The resurgence of fascism in the United States in the form of the Alternative Right (alt-right) has been fueled by two driving forces, white nationalism and patriarchy. While most media commentators have focused on the racism of the alt-right, the importance of misogyny and traditional patriarchy in recruiting new adherents to American fascism has been given less attention.
This new misogyny goes much further than traditional ultra-right-wing rhetoric about gender roles and the family.
While the concept of women as being little more than biological vessels to produce new Aryans while under the rigid control of a male still plays a major role in alt-right ideology, new and more virulent misogynistic themes have emerged.
On the fascist right, women are now seen as totally irrational and emotional beings, who respond to any perceived affront with calculated vindictiveness against dominant males. According to contemporary alt-right ideology, women need men to dominate them, to rule them and, in essence, to own their bodies. For example, the Traditionalist Youth Network asserts that:
… women’s biological drives are contrary to the best interests of civilization and… the past century or so of women’s enfranchisement and liberation has been detrimental to societal stability (Lyons, 2016).
They go on to say that women, particularly white feminists, are responsible for the destruction of Western Civilization, but it’s not their fault because they are being manipulated by Jews (Traditionalist Youth Network, 2016).
The Daily Stormer refuses to print articles written by women and has demanded the women’s roles in the fascist movement be heavily restricted and always under the control and supervision of males.
Trying to “appeal” to women is an exercise in pointlessness…. it’s not that women should be unwelcome, it’s that they’re unimportant (Pacquette, 2016).
Central to this new theme of vicious and violent misogyny is the fact that the alt-right has found the antifeminist male subculture on the internet to be a fertile ground for recruiting. Often referred to as the “manosphere,” this misogynist corner of the internet originally developed outside of the usual fascist alt-right organizations.
The manosphere consists of three distinct parts. First, there are the “Men’s Rights Activists” who feel that the media and the law unfairly discriminate against men and their rightful role as a dominant social force in society and in the family. Second, there are the Pickup Artists who teach men how to coerce and deceive women into sexual relations, while reveling in their real, but mostly imagined sexual triumphs. And finally, there are the Men Going Their Own Way groups who argue for resistance to the alleged increasing dominance of women by refusing any relationships outside of a circle of men (Sharlet, 2014).
The overriding theme of the manosphere is the objectively false belief that men in the United States have been disempowered by women and are now an “oppressed” class. The idea of their victimhood, usually revolving around an inability to engage in sex with any woman they wish, closely parallels the white nationalist idea of reverse racism.
Of course, both whites and men benefit from a society that is a caste system based on race and gender in a way that people who engage in so-called “reverse racism” or in this case, “reverse sexism” do not stand to benefit from in any case. Those complementary concepts give white nationalist fascists an opening gambit in the manopshere.
The response to this perceived powerlessness ranged from advocacy for traditional patriarchy to advocacy of sexual predation. The manosphere website “Return of Kings” highlights this dichotomy.
They put forth the argument that the traditional, nuclear family, headed by a strong father and a subservient mother is the ideal social environment to raise children. They criticize the left for advocating government assistance to families and women because that relationship with the state supplants the “natural” order of things where women use their sexual wiles to find protection under the dominance of a husband.
Dismantling the patriarchy, according to this strange point of view, forces men to into an abnormal defensive position, instead of their normal role as aggressive predators in a strategy “to hopefully land some semblance of a normal relationship” (Roosh, 2015a).
The theme of men as victims is amplified on the website “A Voice for Men.” One of the major themes pushed by “A Voice for Men” is the perceived injustice in what they believe is a legal system so biased toward women that the appropriate response for men serving as jurors in rape trials is to vote not guilty “even in the face of overwhelming evidence that the charges are true” (Elam, 2010).
The website has also suggested that October be designated as “Bash a Violent Bitch Month,” urging men to fight back against physically abusive female partners:
I don’t mean subdue them, or deliver an open-handed pop on the face to get them to settle down. I mean literally to grab them by the hair and smack their face against the wall till the smugness of beating on someone because you know they won’t fight back drains from their nose with a few million red corpuscles (Elam, 2015).
In addition to white nationalism and violent misogyny, it is to be expected that the manopshere is also virulently homophobic and transphobic.
In a similar vein to their view of women, the alt-right manosphere demands that traditional gender roles and identities be enforced both by the rule of law and violence. Return of Kings sees the legalization of same sex marriage as:
… one phase of a degenerate march to persecute heterosexuals, both legally and socially, while acclimating young children to the homosexual lifestyle (Roosh, 2015b).
Return of Kings also asserts that trans-women who have sex with men are guilty of “rape by fraud” (Forney, 2014).
The manosphere was for the most part an on-line pity party for sexually inadequate and frustrated males until Gamergate.
