...written by a angry woman or a #Soyboy? So hard to tell sometimes.: Investigating the Reinforcement of Social Inequality Through the Soyboy Discourse

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Virginia Tech


The soyboy is a label given to men who do not fall into culturally idealized versions of masculinity, specifically men who are politically left leaning and embrace alternative masculinities. This discourse surrounding the soyboy participates in the larger symbolic boundary that upholds and reifies traditional masculinity. The soyboy discourse engages with cultural knowledge that reinforces the gendered and political hierarchies that are upheld through traditional masculinity. This project outlines the soyboy discourse through two analytic components: Component I analyzes digital spaces, defining the soyboy and how the discourse is used and Component II explores how that discourse influences face-to-face interactions, reinforcing inequalities. Through a content analysis of Twitter.com, Component I answers the question of how the soyboy discourse is used and which structures of power it is reproducing. Through interview analysis with eighteen (18) young adults, Component II answers the question of how the discourse is seen in face-to-face interactions and what that means compared to online interactions. Component I details how social inequalities are a part of the soyboy discourse and Component II identifies how that discourse shapes and influences human interactions. The final section of this project outlines how the soyboy discourse reifies existing inequalities through mundane or "low-stakes'' interactions. Through the use of Component I and II's data, the final section examines the process through which inequalities are continued and preserved.



Digital sociology, gender, inequality, culture, discourse