Many of the core tenets of male supremacist ideologies are contradictory. Adherents maintain that women are incompetent yet conniving and manipulative. Some argue that women use feminism to oppress men, while other male supremacists seek to maintain and exploit existing structural gender inequality. Many male supremacists reduce women to their reproductive function – simultaneously shaming women for having sex while believing that sex is something women owe men or that should even be coerced out of them. United by the common goal of explicitly and implicitly oppressing women, and anyone whose gender diverges from rigid heteronormative archetypes, male supremacist tenets also undergird much of the far right.
In their own words
“That’s the way of the romantic model, a not-so-benevolent female dictatorship where being a liar and a ‘yes-man’ is written into the constitution…How many simps are out there right now blowing money they don’t really have? Groveling, making false promises because they’re being played by shallow, parasitic women. That’s the romantic model, where sexual attraction is a license to lose your f-ing mind, especially these days, when being a shallow, parasitic female is considered good breeding.” – Paul Elam, A Voice For Men, PUA - Thy Frame is Lame, August 2021
“P---- is the only real empowerment women will ever know. Put all the hopelessly wishful thinking of feminist ideology aside and what remains is the fact that it is men, and pretty much men only, who draw power from accomplishment, who invent technology, build nations, cure disease, create empires and generally advance civilization. Women – whether acknowledging it makes us feel warm and fuzzy or not – depend on men for all of that and the only tool they have at their disposal to have any sort of influence on any of it is the power of p---- and p---- is powerful indeed…Sexual robotics may well prove to be the best thing that ever happened to women from the standpoint of their humanity.... what would that do to the vast majority of women who would suddenly have to prove their worth as human beings beyond simply being the owners of said p----?” – Paul Elam, An Ear for Men, Sex Robots: Part 3 - Disempowering P----, October 2017
“No functioning, healthy society would allow Pulse – or the kinds of men who frequented it – to exist…. No healthy society would mourn their passing. Indeed, depending on your perspective, Mateen was just taking out the trash, eliminating societal parasites via natural selection…. When a man and a woman are attracted to one another, they are seeing the continuation of their tribe and the formation of the next generation... Babies are produced by heterosexual relationships; all homo relationships ever produce is c--.” – Matt Forney, “The Orlando Nightclub Shooting and the Moral Sickness of Whites,” Matt Forney blog, June 2017
“If a girl is in favor of abortion, there is evil dwelling in her soul. If you let her into your life, she will do her best to ruin you and bring you down to her level…If a girl is so revolted by a lifeform that is genetically 50 percent her that she’ll go to Planned Parenthood to get it flushed out, she will treat everyone else in her life with the same level of cruelty.” – Matt Forney, “Why You Should Shun Girls Who Support Abortion, Return of Kings,” August 2016
“Women, please listen to Whoopi Goldberg. If you don’t want to be slapped, backhanded, punched in the mouth, decked or throttled, keep your stinking hands off of other people. A man hitting you back after you have assaulted him does not make you a victim of domestic violence. It makes you a recipient of justice. Deal with it.” – Paul Elam, October is the Fifth Annual Bash a Violent B---- Month, “A Voice for Men,” September 2015
“Make rape legal if done on private property. I propose that we make the violent taking of a woman not punishable by law when done off public grounds. … If rape becomes legal under my proposal, a girl will protect her body in the same manner that she protects her purse and smartphone…. After several months of advertising this law throughout the land, rape would be virtually eliminated on the first day it is applied.” – Roosh V., “How to Stop Rape,” Return Of Kings, February 2015
“Women should be terrorized by their men; it’s the only thing that makes them behave better than chimps.” – Matt Forney under the pseudonym Ferdinand Bardamu, “The Necessity of Domestic Violence,” In Mala Fide blog, 2012
Patriarchal Violence: Overlaps with male supremacy
While male supremacy is often mischaracterized as a stepping stone to extremism, the hatred of women and feminism is inherently a standalone extremist ideology. With many incongruous beliefs about women, its unifying thread is virulent, often violent misogyny, and the practice of blaming women and a large feminist conspiracy for the ills of (mostly white) men today.
Like other hate groups, male supremacist groups propagate conspiracies that build a narrative of victimhood at the hands of movements for equality. Male supremacists see the world as a matriarchy propped up by “cultural Marxism” meant to eradicate or subjugate men. It is driven by the belief that men are entitled to a place in society that is superior to women, who are biologically and intellectually inferior. As a result, any advancement that women might have obtained is nothing more than a usurpation.
