“From Stacys to Foids, a Discursive Analysis of the Incel’s Gendered Spectrum of Political Agency”

Kurt Fowler, Robert Green, Allan Palombi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Incels are an Internet subculture focused on anti-feminism and extremist political rhetoric. Their ideology is largely based on the idea that men are marginalized within western society, while women wield a majority of “soft political power.” Yet, there has been little exploration on the ways incels codify gender. Though they espouse gender as an ascribed status in binary terms, they portray gender as a stratified dynamic achievement. This research uses data gathered from four popular incel message boards analyzing their “interpretive repertoire,” describing the social position of women based on “doing gender” across 98 separate discussion threads, resulting in approximately 2,760 pages of discussion to analyze. Findings show that Incels use the central metaphor of sex to reference how socio-political power ought to be distributed in society and how women are categorized along a gendered spectrum of political agency that ranks women as either unattainable prizes to be won or dehumanized enemies to be defeated, reifying the Incel community’s lack of agency and their advocating for and approval of gendered violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1775-1791
Number of pages17
JournalDeviant Behavior
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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