What I Learned When I Immersed Myself In The Manosphere Of Misogynist Podcasts

The negative influence of misogynist podcasts on their male audiences and how we can turn this into a better place.

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When my mom was pregnant with me, the doctors told my parents they were having a boy. They already had my three-year-old sister, and now they were having a boy. It must have been an exciting time. Imagine their surprise when I was born months later — nary a penis in sight. I was very much a female with a vulva. Turns out, ultrasounds can be misread.

To his credit, my dad never made me feel like he regretted my not being a boy. He and my mom raised me in a space where sexism and gender stereotypes weren’t given the time of day. I didn’t think about feminism much as a kid because I didn’t have to — thanks to those who had fought for equality before me.


Because of the feminists who paved the way, my parents were able to raise me to be a strong and independent person. Whether I wanted to get married or not, they thought I should learn how to be responsible and take care of myself. My parents taught me I should be concerned with being a good person — not a good woman. And that I was free to stubbornly share my opinions and pursue my ambitions, just like any man.

I entered adulthood without any preconceived notions about how women should or shouldn’t behave. I didn’t feel my gender to be an issue until after I was married. Until my husband — whose religion taught him that his wife was his property — thought it was acceptable to force himself on me, even when I didn’t want sex. Even when I said “no” loudly and clearly. Even when I gave up and just cried until he finished.


It’s experiences like this that have me so furious and also morbidly fascinated with the manosphere — a virtual community that pumps out misogyny and opposition to feminism to gain a following of vulnerable, lonely men and extract money from them. The problem? Women. The solution? The manosphere will provide it — for a fee.

@priszelaya Pay attention ya’ll because the manosphere is doing too good of a job discipling some men.#manosphere #christiantiktok ♬ vlog, chill out, calm daily life(1370843) - SUNNY HOOD STUDIO

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Angry about equality

I admit I’ve become a bit obsessed. I’ve taken to watching hours of manosphere podcasts on YouTube out of dark curiosity and, at times, for entertainment. But the manosphere is more than cringy content to be laughed at — as laughable as it is.


I feel for the gullible young and/or impressionable men who are swallowing this bitter Red Pill. Men who take advice from the manosphere and even pay to access the absolute hottest garbage take on dating and relationships.

Jessica Aiston, associate lecturer in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University, defines it like this: "The manosphere is a network of online men’s communities against the empowerment of women and who promote anti-feminist and sexist beliefs. They blame women and feminists for all sorts of problems in society. Many of these communities encourage resentment, or even hatred, towards women and girls.

Proponents of the manosphere believe that feminism has corrupted society. And by feminism, I’m referring to the true textbook definition of the word — the belief in and advocacy of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. I’m not talking about misconstrued versions of feminism that promote the oppression of men. The oppression of men, by definition, is not true feminism.

According to manosphere content creators, women have gone too far and gained too much power. We’re freely doing whatever we want with our education, careers, and personal lives. We have things in our toolbox, like birth control and #MeToo. We can sleep with whomever we want and, even more importantly — refuse sex to whomever we want. Women have far too much autonomy nowadays, and that’s a big problem for young men dating in modern society, according to manosphere influencers and followers.


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The deeply toxic teachings of the manosphere

After watching way too many videos straight from the manosphere side of the internet, I’ve become familiar with a lot of the creators and their teachings. Take the Fresh and Fit podcast for example. They invite women onto their show to talk about modern dating. These guests come to the studio to debate topics in the hopes of promoting their social media or their OnlyFans, but they’re often told to “shut the [expletive] up” and “stop interrupting” by host Myron Gaines when he doesn’t want to deal with their valid points.

Myron Gaines (aka “Fit”) is the more talkative of the Fresh and Fit duo. He’s also the author of a book called Why Women Deserve Less. Myron cautions men not to get married until they’ve slept with at least 50 women. Women, on the other hand, shouldn’t be promiscuous. Ideally, they should be virgins when they get married. But how do we accomplish this? How does the manosphere expect all the men to sleep with tons of women but also expect all the women to be virgins on their wedding night?

Myron also believes a man shouldn’t be bothered with giving his partner sexual pleasure. A man should especially not give a woman oral sex because it’s a submissive act and “vaginas are disgusting.” A man’s sexual pleasure matters, a woman’s doesn’t, and that’s that.


“I don’t look at women as equal, I look at them as inferior,” Myron explains. And it sends a chill down my spine.

The Fresh and Fit host spouts other ludicrous nonsense like it’s OK for men to cheat because they’re wired that way, and their wives or girlfriends should happily accept it. It’s not okay for women to do the same, of course. 