There are different paths and constituencies in male supremacist movements. Men’s rights activists’ focus is defending the rights of men against the perceived infringement of women. Red Pillers claim to be the only people aware of the existence of a feminist conspiracy running society. Pick-up artists attempt to lure women into sleeping with them while constantly debasing them. Misogynist incels, who, having failed to find women either willing to have or to be coerced into sex, turn their anger into calls for violence; and men going their own way (MGTOW), who present themselves as male separatists and have chosen to remove themselves from the negative influence of women entirely.
However, male supremacist ideology and action go well beyond the boundaries of these five subcategories. As both white supremacy and male supremacy are driven by fear of the perceived loss of white male status, the ideological tenets that animate these hateful worldviews intermingle and bolster each other. Similarly, these manifestations of hate and extremism exist on a continuum with more widely accepted “mainstream” political agendas and social norms.
Beyond the far right, contempt for and prejudice against women and the control of rigid gender roles have always converged with white supremacy culture to reinforce widespread systemic oppression. Politicized arguments about issues such as reproductive healthcare and anti-trans legislation echo far right concerns with maintaining hegemonic white male power and asserting control over marginalized group’s bodily autonomy, as well as their social, political and economic agency. Those most impacted by anti-choice legislation and policies that criminalize transgender people’s existence disproportionately harm young, lower income individuals of color.
The intersections of these ideologies and their implications for those being victimized is best described as Patriarchal Violence. Defined by the Abolishing Patriarchal Violence Innovation Lab, “Patriarchal Violence (PV) is an interconnected system of institutions, practices, policies, beliefs, and behaviors that harm, undervalues, and terrorize girls, women, femme, intersex, gender non-conforming, LGBTQ, and other gender-oppressed people in our communities. PV is a widespread, [normalized] epidemic based on the domination, control, and colonizing of bodies, genders, and sexualities, happening in every community globally. PV is a global power structure and manifests on the systemic, institutional, interpersonal, and internalized level. It is rooted in interlocking systems of oppression.”
Historical foundations of male supremacy
The men’s rights movement has roots in the “men’s liberation” movement, which emerged in the 1970s and embraced female liberation, as well as critiques of gender roles. The movement sought to free men from the constraints associated with the male gender role, which removed men from the home, precluded male emotional intimacy and established men as the protector of and provider for their families.
In the late 1980s and 1990s, however, as recorded by the sociologist Michael Kimmel in his book Angry White Men, this critique of the traditional male role “morphed into a celebration of all things masculine and a near infatuation with the traditional masculine role itself.” The problem was no longer oppressive gender roles: “The problem was, in a word, women – or more accurately, women’s equality, women’s empowerment, and feminism.”
As women gained ground in the workplace and family structures loosened, some men’s rights activists started blaming feminism for all of men’s ills. The traditional masculine gender role was seen as either worth reestablishing, or – rather than being limiting to both genders – actually benefiting women. Men’s rights activists decided to blame women for taking away jobs, for the decline of the family, or for alimony and child custody issues after a divorce, rather than focusing on larger political and structural issues.
With its focus on intimate partner violence, the father’s rights movement served as a common entry-point into the men’s rights movement. Large portions of the movement were based on resentment of women and sustained by junk psychiatry, falsified statistics on the prevalence of women’s physical abuse of male intimate partners, and one-off anecdotes rather than data-driven evidence.
The progenitor of the men’s rights movement, Warren Farrell, gave voice to those feelings of male oppression in his 1993 bestseller, The Myth of Male Power, which has since become the seminal text of the men’s rights movement. A former National Organization for Women (NOW) board member who used to rub shoulders with prominent feminists like Gloria Steinem, Farrell – after his divorce – declared men were as oppressed as women, if not more.
Though claiming to be equally dedicated to the liberation of both men and women, in a section of the book Farrell called men the new “[n-word]” with the male role “akin to the field slave – or the second class slave” and the female role “akin to the house slave – the first class slave.” The book drew equivalences between “slaves g[iving] up their seats for whites” and “men g[iving] up their seats for women,” and compared paying child custody to “taxation without representation.” Women, Farrell decried, had become too powerful and dangerous because – on top of holding sexual power over men – they could allegedly induce men’s downfall with accusations of sexual harassment and assault.
Some corners of the men’s rights movement focused on legitimate grievances – male homelessness and rates of suicide, male conscription or lack of male shelters for domestic violence victims – to draw in followers. But the movement has never made meaningful steps to address these issues or seek solutions, instead directing their followers to blame women, aided by a large feminist conspiracy, for everything.
