Many Good Men

Many Good Men


"Essential viewing for our time, not only for young people, but for everyone who cares about their future." ★★★★

The Scotsman

"Deserves – and needs – to be seen by audiences both young and old." ★★★★

All Edinburgh Theatre

"Many Good Men is a bold, audacious show... one that dares to peer deeply into one of the darkest corners of contemporary culture."

The Arts Desk

Many Good Men


The story of two men who come together to fight gender injustice.

In 2023 incel culture and the ‘manosphere’ have really spiked in the headlines and public consciousness, mainly due to the arrest of Andrew Tate. But ideologies based on a fundamental distrust and hatred towards women have been gaining space in the mainstream over the past decade through online channels, and primarily through social media platforms such as YouTube and TikTok. Parents, youth workers and teachers we work with have been reporting that young men and boys are increasingly at risk of being radicalised through their identities as men. They hear incel slang, fake stats and shared misogynistic memes everyday.


Since 2014 at least eight mass murders, resulting in 61 deaths have been committed by men who have either self-identified as incels or who had mentioned incel-related names or ideas in their private writings or internet postings, including 5 killings on August 12, 2021 in Plymouth by a gunman who was then celebrated by incels online. 


Many Good Men was Civic Digits’ first major project for 2024, produced in association with Stories Untold and Stellar Quines Theatre Company at the Heart of Midlothian FC. It is supported by Creative Scotland, Hearts of Midlothian FC, Zero Tolerance, YouthLink Scotland, Design Informatics at University Edinburgh, with guidance from Women’s Support Project, White Ribbon, The Artist Wellbeing Company and The Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Unit: Scottish Government Justice Directorate.


Many Good Men is a participant led project, which explores the radicalisation of masculinity online. Participants create a story about the radicalisation and weaponisation of masculine stereotypes and tell it using a combination of digital tools, platforms and live performance.


The story begins: Two young football players are witness to an incel shooting incident in Edinburgh. In their quest to find out what led to this mass murder they start to investigate the incel movement. They both dive deep into the overwhelming online vortex of the ‘manosphere’ and one of them becomes radicalised. Using digital forum theatre the audience are asked to find points on that journey where he could have been saved, and if not, why not.


Civic Digits supports two single sex groups of young people (ages 15-18) to each write and direct two professionally produced and resourced digital forum theatre performances. These groups will create the two main characters and dramatise their journey from innocently wanting to help, to managing and/or failing to save themselves.


Clare Duffy says: “When we started researching this project in 2023, I set up an email as a young man and asked youtube, ‘how do I get a girlfriend’, within 2 hours I was watching misogynistic content that promoted incel ideology, just by letting the algorithm run. Through Many Good Men we wanted to find out how young people experience this, how it affects their lives and how parents, youth workers, teachers and young people can communicate about the sense of overwhelming isolation the digital broadcasting of these ideologies can create.”


Safeguarding: We are taking the safeguarding of the young participants very seriously. All our stakeholders are supporting us to create a safeguarding policy so that our young participants will be properly supported in a trauma informed way which will be agreed upon with the parents/careers, the host school and/or youth group.

The project will also produce a piece of research for Zero Tolerance asking: 

What are young people’s existing experiences and perceptions of online incel culture and misogynistic online radicalisation and grooming? Do these existing experiences differ by gender? In what ways do other intersecting characteristics (e.g. race, sexuality, poverty) have an impact?

‘Incel’ means ‘involuntary celibate’. Those who identify as an Incel believe they are unable to have sex for reasons beyond their control, primarily their physical attractiveness. Incels believe that men are the true victims of gender inequality, that all women only want ‘alpha males’ (aka ‘chads’) and that because Incels believe they have been born ugly and/or physically weak they will never have a sexual relationship with a woman.


Incels believe that the modern cultural system has been set up (mainly because of feminism) to deny ‘zeta’ males fulfilment: That women in fact hate men and especially men who do not conform to mainstream ideas of physical attractiveness. This then gives them both the motivation and the right to harass women online, to threaten rape and murder, to claim what they believe, as men, they are entitled to.


This harassment doesn’t stay online and has resulted in real world violence and, many argue, terrorism. Incel online communities are part of a broader collection of websites, blogs and online forums promoting misogyny and aggressive masculinities known as the ‘manosphere’.

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