Content warning: this article will contain examples of some of the worst misogyny you will ever see.
Incels are scum.
I’m sorry; were you expecting some kind of preamble to that? Maybe you thought I’d lead with a summary of last week’s terror attack. Perhaps you thought I’d retell the story of Alek Minassian, a misogynistic piece of shit who used a Chevrolet cargo van to kill ten people and injure fifteen more. Honestly, folks, you all know the story by now. So, let’s just get to the meat of the issue, shall we? Incels are scum.
To anyone who doesn’t know the meaning of the term, “incel” is short for “involuntary celibate,” which refers to a community of men who blame women for their sexual frustrations. While you may be tempted to write these creeps off as a bunch of lovelorn men who turn to the Internet to soothe their loneliness, you should know that the Incel Community is a hate group, one that targets women.
Minassian actually admired Elliot Rodger, the man responsible for killing six people in Isla Vista, California, and described him as the “supreme gentleman.” And he’s not the only self-described “incel” to feel that way.
Don’t believe me?
Well, let’s take a look what they post in the discussion forums they frequent. Here’s a long screed about how Elliot Rodger’s manifesto — the one in which he outlines his reasons for “slaughtering every single spoiled stuck-up blonde slut” he finds — should be viewed as a sacred text.
I’m providing screenshots in case these festering bags of human garbage decide to delete their words after receiving too much negative attention.
As you can see, the original poster is not alone in his appreciation for Rodger’s misogynistic rambling.
All incels should read Rodger’s manifesto. That really tells you everything you need to know, doesn’t it? Also, don’t you just love the images of Stalin and Mengele? They really demonstrate the kind of person these creeps admire.
Oh, but there’s a lot more to see on the incel forums.
Here’s a post titled “All Women Are Disloyal Whores” in which a college student shares the rage he feels while listening to his female classmates discuss their reasons for ending romantic relationships. He refers to these young women as “femshits” and uses “it” as their pronoun, quite literally dehumanizing them. Apparently, he looks forward to the last day of the school year, when he can emotionally devastate these women as punishment for abandoning the men in their lives.
You might note that all these “wronged men” are just hypothetical characters to the author of this post. He doesn’t know them. He has no reason to think they actually want revenge against their ex-girlfriends. It’s simple confirmation bias and nothing more. The author of this post already loathes women; so, he sees evidence of female duplicity everywhere he looks, and it never even occurs to him that other men might not feel the same way.
And that’s the point.
The Incel Community is not about helping men; it has never been about helping men. It’s about hurting women, punishing them for exercising autonomy over their bodies.
I was tempted to write a piece that reached out to lonely men. I was going to make it part of my Overcoming Toxic Masculinity series. I would have encouraged these lonely men to embrace their sadness instead of hiding it, to develop friendships with other men and with women as well and to draw strength from those connections. But I see now that doing so would have been a mistake. Because it buys into the narrative that incels are just lonely guys who can’t get it together.
Even the standard rebuke of “Women don’t owe you sex” — while absolutely correct — is insufficient. Because incels don’t actually want sex or intimacy. That was never the point. Reminding incels that women don’t owe them anything is ineffective because incels don’t want anything tangible from the women in their lives. What they want is to make women suffer, and if you doubt that, just read what they write in their own words.
Oh, they’ll gladly rape a woman. Incels are more than happy to commit sexual assault. But, as any well-read feminist will tell you, rape is not about sex. It’s about domination. That’s what incels really want: power over women.
The average incel is like Gollum, sitting in his cave, nursing a hatred for those who have “wronged him.” Tolkien had some flaws as a writer, but one of his greatest strengths was his ability to articulate the ways in which hatred and greed twist the mind into something perverse. “He will never be rid of his need for the Ring,” Gandalf once said of Gollum. “He hates and loves the Ring as he hates and loves himself.”
That is the perfect description of an incel: narcissistic entitlement coupled with bone-deep self-loathing and a misguided belief that claiming a woman as his — or punishing her if she refuses to be possessed — will somehow bring peace to his troubled mind. It won’t. Misogyny and entitlement are poisons of the mind.
It’s time to stop dancing around the point. This is not a group of lonely men who mope about their inability to woo that cute barista at the coffee shop. This is a hate group that openly advocates for violence against women.
Our moral duty is to oppose them.
Rich Penney is a science-fiction author and futurist. You can check out his books here.