Incels: The celibate men who hate women
After every terrorist mass murder in the West, people’s first reaction is always the same, said Gary Younge in TheGuardian.com. “It must be a Muslim.” But the man charged with driving a van along a Toronto sidewalk last week, killing eight women and two men, appears to have been inspired not by religion, but by “toxic masculinity.” Alek Minassian, 25, posted a Facebook message before the attack hailing the “incel movement,” an online community of “involuntarily celibate” men that sprang up in 2016. “Incels” hate women for denying them the sex they believe is “rightfully theirs.” They call other people “normies”—attractive women are “Stacys,” sexually successful men are “Chads”—and revere Elliot Rodger, the student who in 2014 killed six people in Isla Vista, Calif., as revenge over his failure to find a girlfriend. “The Incel Rebellion has already begun,” Minassian wrote on Facebook. “All hail Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”
The incel movement shows where “hate speech” can lead, said Aditi Natasha Kini in WashingtonPost.com. The men in it believe they’re so unattractive and weird they’ll never have sex, and view women’s disinterest in them as a form of “systemic persecution.” Believe it or not, there are tens of thousands of these “disaffected young men” spewing their misogyny online, said Navneet Alang in TheWeek.com. Before the internet, these men may have smoldered in isolation or eventually grown out of their juvenile resentments. But sites such as Reddit and 4Chan enable them to “amplify their feeling of legitimacy” and egg one another on to punish women—in this case, with tragic consequences.
Incels are just one subset of “anti-women communities” online, said Jessica Valenti in The New York Times. The “manosphere” also includes “men’s rights” activists, who think men are oppressed, and “pickup artists,” who discuss how to “manipulate women into having sex.” What all these movements share is “an organized hatred” of women who do not submit to men’s needs and demands. Feminists have long warned about the propensity of these hate groups “for real-life violence.” But we’ve largely been ignored. That’s because sexism and misogyny are still considered “normal” in our society, “rather than deviant.” And until that changes, far too many men will assault, rape, and murder women. “Not every attack is preventable, but the misogyny that drives them is.”