Anonymous community of the “involuntarily celibate"

Sam is a reclusive young man who finds solace with those who share the same self-described title: Incel. When his countless real-life efforts at love fail, Sam turns to this anonymous community of the “involuntarily celibate” for help, but instead finds himself increasingly pushed towards extremism. Read more about it here.

Incel - Wikipedia
Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) - Wikipedia
Misery And Misogyny: The Danger Of Incels
Kavanaugh Has Become a Hero to the Incel Community Daily Beast
The film


Incels (a portmanteau of involuntary celibates) are members of an online subculture[1][2] who define themselves as unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one, a state they describe as inceldom.[3] Self-identified incels are mostly white, male, and heterosexual.[4][5][6] Discussions in incel forums are often characterized by resentment, misanthropy,[1] self-pity,[7] self-loathing,[8] misogyny, racism, a sense of entitlement to sex, and the endorsement of violence against sexually active people.[5][6][9][10][11] The Southern Poverty Law Center described the subculture as "part of the online male supremacist ecosystem" that is included in their list of hate groups.[12][13] People who have either self-identified as incels or who had mentioned incel-related names and writings in their private writings or Internet postings have committed at least four mass murders in North America, resulting in forty-five deaths. Incel communities have been criticized by the media and researchers for being misogynist, encouraging violence, as well as spreading extremist views and radicalizing their members.[2][4][14][15]



The first online community to use the term "incel" was started in 1993 when a Canadian college student known only by her first name, Alana, created a website in order to discuss her sexual inactivity with others.[11][16][17][18] The website, titled "Alana's Involuntary Celibacy Project",[11] was used by people of all genders to share their thoughts and experiences. In 1997, she started a mailing list on the topic that used the abbreviation INVCEL, which was later shortened to "incel", where it was defined as "anybody of any gender who was lonely, had never had sex or who hadn't had a relationship in a long time".[19] During her college career and after, she realized she was queer, and became more comfortable with her identity. She later gave the site to a stranger.[17] When speaking about the website in 2018, Alana said, "It definitely wasn't a bunch of guys blaming women for their problems. That's a pretty sad version of this phenomenon that's happening today. Things have changed in the last 20 years."[19]

The message board was founded in 2003 as a place for people who were perpetually rejected or extremely shy of potential partners to discuss their situations.[20][21]

The /r/incels subreddit, a forum on the website Reddit, became a particularly active incel community. The subreddit was known as a place where men blamed women for their involuntary celibacy, sometimes advocated for rape or other violence, and were misogynistic and often racist.[22][23] One post titled "general question about how rapists get caught" was asked by a member pretending to be a woman, saying they wanted to know how a woman who was drugged and raped would begin finding her rapist.[22][24]

When Alana read about the 2014 Isla Vista killings, and the way parts of the incel subculture glorified the perpetrator, Elliot Rodger,[24] she wrote, "Like a scientist who invented something that ended up being a weapon of war, I can't uninvent this word, nor restrict it to the nicer people who need it."[18] Alana expressed regret at the change in usage from her original intent of creating an "inclusive community" for men and women who were sexually deprived due to social awkwardness, marginalization, or mental illness.[25] She has since started a new project, "Love Not Anger", which she describes as "a project to research how lonely people might find respectful love, instead of being stuck in anger."[17]

On October 25, 2017, Reddit announced a new policy that would ban "content that encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or a group of people."[23] and banned the /r/incels subreddit on November 7, 2017, under its purview. At the time of the ban, the community had around 40,000 members.[26]

Incels came to wider public notice with the banning of the subreddit and when a series of mass murders were committed by men who either self-identified as involuntarily celibate or shared similar ideologies.[21][27] However the incel community continued to inhabit Reddit.[28] Increased interest in incel communities has been attributed to the feeling of "aggrieved entitlement" by some men, who feel they are being denied rights they deserve and blame women instead of society's expectation of masculinity.[29]