Recent developments in the men’s rights movement
The men’s rights movement lives in a pseudo-academic bubble, using litigation to challenge female-only spaces or defend men accused of campus sexual assault while airing more disturbing ideas behind the scenes. Often, these men’s rights advocacy groups, like the National Coalition for Men (NCFM) – founded in 1977, and on whose board of advisors Farrell sits – distort statistics to indicate female privilege, scapegoat women for their unfounded gripes or create false equivalencies between the oppression of men and of women. Groups like NCFM use litigation to challenge what they perceive as discrimination against men and try to influence policy on domestic violence, sexual assault, divorce and custody cases. Funneling extensive energy into grievances with legislation like the Violence Against Women Act, men’s rights groups offer little tangible support to their constituents.
In July 2017, the Carolinas chapter of NCFM, in addition to men’s rights advocates from Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE) and Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), were invited by then-Secretary of Education Betsey DeVos to a summit on Title IX. Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests showed an extensive relationship between the Department of Education and these organizations which spread disinformation about the frequency of false rape allegations. In September 2017, DeVos rolled back guidance on reporting, investigating and responding to campus sexual assault allegations, leaving survivors unsafe and unsupported.
The men’s rights movement has a dedicated international following, particularly in the United Kingdom and Australia. Women, too, have helped give the men’s rights movement a veneer of even-handedness. Prominent men’s rights activists include anti-feminist female voices such as popular Canadian YouTube personality Karen Straughan, American psychologist Helen Smith, and the former head of a UK-based domestic violence shelter for women, Erin Pizzey. Men’s rights issues also overlap with the rhetoric of so-called equity feminists like Christina Hoff Sommers, who give a mainstream and respectable face to some MRA concerns. American documentary filmmaker Cassie Jaye has similarly lent credibility to men’s rights activists with the creation of The Red Pill documentary. Funded by numerous male supremacists including Paul Elam and Mike Cernovich, the film was denounced as “misogynistic propaganda.”
Founded in 2009 by Paul Elam, A Voice for Men and its podcast “An Ear for Men'' has combined men’s rights issues and rabidly misogynistic and violent rhetoric. Elam is famously known for declaring October to be “Bash a Violent B---- month.” He later called the piece satirical but has been republishing it every October with equally violent introductions. He has claimed that were he to serve on a jury for a men accused of rape, he would automatically declare the defendant not guilty, regardless of the facts of the case.
In 2011, A Voice for Men launched Register-Her, a website where individuals posted images of the women they thought should be put in prison. It included women deemed to have falsely accused men of rape or domestic violence, others for having protested men’s rights activist gatherings, or those Elam simply disagreed with. The effect of Register-Her was an explosion of online harassment. After finding herself targeted, feminist writer Jessica Valenti was forced to leave her home in fear for her safety. The website has since been taken down.
Pick-up artists, the red pill and misogynist incels
One of the defining strands of online male supremacist movements is pick-up artistry. Pick-up artists (PUA) have focused on teaching men how to manipulate women into sex, all the while constantly disparaging women and the idea of consent.
Once the most prominent pick-up artist, Roosh Valizadeh, or Roosh V., called for the legalization of rape on private property on his popular website, Return of Kings. Founded in October 2012, the website has been inactive since October 2018. Following a family member’s death in Spring 2018, Roosh took a hiatus from creating bigoted content, went on a cross-country speaking tour and converted to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. With pick-up artistry allegedly behind him, Roosh is focusing his energies on blogs and podcasts posted to his new website, Rooshv.com. While he no longer advocates sexual exploits, Roosh continues to aim his ire at women, as well as members of the LGBTQ community and Jewish people.
However, prior to moving away from Return of Kings and pick-up artistry in general, Roosh repeatedly boasted of raping women in his Bang books. A website festering with misogyny and incitements to rape, Return of King headlines included “When Her No Means Yes,” “The Intellectual Inferiority of Women,” “Why Women Shouldn’t Work” and “Don’t Let Your Girlfriends Have Homosexual Friends.” Roosh also organized a “fat shaming week” to coerce women into losing weight.
Initially coming out of an industry emboldening men to seduce women, according to Alex DiBranco, executive director of the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism, pick-up artists and men’s rights activists have increasingly become muddled in the online space. The emergence of the Red Pill subreddit – a virulently misogynistic subreddit which included over 245,500 subscribers as of January 2018 but has since been quarantined – further contributed to the intermingling of these sub-ideologies.
