Incels: The scary new ‘ladykillers’

May 8, 2018

On April 22, when a van driven by 25-year-old Alex Minassian jumped the curb in order to mow down pedestrians on a Toronto sidewalk—killing ten and injuring 15 in the worst Canadian mass murder in nearly 30 years—the hate group called Incels further established its “street cred” and celebrated victory.

There are tens of thousands of Incels worldwide, according to an April 24 report by The Irish Times. Most are nonviolent, but Minassian is among a group who are quickly becoming radicalized.

Incel is an abbreviation for involuntary celibates, as they call themselves. Based on a study by Grinnell College, an Incel is at least 21 years of age and has gone six months without a romantic partner—not of his own volition.

While many people of all genders may fit this category, the predominantly heterosexual male Incels agree that the world (women) owes them sex and that they are oppressed for being celibate.

This year, the Southern Poverty Law Center recognized Incels, adding male supremacy—“a hateful ideology advocating for the subjugation of women”—to the dogmas it tracks, because of the ways in which these groups consistently denigrate and dehumanize women; often exhorting physical and sexual violence against them.

The villains of the movement are the Chads and Stacys in the mainstream population. A Chad is a popular and attractive man who has no problems finding dates or sexual partners. A Stacy is the sort of woman who would date and mate with a Chad. In the Incel lexicon, both Chads are Stacys are “normies”—regular people who don’t give Incels a glance.

Just moments before Minassian steered his vehicle onto the sidewalk, he texted, “The Incel Rebellion has already begun. We will overthrow the Chads and Stacys. All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger.”

Rodger is the cult hero of the ugly and dangerous part of the Incel movement. In 2014, the 22-year-old virgin killed six people and wounded eight as he drove around an Isla Vista campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Rodger left a YouTube account behind with about 20 video clips, entitled variously “Why do girls hate me so much?,” “Life is so unfair because girls don’t want me,” and “My reaction to seeing a young couple at the beach, Envy,” according a a report by The Guardian.

Until the Toronto attack, the movement would largely have been regarded as an insignificant backwater of the broader Manosphere – the network of blogs, forums and websites that focus on issues relating to men.

Now that the hate group subculture of the Incels has been activated, they represent another terrorist group that will keep us all on the alert.

Research contact: haenfler@grinnell.edu

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