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  • Mon, 30, Apr, 2018 - 5:00:AM

I spent an evening on an incel forum. This is what I learnt.

I first heard the word ‘incel’ (involuntary celibate) four or five years ago. I’d come across the term before infamous loser Elliot Rodger went on a murderous rampage in California in 2014, and it didn’t surprise me when it transpired that another alleged mass murderer had turned his thwarted sense of sexual entitlement into a violent attack against innocent people. What surprised me about the recent attack in Toronto was that people were surprised by its apparent motivation. 

How nice it must be to be surprised by misogyny. 

As a young-ish woman with an opinion on the internet, the existence of misogyny and its power to cause harm are profoundly unshocking to me. It’s been a long time since I was shocked by misogyny. Or it had been, until I decided to spend an evening on an incel forum. 

Incels.me (and seriously, I don’t recommend going there yourself to check it out - I've added hyperlinks to this story, but I don't suggest clicking on them) is a popular web forum for people who identify as ‘incels’. I’m no ‘incel’ expert, but the basic gist is that places like incels.me exist so that heterosexual young men who feel entitled to have sex and outraged that women don’t want to fuck them can rant about ‘stacies’ (attractive women), ‘chads’ (attractive men who stacies want to have sex with), and ‘normies’ (normal looking people who aren’t stacies or chads but are probably still having sex - how dare they?). 

Incels.me is the kind of place that I’d usually avoid like the plague, but given the increasing weaponisation of misogyny, ignoring forums like 4chan, reddit and incels.me means ignoring the danger that they pose. While angry, entitled young men wail at each other in cloistered echo chambers like inconsolable toddlers bashing their tiny fists into the floor and screaming “I WANT!” at the top of their voices, their twisted ideology (if you can call it that) goes unnoticed and unchallenged. Until it kills people.

Of course, misogyny has been killing people for millennia… only, those people have been women. Part of me despairs that the ‘incel’ movement and its evil rhetoric are being taken seriously only now that they have resulted in mass murders in public places. For many, many millions of women, the deadly threat of misogyny is being recognised far too late.

I’m complicit in that problem. Granted, I’ve always been aware of the existence of misogyny, and the potential it has to destroy lives, but I hadn’t taken the ‘incel’ movement particularly seriously until this week. I finally set out to learn more about the online spaces that I can’t help but see as a kind of ‘losers anonymous’ for people with no desire to seek help for their destructive beliefs and behaviours a few nights ago. My time with the ‘incels’ did little to dispel my preconceptions.

“By age 25 a woman has had hundreds of dicks inside her,” began a thread I stumbled upon. “She won't even remember you in a few years but for you it will be a lifetime achievement. Just fucking lol.”

There was an assortment of replies. Some angry, some sad, many wallowing. Then there was this:

“Which is why right after you cum, you punch her in the face, that way she never forgets you.”

Such comments are common on incels.me. It was concerning how quickly I became desensitised to them. 

“Normies aren’t entitled to Being Alive/FreeAir,” said one commenter in a thread entitled ‘Normies aren’t entitled to safety’.

“I live in a no-trespassing area and I am allowed by state to use deadly force with warning if the perpetrator hasn't left my premises. And by deadly force, I'm talking about gunning them down. I am telling you now brothers to protect yourselves no matter what. This is only the beginning and the entire world is out to get us, round us up and kill us,” said another in a thread entitled ‘If incels start gaining extremely massive attention be prepared to protect yourselves’.

And, in a thread entitled ‘Women’s rights is bullshit’, “No one is entitled to anything. You have to pay your dues if you believe you're worthy of respect or rights. If you were all about equality as a lot of you pretend to be, you wouldn't expect men to bend over backwards for you every time you want something. It's about time you recognized that you have so far played a game which is rigged in your favour. You have used your female privilege with the sole purpose of taking advantage of men to gain more resources. You knew you couldn't overpower us physically, so you used the game of seduction to take ranks of men to your side. You have only advanced this far because other men have worked to place you where you now stand. You have used our own brothers to give you a head start in life. We don't deserve respect just because we are men. No, we deserve respect because we have created this entire world. Everything you see was created by men. On the other hand, you expect people to suck up to you just because you have a pussy. How pathetic is that! A bunch of sluts who do nothing other than spend 24/7 on tinder do not deserve respect. You deserve to be spanked with a leather belt.”

After a few hours of reading comments ranging from self-pitying to deranged I found myself in something of a trance. I’m not sure what did it, but a thread about college girls was the last straw. “Women shouldn’t be allowed to socialize with each other and congregate because only the worst comes out of them then, they start acting like complete sluts with 0 morals or regard for other people. And they might not be even attractive, it’s just that when they’re surrounded by their friends they turn into complete sociopaths. Groups like this should be dispersed with a grenade launcher.”

I closed the window.

What did I learn? Nothing I didn’t already know. There is a percentage of men who feel deeply entitled to women’s bodies. In their minds, their very existence should require women to have sex with them. When they find that no woman wants to have sex with them, they are consumed with hatred for the “sluts” they see as denying them their birth right.