Gamergate began around 2014 when women working in the production of videogames were suddenly the victims a massive campaign marked by violent threats, sexist references, and harassment both on- and off-line.The #Gamergate Twitter hashtag was suddenly full of invective threats and a “doxxing” (publicly posting personal information about victims) campaign.
The outpouring of rape and death threats, the unending misogynistic personal attacks, and the widespread incidents of “doxxing” actually caused victims to leave their residences and seek places of safe refuge (Totilo, 2014).
It is Gamergate which served to cement the connection between the alt-right and the manopshere. Both alt-right fascists and manosphere misogynists share space on the discussion boards so common on 4chan, 8chan and Reddit. It was Gamergate which triggered outreach from well-known on-line fascists to the insecure, woman-hating, privileged boys of the manopshere.
The argument that men are victims of women and programs supporting women fit well with the racist arguments about “reverse racism” promoted by white nationalists. Alt-right activists noticed the potential for recruitment saying:
… since the Manosphere has a very broad appeal it is possible that bloggers such as Roosh and Dalrock might serve as a stepping stone to guide formerly apathetic men towards the Alternative Right (Manosphere Rising, 2015).
The Traditionalist Youth Network quickly praised Roosh’s manifesto, “What is Neomasculinity?” as “a masterful synthesis of human biodiversity knowledge, radical traditionalist principle, and pragmatic modern dating experience” (Parrott, 2016).
To the predominantly white-male gaming community explanations involving vindictive women and “violent” Blacks, both supported by government programs, provided a balm to their own confused sexuality, their unsuccessful and unfulfilled lives, and their inability to make good on the enormous social privileges they enjoy.
These “men” have benefitted inordinately from 300 years of land theft, slavery, and inheritance denied to Blacks and women. These “men” have inordinately benefitted from 300 years of political and legal dominance also denied to Blacks and women. These “men” have benefitted from 60 years of imperialist coup d’etats, death squads, wars, and child slavery which provide them cheap food, cheap oil and the Coltan so necessary for their insulated electronic lives. These “men” revel in their “warrior” statuses achieved while playing “Call of Duty,” “Wolfenstein,”, “Halo” and the others, while never actually feeling the pain of violent confrontation. These “men” bemoan their lack of access with women as they cower together in groups of similarly ineffectual males pretending to be sports heroes, avenging warriors, and discarded inseminators of a new race of Aryans.
Insecurity and hate make white nationalists and white misogynists comfortable bed partners in the fascist world of the alt-right. They have enjoyed three centuries of legal, political, and economic privilege. And now they want more because all of that privilege has been wasted on flaccid and confused lives. They are no longer Kings.
Gary Potter, PhD
Professor, School of Justice Studies
Eastern Kentucky University
Elam, P. 2010. Jury duty at a rape trial? Acquit! A Voice for Men, July 20. http://www.avoiceformen.com/mens-rights/jury-duty-at-a-rape-trial-acquit/
Elam, P. 2015. October is the fifth annual Bash a Violent Bitch Month. A Voice for Men, September 30. http://www.avoiceformen.com/mens-rights/domestic-violence-industry/october-is-the-fifth-annual-bash-a-violent-bitch-month/
Forney, M. 2014. Are Transsexuals Who Sleep with Straight Men Guilty of Rape? Return of Kings, December 8. http://www.returnofkings.com/48665/are-transsexuals-who-sleep-with-straight-men-guilty-of-rape
Lyons, M. 2016. Alt-right: more misogynistic than many neo nazis. Three Way Fight, December 3. http://threewayfight.blogspot.com/2016/12/alt-right-more-misogynistic-than-many.html.
“Manosphere Rising.” 2015. Alternative Right, May 14. http://alternative-right.blogspot.com/2015/05/manosphere-rising.html
Paquette, D. 2016. The alt-right isn’t only about white supremacy. It’s about white male supremacy. Chicago Tribune, November 25. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-alt-right-white-male-supremacy-20161125-story.html
Parrott M. 2016. An Endorsement of Roosh’s “Neomasculinity” Manifesto. Traditionalist Youth Network, May. http://www.tradyouth.org/2015/05/roosh-neomasculinity/
Roosh, V. 2015a. What is Neomasculinity? May 6. http://www.rooshv.com/what-is-neomasculinity
Roosh V. 2015b. Why Homosexual Marriage Matters For Straight Men. Return of Kings, October 12. https://archive.is/HzSIx#selection-139.0-139.16
Sharlet, J. 2014. Are You Man Enough for the Men’s Rights Movement? GQ, February 3. http://www.gq.com/story/mens-rights-activism-the-red-pill
Totilo, S. 2014. Another Woman in Gaming Flees Home Following Death Threats. Kotaku, October 11. http://kotaku.com/another-woman-in-gaming-flees-home-following-death-thre-1645280338
Traditionalist Youth Network. 2016. Jews Destroy Women: A Response to Women Destroy Nations. February. http://www.tradyouth.org/2016/02/jews-destroy-women/.