Incel communities have increasingly become more extremist and focused on violence, in recent years.[30][31][32] This has been attributed to various factors, including influence from overlapping online hate groups[2] and the rise of the alt-right and white supremacist groups.[30][15] The misogynistic and sometimes violent rhetoric[5][22][33][34] of some members of incel communities has led to numerous bans from websites and webhosts. Incel communities continue to exist on more lenient platforms, such as Voat, 4chan, and Reddit.[35][20] There are also incel forums that disapprove of hatred,[36][37] and a dating website that caters to incels.[8]


Many incel communities are characterized by resentment, self-pity,[7] misogyny, misanthropy, narcissism,[38] and racism.[1][5][11][34][7][22][23][33][39] Discussions often revolve around the belief that men are owed sex, idleness, loneliness, unhappiness,[40] suicide, sexual surrogates, prostitutes and the acquirement of sex robots,[41] as well as various attributes they believe increase one's desirability as a partner such as income or personality.[21] Some endorse suicide among incels,[42] violence against sexually active women and more sexually successful men,[23][43][44] harassment of women,[14] and catfishing women.[14] In some communities, it is common for posts to glorify violence by self-identified incels such as Elliot Rodger (2014 Isla Vista killings) and Alek Minassian (2018 Toronto van attack, suspected),[45][46] as well as by those they believe shared their ideology such as Marc Lépine (1989 École Polytechnique massacre),[14] Seung-Hui Cho (2007 Virginia Tech shooting),[47] and George Sodini (2009 Collier Township shooting).[48]

Many incels firmly defend concepts such as biological determinism and evolutionary psychology.[49] Other concepts that incels may believe in include female hypergamy, the "80/20 rule" (an application of the Pareto principle) which suggests that 80% of women desire the top 20% of most attractive men; and among non-whites, the "JBW" theory, which stands for "Just Be White", suggesting that Caucasians face the fewest obstacles when dating.[50][51] Incels also believe that single people seeking a partner participate in a cruel, mercenary, and Darwinian sexual selection wherein incels are genetically unfit and where women hold an advantage for reasons ranging from feminism to the use of cosmetics.[52] Incels may attribute their lack of sexual success to factors such as shyness, sex-segregated work environments, negative body image,[53] penis size,[50] or their physical appearance,[54] and commonly believe that the only thing more important than looks in improving a man's eligibility as a prospective partner is wealth.[55] Some members of incel communities support the idea of "forced 'sexual redistribution'", where governments would require women to engage in certain sexual relationships,[56] an idea which incels refer to as "sexual Marxism"[57] and which others have described as "state-sanctioned rape".[38] Some incels support the works of fringe[21] social psychologist Brian Gilmartin,[49] author of the book Shyness and Love which gained popularity among incel communities, and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson.[58]

Incel communities are a part of the broader manosphere.[2][59][60] According to The New York Times, involuntary celibacy is an adaptation of the idea of "male supremacy".[61] The Southern Poverty Law Center described the subculture as "part of the online male supremacist ecosystem", which they began including in their list of hate groups in 2018.[13] The New York Times wrote that "the group has evolved into a male supremacist movement made up of people—some celibate, some not—who believe that women should be treated as sexual objects with few rights."[56] Incel communities sometimes overlap with topics such as Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW),[51] men's rights activism, vlogs by people who believe they are experiencing "true forced loneliness" (TFL),[40] and pickup artistry,[21][48] although at least one male incel website has expressed hatred for pickup artistry and accuses pickup artists and dating coaches of financially exploiting incels.[62][48][63]

Black pill

The black pill is a set of beliefs that are commonly held amongst members of incel communities, such as biological determinism, fatalism and defeatism for unattractive people.[64] Someone who believes in the black pill is blackpilled.[65]

The concept of the black pill distinguishes incels from the men's rights movement and their popular reference to the red pill, an allusion to the dilemma in the movie The Matrix where the protagonist must choose to remain in a world of illusion (taking the blue pill) or to see the world as it really is (taking the red pill).[66] In the context of men's rights activism, "taking the red pill" means seeing a world where women hold power over men.[67] The black pill, on the other hand, refers to hopelessness.[49] It also holds that one's personality isn't very important.[68]

