Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Elisabeth O. Burgess

Second Advisor

Wendy Simonds

Third Advisor

Sonny Nordmarken


Previous research on the online community known as involuntary celibates (henceforth, incels) has primarily focused on the men that belong to this group. However, past research indicates the women do have a history of involuntary celibacy. Where did these women go? This research draws on previous incel research, as well as theoretical perspectives such as hegemonic masculinity and identity construction. In this grounded theory informed exploratory qualitative content analysis of online femcel forums, the data reveals that these women have found their own corner of the Internet to foster their community. Femcels share many experiences, but they remain a diverse group of women in both race, age, and background. Femcels are critical of their bodies and experience loneliness in their everyday offline lives. Femcel forums are used as places for these women to find validation in their identities, womanhood, and personhood.


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