If you spend enough time on the internet, eventually you encounter all kinds of strange, interesting, and sometimes terrifying subcultures.
One of the best things about the web is its ability to connect people, and that has brought about changes all across the world that would have been downright impossible just 15-20 years ago, up to and including the Arab spring.
One of the communities I have encountered on my journey through the web is called the 'Manosphere'. It's a male dominated subculture dedicated to reinstalling male authority in society and re-learning the lost art of masculinity. Basically, it's a truckload of hungry, often angry and bitter, men, who are dedicated to making money, lifting weights, and being as álpha' as possible.
Some will find this repulsive, while some will find it awesome. I really don't care about value judgments, and prefer to study things objectively. The Manosphere, to me, is seriously interesting, from just about every point of view you could look at it from.
As with all movements, the Manosphere has its leaders. Here are three of the 'big dogs' in the Manosphere, who millions of young men read religiously and are influenced by. One of them, in particular, is edging his way slowly into the mainstream and has such a huge following that he may have played a vital role in the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the USA.
1. Victor Pride
Nick Kelly AKA Victor Pride is undoubtedly the leader of the Manosphere, with a massive following of loyal readers who hang on every word he says about bodybuilding, women, and how to live life.
Kelly is an impressive figure, with a physique fit for the cover of magazines and a lifestyle that could turn many green with envy. He moved to Thailand, started a blog, made millions, and carved out a physique that most of his readers want desperately.
In short, in the eyes of his followers, Kelly is king. Yet, Victor Pride, his alter-ego and pen name, is not without his critics. He has been accused of racism and bullying/dismissing readers who comment on his blog.
Kelly has now returned to the USA and is making a push for stardom with a new podcast. Will he make it into the mainstream? We'll have to wait and see.
2. Mike Cernovich
Moving into the édgier' or what some would call more hardcore section of the manosphere, we find law school graduate and prolific writer Mike Cernovich.
Cernovich and Nick Kelly are good friends, and Cernovich largely rose to prominence through his association with Kelly. Now, however, Cernovich has arguably surpassed Kelly in terms of influence, having recently appeared on mainstream television (FOX) and having had several Twitter spats with high-profile journalists and commentators.
Cernovich has veered away from traditional Manosphere topics of late, instead focusing on politics and social commentary. Love him or loathe him, there's no doubting that this man is a force to be reckoned with, and having played a YUGE role in promoting Donald Trump's bid for presidency, Cernovich just might make it to the big time.
3. Chris aka Good Looking Loser
If there could be said to be a single 'pure' Manosphere site on the web, Good Looking Loser, run by a guy known simply as 'Chris' would be it.
GLL is more of a self-improvement website than anything else, with a manosphere twist in that it is all about getting fit, getting paid, and getting laid. This site is absolutely huge and is jam packed with hungry, driven young men determined to become 'alpha', slaying chicks and getting fat bundles of cash while working on their abs.
In recent times, GLL has taken a backseat compared to the two blogs mentioned above, but it played and continues to play a massive role in the forward motion of the Manosphere. GLL stays away from politics and social subjects for the most part, and instead focuses on becoming the best man you can be.
The Manosphere is not some tiny little subculture in the dark shadows of the web. It is a massive force and it is growing each and every day.
I reserve my judgment as to whether it will ultimately be a force for good or bad, and like most things, we will probably find it will be a bit of both.
The Manosphere is a fascinating subject matter and is well worth checking out. I hope you've enjoyed reading this summary of its leaders.