The term black pill was first popularized on the blog Omega Virgin Revolt, where the term commended despondency in order to distinguish incels from the pickup artist communities.[51] On the incel subreddit /r/braincels, "blackpills" are memes (usually images) that users share to describe a user's thoughts, many of which criticize women as egocentric, cruel, and shallow.[69] Although the tone of the subreddit is similar, moderators of the forum say that they do not endorse, support, or glorify violence or violent people, a distinction they make from the subject matter of its /r/incels predecessor that resulted in it being banned from Reddit.[69]


The term "involuntary celibate" (shortened to "incel") refers to self-identifying members of an online subculture based around the inability to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one, a state they describe as inceldom[3] or incelibacy.[70] It is sometimes used interchangeably or alongside other terms, such as "love-shy" (describing those with social anxiety or excessive shyness preventing romantic success),[20][71] "FA" (short for "forever alone"),[72] "unfuckability",[73] "omegas",[64] "zeta males",[74] "betas"[75] "the undersexed",[76] or "the sexless".[6] Alana, the coiner of the term incel, initially considered using other terms such as "perpetually single" or "dating shy".[17]

Members of incel communities regularly use jargon and a distinct dialect to refer to various concepts.[51] For example, they may describe women as "femoids", "stacys" (attractive sexually active women), or "beckys" (less attractive sexually active women), and sexually active men as "chads".[22][77][65] "Mogging" refers to the act of eclipsing another person in terms of physical appearance and thereby undermining them. "Looksmaxing" is an attempt at enhancing one's appearance by methods including dressing nicely, going to the gym, or undergoing plastic surgery.[40][78] The abbreviation "NEET" refers to people who don't have jobs and aren't attending school: "not in education, employment, or training".[75]

Members of incel communities use many variations of the term "incel" to refer to subgroups in the community, such as "volcels" (voluntary celibate; someone who chooses to forego sexual intercourse),[79] "marcels" (married), "nearcels" (those who are considered nearly incel), "hicels" (those who have high standards; are very picky when dating), "heightcels" (short),[17] and "fakecels" (those who claim to be incel, but in reality have recently had sex or been in a relationship).[49][80] There are also a number of race-based variations of the term "incel" which refer to people who believe their race is the reason behind their inability to find a partner, including "currycels" (people of South Asian ancestry)[42] and "ricecels" (those of Chinese or Southeast Asian backgrounds),[50] or collectively, "ethnicels".[81]


Self-identified incels are mostly white, male and heterosexual,[4][5][6] and are often described as young[33][82][83] and friendless introverts.[40] Some media outlets depict them as unemployed and living with parents.[20] However, due to their varied nature, there is no singular typical trait that defines all incels.[20] Although members of incel communities mainly reside in the United States,[84] there are also incel communities for people outside the Anglosphere, such as the Italian website Il Forum dei Brutti.[85]

The first incel website, Alana's Involuntary Celibacy Project, was gender-inclusive.[86] There are also women-specific forums, such as /r/Femcels[87] and /r/ForeverAloneWomen.[18] Nonetheless, there is disagreement in online incel communities on whether women can be incel, with some claiming that male incels outnumber female incels,[88] others claiming that it is impossible for women to be incel,[21] others claiming that only women with a physical deformity can be incel,[57] while others argue that only highly unattractive women belonging to the "bottom percentile in terms of appearance" can be incel.[89]

Estimates on the size of incel communities vary,[21][90][74] and range from the thousands,[25] to tens of thousands,[64] or hundreds of thousands.[84]

The incel subculture includes people who are in sexless marriages (or other sexless relationships) but who wish to be sexually active. It is considered to be distinct from asexuality and from voluntary sexual abstinence.[91]

Mental health

"Involuntary celibacy" is not a medical or psychological condition. Some people who identify as incel suffer from physical disabilities or psychological disorders such as depression, Asperger syndrome, and body dysmorphic disorder.[92] Some visitors of incel forums attribute their inability to find a partner to physical or mental ailments, some others attribute it to extreme introversion. Many incels engage in self-diagnosis of mental health issues,[49] and members of incel communities often discourage posters who post about mental illness from seeing therapists or otherwise seeking treatment.[28][93] Some incels with severe depression are also suicidal,[20] and some members of incel communities encourage suicidal members to commit suicide, sometimes recommending they commit acts of mass violence before doing so.[78][28][30]

Mass murders and violence

Some mass murders and other violent attacks in North America have been committed or are suspected to have been committed by men who have self-identified as involuntarily celibate, or whose statements align with incel ideologies.

