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How A Society That Roots For White Male Underdogs Created Incel Subculture

Hell hath no fury like a single cis-het white man scorned.

The Context

One of the more dangerous trends to arise in recent years is characterized by the public sympathizing with and analyzing evil, sociopathic men. Specifically, ones that have targeted women. This is made evident by television’s overwhelming coverage of serial killers like Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer, as well as Star Wars fans’ affinity for Kylo Ren that extends past just liking him “as a character.”

Separately, the media has always glorified the less-attractive nerd going after the pretty, popular girl, which is a huge trope in romantic comedies. Examples of this are everywhere: in the new Baywatch remake, classics like Can’t Buy Me Love, or any movie with Adam Sandler.

Image credit: New On Netflix

So in combining these two mainstream tendencies, society has not only been taught it should feel sorry for predominantly straight, white social outcasts because they can’t get the girl, but also that bad people deserve an audience to witness their acts, along with understanding.

This has inevitably led to the cancerous growth of a disturbing male subculture that vehemently believes what it has been taught through these societal norms. The group surfaced in the public consciousness last year in April, 2018 when a man in Toronto referenced the “Incel Rebellion” before driving through a crowd of people.

What’s An Incel?

An incel, for those who are unfamiliar with the term, is someone who believes they are an “involuntary celibate.” Essentially, incels think they are being forced to abstain from sex because they are (as they classify themselves) unattractive and socially inept beta males.

Originally, the incel movement was started by a woman named Alana, who wanted to make a friendly, open space for lonely people to come together to talk about their experiences.

However the word was quickly commandeered by cis-het white men who think having sex or a relationship with women is their unalienable right. Mainly existing as part of an online community through hidden sites, incels band together over their anger, sadness, self-hatred, misogyny, racism and sense of injustice at not receiving what they are “owed.”

In the wake of the Toronto massacre and other murders committed by incels, most have been pushed to the fringes of the dark web, and blocked from Reddit (on public domains) for threatening and advocating rape against women. Early last year the Southern Poverty Law Center added “male supremacy” to its hate map, officially categorizing incels under the ideology.

What Do They Do?


Image credit: r/IncelTears


Rather than treating women with respect, like the stereotypical “nice guys” in movies, incels choose to demean and degrade women. Commonly on forums they can be found ranting about how females are less than human, detailing all the horrible things they would do to a woman’s body, expressing regressive views of domestic, subservient womanhood, as well as calling women whores, sluts, femoids, and other derogatory names.

Image credit: r/IncelTears

While they claim women constantly reject them based upon their looks, incels themselves are very selective about who they would date. They tend to be racist, fatphobic, and against any woman who owns her sexuality.

People like incels are the reason women are afraid to anger men, to stand up for themselves, and say no to sex. Because there are men out there that think they deserve things from women, and have no problem hurting women who get in their way or make them feel bad about themselves.

Incels & The Film Industry

Typically in Hollywood, the pretty girl is seen as the shallow, self-obsessed villain while the audience bemoans the plight of the poor unattractive man who just wants to be seen for the person he is on the inside. While the idea behind this “don’t judge a book by its cover” rhetoric is well-intentioned, there are a few major flaws that tend to be overlooked.

1.) The media depicting women as heartless, cruel beings who hold sexual power over men, and give them worth based upon whether or not they sleep with them is detrimental to both genders.

On the one hand, it fuels men and incels’ demonization of women, especially feminists, who are assertive about what they want and their worth. (Due to female empowerment, women have become more brazen about their rights and bolder when it comes to forcibly rejecting men, which in turn upsets incels.)

On the other, it teaches men that the only way to be validated as the likable, suave hero is to eventually get the girl. Which either means they either won’t stop until they get what they want, until they kill themselves, or until they harm or kill others. This is why many incels tend to be either depressed and suicidal, or angry, homicidal rapists.

Image credit: MEDIUM

2.) Giving men the idea that women will fix them or be the answers to all their problems is an unhealthy notion that will only disappoint. Real women aren’t manic pixie dream girls, and it isn’t their job to transform grown men or teach them anything.

There are already so many expectations placed on women due to gender roles and toxic masculinity, such as how they should behave, talk, dress, and act in bed versus when their partner isn’t around. This contributes directly to the surplus of domestic violence and emotional abuse in relationships. If women don’t always agree to be what men want them to be, or conform to the standards expected of them, then they are punished.

3.) It perpetuates the myth that all “ugly” men that women turn down are good, deserving people. When they aren’t. Just because the movies show a rosy story of a decent white man vying for the attention of a girl with acts of kindness, doesn’t mean that all men pursuing women in real life are doing it out of true love.

The problem lies with incels categorizing everyone under a limited number of labels. Not every “Chad,” as incels call hot men who sleep with women, is a Ted Bundy. Not every “Stacy,” which is the general word for women who are hyperfeminine, attractive, and unattainable, is cruel or doesn’t care about other people’s feelings. Likewise not every ostracized, awkward white underdog is a goofy, nice or lovable human being.

How To Stop The Spreading Of Incel Subculture

There are a lot of virgins and people who are lonely or can’t have sex due to disabilities, fewer opportunities, their appearance and trauma. But not everyone blames their misfortune on an entire group of people or resorts to violence when they don’t get what they want. 

As a country and a culture we need to stop teaching men that women are their finish lines, and stop suggesting that they can have their pick of any woman they want (hot or not). It’s also imperative that we stop condemning women for who they choose to be with or stay away from. The value we place on sex and romantic relationships must end. Then perhaps the pressure to conform to the constant demands of external validation will dissipate too.

Photo: Getty via The Mirror

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