DRAWING TO DISRUPT: ALTERNATIVE NARRATIVES TO THE MANOSPHERE
Keywords:alternative narratives, manosphere, disengagement
AbstractContent calling out everyday sexism on social media has grown in prominence in recent years through the work of feminist Instagram accounts such as @theequalityinstitute, @disbonjoursalepute and @vulgadrawings. At the same time, materials associated with the so-called ‘manosphere’ on forums that promote the narrative that men are victims of women’s empowerment have proliferated. Intersecting with colonial, far-right and white supremacist views, this content promotes traditionalist gender norms that eschew feminism and are imbued with misogyny. Popular feminist influencer and cartoonist Lily O’Farrell’s (@vulgadrawings) memes about sexism began to engage with the nuances of the manosphere in 2021 when she decided to talk to young men who were trolling her Instagram account. These men had become aware of her account after it was shared in a men’s rights subreddit group. Concerned that the group was made up of young men predominantly aged 16-23, O’Farrell decided to investigate the movement by joining Incel (involuntary celibate) subreddit groups. Following these investigations, the cartoonist produced a series of meme drawings titled: ‘Everything I’ve learned about Incels’ (2021), which illuminates the dynamics of the phenomenon for her mostly feminist 266 000 followers. Instead of demonising Incels, her drawings provide an anatomy of the movement that allows viewers insight into its logics. O’Farrell’s drawings 'call people in' within a context of calling out everyday misogyny. Through a multimodal content analysis, this paper considers them as a possible alternative narrative strategy that disrupt gender assumptions through empathetic engagement with young men at risk of violent misogynist radicalisation.
How to Cite
Gerrand, V. (2023). DRAWING TO DISRUPT: ALTERNATIVE NARRATIVES TO THE MANOSPHERE. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2022. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2022i0.13006