Members of the “manosphere” community are misusing academic research to formulate and validate their beliefs about women, according to a new study led by the School of Anthropology and Conservation at the University of Kent.
The research, published by Evolutionary human sciences, demonstrates how evolutionary studies of women’s behavior (particularly sexual behaviors like infidelity) are scrutinized by the online manosphere to justify anti-feminist and sexist beliefs. In contrast, research into male sexual behavior is neglected, meaning there are double standards.
The manosphere is a network of websites, blogs, and online forums promoting masculinity, misogyny, and anti-feminist beliefs. Self-proclaimed misogynist influencer Andrew Tate is a well-known example in the manosphere community. Involuntary celibates (otherwise known as “incels”) are also considered members of this community. Awareness of incel culture has increased among the public in recent years.
These research findings paint a worrying picture for people who may be influenced by the manosphere community.
The research was led by Kent Ph.D. student Louis Bachaud alongside Dr. Sarah Johns. Together, they warned scholars about how their studies could be misinterpreted in online spaces and offered tips for mitigating such actions. This includes their recommendation that academic colleagues should carefully phrase their scientific writing and encourage them to publicly speak out against common research abuses they encounter.
Louis Bachaud said: “The hypothetical nature of evolutionary behavioral science is always obscured. The “manosphere” takes assumptions out of context and integrates them into their broader grievances, personal experiences, and sexist tropes. determined by biology than men, and mainly applying the evolutionary prism to women, but more rarely to men and their behavior.
“This research is only a first step toward untangling the complex appropriations of science in the ‘manosphere’.”
Louis Bachaud et al, The use and misuse of evolutionary psychology in online manosphere communities: the case of female mating strategies, Evolutionary human sciences (2023). DOI: 10.1017/ehs.2023.22
Provided by the University of Kent
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