#TheFappening: Virtual Manhood Acts in (Homo)Social Media

Mairead Eastin Moloney, Tony P. Love

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Using an interactionist framework, we analyze publicly available data from Twitter to track real-time reactions to the widely publicized celebrity nude photo hacking of 2014 (“The Fappening”). We ask: “Related to The Fappening, what manhood acts are employed in virtual social space?” Using search terms for “fappening” or “#thefappening,” we collected 100 tweets per hour from August 31 to October 1, 2014 (Average: 1,700/day). Coding and qualitative analyses of a subsample of tweets (N = 9,750) reveal four virtual manhood acts commonly employed to claim elevated status in the heterosexist hierarchy and reproduce gendered inequality. These acts include (1) creation of homosocial, heterosexist space; (2) sexualization of women; (3) signaling possession of a heterosexual, male body; and (4) humor as a tool of oppression. This article introduces the concept of “virtual manhood acts” and contributes to growing understandings of the reproduction of manhood and the oppression of women in online social spaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-623
Number of pages21
JournalMen and Masculinities
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2017.


  • gender equality
  • hegemonic masculinity
  • identity
  • manhood acts
  • patriarchy
  • technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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