'I learned from my dad that when you walk in front of an audience, they are the kings and queens, and you're but the jester - and if you don't think that way, you're going to get very, very conceited.' -Jerry Lewis

Are Incels Just Misunderstood?

by Ethan Glover, Wed, May 09, 2018 - (Edited) Thu, May 17, 2018

Alek Minassian drove through the North York City Centre businesses district in Toronto with the intention of killing anyone in his way. He killed 10 and injured 16. He was later arrested after trying to provoke a police officer to kill him. Before his arrest, Minassian left behind a facebook post:

"Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161. The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!"

Elliot Rodger committed the Isla Vista killings in 2014 in California. He stabbed three men to death in his apartment. Then drove to a sorority house and shot three female students, killing two. He drove past a nearby deli, shot and killed a male inside. He then began speeding through the city of Isla Vista shooting several pedestrians. Even exchanged gunfire with police while driving. The incident ended when he crashed the car and shot himself in the head.

Before the attack Elliot Rodger made a YouTube video explaining what he was going to do and that he was going to do it to punish women for rejecting him, and other men for being sexually active.

To his family, friends and therapist, he left a 107,000 word manifesto called, "My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger." In it, he complained about how girls weren't attracted to him. He also hated seeing black, Hispanic, or Asian men socializing with white women because he viewed whites as superior.

So Minassian looked up to someone as sick and twisted as him. Maybe he too had the same issues with women mixed with a broken mind. But the story gets deeper as you look into the term 'incel.' Turns out, it's a large online community. Many forums with thousands of members, most of whom are young, white males. All identify themselves as "involuntarily celibate."

Guys who can't get laid built a community around being 'incel.'

And of course, there's no love lost for Elliot Rodger the "hERo." Even Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter may have considered ER to be a hero.

But not all incels worship ER. Some even say he should've done better. That he should have been able to get a 20 body count minimum. Some members of the incel community have their favorite murderers. Marc Lepine who identified with a violent manhood that dominates women killed 14 women and injured 10 in 1989. Seung-Hui Cho who obsessed over a female student killed 32 and injured 17 in 2007. No matter the favorite, each is consistently referred to as "St. Marc" or "St. Cho" meaning "Saint."

Not only is this community inspiring mass shootings, but it seems to be bolstering today's "alt-right" movement. With the rise of social justice warriors and postmodernism on college campuses, came the rise of MRM, MGTOW and the alt-right as a reaction. But today's politics are not driven by debate and conversation. They are driven by identity. By tying ones own ego and life into a single system of beliefs and taking an aggressive all or nothing stance. Through that, a unique language and way of thinking spreads through these communities. Isolates them further and drives those beliefs more and more radical over time.

An initial look at might make you think that these communities are harmless. And that it is only a loud minority pushing for violence. Many posts are intimate and open. The users don't support one another in self-improvement. But they help one another accept their situation of loneliness and to cope with it. It's a place to talk openly without judgment and without having to hear the same advice from people that don't understand. (Or don't seem to.)

On the site, you'll find stories of incels trying to talk to a hundred women only to earn the label of creep. Just because they don't know how to get a date. Or how to get laid. It's hard not to sympathize with these stories. They're heartbreaking. Young men who became bitter with the world for making them who they are.

There's a lot of things you can blame this trend on. Young kids get in trouble for hugging one another in school. They get scared off from physical expressions of love because puritan adults tie it all to sex. Deprived of physical touch, they never learn how to build relationships. Millenials grew up with nihilist parents who refused to teach them anything except "follow your passion." Leaving their children with a sense of aimlessness and craving for belonging and mentorship.

On one hand, with incels, there is honest frustration and hopelessness. You could say that these guys just don't "get it." But what is "it"? How do you honestly teach one of these 20-25 year-olds what is and isn't creepy? That they're not as ugly as they think they are, and that it shouldn't stop them from finding love? Especially when at their age, and with belonging to these communities, they've heard it all before. And they've confabulated excuses for every answer to their woes.

If I were to talk to an incel with the intention of helping him, I'd have no idea where to begin. Don't wear cargo shorts or flip-flops? Learn to build relationships with the people around you? Both good advice, but where exactly does that get incels?

As with drug addicts, the depressed and obese, it doesn't help them to tell them what to do. At least, it doesn't seem that way. I think incels are right to be angry at some things.

In one example, a young man had been approaching women and asking for a date outside of a mall. His methods are a bit crude and embarrassing, but he likely learned it from a "pick-up" artist online. And this was an honest attempt to find a girlfriend. In response, a girl took his picture and posted it to Facebook. She called him a 'creep' and 'harasser.' She warned others to stay away from him. It is from these kinds of things that awkward males develop bad reputations. They become scared into isolation by their peers.

Doing these kinds of things to innocent people only has the potential to make things worse. Driving them into isolation is what drives them to online forums where they can talk about Saint ER.

Experience in radical politics and cult-like social movements has shown me one key thing. You can't change the world. You can't approach thousands of young men and tell them it's going to be OK. They don't need to turn to wrath, they can still find love.

If you can't change the group, what do you do? Best case, as an individual you can try to sympathize with the 'creeps' of the world. Consider what drove them to their position and not make it worse. You can reach out to friends who are in a dark place. But as far as these groups go? Strangers on the internet. There's nothing to do but allow them to keep talking to one another. Because for the majority, having someone to talk to is the best love they've got. And for many, it's enough to keep them going.

Further Reading

The misunderstood history of the 'incel' movement - In their ever diminishing corner of the internet, the original incel communities are still trying to help each other get back on track.

Want to Understand Straight Incels? Talk to This Gay One. - Erik's radicalization shows that the incel phenomenon has nothing to do with sex - duh - and everything to do with entitlement.

Male sexlessness is on the rise, and it might have to do with a long-term bad economy

What we need to learn about boys from the violent rise of the 'incel rebellion'