Gender Extremism and Hate Movements
I have been researching and writing on the gender extremist movements in an academic capacity for eight years. My early work engaged the discursive practices and ideologies of online hate groups, such as the white supremacist site Stormfront and subreddits dedicated to Men’s Rights.
In my MA thesis, I looked at how affect circulates within the hyper-masculine and supposedly non-emotional “Manosphere.” Specifically, I showed how members of online communities such as r/TheRedPill and r/MGTOW use a biologically essentialist, pseudo-scientific, gendered dogma of rationality to justify their contempt for women while also inflating their own sense of superiority.
During my PhD, my work on hate movements has focused primarily on "incels." Incels (which is a portmanteau of the words "involuntarily" and "celibate") are typically described in the media as men who resent women for not giving them the sex they feel they are entitled to.
I believe, however, that incel misogyny is far more complicated than that. While incels desperately crave attention and affection from women, they also harbor a strong disgust response toward the female body, a deep suspicion of intimacy, and despondency regarding the biologically innate aspects of sexuality. Their intense focus on sex is often read by observers as hypersexuality or even sexual degeneracy, obscuring the fact that incel discourse actually tends toward erotophobia. Within their misogynist declarations, there is often a contempt for the politics of heterosexual desire just under the surface, for example:
I am currently in the final stages of a project which examines the erotophobic elements of incel’s sexual politics through an analysis of “The Black Pill”: a destructive and nihilistic incel sub-ideology that has been linked to several acts of mass violence. In this project, I argue that the object of incel hatred isn't straightforwardly women, but rather the normative structure and pleasure regimes of contemporary heterosexuality. Incels hate that heterosexuality has failed to deliver on what they have misinterpreted as its promise: undeniable male domination and unqualified female submission. In short, incels hate that their pleasure is organized around and determined by normative regimes of heterosexual desire. In this sense, incels have taken on the mantel of perhaps the purest version of heteropessimism.