On May 23, 2014, Elliot Rodger killed six people and injured fourteen others before killing himself in Isla Vista, California, near the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara. These killings drew media attention to the concept of involuntary celibacy, and particularly the misogyny and glorification of violence that are a mainstay of many incel communities. Rodger self-identified as an incel and left behind a 137-page manifesto and YouTube videos detailing his involuntary celibacy and discussing how he wanted revenge for being rejected by women.[17][94][95][96] He had been an active member of an involuntary celibacy community called PUAHate (short for "pickup artist hate"), and referenced it several times in his manifesto.[48][97][27] Although PUAHate shut down soon after the attack, Rodger became something of a martyr to some communities that remained, and to some of those that began later.[27][98][12] He has been referenced by the perpetrators or suspected perpetrators of several other mass killings.[46]

Rodger is among several attackers who are regularly praised by members of incel communities. The perpetrator of the 2009 Collier Township shooting, George Sodini, has been embraced by some of these communities.[48] After the 2017 Las Vegas shooting by Stephen Paddock (a man with unclear motive), some of the involuntarily celibate community celebrated the shooter, who they felt was a hero who was targeting "normies".[12] The trend has since continued—after the 2018 Toronto van attack, a poster on a website created to supersede /r/incels wrote about suspected perpetrator Alek Minassian, "I hope this guy wrote a manifesto because he could be our next new saint."[12] After the 2018 Danforth shooting, posters on an incel message board expressed excitement with the possibility that the perpetrator might be an incel, although no motive has been identified.[14]

On October 1, 2015, Chris Harper-Mercer killed nine people and injured eight others before killing himself in a shooting at the Umpqua Community College campus in Roseburg, Oregon. He left a manifesto at the scene, outlining his interest in other mass murders including the Isla Vista killings, anger at not having a girlfriend, and animus towards the world. In his journal writings, he had related with Elliot Rodger and other mass shooters, describing them as "people who stand with the gods."[34] Before the attack, when someone on an online message board had speculated he was "saving himself for someone special", Harper-Mercer had replied: "Involuntarily so."[99][21][100][101] Several hours before the shooting, someone suspected to be Harper-Mercer posted a threat to a Pacific Northwest college to /r9k/, a 4chan board with many involuntarily celibate posters.[20][102][103]

On July 31, 2016, Sheldon Bentley robbed and killed an unconscious man in an alleyway in Edmonton, Alberta. During his trial, Bentley said he killed the man by stomping on his abdomen because he was frustrated with stress from his job as a security guard and with being involuntarily celibate for four years.[104][105]

On December 7, 2017, William Atchison killed two people before killing himself in Aztec, New Mexico in a shooting at Aztec High School, where he had previously been a student. He had used the pseudonym "Elliot Rodger" on several online forums, and praised "the supreme gentleman" (a term Rodger had used to describe himself, which has since been adopted as a moniker by incel communities).[46][106]

On February 14, 2018, Nikolas Cruz killed seventeen people and injured seventeen others in a shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida before being arrested. Cruz had previously posted online that “Elliot Rodger will not be forgotten".[34]

On April 23, 2018, a van driver (suspected to be Alek Minassian) killed ten people and injured fourteen others in a vehicle-ramming attack in Toronto, Ontario before being arrested. Shortly before the attack, Minassian had posted on Facebook that "the Incel Rebellion has already begun" and applauded Elliot Rodger.[17][61][107][108] The term "Incel Rebellion" is sometimes used interchangeably with the term "Beta Uprising", which refers to a violent response to incels' perceived sexual deprivation.[1]


