The Institute for Research on Male Supremacism (IRMS) is an intersectional feminist organization that brings together experts from both inside and outside of academia to analyze and expose the dangers of misogynist ideology and mobilization. IRMS combines historical research on the development of male supremacism as an organized ideology and movement over the past half-century with analyses of contemporary mobilizations offline and online, taking advantage of technical opportunities for conducting analyses of online forums and networks and tracking the influence of foundational works in current movements. We serve as a resource for scholars and media seeking to understand these mobilizations and a strategic partner for social justice groups working to confront the impact of male supremacist ideology and organizing on the ground, in policy, and culture. IRMS recognizes the value of intersectional scholarship and seeks to understand male supremacism in terms of how it interacts with white supremacist, antisemitic, anti-gay, and anti-trans ideologies, as well as other supremacist and prejudiced ideologies that target vulnerable populations.
IRMS is committed to exposing and challenging common narratives that provide shelter to male supremacist movements, advancing new theoretical understandings and practical analyses of contemporary threats, and providing resources for media and activists to improve their ability to challenge male supremacism and misogyny.
What Is Male Supremacism?
Male supremacism is an underlying ideology that simultaneously draws from and contributes to both religious and secular misogynist movements, which form part of the “alt-right” but also attract men (and some women) who claim to be on the left. While male supremacism has a long history, the origins of its recent manifestation as an increasingly organized and growing social movement lies in the response to real, though insufficient, political gains of women, including stronger laws against sexual harassment, violence, and discrimination. IRMS focuses on researching secular male supremacist ideologies that have been understudied and often viewed dismissively, such as men’s rights activists, pickup artists, The Red Pill, incels (men who identify as “involuntarily celibate”), and Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOWs), in addition to movements within the religious Right, especially the anti-abortion and purity movements.
Organized misogynist communities have been growing over the past decade, some taking on increasingly violent characteristics, while others focus on cultural and political change. In 2018, two mass killings connected to incel ideology occurred in Toronto and Tallahassee, and another attempted mass shooting in 2019 was stopped without casualties. Every day, women suffer disproportionately from physical and sexual violence that is driven by misogyny. Yet researchers and media have paid insufficient attention to male supremacism, regularly misrepresenting or underestimating the harm it causes. There is a deep need for an organization dedicated to further increasing awareness of the serious dangers posed by the contemporary growth of male supremacist movements. We are a team of predominantly female scholars and believe that women must be respected leaders in responding to an ideology threatening our own lives.