September: Understanding the Online Manosphere

Canberra Skeptics proudly presents:

Understanding the Online Manosphere

Date: Tuesday, 10th September 2019

Time: 6:00 to 7:30pm

Speaker: Simon Copland

Venue: Room 2, Belconnen Community Service, 26 Chandler Street, Belconnen ACT 2615

Cost: Free

In April 2018 Alek Minassian sped a van through Toronto, Canada, killing ten and injuring sixteen others. Minassian belonged to an online community called ‘incels’ (involuntary celibates), comprised of men who blame women for their inability to gain sexual relationships. Incels speak disparagingly of ‘Chads’ and ‘Stacys’, nicknames used for sexually active men and women. Prior to the attack Miassian wrote a Facebook post stating “The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys!”

The Toronto attack highlighted a form of extremism related to online men spaces occurring in websites such as 4chan and Reddit. While men’s rights has a historical basis in feminism, groups have increasingly become anti-feminist, adopting misogynistic and violent language. The online ‘manosphere’ in particular has sprouted new communities such as ‘Incels’, ‘Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW)’ and ‘The Red Pill’.

In this talk Simon Copland will conduct an in depth examination the online manosphere on the social news and sharing website ‘Reddit’. Through examining three manosphere subreddits, Copland will study online community structure and development as well as the discourse of the sphere.

In doing so he will argue that current debates about the manosphere are shallow and often technologically deterministic, ignoring the complex social circumstances that have led to the growth of the sphere, as well as the misogyny and extremism that occurs within.

It is these complex social circumstances we must address if we wish to limit the extremism of the space. This talk is based on research that forms Copland’s PhD thesis.


Simon Copland is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the Australian National University (ANU), studying online men’s communities called the ‘manosphere’. He has a Masters in Science Communication.

Simon is a freelance writer, and the co-editor of Green Agenda, an online publishing space for green ideas. He has been published in The Guardian, BBC Online and Overland Journal, amongst others. He co-produces the podcast ‘Queers’, a fortnightly discussion on queer politics and culture. He had a chapter in the books Queer Stories and Going Postal in 2018.

Simon is a David Bowie and rugby union fanatic.

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