Incel communities have been widely criticized in the media and by researchers as violent, misogynist, and extremist.[1][2][4][14][15] Keegan Hankes, a senior research analyst working for the Southern Poverty Law Center, has cautioned that exposure to violent content on incel forums "play[s] a very large role" in the radicalization of incels, and describes violent posts on the forums as "more... than I’m used to seeing on even white supremacist sites."[14] Journalist David Futrelle has described incel communities as "violently misogynistic," and is among critics who attribute worsening violent rhetoric on incel forums to the growth of the alt-right and white supremacy, and the overlap between incel communities and online hate groups.[14][15][109] Senior research fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), Amarnath Amarasingam, has criticized some incel communities where calls for violence are commonplace, saying "under the right set of psychological and personal circumstances, these kinds of forums can be dangerous and push people into violence."[11] Another researcher at the ISD, Jacob Davey, compared the radicalization of incels in incel forums to teenagers being urged to go to extreme measures on online forums that promote anorexia and other eating disorders and to online campaigns convincing people to join ISIL. Speaking about incels' feelings of entitlement to sex, Davey said the attitude "can go as far as the justification of rape." University of Portsmouth lecturer Lisa Sugiura has described incel forums as a "networked misogyny," and urged the posts in such forums be taken seriously not only in the context of hate speech but also as a form of grooming that could radicalize "impressionable and vulnerable disillusioned young men".[29]

Criticism has also been directed against platforms that host or have hosted incel content, including Reddit (who banned the /r/incels community in 2017 but has declined to ban another incel subreddit) and Twitter.[15] Cloudflare, which provides services including DDoS protection and caching so that webpages are still accessible when a site is offline, has also been criticized for protecting incel websites against downtime even when webhosts have terminated service.[110]

Reporting on incels by media outlets following the incel-related attacks during the 2010s has been criticized for its "breathless" coverage, normalizing incel communities by describing them as "sexually frustrated", and directing readers to incel communities.[111] Some reporting has also been criticized for victim blaming by implying that women and peers who rejected the attackers held some responsibility for provoking the attacks,[112] or for giving attackers notoriety by reporting on them at length.[113]

