No Girls Allowed: How incels.is Operates as a Gendered Discursive Space
Incel is a short term used to reference involuntary celibates, a group once created to afford lonely people a place to exist without judgement, but now, co-opted into an ideologically motivated extremist community, existing under a misogynistic belief system (Ging 2019; Kelly and Aunspach 2020). While this community operates primarily within the online realm, their impact through discursive means has proved to be destructive, promoting a violent anti-feminist view through a multitude of open access forums. This thesis explores the content collected from the forum incels.is, utilizing a critical discourse analysis to help identify trends within the acquired data set to explore how users on this site operate as a gendered discursive online community. Disclosed themes throughout the analysis concern the topics of: (1) Gender Essentialism, (2) “Fuel” as an Idealized Masculine Emotional Response, (3) Ambiguous Discourse x Anonymity, and (4) “Saint Elliot”, an incel hero. Through a feminist lens, and informed through existing literature surrounding popular misogyny, platform affordances, and the “manosphere”, I argue that incels.is manipulates their ability to grow and influence the opinions of others, specifically in extremist fashions, by using media platforms and discursive tactics to their advantage (Gotell and Dutton 2016; Massanari 2017; Banet-Weiser 2018).
Domestic Terrorism, Ideologically motivated extremism, gender-based violence, Gendered Discourse, toxic Technoculture, Incel, involuntary celibate, online forum, popular misogyny, poststructuralist feminist theory, Misogynistic Violent Extremism
Kukurudziak, S. (2023). No girls allowed: how incels.is operates as a gendered discursive space (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.