religion, gender and the alt-right pipeline

written by bunny

traditional gender roles create unattainable expectations and ultimately perpetuate harmful  behaviors with adults. men, like women, are given mixed messages about what it means to really be a man. they are expected to be strong (physically, mentally and emotionally), natural leaders, sexually promiscuous, dominant, and self-sufficeint. these characteristics that are expected of men create all sorts of insecurity about masculinity especially as they contradict the normal experiences of humans including expressing emotions and wanting to be a part of a community. not only are these roles harmful to men but to women and people of color as well. 

the Men’s Rights Movement and “involuntary celibates” or incels are a group of mostly white men that fear their power within culture, politics and the economy are being taken away. they hold racist, misogynistic and homophobic views which have become more mainstream after the 2016 presidential election. sometimes these people use these fears as justification to enact violence upon other groups that they feel threatened by. the alt-right groups tend to exploit christianity and the bible to recruit, radicalize and mobilize members. white supremacists flock to groups like Ku Klux Klan and the Creativity Movement which incorporate religious teachings, symbols and ceremonies. 

these men are particularly threatened by sexual disloyalty from women. women are meant to be pure, virginal and submissive so this fear comes from the notion of “hypergamy” which describes the idea that women will look outside their marriages for superior men. this discredited psychology theory is pushed by the Men’s Rights Movement and other similar communities. some men seem to push this idea even further, declaring that white women and their interracial relationships “threaten to collapse civilization itself” (Futrelle). this idea comes from insecurity and is not rooted in reality. white men still maintain most of the power within the united states and continue to push gender roles onto themselves which does much more harm than good. 

women, specifically white women, are supposed to hold traditional roles of being virginal, pure and morally good. however, these groups feel as though women have gone astray, leaving the private realm and entering into relationships with non-white men. incels specifically believe that they are entitled to sex and that white women’s wombs belong to them. these sentiments are popular among fundamentalist christian groups that push women into roles of submission, expecting them to be sexually available to their husbands at any given moment. that too is extremely harmful, leaving many women to experience sexual and domestic violence at the hands of their partners. sometimes this sexual entitlement drives these white supremacists to murder.

these groups and their philosophies are incredibly dangerous and to say the least, frightening. the exploitation of christianity and the bible moves away from the fundamental understandings of God and the religion and into the arms of extremism and facism. social media offers an exhaustive amount of this alt-right content using algorithms to indoctrinate boys and young adult men. ahis content does not start off extreme but begins with harmful attitudes and language directed at women. a great example of this comes from Ben Shapiro, who is a part of american conservatism which supports chrisitian values, creationism and american exceptionalism. although a critic of the alt-right movement, his work is seen as a gateway into these groups. Ben Shapiro and other influencers are a precursor to the alt-right movement, creating an “echochamber” on the internet resulting in “the culmination of a lengthy, extensive and almost totally algorithm-driven process” (Dickson).

traditional gender roles and christianity are an aspect of these alt-right groups, creating dangerous fringes of society. there is no simple solution to eradicating this behavior, especially with influences through daily life. for men and others, it’s important to educate our peers and to actively reject misogynist, racism and homophobic language. this is an issue that needs to be recognized especially as it is so easily available. men in movements like the ones discussed earlier, are isolated and feel misunderstood by the rest of society. 

citations

Aiden Scully, “The Dangerous Subtlety of the Alt-RIght Pipeline,” Harvard Political Review, October 10, 2021, https://harvardpolitics.com/alt-right-pipeline/

David Futrelle, “The ‘alt-right’ is fueled by toxic masculinity 𑁋 and vice versa,” THINK, April 1, 2019, https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/alt-right-fueled-toxic-masculinity-vice-versa-ncna989031

Daryl Johnson, “Holy Hate: The Far Right’s Radicalization of Religion,” Southern Poverty Law Center, February 10, 2018, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2018/holy-hate-far-right’s-radicalization-religion
EJ Dickson, “Study Shows How the ‘Intellectual Dark Web’ is a Gateway to the Far Right,” Rolling Stones, August 28, 2019, https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/youtube-far-right-radicalization-study-877061/.

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