None of this is new. Hatred of women has been around for a very long time. What is new is the way that the internet has provided a meeting place for angry, lonely men with the same gripes. No longer are the losers condemned to suffer alone; they can now vent their spleens to each other, egging each other on and normalising hateful rhetoric until someone in the community feels emboldened enough to take ‘incel’ ideas out of the online safe place and into the real world.

On one level, it’s incredibly sad. You can’t help but think that if the men crying into the online abyss of incels.me actually turned off their computers and started treating women like human beings, they might discover that women are people too. If they weren’t so fixated on sex, they might learn that there are so many other wonderful things in life; like friendship, family, volunteering, music, and a strange little concept called love. 

I’m an empathetic person, but I don’t feel sorry for ‘incels’. It’s the complete absence of the concept of love that prevents me from feeling any sympathy. These men are not simply lonely people who want to be loved. They are embittered, arrogant, entitled people who believe that women are objects that are only good for sex. They are self-centred, nasty, sexist and sometimes downright frightening. They’ve created a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s little wonder that no woman wants to have sex with them. I wouldn’t want to be in the same room with them, let alone engage in that most intimate of interpersonal acts.

You just instinctively know that no sexual act with an ‘incel’ could ever be called lovemaking. It would be fucking. And likely terrible, selfish, male-dominant fucking at that. 

‘Incels’ have been dismissed as a weird little internet subculture for far too long. Their brand of hatred has been ignored perhaps because it’s been viewed as an expression of impotence. Recent events, however, have proven how dangerous it is to overlook or minimise the extent of their misogyny. These are people who hate women so much that long, feverish descriptions of brutal violence against women are commonplace on their forums. It was really only a matter of time before the hatred splattered across ‘incel’ forums bubbled over into real life.

Sadly, I don’t think we’ve seen the last attack to be committed by an ‘incel’. I have a horrible feeling that this is only the beginning. 

TAGGED IN

  • Incel /
  • Involuntary Celibate /
  • Sexism /
  • Misogyny /
  • Elliot Rodger /
  • Hatred /
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Comments ( 5 )

  • CJB666's picture

    CJB666 - Thu, 2018-05-17 09:17

    Interesting - whilst I identify as CIS I have no luck with relationships with men nor with women. From an early age I was rejected by both genders. Women (and bis;') because they thought that I was gay. Men because they thought that I was not gay enough. I have not been laid for over 20 ears. Now I am 70 and well past it health wise. I have never experienced love, never been in love and never been loved - certainly with respects to women. I have a few women friends - a few men friends - but platonic only. And no-one to confide in. My support circle is the empty set. I am not at the extreme edge of incel in wishing violence to anyone. I'm now too old. But I am lonely - actually have been for a very long time - with the ever enduring feeling of not being worthy of love, nor friendship. Intimacy with someone? Forget it - not for 20+ years.
  • Manxie's picture

    Manxie - Tue, 2018-06-05 17:12

    So because a person has not had sex in 20 plus years or ever, that gives them the right to spout their disgusting rhetoric about killing women, raping them, and making them second class citizens? You condone what they say? If you do condone it, you are just as dangerous as them. If you condemn it, I am sorry gay men and straight women treated you like that. I have heard that bi people have a very difficult time.
  • Manxie's picture

    Manxie - Tue, 2018-06-05 17:05

    I have spent time on their forum (you could call it lurking but I am just trying to figure out if they are really that bad) and they are dangerous. They are demanding sex slaves from the government. They are demanding women lose their human rights. They are demanding that pedophilia and rape be legal. They talk about how they want to kidnap young teen girls to rape and keep as sex slaves. They talk about killing women and men who support them. They talk about throwing acid in their faces. Sorry but I will never have any sort empathy when it comes to incels and I will never show sympathy. They all need extreme therapy and if those desires/fantasies continue, they need to removed from society via prison or being sent to isolated area in the world.
  • incelsareok's picture

    incelsareok - Sun, 2018-11-04 03:18

    Hey Lizzie! I just wanted to say that in the same way you wouldn't judge someone who uses youtube based on a few of the worst comments that you see on youtube, so too shouldn't you judge incels based on the worst posts on their forums. You're a woman, and one who is moderately attractive, so it's natural that to you the emotion displayed on such boards as incels.me is alien. But people say some horrible things when they're emotional. Some incels are capable of identifying that society has a problem without necessarily being hateful or violent. Some feel the need to express their negative emotion. Either way though, the problem that gives rise to these incels is independent of their actions. Rampant hypergamy facilitated by dating apps has caused a very small percentage of the most attractive men to be able to monopolize many women, leaving the less attractive men unable to find a girl. As such, these men end up dissatisfied. Until we can address this problem, communities like this will continue to pop up.
  • Legion's picture

    Legion - Mon, 2018-11-19 07:09

    “Hypergamy” is a myth. Most women believe deeply in love and are amazingly loyal. I speak as a middle aged guy of 53 who has been in monogamous relationships continuously since the age of 17, married twice and with four children. I am grateful to have been with the amazing women I have shared my life with and absolutely agree that women, like men, will only respond to people who respect them and treat them well. This has nothing to do with masculinity-you can be as tough as you are inclined to be, so long as you’re also a decent human being, and there will always be good women in your life. The incel ideology is sick, repulsive and delusional.
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