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I dislike the term “manosphere.”

It’s used, most commonly, as a derogative term, often by those with an agenda or by those in the uninformed mainstream as a mechanism to quickly round together and write off ANY discussion about gender roles/rights for men which may diverge from narrative (I’ll come to what I mean by narrative in a moment).

It’s a neat, somewhat patronising term, that lets it’s users associate anybody having any sort of conversation about men as all the being the same.

It’s one of many “collective” negative terms we have for men/things related to men in the modern world. Consider for a moment the negative/mocking slang terms we have for things :-

  • Man bun
  • Man bag
  • Man flu
  • Dad jokes
  • manfluencer
  • bromance
  • dad bod

But “manosphere” is much more political than these and is designed for more serious uses than just mocking a mans hair.

It’s been coined to act as a simple label for what some want to portray as one big, negative lump of people together. One big “basket of deplorables” (to borrow a popular American political term).

It covers everything and anyone, from deeply misogynistic red pill guys, through to “mens rights activists” (whatever that means) and even social clubs run by men for mens mental health purposes (The Proper Blokes Club in the UK for example).

Rounding people up into simple groups and judging them all as one is of course, very much the plat du jour in todays critical social theory world.

I argue though, this is not good.

Putting everything under one label, takes away nuance. It diverts from the fact that, within conversations about mens gender behaviors, roles and rights, there is a huge spectrum of views and many of them don’t overlap/agree. The red pill guys don’t agree with the blue pill guys. The pick up artists don’t agree with the MGTOW followers. The MGTOW followers don’t all agree with each other. The incels don’t agree with anyone.

The Proper Blokes Club? They just want to go for a walk and talk about golf.

To label all of these different ideas, ideologies and discussions together as just being one big agreeing group is wrong.

But it’s not too difficult to realise why this term is used?

It’s much easier to dismiss the whole thing that way? Even if the angry red pill guy, posting negative comments on womens pictures online is miles away, ideologically from the chaps talking about their mental health struggles – it is much easier to dismiss them all if they are associated together?

And critical social theories have laid the groundwork for this type of thinking of course.

“The manosphere” then gives a simple continuum to the ideas from patriarchy theory in feminism and from critical social theories which have become mainstreamed in the last 10 years. In those ideas, men as a class/group, don’t really have any problems – they ARE the problems. Misandry doesn’t really exist (or it does but is totally inconsequential). Any problems men do have are their own fault entirely.

To a large number of people, men, as a whole class, are just inherently bad and evil. They’ll club together into groups to devise ways of doing their evil.

This, is “narrative” as I term it. I’ll likely write more on that separately. But it’s important to note because ANYTHING at all that does not support that narrative totally, is automatically to be crushed. Not discussed, debated or reasoned with. It is to be labelled as dangerous and cancelled.

And so, the “manosphere” then is simply where men go who are angry. Men who hate women. Men who just want to continue to grow/support “patriarchy”. Everyone having the conversations are all rounded up together and judged by the worst in the group.

Done. Easily, simple dismissal in a bottle – and one which fits existing narrative also.

The sad thing is, this narrative is completely mainstream and there are people with qualifications lining up to push it. As per Dr Jessica Aiston over at :-

It doesn’t matter that these “four main groups” don’t really have THAT much in common when you get into the detail, especially ideologically. It’s all just one “network” in her eyes.

Dr Aiston even went on to give presentations to Parliament on it – there isn’t a lot more mainstream I suppose than a document which is going to influence government policy and law.

You only have to skim it to see everything being joined up in a weird, spider web type conspiracy narrative?

Being critical of feminism as an ideology is automatically, misogynistic (of course).

There are groups mentioned all in the same sentence – men’s rights advocates, pick up artists, red pill believers and incels. “Elliott Rogers” and “Jake Davison” of course make their appearance – all of these things are “manosphere” – along with everything else. Even though, not all of these ideas / people align with each other at all.

It doesn’t matter though. It has to be all labelled as the same thing. The guys wanting to change the legal system around child custody, advocate for better access to female dominated industries or get better paternity leave have to be seen as the same as the angry incel who makes sexist memes sometimes.

Simply put then, in the world of Dr Aiston, anyone or anything at all online, related to gender politics, that does not, 100% align with narrative, OR has not been approved by one of its proponents, is – “the manosphere.”

You don’t need a PHD to see this is ridiculous and not at all helpful to anyone.

There is, no doubt, heaps of people online being misogynistic. There are tonnes of angry men around, that do hate women, for lots of difficult and complicated reasons. Many of these guys will be around gender discussions/forums and debates, it’s inevitable that’s where they will be.

And so its the same with women too? We haven’t yet coined the term “femosphere” but it’s actually almost exactly the same picture when some women post about gender online? The misandry is just as rich and thorough.

What we absolutely must not do, with discussions and ideas about gender rights for men, is lump them all together and write them all off in one go.

If we are to liberate men from their gender roles, we MUST allow, support and encourage the discussion and encourage those with moderate voices to be heard most. Not wrap them up together as all bad and wrong.

Rather than coming up with these collective and negative terms to group people together and write them off as one, we must see the nuance between ideas and the ideological differences between groups.

In conclusion, if I can speak to men directly for a second, apart from a reminder to try and be fair in our discourse, can I also ask you to NOT use the term manosphere?

And where you hear it being used by other men, put your hand up and ask – what does this term really mean? Does using it help?

Is there a better way?