Femcels speeches between extreme solitude and radical break with the Alpha world

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Author Alava Séraphin, Nagem Rasha
Title of Journal, Proc. or Book HAL open science
Issue 25 April 2024
DOI hal-04552382
Repository link https://hal.science/hal-04552382
Peer reviewed Yes
Open access Yes

This article explores the phenomenon of Femcels (involuntarily single women) as an emerging subculture in digital communication networks as part of the scientific work of the Counter project. Femcels, which often echo or oppose male Incels, develop radical discourses on failed love affairs, social isolation and critiques of patriarchal norms as well as certain trends in contemporary feminism. The study focuses on the analysis of these discourses through social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, highlighting the importance of these spaces in the formation of transnational collective identities centered on gender issues.

The main aim is to deepen understanding of Femcels, a little-studied facet of contemporary discourse on gender relations and female identity in digital society. The study aims to explore Femcels’ discourse, their presence in social networks, and the implications of their radicalism and break with the “alpha world”. The analysis draws on previous studies and observation of discourse and practice on digital platforms. The article discusses the history of Femcels, their evolution from Yahoo forums to current platforms such as Reddit and TikTok, and examines their unique positioning in gender debates. It discusses how Femcels and Incels conceptualize intimacy, discrimination and loneliness, highlighting significant differences in their reactions and actions. A typology of Femcels is proposed, based on their discourses, ranging from the quest for acceptance to social and critical engagement.

Femcels’ transition from digital loneliness to feminist awareness underlines the deep critique of heterosexual and patriarchal norms. The article highlights the challenges and resilience of Femcels, as well as their ability to create supportive communities. By offering an in-depth perspective on Femcels, the article enriches understanding of gender dynamics in today’s digital and social context, highlighting the importance of rethinking power structures for a more inclusive society. Grant agreement: 101021607 – This work was funded by the CounteR project – “Privacy-First Situational Awareness Platform for Violent Terrorism and Crime Prediction, Counter Radicalization and Citizen Protection”, framed within the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program.

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