Masculinities in cyberspace: An analysis of portrayals of manhood in men's rights activistwebsites

Rachel M. Schmitz, Emily Kazyak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


A growth in cultural ideologies concerned with men and masculinities in contemporary American society has recently emerged. Men's rights activist (MRA) groups embody a movement emphasizing the crisis of masculinity. Despite men's privileged societal status, MRAs seek to establish resources for men to utilize in elevating their perceived subordinated position in society in relation to women and social minorities. Little research has systematically investigated MRAs on the Internet, which is rapidly becoming a primary source of information and social connectedness for people. Through a content analysis of the 12 most prominent MRA websites, we explore the various strategies used by contemporary men's groups designed to provide support for men in their pursuit of social legitimacy and power. Two primary categories of MRAs with distinctive ideological strategies emerged from this analysis: Cyber Lads in Search of Masculinity and Virtual Victims in Search of Equality. Though both groups promoted men's entitlement to social power, Cyber Lads utilized themes of explicit aggression towards and devaluation of women, while Virtual Victims adopted political and social movement rhetoric to address men's issues. The implications of these websites are discussed in terms of gender equality and their potential effects on individual men and women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number18
JournalSocial Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016


  • Content analysis
  • Manhood
  • Masculinity
  • Men's rights
  • Websites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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