By Liam Benedict
Incels are an online extremist group, who got their start as a terrorist organization around 2014. Comprised of extremely misogynist, often mentally ill men, this group exists and spreads its message of inciting violence against women online through shadowy forums both on the surface and in the deep web.
At the moment, there have only been a handful of violent attacks over the years by incels causing over 44 deaths. This includes attacks from people who identified themselves as incels, or people who were later claimed by the incel movement.
They are not well known to many people, but everyone should be aware of the danger this group poses. And to do this, we must delve into the dark, complex and twisted world in which they live.
Firstly, incel is short for “Involuntarily Celibate.” Their community comprises mostly of straight white men, with a survey of 312 incels confirming this. According to Homeland Security Today, “9.6 percent of respondents said that incels were not exclusively male and 25.0 percent said that incels were not exclusively heterosexual.”
These men have all been rejected by women, leading to a deep, violent, irrational hatred of them. They spend their days wallowing in self-pity, blaming their genetics for their lack of sex.
Men who they view as genetically superior alpha males as referred to as “Chads.” Meanwhile, shallow, beauty-obsessed women are referred to as “Stacys.” The terminology goes on much deeper than that, with other frequently used incel slang such as “The Black/Red Pill” and “Sub 8 Male.”
It is also worth noting that many incels are just as obsessed with race as they are with women and sex. Often, incels will bitterly gatekeep other people from joining the incel community. Some incels believe in a strict racial hierarchy when it comes to sexual success. For example, it is often stated among the incel community that white incels are superior to Asian incels, but African American incels are superior to white incels. This is rather surprising, especially considering that in another survey of 550 incels, it was revealed that “55 percent of respondents identify as white or Caucasian.”
However, even more disturbing than their hateful rhetoric are the acts of terror committed by incels. Although the incel community took credit for the actions of Marc Lépine, the perpetrator of the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre, the first self-identified case of incel terror was committed by Elliot Rodgers in 2014.
Rodgers went on a monstrous killing spree, stabbing, shooting and running people over with his car before eventually killing himself, ultimately killing six people and wounding 14. Right before the attacks, he released a video to YouTube called, “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution,” describing the attacks he was about to commit. He also emailed a 107,000-word manifesto titled “My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger” to his friends and family––describing his hatred for his own mixed-race blood, other mixed-race couples and women as a whole.
This vile human, seen as the quintessential incel, is revered by the incel community. Despite being a foul racist and murderer, he is lovingly referred to as “Saint Elliot” by fellow incels.
And unfortunately, Rodger’s attack emboldened a whole generation of incels to follow in his footsteps. One such inspired attacker was Alek Minassian, the person responsible for the Toronto Van Attack, in which 10 people (8 of which were women) were killed and 16 were injured. Before the attack, Minassian posted a Facebook status update, claiming his allegiance to the Incel Rebellion.
Although the number of attacks is not very high, the number of incels does not seem to be going down at all, with tensions between the two genders only getting worse in recent years. Unfortunately, tackling these incel terrorists is a difficult process. Georgetown University Professor Bruce Hoffman notes, like many long-lasting terrorist groups, “The movement is completely decentralized, without any hierarchy or leaders, and therefore no targetable offline organizing or funding streams.”
One necessary step is to label these crimes for what they are terrorism. We took a step towards this in 2020 when the Toronto police officially labeled an incel murder at an erotic spa as being terrorism.
However, we must also work towards destigmatizing mental health illness for men. A Homeland Security Today survey found that the vast majority of incels believed themselves to be mentally ill in some way.
These mentally ill men isolate themselves online and eventually find themselves radicalized by the incel movement. If we wish to halt this growing tide of incels, we must not only treat these attacks as terrorism, but we must also increase mental health support for men before they take “The Black Pill” and become radicalized by the incel movement.
Liam Benedict is a first-year English major from the small town of Galt, California. He is a writer and is planning on becoming a lawyer in the future.
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