"You Don't Understand... It's Not About Virginity": Sexual Markets, Identity Construction, and Violent Masculinity on an Incel Forum Board.



Josh Segalewitz


This presentation was given live via Zoom at 11:00 a.m. (Eastern Time) on Wednesday, April 22, 2020.



The manosphere refers to the online collection of antifeminists and men’s rights activists. It represents one way technology allows for interactions in new, digital social networks. Incels, short for involuntary celibates, interact in this space and have been labeled as extreme misogynists, white supremacists, and domestic terrorists. I engage with popular sociological theories of masculinity (including hegemonic, hybrid, and inclusive masculinities) to analyze dominant discourses on the website incels.is. The data for this project include comments from 100 threads randomly sampled from 4,532 total threads posted in 2018. Through grounded coding methodology, I identify the importance of navigating threatened masculinity online, particularly with respect to sexuality. Further, I find that incel ideology rests on the creation of sexual hierarchies that emphasize perceived attractiveness. Finally, I explore the debates within this space over who is able to claim membership and how borders of the space are policed. In its entirety, this study reveals how marginalized men may respond to and reproduce gendered hierarchies.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Capstone Project

Primary Advisor

Anya Galli Robertson, Jamie L. Small

Primary Advisor's Department

Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work


Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Gender Equality; Reduced Inequalities