Do you see what a great coach Myron must be? Can you imagine how his top-notch advice will help his 1.5 million YouTube subscribers find a loving and meaningful relationship? Fresh and Fit, along with similar manosphere influencers, teach their vulnerable male audience that a woman’s value is only as good as her youth, beauty, and ability to procreate. So the younger and less experienced they are when you marry them up, the better and more “moldable” they are.

A larger channel, the Whatever Podcast, has been criticized for telling their 4.3 million subscribers that married couples should “endure” — don’t leave or divorce — when the relationship is physically abusive. But if a woman cheats? That’s an OK reason to divorce.


There’s also Just Pearly Things, who hates herself and tells her male viewers that women don’t deserve the right to vote.

Many of these influencers, including Just Pearly Things and Fresh and Fit, have been in hot water for spouting racist and anti-Semitic hate speech on their channels. I’m not surprised. Harboring hate for an entire gender means you’ll more likely harbor hate for other entire groups of people as well.

YouTube has since demonetized both channels, so they can no longer earn money through the Partner Program. But they are still allowed to post their shows on YouTube, and so they continue their ugly influence on lonely, angry men.


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The manosphere preys on men’s insecurities

I understand that some manosphere influencers are simply playing a character. They say controversial things like “Women should give back the right to vote” and “Men are biologically programmed to cheat so it’s OK” to rage-bait viewers and grow their channel. They also build a following of loyal subscribers by preying on lonely men who want to believe all of their problems are because of women.

The issue is that whether or not an influencer is a grifter or sincerely believes in the product they're peddling, they’re doing real damage by pretending to be real experts. They manipulate and feed on the insecurities of their male audience, providing a community to commiserate with, a support system, and promises of money and women — as long as you pay for their internet course.

These content creators are terrible at dating. They’re emotionally immature and insecure. They have no idea how to connect with the opposite sex in any sort of fulfilling or meaningful way. And they’re bitter about it. Yet, they tout their volume of personal experience, their monetary success as entrepreneurs, and their sexual prowess of sleeping with hundreds of women.


In other words, it’s a business. And it’s a lucrative one that cashes in on patriarchal capitalism more so than it helps men. Men who are sad, lonely, insecure, angry, or all of the above are financially supporting manosphere creators who will only serve to keep them down. And so the cycle — and the need to pay for more courses — continues.

According to a 2020 Hope Not Hate report, 50% of young men between the ages of 16 and 24 believe that feminism makes it harder for men to succeed. This is the influence we’re seeing from toxic manosphere influencers on young men.

“But feminism teaches that men and women are equal. Equal means the same, and men and women are not the same. Therefore, men and women are not equal!” I sometimes hear rhetoric like this on the manosphere podcasts or from chronically online anti-feminists. I can’t believe I even have to mention this, but just because two things are different, doesn’t mean they aren’t equal in importance, meaning, or value. Humans should be treated as equals, no matter their gender, race, economic status, etc.

@lilyfinancial Priyanka Chopra Is Speaking For Millions Of Women Everywhere #priyankachopra #womenempowerment ♬ original sound- Lily Financial

Someone who makes that kind of reach is incredibly insecure. And you can’t have misogyny without insecurity.

When you believe women are inferior beings and you need to put them down and shout about the harms of feminism (i.e., equality of the sexes), you’re threatened. You’re threatened by women having control over their bodies and their lives. You’re threatened that they have more choices. You’re threatened that they may not choose you. You’re threatened. Period.

Be a lover, not a hater

As a 38-year-old woman who is divorced, teaches her teenage son the importance of gender equality, and fully supports and enjoys all the freedoms and liberties given to me by the feminist movement, I have to keep in mind that not everyone is fortunate enough to grow up the way I did. And not everyone prefers love over hate.


I was raised not to make snap judgments of people until I got to know them through their personalities and their actions. I still believe that to my core. I don’t assume every man is problematic. I don’t assume every woman is perfect. I don’t assume anything. It’s that age-old adage we all learned in kindergarten: Don’t judge a book by its cover. An individual is an individual and not a group or a statistic.

It’s something the manosphere and its supporters have forgotten. They need to re-learn it. And they need to find a more meaningful purpose than selling — and buying — these harmful, shallow, hypocritical, and illogical teachings about women.

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Holly Paige is an adventurous sex journalist and podcaster who loves to write about relationships, feminism, culture, and mental health. Her work is published on Medium and Substack.