Have you heard about the people who calls themselves ‘incels’? Me neither, until today. It is shorthand for ‘involuntarily celibate’ and the full name makes it pretty clear who they are. This article says that there were 40,000 of them on a sub-group of Reddit until the site was shut down today.
Reddit has banned a community dedicated to the “involuntarily celibate” that was largely populated by men who appear to hate women and in some cases advocate rape.
The 40,000-strong community was nominally a “support group” for people who lack romantic relationships and sex. “They are involuntarily celibate or ‘incel’.” However, popular posts from the last few months include ones titled “all women are sluts”; “proof that girls are nothing but trash that use men” and “reasons why women are the embodiment of evil”.
Members describe women as “femoids” and the men they have sex with as “chads”. There are many examples, documented on a watchdog subreddit called IncelTears, where incels have condoned or advocated rape, or described it as a made-up construct.
I can well imagine that it is very hard for people who have not been able to form close and intimate relationships with other people to deal with their loneliness. This is especially so in a culture that is swamped with films, TV shows, advertisements and the like that seem to suggests that everyone is having a great time with a special partner except for them. What seems to be the case with the incels is that they seem to think that it is exclusively men who are in this situation and that the blame for their plight lies entirely with women who are inexplicably spurning what they have to offer.
Since sexual services are readily available in western countries, I assume that these people could have sex if they want to and what they feel they are deprived of is someone who wants to have a close personal relationship with them that includes sex. I am by no means an expert on relationships but they do not seem to realize that a sense of entitlement, that others should like and want you, is not a very attractive quality in a person and tends to be obvious and off-putting.
I wonder how these incels view the recent avalanche of revelations of people who are rich and powerful using those qualities to impose their sexual will on others. Does this feed their sense of grievance even further, that it is simply their own lack of money and power and social status that is preventing them from achieving similar ‘success’ and tempts them to think that force alone might compensate for that lack? The Reddit group seems to have been feeding that fantasy.
The internet has enabled those who might feel otherwise isolated to form communities of like-minded people. In general, this is a good thing. But it can also create a negative dynamic in which people feed off one another’s grievances and misinformation.