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Landwhales, femoids and sub-humans: Dehumanising metaphors in incel discourse

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>26/05/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>Metaphor and the Social World
Issue number2
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date26/05/23
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Incels, or involuntary celibates, are a community of typically heterosexual young men who wish to, but do not, have sexual and romantic relationships with women. As a community, they have previously been characterised by their hatred for women and violent acts against members of society who they believe prevent them from having relations with women. In this paper, we highlight the pervasiveness of metaphor in incel communication, so far unaddressed in the budding studies of incel language. Specifically, using a sample of circa 22,500 words from the banned incel Reddit forum r/Braincels, we focus on how members of this community use metaphoric expressions to dehumanise gendered social actors, both as individuals and as groups. We discuss our findings against the backdrop of metaphor approaches to language, gender, and sexuality, and the relevance of dehumanising metaphorical rhetoric for online misogynist groups.