Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Social Sciences

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Heather Hensman Kettrey

Committee Member

Dr. Heidi Zinzow

Committee Member

Dr. Matthew Costello

Committee Member

Dr. Natalia Sianko


In a gender-segregated digital space known as the Manosphere, a group of men calling themselves “Incels,” or involuntary celibates, express feelings of hostility and hatred towards women. Incels hold a low position on a masculine hierarchy where the men who hold the most power in society are those who have access to women’s emotional and sexual services. Incels are characterized by feelings of entitlement to women’s services and aggrievement by their inability to access them. As a result, they often appear to fantasize about or engage in acts of violence to compensate for their lack of masculine privilege. However, there are men who try to escape these harmful ideologies and leave the Incel community altogether. In this study, I analyze 130 Reddit threads from a community of men attempting to leave the Incel community. This case study permits the examination of the ways low-status men challenge and/or reinforce the masculine hierarchy. Findings demonstrate the pervasive power of the masculine hierarchy. Aside from a few exceptions, men who were presumably attempting to leave the Incel community embraced their low status on the masculine hierarchy and accepted the inevitability of that hierarchy. Their reluctance to challenge the masculine hierarchy suggests they recognize that this hierarchy both justifies their subjugation under more privileged men and their power over women. In other words, for these men, the masculine hierarchy is simultaneously a prison and a bastion of masculine privilege.

Author ORCID Identifier




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