Honors Theses


Jamie L. Small


Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work

Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Thesis


The “manosphere” is an online collection of antifeminists and men’s rights activists. 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 are comments from 100 threads randomly sampled from 4,532 total threads posted in 2018. Using a grounded theory approach, I first explore how incels think about sexuality as an economy, devising a scheme that places everyone in a sexual hierarchy based on their “sexual market value.” Next, I explore questions of identity, attempting to make sense of who is able to call themselves an incel and who is not. Finally, I draw together ideas of entitlement and victimhood to identify ways that incels perform violence online in an attempt to reassert masculinity. This study ultimately provides a case study to understand ways in which marginalized men still work to reproduce gendered and sexual hierarchies.

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This item is protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) and may only be used for noncommercial, educational, and scholarly purposes.


Undergraduate research