How "Incels" Online Pose A Threat To Women’s Safety
In 2014, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger killed six people in a shooting and stabbing rampage in Isla Vista, California. Before taking his own life, he circulated a 141-page manifesto containing numerous racist and misogynistic slurs and a YouTube “retribution video” explaining his motivations and actions.
In his video, the self-described “incel” stated his intent to kill “every stuck up blond sorority slut” who would not date him, “to punish everyone who is sexually active”, and to bring about the “second phase” of a “War on Women”. He says, “I don’t know why you girls are not attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it.”
He deeply hated women because they would not kiss, date or sleep with him. Rodger also stated in his manifesto that, in his ideal world, he would quarantine all women in concentration camps where they would be intentionally starved to death. At the end of his seven-minute video, Rodger said, “I am the true victim in all of this. I am the good guy.”
Publicly nicknamed “The Killer Virgin” but dubbed “The Supreme Gentleman” by his followers, Rodger served as an inspiration to his fellow misogynistic, white supremacist incels lurking in the dark corners of the internet.
In 2018, before Alek Minassian used a van to kill ten and injure 15 people, he left a message on Facebook; “The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”
In 2021 22-year-old Jake Davison killed five people. He had been active on social media platforms such as Reddit and Youtube discussing the “incel” movement.
Incels (involuntary celibates) are men who have constructed a violent political ideology around the presumed injustice of young, beautiful women refusing to have sex with them. They believe that attraction is based on a genetic lottery they have already lost and that all women are greedy, shallow, promiscuous and manipulative. Incels believe women should be held responsible for their predicament—sexlessness and general misfortune.
However, sexlessness is not the sole driving force behind their ideal. Incels believe that women are genetically inferior and are driven by their need and desire to couple with genetically superior males to the exclusion of unattractive and undesirable males such as themselves.
Incel ideology can be found in the “manosphere”, a loose collection of online anti-woman spaces, from platforms solely dedicated to their purpose to Reddit communities and Youtube channels.
In incel discourse, attractive women are referred to as “Stacys”, the objects of their desire due to their presumed inaccessibility, hate and ridicule. Incels believe Stacys are predisposed to choosing “Chads”, a caricature of a sexually successful man, over them.
These comparisons between themselves and Chads are not simply based on confidence, wealth or personality; incels believe that Chads are genetically superior and, as a result, have an unfair advantage over them.
A new study by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) analysed posts on one of the most popular incel forums and found that in recent times, incels have become increasingly violent and radicalised. The study found that violent rhetoric on the forum has increased significantly, with posts mentioning incel mass murders rising by 59% between 2021 and 2022.
Not only do incels espouse violently misogynistic rhetoric, but they are also often white supremacists and advocates for paedophilia and rape. The report found that “members mention the word “kill” approximately every 37 minutes and the word “rape” every 29 minutes. The forum has more than 17,000 members and is visited by roughly 2.6 million people monthly.” The report does not name the forum so as not to give it relevance and publicity.
Increasing support for rape and paedophilia are among the primary concerns revealed in the study, with 89% of users saying rape is acceptable. Users also show overwhelming support for paedophilia with posts including statements like, “As an incel, there is literally no reason to be against paedophilia,” and, “Who in their right mind would prefer a 22-year-old [woman] to this?” alongside a picture of a 12-year-old girl. Incels on these platforms also view Rodger as a pioneer and support his views and actions.
Incels feel entitled to sex from women, as many men have been socialised to believe. Unfortunately, these incel platforms and accounts on social media fan the flames of their harmful, misogynistic ideals, giving them a community to express them without repercussions. Incels view themselves as nice guys, “supreme gentlemen” who have been slighted by a society that’s built against them, the undesirable and socially inept. And for this, they believe women should be punished.
Social media figures like Andrew Tate also espouse incel rhetoric, and his views are viral among young boys. The late Kevin Samuels and Jordan Peterson, custodians of the patriarchy, have traction offline as well as online, packaging their sexist views to the mainstream as a man-forward ideology.
Simply put, incels are a male supremacist hate group. Violence against women is normalised and even encouraged and the increase in safe spaces for those who hate women to socialise with others like them and share their ideals does not bode well for women’s safety on and off the internet.
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