Incels: Who They Are And How The Members Of This Group Think


There are many ways of seeing the world and numerous associations and social movements with different purposes and ideologies. However, not all of them are positive and prosocial.

There are movements and even subcultures that defend the commission of various crimes or that consider part of the population as their enemy. This is what happens with incels, a group that has claimed its first fatalities and about which until recently there was little information.

The “incels”: origin and evolution of the term

The term “incel” comes from “involuntary celibacy” or involuntary celibacy Initially it was generated by a woman from the LGBT community who intended to refer to all those people who, due to their physical appearance, are not sexually attractive and cannot maintain sexual relations, trying to generate a label to group together and generate a community that would integrate and allow them to feel less alone to those people who could not get out of their loneliness.

However, over time the term and its definition have been taken and appropriated by a community or subculture born and expanded through networks (4chan or Reddit being some of the main ones).

Thus, currently that group of men, mostly heterosexual, who are not in a relationship or have had sexual relations either never or in a long time (they do not necessarily have to be virgins) despite pretending to be. These people believe that they have the right to maintain relationships (confusing the right to have sex with the fact that others must provide it), and they blame women for denying them this right.

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Characteristics of this misogynistic group

The current members of this group They generally have a misogynistic attitude which has led some of its members to consider that they have the right to punish, force or even kill those who deny or usurp that right. A sexist and misogynistic attitude can be recognized that sees women in general as mere sexual objects or as subordinates who have the duty to provide them with sex.

The group of incels tends to consider that their lack of relationships is derived from an unattractive physical appearance or due to a supposed feminine superficiality, not observing their beliefs and attitudes as a motivation for rejection. They do not usually understand the possible reasons for rejection or how other subjects are accepted, and they consider that it is an act of discrimination that deserves contempt and punishment. The attitude towards themselves is usually self-deprecating to a greater or lesser degree, highlighting the presence of feelings of displacement and inadequacy that generate great frustration.

Likewise, they are characterized by communicating in Internet forums, spaces where they share their opinions and talk about various topics, among which the vision of sex as a masculine right that is being denied stands out (even forming men’s rights movements and even proposing the advocacy of laws), as well as the view of themselves as someone who has been humiliated and is suffering a conspiracy against them.

Terms and jargon used in their forums

The hatred of this group is not directed exclusively towards women, but it has also been observed that physically attractive and sexually active men are also visualized as enemies or rivals. In fact, nicknames or nicknames have even been generated to refer to their objects of hatred.

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“Chad” would be understood as any physically attractive male with an active sexual life who represents what many of these subjects would like to achieve but cannot, and who are seen as their opposites. Some incels revere them, but in other cases there is usually a deep hatred and envy towards them. In some forums there has been talk of the genocide of Chads

Another nickname that this subculture gives to other people is the one they give to the female counterpart in the previous case: the “Stacy”. In this case, they would be physically attractive and generally young women who tend to be attracted to “Chads” and reject members of the incel group. It is a hated object of desire, as they believe that they are being denied the love and sex to which they believe they are entitled.

In addition to that They also use the term “phemoid”, or female humanoid It refers in a clearly pejorative and dehumanized way to those women who only have sex with Chads, practically, as if it were their only function.

Finally, another pejorative term they use is “roastie” (roast beef), which refers to the supposed shape they believe the genitals of promiscuous women take.

Related psychological aspects

Although there is no official profile, making a more psychological reading of incel ideology, researcher Debbie Ging believes that it is possible to observe in those who are part of this group the presence of a high level of frustration, loneliness and a feeling of not belonging, of being ignored and feeling isolated. A frustration for which they hold their objects of desire and those who maintain relationships with them responsible.

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The presence of a low level of tolerance and little ability to manage romantic and/or sexual rejection is also observed, not possessing sufficient social and emotional management skills. These are people who tend to focus on the perception of pain and frustration to end up blaming the other for him. The lack of powerful emotional ties and personal insecurity also facilitates ascription to this type of ideology, by providing those who do so with a meaning for their lack of relationships.

Murders associated with this group

The expansion of this group has already claimed its first victims. One of the most famous cases is that of Elliot Rodger who in 2014 shot six people to death and wounded another thirteen before committing suicide, having left recordings and documents in which he explained wanting to punish women for having felt rejected and dissatisfied all their lives and defending that they deserved to die.

This first known case was idealized by some members of the incel collective, to the point that it would be replicated on April 23 of this year by Alek Minassian. And the mass accident that occurred in Toronto last month and which culminated in the death of a dozen people was caused by the aforementioned young man. Afterwards, he left a message on Facebook expressing his desire to start a revolution and exterminate the Chads and Stacys.

These two are cases in which the involvement of this group in murders and massacres has been observed directly, but other less known cases could also be related.