What is the manosphere, and why should you be concerned?

A band of internet influencers are reinforcing archaic gender norms, and they’re coming for impressionable young men.


Andrew Tate, a prominent manosphere figurehead, being detained by Romanian police on alleged charges of rape, human trafficking, and organized crime.

Caley Monnier, Editor in Chief

A slight warning for graphic content such as discussion of sexual assault, misogyny, and xenophobia.

Imagine: you’re a young man, facing the onslaught of puberty and ever-increasing societal pressures. You’re looking for someone to look up to–someone to lead you into the adult world. There are so many things to worry about–how do you keep up with the world around you? You’d love to find a life partner to spend your time with and lead a fruitful, respectable life.

Maybe you don’t have any male figures in your life to look up to. Your dad might be absent, and you’re separated from your extended family. There are no grandfathers, uncles, or cousins in sight.       

So where do you go?

Some look towards their devices. At the very touch of your fingertips, there’s a wealth of personalities and information available to you. There’s no way you could be misguided by these renowned, accomplished figures. They have the wealth and prestige to back up their means of notoriety. Right?

This is the line of reasoning that young, unknowing men fall victim to upon being acquainted with the manosphere. The introductory philosophies of these men are attractive and are usually quite similar to one another. They boast qualities of independence, intelligence, and pristine work ethics. These are extremely relatable values, and any man would want to achieve the gold standards of these ideals. 

As men delve deeper into the curriculum of these personalities and apply what they’re being taught, a sense of accomplishment settles into them, and they become increasingly engrossed in this community of male self-realization. This feeling of confidence can be either the final product of this process, or it can be the beginning of the end.

The “manosphere” is a recently coined term to describe the trend of infamous male internet influencers with philosophies saturated with misogynistic, belittling values. These men often go viral with their shock-value embellished clips, which are usually found on TikTok or Instagram. One prominent figure who has risen to infamy is Andrew Tate, a former professional kickboxer who has turned a new leaf as a male self-improvement star.

Often going viral for his extremely sexist, misogynistic commentary, Tate preaches a philosophy of male self-reliance and lack of emotion. While some of his tweets and TikToks seem innocent, simply rallying for the independence and pride of men, it takes minimal digging to find quotes of him demeaning women.

Imagine you see this quotation on your timeline:

“Often we assume the worst because we’re afraid to have hope.”

Pretty decent advice, right? It’s important to always have a positive attitude in times of hardship. 

His philosophy seems amiable, until TikTok clips are uncovered of him stating that sexual assault victims need to “take responsibility” for what is done to them, or saying that he only dates 18 and 19 year old girls because he can “make an imprint on them.”

(Please note that there are worse quotations of his available on the internet, but given the platform of this article, I will not directly attach them. Other articles from other newspapers cover them.)

He is often cited to believe depression and other mental health issues are simply an illusion with tweets donning these toxicities: “Depression is not something you catch from the sky. Take responsibility for yourself and your life. Push forward and it’s gone. Fact.”

His views on mental health reflect the archaic thinking that still predominates the livelihoods of men today. Men have often been groomed by patriarchal norms, forcing them to withhold their emotions, expecting them to be stoic and strong even through times of personal hardship. While mental illness can be improved by a shift in perception, calling it a sham isn’t fixing the problems of anyone.

This view is especially dangerous, considering the suicide rates of men are much higher than women and are increasing every year. In 2020, the suicide rate of males was 4 times higher than the rate of females. Men make up 49% of the population, but represent almost 80% of all suicides. This mindset spouted by male figures of this genre is killing young men.

This is what’s so terrifying about the Manosphere: young, insecure men are roped into the pipeline looking for advice on how to be a better man, only to be told that being a better man is to completely forgo any sense of self they might’ve had in the first place. To be where these men are, you must completely ignore your emotions, completely forget about the people around you, and think only of yourself at all times.

