How the manosphere found its way into the black community

In the summer of 2023 I read this on YouTube had demonetized a podcast was called “Fresh & Fit,” which meant the show could now not generate promoting revenue.

While YouTube didn’t point to an inciting incident, the podcast recently got here under fire for hosting white supremacist Nick Fuentes. During the episodeFuentes had called women “baby machines” and denied the existence of the Holocaust.

Until then, I had never heard of “Fresh & Fit”. But after I learned that the hosts were two young black men, Myron Gaines and Walter WeekesI desired to know more about what they said on their show – and the way they said it.

The show is a component of the “manosphere”: online places where men have conversations for, with and about men. Journalists and academics generally describe younger white men as probably the most common target market for Manosphere influencers.

As a researcher of male-dominated spaces, I wondered: Were Gaines and Weekes specifically attempting to appeal to black male followers? And if that’s the case, how did they do it?

As I listened to their episodes, I noticed something interesting: the 2 hosts commonly used language to focus on black men. They spoke within the language of social justice movements, but used it in twisted ways to justify misogyny and male supremacy.

Enter the Manosphere

I study male subcultures like Gaming And the military to see what sorts of rhetoric and behaviors are rewarded and what topics are avoided.

There is widespread belief that men don't express their feelings well or you discover it difficult to be vulnerable.

The Manosphere claims to show this concept on its head. In podcasts, YouTube series and discussion forums, men talk intimately about their lives, their relationships and the challenges they face.

Some have argued this These interviews, posts and threads will be healthy and productive. But the manosphere generally produces controversial web personalities, equivalent to Andrew Tate And Jordan Peterson, who’re notorious for his or her misogynistic and homophobic tirades. Tate doesn't just say outrageous things – He is accused of sex trafficking and is awaiting trial in Romania.

Bald bearded man wearing black sweatshirt surrounded by hands holding microphones.
British-American former skilled kickboxer and controversial influencer Andrew Tate speaks to the press after being released from custody in Bucharest, Romania, March 12, 2024.
Daniel Mihailescu/AFP via Getty Images

For Tate and Peterson, becoming a greater man doesn't mean learning to be more vulnerable. Instead, they argue that heterosexual men are being marginalized in a society that has change into too soft, too effeminate and too politically correct. In her view, men have to embrace their traditional roles as protectors, providers and producers.

Research has shown that young men particularly are receptive to those ideas. Of course, young black men are also a part of this cohort. But they’re rarely mentioned in manosphere criticism.

Fitness, health… and Fuentes

“Fresh & Fit” sees itself as a discussion about men's fitness, fashion and mental health.

Gaines is the creator of the book “Why women earn lessin which he writes: “Women unfairly benefit at the expense of almost all men.”

Weekes is a business mogul who firmly believes in meritocracy. He owes his success to his own labor, some extent he eagerly repeats in several episodes.

The show typically features commentary from the hosts on current events and infrequently features guests starting from CrossFit trainers and gym owners to controversial interviewees like Fuentes and conservative political commentators Candace Owens.

The YouTube shows are extremely popular, with some episodes reaching tons of of hundreds of views.

There can be a spin-off, Fresh & Fit After Hours, which tends to feature young women. In these conversations, the ladies – who typically work in fields equivalent to modeling, sex work or skilled dance – are sometimes embarrassed by the moderators, who ask them to talk on behalf of all women.

Locker room talk

I listened to 40 randomly chosen episodes of the important show and 25 of the After Hours show, and the conversations centered around exploring gender differences and debates about why men are higher than women. All of those elements fall under the term sociolinguist Scott Kiesling calls “masculine language practices” the ways wherein men express their masculinity when chatting with one another.

Every episode is filled with misogyny. On one, Gaines encourages listeners to not go to Miami – not since it's too expensive or too hot, but since the women in South Beach think they're “better than you.” On the opposite hand, when he talks about what men want in a partner, he states: “If we are looking for security in all of you, then it is the security of ensuring that the child is ours.” And a lady with a promiscuous past could have that “Continue this trend in the future.”

Gaines and Weekes give women a platform — but it surely's the ladies who repeat the hosts' distorted gender theories.

In several of the Fresh & Fit After Hours episodes I watched, the hosts booked female guests who often admitted that they’re status-conscious opportunists — that they need to be taken care of, that they expect men to offer them gifts , and that she must be treated “like a lady.”

When a guest on an episode of “After Hours” says she wishes men could approach her without being overly flirtatious, Gaines quickly undermines her: Surely she gets approached by men on daily basis. But are all of them flirtatious?

Then he raises one other query: How lots of the men she ended up dating hadn't flirted along with her?

She holds up her hand in the form of a zero.

Messages that resonate with Black listeners

Watching “Fresh & Fit” also showed me how the hosts specifically desired to appeal to black viewers and listeners.

I feel it's necessary to notice that while black men are very vulnerable to being seen as a collective group, they aren’t a monolith. Lots of black men represent conservative views. Cases of homophobia, misogyny and transphobia are equally common amongst black Americans as they’re amongst white Americans.

In other words, there is no such thing as a cultural isolation that may protect black men from negative messages within the manosphere, and the hosts subtly use language and pictures common to black culture to make black listeners aware of their views.

Gaines and Weekes invariably slip into African-American vernacular, which not only conveys authenticity but additionally connects with black listeners.

Additionally, a standard theme is the extent to which men are “oppressed.” In the context of her show, “oppressed” refers back to the ways wherein women limit her. But in black culture, the expression is usually used to speak in regards to the way the dominant white culture forces them to behave or act in a certain way.

Criminal justice scholar Paul Butler describes the impact of those stereotypes about black men as “black male exceptionalism.”

For Butler, oft-repeated statistics about black men—their higher incarceration rates, poorer educational outcomes, and lower employment rates—reinforce the thought of ​​black men as “endangered species.” My upcoming research delves deeper into this and examines how internalizing this state of emergency is usually a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The darker corners of the manosphere fuel beliefs in male disenfranchisement and discrimination. So it's price stating that these messages can easily resonate with minority men, too.

If you hearken to Gaines and Weekes, the aftermath will make you think that that it's not only racism that oppresses them, but women too.

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