The manosphere describes an informal network where commentators and blogs, forums and websites, some seen as men's spaces, focus on issues relating to men and masculinity. It is also seen as a male counterpart to feminism or in opposition to it.
The content of manosphere articles varies widely. Common topics include antifeminism, fathers' rights, incels, Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) movements, men's rights, male victims of abuse, and pick-up artistry and self-improvement. Prominent websites in the manosphere include Chateau Heartiste, Return of Kings, and SlutHate (formerly PUAHate).
Some of these forums have been described in the media, and by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) of the United States, as promoting a misogynistic worldview. Some parts of the manosphere have been described as being associated with the alt-right.
Michael Brendan Dougherty of Business Insider criticized the SPLC for including manosphere sites on its list of "hate-groups" and for providing pejorative personal details on the sites' authors. Mike Riggs of Libertarian magazine Reason also criticized the SPLC for defining manosphere sites as "hate-groups". Said Riggs, "Take note, America: Having consensual sex with someone you don't actually like and then never calling her/him again will land you in a reputation-ruining SPLC report."
Rod Dreher of The American Conservative has said that the manosphere "dehumanizes both men and women". Eva Wiseman has written that commenters on manosphere blogs often make statements to the effect that "women are designed solely for sex and sandwich-making". She has suggested that the tone of these websites creates a culture that contributes to violence against women. Caitlin Dewey accuses it of excluding gay, lesbian, and transgender people. BBC television personality Reggie Yates made a documentary on Britons who take part in the manosphere. Nicholas James Pell of paleoconservative site Taki's Magazine said that the manosphere "asks difficult questions and poses uncomfortable truths". Pell criticized a report by ABC News on the manosphere for not giving the topic "a fair shake" and concluded that "the men's-rights wing of the manosphere is distinguished by a class and refinement totally missing from the shrieking hysteria of modern feminist blogging".
Following the 2014 Isla Vista killings in California, many mainstream news sources reported links between the killer Elliot Rodger and posts to a manosphere forum about the pick-up artist community. Caitlin Dewey, writing for The Washington Post, said that while the manosphere was not to blame for Rodger's attack and it would be irresponsible to make that claim, "Rodger's misogynistic rhetoric seems undeniably influenced by the manosphere". Many manosphere commenters also strongly rejected any attempts to blame the manosphere for the killings, with one commenter writing that "His [Rodger] is a perfect case of someone who needed the red pill ... Because it's somewhere he could come to vent, and be angry, and not have his pain be dismissed, ridiculed or ignored."  Professor Michael Kimmel similarly opined "it would be facile to argue the manosphere ... urged [Rodger] to do this. I think those places are kind of a solace ... They provide a kind of locker room, a place where guys can gripe about all the bad things that are being done to them by women". In the days immediately following the shooting, other manosphere sites, such as A Voice For Men, saw a huge increase in traffic.
Mark Potok, a spokesman of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), said that the forums are filled with "pure unvarnished women hatred" and compares the manosphere to white supremacist websites. The SPLC later added a caveat, saying, "It should be mentioned that the SPLC did not label MRAs as members of a hate movement; nor did our article claim that the grievances they air on their websites – false rape accusations, ruinous divorce settlements and the like – are all without merit. But we did call out specific examples of misogyny and the threat, overt or implicit, of violence."
In The Washington Post, Caitlin Dewey describs the manosphere as "a vast, diverse network of blogs and forums" (). The Guardian columnist Eva Wiseman defines the manosphere as "a mix of men – pick-up artists, male victims of abuse, father's rights proponents – who come together online". There is a notable difference in the manosphere in the compositions and interactions of different age groups in the manosphere between forums and vlogging channels, with forums having a tendency for an egalitarian relationship between different age cohorts, whilst on vlogging platforms this collaborative spirit disappears, and is replaced with a tendency for older men to provide mentorship-like comportments to younger men. Due to what some manospherians view as an apathy within society towards issues faced by men and boys, some prefer to use the term reverse sexism over the term misandry. Some members of the manosphere attempt to highlight health issues that are emblematic to contemporary men, such as a successively decreasing sperm count.
Reddit is a popular gathering place for manosphere supporters. Several forums on the site are geared toward its ideas. One of these, the Red Pill subreddit, has more than 200,000 subscribers. Members of the incel community also frequent the manosphere. Some analysts have described the manosphere as an online version of the man cave. Social stratification is a common theme of discussion on manosphere websites. Men at the bottom of sociosexual hierarchies are sometimes referred to as BAFC (below average frustrated chump) in PUA communities, truecel in incel communities or omega male by manospherians in general.
