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Incels, Stigma, and Masculinity on 4chan’s /r9k/ Message Board

Árnason, Tumi LU (2021) SOCK08 20211
Sociology
Abstract
In the mid 2010’s, a loosely defined online collective of involuntary celibates came to the forefront of media discourse, after a high profile terrorist attack was perpetrated by a self-identified “incel”. While infamous for their extremely misogynistic views, incel forums have nonetheless remained a sparsely researched area. This paper aims to elucidate the way incels feel towards society and themselves through studying one of the most notorious incel forums, 4chan’s /r9k/ board. Using a combination of digital ethnography and thematic analysis, this paper finds that incels on /r9k/ generally speak of their relation to society in terms of stigmatisation, holding forth that normals view them as less than human. Having internalised this view... (More)
In the mid 2010’s, a loosely defined online collective of involuntary celibates came to the forefront of media discourse, after a high profile terrorist attack was perpetrated by a self-identified “incel”. While infamous for their extremely misogynistic views, incel forums have nonetheless remained a sparsely researched area. This paper aims to elucidate the way incels feel towards society and themselves through studying one of the most notorious incel forums, 4chan’s /r9k/ board. Using a combination of digital ethnography and thematic analysis, this paper finds that incels on /r9k/ generally speak of their relation to society in terms of stigmatisation, holding forth that normals view them as less than human. Having internalised this view of themselves, discussions on /r9k/ are often extremely toxic, with vitriol often being aimed by posters at other posters as well as themselves. Further, the paper explores the strictly hierarchical, gendered view of society that incels espouse, and finds that incels believe in a warped hegemonic masculinity, where women in actuality are the beneficiaries and dictators of the social hierarchy. Additionally, the findings of the paper suggest that the demographics of incels may be significantly more heterogeneous than previously thought. Many self-identified incels on /r9k/ also present themselves as female, homosexual, transgender, or ethnic/racial minorities. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Árnason, Tumi LU
supervisor
organization
course
SOCK08 20211
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Incel, 4chan, /r9k/, hegemonic masculinity, stigmatisation, stigma
language
English
id
9051414
date added to LUP
2021-06-09 10:44:38
date last changed
2021-06-09 10:44:38
@misc{9051414,
  abstract     = {{In the mid 2010’s, a loosely defined online collective of involuntary celibates came to the forefront of media discourse, after a high profile terrorist attack was perpetrated by a self-identified “incel”. While infamous for their extremely misogynistic views, incel forums have nonetheless remained a sparsely researched area. This paper aims to elucidate the way incels feel towards society and themselves through studying one of the most notorious incel forums, 4chan’s /r9k/ board. Using a combination of digital ethnography and thematic analysis, this paper finds that incels on /r9k/ generally speak of their relation to society in terms of stigmatisation, holding forth that normals view them as less than human. Having internalised this view of themselves, discussions on /r9k/ are often extremely toxic, with vitriol often being aimed by posters at other posters as well as themselves. Further, the paper explores the strictly hierarchical, gendered view of society that incels espouse, and finds that incels believe in a warped hegemonic masculinity, where women in actuality are the beneficiaries and dictators of the social hierarchy. Additionally, the findings of the paper suggest that the demographics of incels may be significantly more heterogeneous than previously thought. Many self-identified incels on /r9k/ also present themselves as female, homosexual, transgender, or ethnic/racial minorities.}},
  author       = {{Árnason, Tumi}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  note         = {{Student Paper}},
  title        = {{Incels, Stigma, and Masculinity on 4chan’s /r9k/ Message Board}},
  year         = {{2021}},
}