Online masculinity is getting weirder and weirder. We’re way past mere misogyny and sexual predation (though, that’s still certainly there). Now, we’ve also got bro science, ball tanning, ball eatin,’ piss drinkin,’ and who knows what’s next. Eat your hearts out, Hugh Hefner and the old kings of male revolt–in fact, these kings of this new manosphere will literally eat hearts.
However, perhaps these mockable male influencers are onto something, in a roundabout way. There is just something broken in the hearts of men, as Barbara Ehrenreich once put it. If there wasn’t, male influencers wouldn’t be as popular as they are. This new mansophere offers a simple remedy for whatever ails: yearning for old gendered hierarchies, obsessing over self-improvement and dieting, and ceaselessly grinding under capitalism. In response, we ask: what’s really wrong with men, and how might we fix it?
- We’ll speak to Annie Kelly of the podcast QAnon Anonymous, and discuss their fantastic new mini-series MANCLAN, which introduces us to the innovations of the new manosphere.
- Then, socialist megastreamer Vaush turns the critical gaze inward: was it actually the left’s inaction that enabled Andrew Tate, Tucker Carlson, and the Liver King?
- Finally, we argue that the crisis of masculinity is inextricably linked with the contradictions of our political economic order, and always has been. Nicholas Lemann — professor at the Columbia Journalism School and staff writer at the New Yorker — takes us on a cultural and intellectual history of male angst, reviewing key touchpoints like David Riseman’s the Lonely Crowd (which Lemann revisits in this article), Barbara Ehrenreich’s the Hearts of Men, Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone, and more.
More: On our Youtube, you’ll find bonus, extended versions of our interviews with Annie Kelly and with Vaush. You might also want to check out Southpaw podcast, and Men at Work, which we mention in the podcast.
This episode received support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. It’s part of our new mini-series that we are producing which looks at the radical imagination, in all its hopeful and its sometimes troubling manifestations. The scholarly leads are Professors Alex Khasnabish at Mount Saint Vincent University and Max Haiven at Lakehead University. They are providing research support and consulting to this series. For a full list of credits of Cited Media staff, visit our about page.