Exploring Misogyny across the Manosphere in Reddit

Farrell, Tracie; Fernandez, Miriam; Novotny, Jakub and Alani, Harith (2019). Exploring Misogyny across the Manosphere in Reddit. In: WebSci '19 Proceedings of the 10th ACM Conference on Web Science, pp. 87–96.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3292522.3326045


The ‘manosphere’ has been a recent subject of feminist scholar- ship on the web. Serious accusations have been levied against it for its role in encouraging misogyny and violent threats towards women online, as well as for potentially radicalising lonely or dis-enfranchised men. Feminist scholars evidence this through a shift in the language and interests of some men’s rights activists on the manosphere, away from traditional subjects of family law or mental health and towards more sexually explicit, violent, racist and homophobic language. In this paper, we study this phenomenon by investigating the flow of extreme language across seven online communities on Reddit, with openly misogynistic members (e.g., Men Going Their Own Way, Involuntarily Celibates), and investigate if and how misogynistic ideas spread within and across these communities. Grounded on feminist critiques of language, we created nine lexicons capturing specific misogynistic rhetoric (Physical Violence, Sexual Violence, Hostility, Patriarchy, Stoicism, Racism, Homophobia, Belittling, and Flipped Narrative) and used these lexicons to explore how language evolves within and across misogynistic groups. This analysis was conducted on 6 million posts, from 300K conversations created between 2011 and December 2018. Our results shows increasing patterns on misogynistic content and users as well as violent attitudes, corroborating existing theories of feminist studies that the amount of misogyny, hostility and violence is steadily increasing in the manosphere.

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