When two-thirds of young men feel that “no one really knows” them, as State of American Men 2023 shows, they reveal the fragility of their connections and relationships. This “crisis of connection” collides with the reality that no one really seems to agree on what a “good man” looks like or how to become one. The combination of these two truths creates the perfect conditions for men to seek connection in the digital world via the manosphere – a diverse collection of websites, blogs, and online forums promoting masculinity, misogyny, and opposition to feminism – which swoops in to provide clear messages around gender and gender roles to make simple sense of an otherwise complicated world. These messages have a real impact, mostly surrounding violence (against oneself and others), mental health, and anti-democratic trends. Amidst rapid macro-level social, political, and economic changes, young men are turning to the internet and finding community and belonging that speak to their unique identities, interests, and fears.

This report presents findings from a six-month deep dive into the lives of young men online, primarily focused on the platforms and online spaces used by young men in the United States. While the masculinities field is already robust in research and programming, online spaces – which are now the primary place young men spend their time – have been largely ignored until recently. There is a clear need to further investigate how online spaces and communities simultaneously are part of the problem and hold immense power in creating solutions. We hope this study provides additional insights and directions for action.

To devise online solutions and better understand the broader environment men are living in, Futures Without Violence and Equimundo partnered with the human-centered design firm Puddle to take a deep dive into the gendered narratives and features of several key online platforms and spaces. This research is informing a forthcoming design lab and new efforts to promote healthy masculinities online that build on the positive sources of connection and community that young men already find online.



The Manosphere, Rewired

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