GQ's Jeff Sharlet described A Voice For Men as "surprisingly pro-gay, or at least anti-anti-gay". Many manospherians view the 1960s sexual revolution in a negative light. Donna Zuckerberg points out that "Red Pill represents a new phase in online misogyny. Its members not only mock and belittle women; they also believe that in our society, men are oppressed by women." She adds that as of 2016, the growth of the movement and the more political tone adopted by some of its leaders is leading to an adversarial relationship between some of the components (notably between pick-up artists and Men's Human Rights Advocates). Eva Wiseman of The Guardian said that "Advocates of the men's rights movement are united by their belief that feminism is the enemy." They are strongly opposed to circumcision and believe that a double standard exists in society in how circumcision is viewed relative to female genital mutilation.[better source needed]
According to Caitlin Dewey of The Washington Post, the manosphere's "core philosophy basically boils down to this: (1) feminism has overrun/corrupted modern culture, in violation of nature/biology/inherent gender differences, and (2) men can best seduce women (slash, save society in general) by embracing a super-dominant, uber-masculine gender role, forcing ladies to fall into step behind them."
The term is a neologism, a portmanteau of man and sphere. Another term that has the same meaning is androsphere (from Ancient Greek: ἀνήρ, anḗr, genitive ἀνδρός, andros, "man"). A person who frequents online communities associated with the manosphere is sometimes called a manospherian. On the other hand, a red piller (or redpiller) is someone who has shifted from previously held mainstream or feminist persuasions, towards those that are widely held within the manosphere. They sometimes pejoratively refer to their detractors as blue pillers. The manosphere has its own distinct jargon. Manosphere websites commonly use red pill and blue pill imagery as an analogy; accepting the manosphere's ideology is equated with "taking the red pill", and those who disagree with their philosophy are seen as "blue pilled" or as having "taken the blue pill". The terms "alpha male" and "beta male" are also commonly used.
Chateau Heartiste, a blog written by James C. Weidmann, known as "Roissy in DC", was an early manosphere/pickup artist website. The blog advises readers to replicate the traits of narcissists and sociopaths in order to attract women. Weidmann argues that women's economic freedom, combined with racial miscegenation, immigration, and declining birth rates among white women threatens Western civilization.
Weidmann has written a popular online list of rules, "The 16 Commandments of Poon". A recurring theme in Chateau Heartiste is that "chicks dig jerks".
PUAHate was a website for men who felt they had been tricked by members of the pick-up artist or seduction community who had promised to teach them for money how to get attractive women to have sex with them. PUAHate criticized "the scams, deception, and misleading marketing techniques used by dating gurus and the seduction community to deceive men and profit from them". The site complained that the seduction gurus' techniques did not work.
PUAHate user Tom remarked, "The moderation policy was very laissez-faire. There was racism; definitely a lot of misogyny." Journalist Patrick Kearns noted that the site had threads such as "Are ugly women completely useless to society?" Users would also ask each other questions such as "what's your rape count"?
Elliot Rodger, perpetrator of the 23 May 2014 Isla Vista killings, was active on PUAHate, where he expressed confusion about how women could resist him. He wrote, "One day incels will realize their true strength and numbers, and will overthrow this oppressive feminist system. Start envisioning a world where WOMEN FEAR YOU." In his manifesto, Rodger remarked that PUAHate "confirmed many of the theories I had about how wicked and degenerate women really are". Some of PUAHate's users argued that the shootings were the fault of the women who declined to have sex with Rodger.
PUAHate was listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. On 24 May 2014, PUAHate was shut down. On 26 May, SlutHate was created and many of PUAHate's users migrated there.
Return of Kings
Return of Kings (RoK) is a blog written by Daryush Valizadeh, known online as Roosh V. The site has hosted articles critical of same-sex marriage.[better source needed] The actual size of the site's following is difficult to measure, but has been estimated to comprise a scattered readership throughout North America and Western Europe.
RoK is distinct from men's rights forums such as PUAHate in that it promotes seduction techniques, known as "game", that those sites criticize. RoK writers also criticize the profeminism men's movement and The Good Men Project, arguing that they lead to feminized, passive, weak men who are content to remain on the lowest rungs of the social hierarchy. It has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a male supremacy hate group.
- Bro (subculture)
- Gamergate controversy
- Hegemonic masculinity
- Identity politics
- Lad culture
- Robert Fisher
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