Memes, Hegemonic Masculinity, Manosphere, Alt-right
In the online environment, the Manosphere has been identified as an unstructured network of groups who express harmful anti-feminist, and anti-progressive views. Informally associated with the Manosphere, Sigma Male ideology has emerged as an allegedly unique classification of men who are successful and popular, but also silent and rebellious. Despite assertions that they adhere to their own principles, Sigma Male ideological expressions, as conveyed through video memes of select fictional role models, demonstrate that they are more intimately connected to the Manosphere than acknowledged. This research paper applies critical qualitative meme analysis to TikTok videos that feature the specific Sigma Male inspirational figure of Travis Bickle from Martin Scorsese’s 1976 film Taxi Driver. The objective of this study was to establish how Sigma Male representational practices reflect a comparable, or distinct ideology from the Manosphere. The resulting analysis of Sigma Male memes revealed that while their ideological perspectives correspond with the reactionary values of the Manosphere, they differ in being implicitly political. The ideological sentiments of Sigma Males are rather affectively charged and represent a point of political orientation where regressive political views are likely to develop.
Master of Arts
Communication, Media and Film
Major Research Paper