- Feb 19, 2022
- 85d 3h 18m
The serious issue with Incels — The One Woman Project
For Incels, sexual status is the foundation of identity, they view the world through a lens where women are a vengeful and picky commodity and view all other men as the enemy. The ideology is likened as a gateway into alt-right and white supremacy, with similar views on women, gender roles and men's
20 September 2022
THE SERIOUS ISSUE WITH INCELS
By Emily Rawle (she/her)
Tw: misogyny, violence, extremism, alt-right
I’ve had the displeasure of being aware of Incels for years. I’ve seen their loneliness manifest into anger and raging misogyny. Incels are (usually) men, who identify as “involuntary celibate”, as in: they are celibate, but not by their choice. Incels mostly gather online where they find community as well as support and validation.
Incels blame women for their grievances, and it creates a toxic mindset about masculinity, feminism and society. Thankfully, I’m in the internet corner that discusses the negatives of Incels, or makes fun of them. Unfortunately, as we've seen in the last few weeks with the rising of people like Andrew Tate, Incels are at best a dangerous undercurrent, and at worst a viral phenomenon. And while we can often sit back and laugh at their ridiculous ideologies, the scary thing... is that not everyone is.
INCEL CULTUREInceldom is an ideology that is speared on by the hate, disillusionment, and rage men feel towards women who don't choose them to be their sexual partners.
For Incels, sexual status is the foundation of identity, they view the world through a lens where women are a vengeful and picky commodity and view all other men as the enemy. The ideology is likened as a gateway into alt-right and white supremacy, with similar views on women, gender roles and men's ‘right’ to sex (The New Yorker, 2018). There is a strong bitterness around women’s freedom of choice, and they believe feminism has essentially “ruined everything”.
There are women who identify as Incels as well, called “Fem-cels”, but they’re rare. An interesting thing about female Incels is they're more likely to blame themselves for their celibacy, and don’t seem to habour the same aggression as most male Incels (The Guardian, 2021). In the majority of cases, female Inceldom does not create misandry in the same way that male Inceldom creates misogyny, but both harbour misogyny by blaming women for their shortcomings. Also, most male Incels don’t believe female Incels can exist, because in core Incel ideology, women can get sex whenever they want just by being a woman.
There isn’t much data on trans or non-binary Incels, most likely because of the rampant anti-queer sentiments that exist within the hetero-cis-male Incel community. Commonly, Incel attitudes towards LGBTQIA+ people are rampantly homophobic, transphobic, and not to mention misogynistic, with much focus being placed on the sexualisation of lesbian and bisexual women. Although, there are fears of growing numbers of LGBTQIA+ people, particularly gay men, becoming Incels (or Gaycels), and sympathising with Incel ideology (GSN, 2020).
INCEL INCIDENTSInceldom needs to be treated as an extremist ideology, because there are multiple examples of people being indoctrinated and swallowed by conspiracies and fatalist outlooks (Vox, 2018). And when an Incel acts out violently through a terrorist situation, innocent people are hurt. It’s horrifying when misogyny creates violence, and reminds us why feminism is necessary.
Media coverage needs to take Incels more seriously, rather than framing them as lone attackers who just ‘couldn’t get a girlfriend’. There needs to be a better look at the bigger picture, where it is revealed that this is a deep-rooted ideology that turns people into monsters, and will result in more people losing their lives if it is not taken seriously from the early signs (ICCT, 2021).
At least now, with the growth in popularity and scrutiny of Andrew Tate, there is more discussion about the implications of misogyny in modern men. Men are becoming popular by indoctrinating younger men into harassing and minimising women, and the lasting impact on this mindset on relationships are yet to be seen.
INCELS IN MODERN DATINGIt’s been almost 10 years since the mass shooting committed by Elliot Rodger, and the social climate has changed drastically. There are more ways than ever for people to meet and connect romantically, but at the same time, it has never been harder to foster something organic. Dating apps are the norm, and people can pass judgement on someone’s profile before opening the door to conversation. Does this help or hinder someone that is a borderline Incel?
Often Incels start as lonely men who find themselves in the wrong crowd, because Incels draw each other in. The “issue” for them with modern dating is that this is system of courtship where women have freedom to be selective, don’t require a husband for survival, and are more comfortable being single rather than settling (Daze, 2022).
In environments like dating apps, Incels may come off as aggressive and assertive, because they intend to ward-off women who see red-flags. Profiles don’t ever have to be perfectly curated, but one can’t expect to be swimming in dates when it’s clear that no effort has been taken to appear approachable, there is a science to it. Here is a profile I came across on a dating app. And he is the perfect example of how an Incel may present themselves in front of potential partners:
According to Todd, he’s single because women are too picky and don’t ‘date down’—not because every picture is him death-staring into the camera in front of a white wall. For someone considering swiping left or right, there are no hobbies and no interesting facts, because according to his profile: Todd’s entire personality is about being bitter towards women, and I bet he blames feminism. I’m assuming, because there’s nothing to the contrary.
I swiped left. But I do hope he grows out of this and finds support, because one would have to feel a lot of turmoil (or be a troll) to vent in their profile like this. As well as that, I hope he educates himself, because while this profile is a desperate attempt to get attention from women, it’s likely having the opposite effect.
If there are warning signs that someone could be becoming an Incel, watch how they present themselves around women, especially when dating.
Do they have misogynistic double standards? Do they make comments about women and share negative assumptions about their sex-life? Do they become overly-defensive when you stand up for said woman? Of course, these examples are also just plain misogyny as well as signs of Inceldom; however, acts like this can later escalate into extreme acts like stalking and harassment.
I believe that a risk-Incel can be helped by community and mental health support, as well as a strong support from male role-models. Rejection can make anyone feel sad, or even depressed; however, it’s important that rejection doesn’t form into depression and anger. With Incels, women shouldn't be sent to soothe them, because that will only support their unhealthy ideas about women and put her in a dangerous situation. But a supportive and strong male-based support, as well as more educational awareness and more ways to boost Incel online support groups, could help a potential Incel combat toxic masculinity (PLoS ONE, 2019).
Online, more people are posting stories about Incels, whether it is toxic ideologies from a man like Andrew Tate, (who has recently been de-platformed as a result of sharing violent rhetoric) or as screenshots taken from women's direct messages, Incel content is a growing community on social media platforms.
CONCLUSIONWith the popularity of Incel-related content growing, more people are becoming aware of the concept of Incels and the uncomfortable reality of what violent disillusionment of patriarchal structure can look like. My hope is that this will encourage more discussion, thus early intervention when someone starts showing the signs of becoming an Incel.
There is no excuse for anyone to harass or attack people based on one's romantic or sexual experience. But Inceldom is growing in both general knowledge and population, and there needs to be more support for people who do feel that disillusionment with modern dating and sex, because behind every Incel is someone who is very troubled, and there is always risk of that anger spilling into real-life violence.