Topics in Linguistics (2020-12-01)

Foids are worse than animals. A cognitive linguistics analysis of dehumanizing metaphors in online discourse

  • Prażmo Ewelina

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 21, no. 2
pp. 16 – 27


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The aim of the article is to examine the language used by an emerging online community known as incels. Incels are “involuntarily celibate” men who gather online to share their frustration and resentment. They blame their predicament on their alleged ugliness, as well as on the structure of modern Western society in general, and women’s behaviour in particular. Hate speech and violent language flourish on incel online forums to such an extent that most of their websites are taken down, one by one, due to breaches of rules around violent content. In the present article I aim to analyze the language used by incels, focusing on the dehumanizing metaphors used in order to describe women, who are the main target of incels’ hatred. This paper was realized within the theoretical framework of cognitive linguistics and critical discourse analysis with special emphasis on conceptual metaphor theory.