WP303 Circulation in the manosphere: Mobile matrices of reactionary masculinity



Understanding how extremist ideas spread in stylized and enregistered forms is a matter of some urgency for feminist and critical scholarship, and this paper investigates the global spread of anti-feminist and right-wing discourses in the constellation of websites, blogs, and social media profiles collectively referred to as the “manosphere”, constructing and promoting reactionary and antifeminist masculinities. In the first section of the paper, I discuss theories of circulation, and present H. Samy Alim’s (2009) notion of the “translocal style community” as a suitable model for discursive formations that are dispersed, multimodal, networked, and in competition with each other. I then lay out the current state of research on the manosphere, and identify a need for a sociolinguistic approach to this phenomenon. In analysis of five Twitter accounts that promote NoFap I identify five distinct styles which work to present high-status masculine subject positions. In the concluding section I argue that register and style are intimately involved in the circulation of far-right and masculinist discourses, which undergird recruitment and radicalization strategies that appeal to anxieties about status and group belonging.