The Manosphere has come about in a new and shifting political climate. It is important for women to know about it and understand how they are impacted by it.
Courtesy of Filippo Peisino
In the shifting political climate, we have seen a rise in misogynistic hate speech within communities of young men on the internet. Misogyny and the dehumanization of women is something that is far from new, but within the past year, the bolstering of alt-right and “conservative” online personalities has given misogyny a fresh face.
It is important for women to be aware of the faces that misogyny is taking on in the modern world. Identifying misogyny and the forms that it takes allows us the tools to identify misogynistic dog whistles and combat hate speech when we hear it in our own lives.
As a society, it has become a stereotype and expectation that older generations will have more conservative views and that younger people will be more progressive and open-minded politically.
The birth of the Manosphere and its quick assent into mainstream popularity has resulted in the indoctrination of impressionable young boys and men into misogynistic online communities. These communities spend their time lamenting about the ways in which the modern woman is flawed and needs to revert to more traditional gender roles.
What is the Manosphere? The Manosphere is an umbrella term for a group of (largely online) misogynistic communities that have a range of beliefs from anti-feminism to full-on violent hatred of women. Generally, people who engage in Manosphere communities have extremist views, and it is closely linked to alt-right and extreme right-wing communities due to the similarities in views and ideology.
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The Manosphere encompasses many sectors of men’s rights and anti-feminist groups. One of the most prominent groups under the Manosphere umbrella are Incels. The word “Incel” is a compound of the larger term “involuntary celibate.” Incels have a strong hate for women and believe that women are too picky when it comes to choosing a partner and that’s why they are left lonely.
One of the reasons the Manosphere has become a hot topic is due to some of the polarizing and boisterous personalities that have become the face of the movement. The most famous of all is Andrew Tate. Tate calls himself “The King of toxic masculinity” and has used platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tik Tok to spread his message until he was banned for hate speech.
Tate has said many hateful things about women. He’s said that independent women do not exist, women should not have social media, women are responsible for their own sexual assaults and countless other horrendous statements.
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Margot Spirelli is a teacher at a middle school in the Little Italy neighbourhood in Toronto. Spirelli says that she has seen an uptick in young men spewing misogynistic rhetoric and it has left her quite concerned.
“I’ve heard boys as young as 11 years old say some really scary things about women and their place in the world,” Spirelli says. “I’ve heard young boys have discussions about women being disposable, lesser human beings and that if you’re a successful man you can treat women however you want.”
Tate and his contemporaries’ views are simplistic in their hatefulness. They tell men that if they are “alpha” males and take charge then the world is theirs. This ideology is alluring to young men that are frustrated with the current political climate and are looking for guidance.
“As an educator, I believe it is my duty to say something when I hear these young boys talking about women in such derogatory ways,” Spirelli says that she takes it upon herself to teach feminism in her classes and try her best to combat the misogyny that these boys are seeing on the internet with real life examples of healthy masculinity.
Courtesy of Viktoria Slowikowska
“We’ve gotten the male teachers involved too. We try to have healthy and productive conversations with students as well as show them that masculinity does not have to be toxic. You can be a man and be respectful, kind and empathic. Young boys need to hear that. It really makes a difference.”
Spirelli and her community are using love and compassion to try to combat violent sexism. “It’s important to know what kind of hate we’re up against so we can fight it with love and acceptance. Kids are so vulnerable. Love and kindness go a long way.”