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Use and misuse of evolutionary psychology in online manosphere communities: The case of female mating strategies

Bachaud, Louis, Johns, Sarah E. (2023) Use and misuse of evolutionary psychology in online manosphere communities: The case of female mating strategies. Evolutionary Human Sciences, 5 (e28). pp. 1-15. ISSN 2513-843X. (doi:10.1017/ehs.2023.22) (KAR id:102604)


While early evolutionary accounts of female sexuality insisted on coyness and monogamous tendencies, evidence from the field of primatology started challenging those assumptions in the 1970s. Decades later, there exist many competing and overlapping hypotheses stressing the potential fitness benefits of female short-term and extra-pair mating. Female mammals are now seen as enacting varied and flexible reproductive strategies. This is both a victory for science, with a better fit between theory and reality, and for feminism, with the downfall of narrow stereotypes about female sexuality. However, evolutionary hypotheses on female mating strategies are routinely invoked among the antifeminist online communities collectively known as ‘the manosphere’. Based on extensive qualitative analysis of manosphere discourse, this study shows how these hypotheses are sometimes interpreted in misogynistic online spaces. Indeed, evolutionary scholars might be surprised to see sexist worldviews reinforced by the ‘dual mating strategy’ and ‘sexy son’ hypotheses, or by the latest research on the ovulatory cycle. The manosphere has its own version of evolutionary psychology, mingling cutting-edge scientific theories and hypotheses with personal narratives, sexual double standards and misogynistic beliefs. After analysing this phenomenon, this article suggests ways to mitigate it.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/ehs.2023.22
Uncontrolled keywords: Short-term mating, Extra-pair mating, female mating strategies, manosphere, incels
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics. Nuclear engineering > TK5101 Telecommunications > TK5105 Data transmission systems > TK5105.5 Computer networks > TK5105.875.I57 Internet
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Funders: University of Lille Nord de France (
University of Kent (
Depositing User: Sarah Johns
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2023 11:16 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2024 10:59 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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