University of East London and a master's degree in early modern studies at Queen Mary University of London,[7] with a particular focus on "the ways in which medieval women negotiated the Christian narrative".[8]


Social care[edit]

From the age of 17 to 34, Pluckrose worked in social care mostly providing for the personal care needs of elderly people and those with physical and learning disabilities.[9]

Grievance studies affair[edit]

Lindsay and Pluckrose laughing at their grievance studies papers, in 2018

Alongside James A. Lindsay and Peter Boghossian, Pluckrose was involved in the 2017–18 grievance studies affair (also referred to as "Sokal Squared" in reference to the 1996 Sokal affair), a project which saw the group submitting a number of bogus academic papers to peer-reviewed journals in cultural, gender, queer and race studies, to see if they would get published. The authors stated their goal as highlighting poor scholarship and eroding criteria in some academic fields, particularly those influenced by postmodern philosophy and critical theory.[10] Despite criticism of the exposé as a "hoax" and "coordinated attack from the right", Pluckrose and her colleagues describe themselves as "left-leaning liberals".[11]

Areo Magazine[edit]

From 2018 to 2021, Pluckrose was editor-in-chief of Areo Magazine, an opinion and analysis digital magazine exploring "a variety of perspectives compatible with broadly liberal and humanist values".[12][13] She stepped down from this post in April 2021.[14]

Cynical Theories[edit]

In 2020, Pluckrose released a non-fiction book, Cynical Theories, co-authored with James A. Lindsay and published by Pitchstone Publishing.


Pluckrose founded Counterweight as a reaction to the growth of implicit bias training and other forms of what Pluckrose calls "critical social justice ideology" in the workplace.[15] The group describes itself as a "non-partisan, grassroots movement advocating for liberal concepts of social justice".[16] Counterweight launched an online advice service in January 2021,[17] which Pluckrose described as "Citizens Advice for the culture wars".[15] The group published a video which, according to The Telegraph, argued that "woke" activism unfairly judges people by their gender, race and sex, and pledged to provide resources such as mental health support and "expert guidance".[15] Pluckrose ceased working for Counterweight in 2022 but continues to support the cause.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Pluckrose lives in London with her husband David, a forklift driver, and their daughter.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ PLUCKROSE, Helen. "What Do We Mean By Critical Social Justice". CounterweightSupport.com. Counterweight. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  2. ^ Beauchamp, Zack (15 October 2018). "The controversy around hoax studies in critical theory, explained". Vox.
  3. ^ Murray, Douglas. "Cynical Theories by Helen Pluckrose & James Lindsay review – woke warriors are conquering academia". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  4. ^ "The destructive power of culture wars and how they put liberalism in retreat". Crikey. 11 September 2020. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  5. ^ Hannam, Paddy (24 July 2020). "Wokeness is being pushed on everyone". www.spiked-online.com. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  6. ^ Kelly, Paul (12 September 2020). "Tracing the dangerous rise and rise of woke warriors". The Australian. Retrieved 1 October 2020.(subscription required)
  7. ^ "Helen Pluckrose – Battle of Ideas 2017". Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  8. ^ Helen Pluckrose (18 March 2019). "The problem with grievance studies". The Australian.(subscription required)
  9. ^ "Helen Pluckrose". Independent Women's Forum. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  10. ^ Schuessler, Jennifer (4 October 2018). "Hoaxers Slip Breastaurants and Dog-Park Sex Into Journals". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  11. ^ Mounk, Yascha (5 October 2018). "What an Audacious Hoax Reveals About Academia". The Atlantic.
  12. ^ Kafka, Alexander C. (5 October 2018). "Scholar Who Pulled Off Publishing Hoax Defends It: 'Papers Are Either Sound or They Aren't' ". The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  13. ^ Neill, Rosemary (10 September 2020). "'You can't cancel me'". The Australian. Retrieved 1 October 2020.(subscription required)
  14. ^ Pluckrose, Helen (6 April 2021). "Editorial Announcement". Areo. Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  15. ^ a b c Diver, Tony (25 January 2021). "'Citizens advice service' launches to help employees in woke workplaces". The Telegraph. London. ISSN 0307-1235.
  16. ^ "Why Was Counterweight Formed". counterweightsupport.com. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  17. ^ Ellery, Ben (30 January 2021). "'Anti-woke helpline Counterweight flooded with calls'". The Times. London. ISSN 0140-0460.
  18. ^ "The Counterweight Team". Counterweight. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  19. ^ "Helen Pluckrose". Independent Women's Forum. Retrieved 20 September 2021.

External links[edit]