Set up by New Hampshire Republican state representative Robert Fisher, the Red Pill is chock full of misogynistic comments, coming from all corners of male supremacy. Fisher, who resigned from his seat when he was revealed to be the page’s creator, has asserted that rape wasn’t all bad because the rapist enjoyed it. He also wrote that women were inferior to men intellectually, that their bodies were the extent of their worth and that feminists (or most women) actually want to be dominated and raped.
Following in Roosh’s tracks, scores of pick-up artistry niches have developed online, from subreddits like r/seduction (264,026 readers in January 2018) to online forums like pick-up-artist-forum.com. Some forums offer expensive courses on predatory and manipulative tactics to lure women into sex. However, men who felt deceived by these seduction methods but still felt entitled to sexual attention from women eventually gathered on the now defunct “anti-PUA” website PUAhate.com, or the similarly shuttered, S---hate.com. They call themselves “involuntary celibates,” or misogynist incels.
Coined in the late 1990s by a young woman seeking to find community amongst those who were unable to find sexual partners, “involuntarily celibate” has since been co-opted by a subsect of male supremacists who blame women for their lack of sexual experiences. The violent rhetoric of this community finally led to the banning of the /incel subreddit – which claimed some 40,000 subscribers – in November 2017. The subreddit had long featured content like posts entitled “all women are s----.” Participants often decried women’s lack of brain capacity, genetic inferiority, cruelty, or simply dehumanized them with the term "femoids." Defined by violent misogyny, pervasive self-loathing and a distinctive lexicon, misogynist incels developed their own insular platform where the hatred of women unifies users across racial and political divides.
On the borders of the hateful incel community, a community advocating for male separatism has also emerged. Calling themselves MGTOW, Men Going Their Own Way, these men decided to withdraw themselves from the perceived toxicity of women, eventually “going monk” by abstaining from sex altogether. Denounced by Roosh as “passive and meek,” they also deem women inferior and harmful, and think they get in the way of male achievement.
Physical violence and ramifications
Beyond the harmful impact of men’s rights activists’ anti-women campaigns and the risks to bodily autonomy posed by pick-up artists, male supremacist violence has also manifested in physical attacks on female-identifying people.
The violence so omnipresent on the PUAhate platform first made widespread headlines in 2014, after a self-identifying misogynist incel murdered six people in Isla Vista, California, and injured fourteen others. Following the attack, the shooter was canonized as a saint amongst misogynist incels. The manifesto he left behind and posts on online forums have become inspiration for like-minded attacks.
The following year, a man who revered the Isla Vista shooter and espoused misogynist incel rhetoric shot and killed nine people at the Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. Three years later, in 2018, a man drove his van into pedestrians in Toronto, killing ten and wounding thirteen. Prior to the attack, he posted, “the Incel Rebellion has already begun” along with several references to misogynist incel terminology and the Isla Vista shooter. Similarly, in November 2018, a man in Tallahassee who spoke fondly of the Isla Vista shooter killed two women and injured four people in a yoga studio. In response, the family of one of the victims, Maura Binkley, created an organization to “break down barriers and address hatred and violence in our culture.”
Such examples only scratch the surface of male supremacist violence. Men’s rights activists have also used violence to target women and their families. In July 2020, a men’s rights lawyer murdered the son and wounded the husband of United States District Judge Esther Salas. Judge Salas was overseeing a case in which the shooter argued that the men-only military draft was discriminatory. Other adherents to men’s rights activism have also attacked divorce court judges, their wives and even killed themselves.
Out of the constellation of anti-women websites, subreddits, blogs and forums called the “manosphere” have grown many harassment campaigns. Most notable, in 2014 Gamergate was ignited by an ex-boyfriend’s blog post about game developer Zoë Quinn. Unfounded claims that Quinn had slept with men in exchange for positive reviews of her game precipitated an intense harassment campaign against women in the gaming industry. In attacks, the victims of Gamergate received rape and death threats and had to cancel speaking engagements due to threats of misogynistic terror attacks. Victims were forced to leave their homes after their addresses and contact information were posted online.
Beyond attacks committed by those who identify as adherents to anti-women ideologies, male supremacism has been a motivating force in countless deadly attacks in the United States and across the globe. In March 2021, a 21-year old man killed eight people in three spas in Atlanta, Georgia. Motivated by a cross-section of misogyny, racism and xenophobia, the shooter echoed centuries-old gross misrepresentations of hypersexualized Asian women to blame his victims–six of whom were women of Asian descent–for his actions. Such a deadly display of patriarchal violence has been met with domestic terrorism and hate crime charges.
2021 male supremacy hate groups