One of the primary threads that unites the Alternative Right is a virulent antagonism to feminism.
At its core, the loose movement is an explicit rejection of equality and the pursuit of esteem by white men who feel aggrieved. Both the white nationalist alt-right and Western chauvinist alt-light hold the belief that men and women – and the world more generally – should be ordered in strict hierarchies.
This worldview has percolated in the “manosphere”: a loose collection of websites, forums, blogs and vlogs for men “red pilled” (awoken) to their supposed emasculation by feminists.
Within the manosphere there are numerous sub-divisions, including men’s rights activists (MRAs), who believe that men face widespread societal discrimination; misogynist pick-up artists (PUAs), who seek to seduce women using psychological manipulation; and Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOWs), who are men who have rejected female interaction completely.
Manospherian concepts were introduced to the burgeoning Alternative Right by figures such as Jack Donovan, an early contributor to Richard Spencer’s alternativeright.com. Donvan’s work draws on evolutionary psychology to argue for a hierarchical tribal order he calls “The Brotherhood” existing in decentralised ethnic tribal “homelands”.
Francis Roger Devlin penned an influential 2006 essay entitled Sexual Utopia in Power (since extended into a long-form book), in which he articulated anti-feminist arguments likewise using evolutionary psychology. Devlin also uses evolutionary theory to argue for differences between races and has become an important “intellectual” figure of the alt-right.
Other figures to blend manospherian misogyny with alt-right racism include James C. Wiedmann (AKA Roissy in DC) of the Chateau Heartiste blog and Matt Forney, author of articles such as How to Beat Your Girlfriend or Wife and Get Away with It.
Perhaps most infamous is pick-up artist Daryush Valizadeh (AKA Roosh V), founder of the popular manosphere blog Return of Kings (RoK). Valizadeh helped introduce the alt-right to the manosphere by his flirtations with the movement, for example inviting white nationalist vlogger Paul Ramsey (AKA RamZPaul) to write a guest article on RoK. Despite the extremeness of Valizadeh’s positions he has gained support from alt-light figures such as the testosterone-obsessed pundit Mike Cernovich.
An important point of contact for the broad Alternative Right and the manosphere was the Gamergate scandal of 2014, ostensibly an effort to protect the male “safe space” of gaming from the perceived encroachment of feminist values. Triggered in August 2014 after a spurned boyfriend posted an incoherent rant alleging that his ex-girlfriend – a female game developer – had been unfaithful, a barrage of abuse, rape and death threats was then unleashed against female game developers and critics.
For many Gamergate became symbolic of a broader fightback against “political correctness” and the left. By reporting favourably on the movement, figures such as Milo Yiannopoulos were able to greatly increase their own profile and the experience of engaging in coordinated online campaigning against their supposed antagonists encouraged the emerging Alternative Right as a whole.
The Alternative Right has adopted multiple manosphere tropes, for example the “red pill” symbol and anxiety-drenched obsession with “alpha” and “beta” males. Ideologically, a general consensus has emerged that decades of identity politics have left white men devoid of any identity other than humiliation, and for both sides the hated “SJW” (social justice warrior) is centrally to blame for their supposedly continued persecution.
The resentment flowing from the manosphere has provided an energy from which the Alternative Right, which rejects the current liberal milieu more generally, continues to draw.
David Lawrence is a researcher with Hope Not Hate, and the article has been reproduced with their generous consent.
For more on Hope Not Hate, go to the group's website here or follow them on Twitter @hopenothate.