The Manosphere and its Impact on Violence Prevention

The “Manosphere,” a play on the word “blogosphere,” is a loose collection of online blogs, websites, social media threads, influencers, and vlogs “where users share their bigoted, sexist, and toxic view of society in general and masculinity and femininity in particular”.¹ A primary purpose of many of these groups being online harassment and glorifying violence against women.  

Violence prevention researchers identify four main subgroups within the manosphere:  

  • Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) advocate for policy and systemic change that benefit men. They argue that misandry, or discrimination against men, dominates today’s culture and that feminism has victimized men.  
  • Pick Up Artists are men whose main goal is to teach skills to attract women, frequently using flattery, manipulation, and coercion.  
  • Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) purposefully seek to separate themselves from the influence of women as much as possible to protect their own perception of masculinity and freedom.  
  • Involuntary Celibates, also known as incels, are heterosexual men who blame women and society for their own ability to attract “desirable” women for romantic or sexual relationships. They often believe that women are too sexually selective and, as a result, have power and control over men.  

While there are several ideological differences within and between these groups, there is a common thread of anti-feminism and a shared belief in an “alpha male” version of masculinity that is threatened by feminism.² 

Even if misogyny is the goal of the manosphere, it also tolerates, amplifies, and breeds discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community. The manosphere is intertwined with homophobia and transphobia, including gay and trans slurs, used as insults for men who are weak or are not alpha males. Misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia all seek to limit a person’s individual freedom to exist and safely express their gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation. 

The Dangers of The Manosphere 

There is a proven connection between the above ideologies and violence, with many mass casualty events, sexual assaults, and other forms of harassment being attributed to self-identified members of these groups. 

The more subtle danger of the manosphere is how easily its language permeates the rest of our culture and normalizes violent attitudes. TikTok and other social media platforms are filled with videos about alpha males that are shared widely with huge followings. The word “simp,” a degrading comment most frequently used to demean a guy who is too attentive of or submissive to a girl, is one example of the manosphere’s influence. Although the simp has a long history in literature, recent frequent use of “simp” and “simp-ing” by the manosphere has led to the terms becoming part of popular culture and contributing to a growing attitude that equality and non-violence in relationships is a form of weakness. 

This is particularly dangerous for young adults, teens, and even younger children. Social media exposure to extreme ideologies is changing how these groups think about gender, relationships, and sex. Recent studies reflect this trend, showing that young men are harassing girls and female teachers in school, openly saying that men are entitled to have sex with women, and forming anti-feminism opinions. 50% of young men ages 15-24 said that feminism has made it more difficult for men to succeed ³ 

Safe+Sound Somerset has also witnessed these disturbing trends. In classrooms throughout the county, including the college, high school and middle school levels, our prevention team is seeing the influence of the manosphere, with many students quoting and looking up to these influencers.  

Male students in every school are naming Andrew Tate as an example of what it means to be a man. Tate, a prominent manosphere influencer who was arrested for alleged sexual assault and human trafficking earlier this year, is a self-identified “men’s rights activist”. Under the guise of an inspirational leader, Tate amplifies the false ideas that women are at fault for sexual violence committed against them and that false rape-allegations are ruining the lives of men everywhere.  Despite false reports being consistently low (See our article on false reports here) and the fact that the only person responsible for sexual violence is the assaulter, the normalization of this language increases the risk of sexual violence and makes it harder for survivors to get the support they need. 

How Does the Manosphere Attract People, Particularly Young Men?  

There are several manipulation tricks that manosphere groups use to gain followers.  

  • Often, as in the case of Tate, the content includes funny segments that are unrelated to women, violence, or sexual assault. People are brought in by harmless content and then gradually exposed to content promoting violence against women. This tactic makes it easier for viewers to say, “It’s not that bad. Most of what they say is fine,” or “It’s just a joke!” 
  • Leaders will use material displays of power such as money and fancy cars to show that their ideologies have led to success, which promotes the idea that they can help other men gain power, money, and access to girls and sex.  
  • Content creators will target their audience, finding ways to relieve their insecurities and reflect their interests. For men who are resentful about not having a girlfriend, messaging will validate their false sense of entitlement and blame women for their own lack of success. Teen boys will be shown videos that criticize school systems and teachers and include nice sports cars and fitness tips.  
  • Many groups will call themselves “evidence-based,” pointing to studies or research to back up their hate. Researchers say, however, that these groups often misrepresent the data by taking it out of context, purposefully manipulating the data, creating new graphs that skew its perception, or using reports that are privately funded and not peer reviewed.  
  • Online forums will promote themselves as safe spaces, offering young men a place where they can vent, be themselves, find support and make friends. This was particularly effective during the pandemic, when so many other social spaces were shut down. 
  • Influencers will often say they are promoting freedom by giving permission to others to speak their minds without consequences and to take from women what they think they deserve. However, through online harassment and intimidation, as well denying women the right to say, “No,” their idea of freedom doesn’t extend to others outside of their ideological groups.  

Stopping the Manosphere 

Report it. Block it. The old saying, “Just ignore it and it will go away,” does not apply here. Ignoring it allows it to continue unchecked. It also gives the impression that no one disagrees with them or their messages, which makes it harder for young adults, teens, and younger children to identify problematic language. 

Talk with young people about consent, about relationships and respect. Show them studies about the impact of these ideologies and ask them their opinions. Most young people do not want to hurt others, but they need to be shown how the attitudes within the manosphere normalize and excuse violence. Our violence prevention curriculum for middle and high school students, Gender and Violence: How Media Shape Our Culture, includes an activity called “The Gender Box” to show how strict gender stereotypes contribute to violence against everyone regardless of gender identity. 

The manosphere’s large online presence may make it seem like everyone holds those beliefs, but most people don’t. With knowledge and a commitment to anti-violence, we can work together to silence voices that promote violence and hatred and build an environment of respect, safety, and consent. Safe+Sound Somerset believes that everyone has the right to live free from violence and oppression. We all find safety in having the freedom to make our own choices, set our own boundaries, and give or take away consent. 

If you or someone you know needs help, call and text our confidential 24/7 helpline at 866-685-1122. More information can be found online at 

1 Rothermel A-K, Kelly M, Jasser G (2022) Of victims, mass murder and ‘real men’: The masculinities of the ‘manosphere’. In: Carian EK, DiBranco A, Ebin C (eds) Male Supremacism in the United States. From Patriarchal Traditionalism to Misogynist Incels and the Alt-Right. London: Routledge, pp.117–141.

2 Ging, D. (2019). Alphas, Betas, and Incels: Theorizing the Masculinities of the Manosphere. Men and Masculinities, 22(4), 638–657.