Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Robert Benford, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sara Crawley, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Donileen Loseke, Ph.D.


white supremacy, social movements, sexuality, masculinity


The fundamental questions this project aims to answer are 1) how the alt-right engages in storying the sexual, specifically the “homosexual” character 2) the ways that broadly circulating ideas about masculinity shape movement boundary work processes, and 3) the work that this storying is doing for the alt-right in the context of American white patriarchy. Broadly, two characters were storied on r/altright: The Degenerate and the Substandard Ally. First, the Degenerate is a pedophile, a diseased sexual hedonist, and a Jewish-led weapon set on destroying the white race. The image of the Degenerate is produced through the mobilization of anti-Semitic tropes, conservative Christian doctrine, and (pseudo)scientific rhetoric. This narrative presents homosexuality as a contagious risk to all people. The second character, the Substandard Ally, is constructed as a foil to the Degenerate. The Substandard Ally can be a member of the movement because they have no control over their sexuality and are adequately masculine. The strategies used to justify the Substandard Ally’s inclusion in the alt-right are to deploy the (il)logic of the closet and redraw the line between good/bad sex. I argue that the sexual storying of the alt-right ultimately functions to maintain white patriarchy by reinforcing the sexual value system, obscuring the workings of patriarchy by presenting a hybrid hegemonic masculinity, reconceptualizing the “good” sexual citizen, and deploying homonationalist discourses.

Included in

Sociology Commons