The Sigma male grindset as alienation and asceticism

A rejection of individual emancipation in the work of Karl Marx


  • Claire Hadford University of Calgary



Sigma male grindset, Marx, alienation, asceticism, individual emancipation


While the applicability of Marxist thought to the present era can be contested, this paper argues that the Sigma Male Grindset, a subversive masculine persona conjured by the alt-right Manosphere, can be utilized as a case for the relevancy of Marx’s theory of alienation. To begin, I describe the basics of Marx’s outlook, and outline how Marx’s theory can, but need not be understood as a form of class reductionism. Despite the multiplicity of axes of oppression, I argue that subjects make some significant conceptions of themselves under capitalist terms. With this abreast, I propose the Grindset presents an interesting counterexample to self-understanding in the late-stage capitalist age. Sigma Males seem to both circumnavigate the aspirations inscribed by traditional masculinity by rejecting external validation of one’s self-worth as well as the capitalist mode of production, by resisting traditional labour as a means of sustenance. It might then be tempting to assume an individual attempt at emancipation from class oppression is possible. However, I demonstrate that Marx’s theory alienation from one’s species-being and from fellow humans positions the Sigma Male Grindset as an intensified form of already existing frustrations, culminating in a concentrated form of asceticism. I conclude by sketching what an unalienated life would look like for Marx, drawing on current events to demonstrate the lukewarm future of a successful communist revolution. From this observation, I will conclude with proposing more immediate responses in the form of rejecting collective asceticism.


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How to Cite

Hadford, C. (2023). The Sigma male grindset as alienation and asceticism: A rejection of individual emancipation in the work of Karl Marx. The Motley Undergraduate Journal, 1(1).



Research and Analytical Articles