Analysing the linguistic features of the manosphere as hate speech

Krendel, Alex and Koller, Veronika (2022) Analysing the linguistic features of the manosphere as hate speech. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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In this thesis, I analyse the language used within the online anti-feminist network called the manosphere, to determine whether such language can be classified as gendered hate speech. To do this, I establish the features of manosphere language on Reddit, and compare them to both established features of hate speech and how gender is represented in general corpora of English. Firstly, I analyse the representation of gendered social actors across the five main subgroups of the manosphere (men’s rights activists, men-going-their-own-way, pick-up artists, involuntary celibates, and proponents of Red Pill ideology) using a corpus-based approach. I do this to determine what representations are consistent across the manosphere. I then focus on one sub-group, The Red Pill, which serves as an ideological hub for multiple manosphere subgroups. I use a corpus-assisted discourse approach to investigate the appraisals made about gendered social actors, to reveal beliefs that a corpus-based methodology may miss. Finally, I use an approach based on speech act analysis to consider the relationships between people who post on The Red Pill, to examine how manosphere sites may function as an enticing community. Based on the findings of these three studies, I argue that manosphere conceptualisations of gender dynamics are an extension of mainstream conceptualisations. The use of manospherespecific language to depict women as dehumanised and immoral highlights that the manosphere is demonstrably more sexist than depictions of women in normalised media. Furthermore, the extent to which The Red Pill exhibits traits of a typical men’s self-help group, and the way regular users align themselves with high-status users, suggest that such communities encourage engagement and seek to evade the image associated with established hate groups. I conclude that manosphere depictions of women can indeed be classified as hate speech in an academic sense, but not necessarily in a legal sense.

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Thesis (PhD)
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04 Apr 2022 16:20
Last Modified:
20 Jun 2024 23:36