Men with misogynistic viewpoints and ideals have been organizing into warped men’s rights groups since the 70s.

This community might have a new name, but it’s not new. Online groups such as Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) and Pick Up Artists (PUA) have been around for years, spouting their self-imposed hatred for and superiority to women. These communities band together on online forums, where users with varying levels of radicalization offer advice and support to one another. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to defending victims of hate groups, makes a running list of hate groups that they watch for. Male supremacy groups have found places on this list multiple times, right next to chapters of the Ku Klux Klan. Examples have been A Voice for Men and Return of Kings (before the leader of this group “repented” and deleted the website). Figureheads of specific groups often excuse assault towards women, congratulate hate crimes, and encourage violence towards minority groups.

These groups began their reign through standalone online forums, but have slowly turned to websites like 8Chan, a popular forum-based website with extremely low levels of moderation. While these groups are mainly confined to online forums, their values can motivate real-life hatred and violence. Many hate crimes have been linked to these online extremist websites. The 2019 El Paso shooter posted a manifesto to 8chan summarizing his anti-Latino beliefs before killing 23 in a Walmart, one known to be frequented by a large Hispanic population. The perpetrator of the New Zealand Christchurch mosque shootings did the same, asking fellow 8chan users to “do your part by spreading my message.” He then killed over 50 people in two different mosques.

Misogynistic viewpoints are also housed and appreciated on these unrestricted platforms, where sex-based crimes have established their foundations. On May 23, 2014, the 22 year-old Elliot Rodger went on a rampage in Isla Vista, California, killing six people and injuring over a dozen others. Before he began his killings, Rodger posted a video to YouTube, in which he details his life struggle with forming relationships with women, stating he had “no choice but to exact revenge” on the society that put him into this situation. He also wrote a 137 page manifesto as well, detailing his life and difficulties forming romantic and sexual connections with women. Calling this day in May his “Day of Retribution,” he murdered three men in his apartment complex, then later drove to a University of California Santa Barbara sorority house and shot three women, killing two. He later drove his BMW into oncoming traffic while he shot at pedestrians, and killed seven people by striking into them. He felt no guilt for his actions, as he signed off his manifesto with complete denial of any responsibility: “I am the true victim in all of this. I am the good guy.”

Less than a year later, a Toronto man ran a van into a crowded sidewalk, striking almost 30 civilians, killing 16 of them. Before the attack, the assailant, Alek Minassian, posted to Facebook, writing,  “The Incel Rebellion has already begun! … All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!” Rodger gained a cult following of men who shared similar frustrations regarding women, who often call themselves “incels.” Short for “involuntary celibate,” these men are unable to form intimate relationships with women, and often share violent, misogynistic views regarding them. 

Men like Elliot Rodger and his peers fall victim to misogynistic attitudes that harm their relationships with both themselves and the world around them. When it comes to extremist views like ones the manosphere shares, it’s important to remember that these views both harm men and women. Men find excuses to belittle and harm women, all the while destroying any potential connection or relationship they could’ve had with women or even themselves. The manosphere is a place where traditional gender roles are not only enforced but transformed into a more violent, extreme philosophy. 

What can be done?

The manosphere was allowed to manifest because of the stereotypes men still feel the need to morph themselves into coordination with. Societal expectations have continued to free certain identities from their archaic expectations, but there are still certain groups and individuals that view men as emotionless, independent creatures. By enforcing these roles, men still feel the need to follow suit with them and further look for examples of the men that display these toxic traits. 

In your daily life, it’s crucial to take an active effort towards deconstructing these gender norms. Daily discussion and domestic dialogue are the most influential sources of information in one’s life, as the opinions of peers are crucial to one’s confidence and self-esteem. If you feel as if someone is spouting propaganda regarding gender norms, or expressing misogynistic ideation, take a strong stance towards it and don’t allow for the people around you to continue supporting these ideologies. The young men (and women) around you will thank you for it.