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  • Gell, Aaron (May 24, 2014). "Online Forum For Sexually Frustrated Men Reacts To News That Mass Shooter May Be One Of Their Own". Business Insider. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  • Williams, Zoe (April 25, 2018). "'Raw hatred': why the 'incel' movement targets and terrorises women". The Guardian. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  • Lavin, Talia (May 3, 2018). "Someone Please Tell the Times That Incels Are Terrorists". The Village Voice. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  • Squirrell, Tim (April 26, 2018). "Don't make the mistake of thinking incels are men's rights activists – they are so much more dangerous". The Independent. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  • Sharlet, Bruce (February 3, 2014). "What Kind of Man Joins the Men's Rights Movement?". GQ. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  • Jaret, Arianna (April 25, 2018). "What Does 'Chad' Mean? The Odd Way Incel Men On Reddit And 4Chan Use It To Describe Certain Guys". YourTango. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  • Hosford, Paul (April 26, 2018). "What is the 'incel rebellion'? And who are those behind it?". Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  • Futrelle, David (April 27, 2018). "When a Mass Murderer Has a Cult Following". The Cut. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  • Hudson, Jennifer L.; Rapee, Ronald M. (2000). "The Origins of Social Phobia". Behavior Modification. 24 (1): 102–129. doi:10.1177/0145445500241006.
  • Andreatta, David (May 4, 2018). "Andreatta: Feeling lonely? You're not alone". Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  • Srinivasan, Amia (March 22, 2018). "Does anyone have the right to sex?". London Review of Books. 40 (6): 5–10.
  • Turner, Janice (April 28, 2018). "Self-hating 'incel' men are the new jihadists". The Times. Retrieved June 9, 2018. (registration required)
  • Beran, Dale (May 3, 2018). "Who Are the 'Incels' of 4chan, and Why Are They So Angry?". Pacific Standard. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  • Long, Camilla (April 29, 2018). "Kanye West always turns out to know best. So don't patronise him for loving Trump". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved August 9, 2018. (registration required)
  • Tacopino, Joe (April 24, 2018). "Police investigating Facebook posts allegedly made by suspected Toronto driver". New York Post. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  • Contie, Allie (June 26, 2018). "Learn to Decode the Secret Language of the Incel Subculture". Vice. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  • O'Haver, Hanson (February 13, 2017). "What Swearing Off Sex Does to Your Brain". Broadly. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  • Nolan-Smith, Peter (April 24, 2018). "What you need to know about 'The Incel Rebellion'". Daily Hive. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  • Jennings, Rebecca (August 6, 2018). "Incels' Obsession With Looks Is Based on Fake Math". Racked. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  • Racco, Marilisa (April 26, 2018). "'There's a lot of truth in this': Incel spokesperson defends movement praised by Alek Minassian". Global News. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  • Lynch, Conor (May 12, 2018). "Angry young white men, the "incel rebellion" and an age of worldwide reaction". Salon. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  • Young, Toby (May 5, 2018). "Here's what every incel needs: a sex robot". The Spectator. Retrieved May 23, 2018. One reason for this hostility is that many of those who identify as incels — and there are hundreds of thousands of them, mainly in America
  • Redazione, Di (April 26, 2018). "Chi sono gli Incel, i single che odiano le donne come l'attentatore di Toronto" [Who are the Incels, the single people who hate women like the Toronto bomber]. Esquire (in Italian). Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  • Farivar, Masood (May 3, 2018). "Canada Van Attack Spotlights Online Men's Movement". Voice of America. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  • Beairsto, Bronwyn (April 24, 2018). "Inside the dark 'incel' world of Toronto's murderous rampage". Vancouver Courier. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  • Horton, Helena (November 9, 2017). "Reddit bans message board where men blame women for their celibacy". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  • Alptraum, Lux (May 3, 2018). "'Unfuckable' Women Don't Go on Killing Sprees". Splinter News. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  • Haenfler, Ross (June 6, 2018). "How a masculine culture that favors sexual conquests gave us today's 'incels'". The Conversation. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  • Donnelly, Denise; Burgess, Elisabeth; Anderson, Sally; Davis, Regina; Dillard, Joy (2001). "Involuntary Celibacy: A life course analysis". The Journal of Sex Research. 38 (2): 159–169. doi:10.1080/00224490109552083.
  • Tait, Amelia (May 8, 2018). "We must try to understand how unwanted virginity leads self-hating incels to murder". New Statesman. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  • Conti, Allie (May 11, 2018). "We Asked a Sex Therapist What It's Like to Help An Incel Get Laid". Vice. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  • Hill, Kashmir (May 24, 2014). "The Disturbing Internet Footprint Of Santa Barbara Shooter Elliot Rodger". Forbes. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  • Nagourney, Adam; Cieply, Michael; Feuer, Alan; Lovett, Ian (June 1, 2016). "Elliot O. Rodger's Killings in California Followed Years of Withdrawal". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  • Dewey, Caitlin (May 27, 2014). "Inside the 'manosphere' that inspired Santa Barbara shooter Elliot Rodger". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  • Burleigh, Nina (May 28, 2014). "Hating Women Was His Disease". New York Observer. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  • Fearnow, Benjamin (April 24, 2018). "Elliot Rodger's father 'very sad' Toronto van suspect Alek Minassian referenced son". Newsweek. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  • Healy, Jack; Lovett, Ian (October 2, 2015). "Oregon Killer Described as Man of Few Words, Except on Topic of Guns". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  • Nagle, Angela (June 7, 2017). Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4Chan And Tumblr To Trump And The Alt-Right. John Hunt Publishing. ISBN 9781785355448. In a 2016 essay 'The New Man of 4chan', I wrote an account of the racist and misogynist incel mass shooter Chris Harper Mercer...
  • Shapiro, T. Rees; Dewey, Caitlin; Bernstein, Lenny (October 2, 2015). "Probe in college slayings peers into Web rants and possible religious rage". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  • Gilbert, David (October 2, 2015). "4chan Comments Linked to Oregon Shooter Chris Harper Mercer Under Federal Investigation". International Business Times. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  • Bowman, John (October 8, 2015). "Warning posted to anonymous forum 4chan before Oregon shooting". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  • Theobald, Claire (August 30, 2018). "Security guard who stomped man to death blames involuntary celibacy". StarMetro Edmonton. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  • Parsons, Paige (August 29, 2018). "Security guard who kicked man to death says he was 'involuntarily celibate'". Edmonton Journal.
  • Hankes, Keegan; Amend, Alex (February 5, 2018). "The Alt-Right is Killing People". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  • "Toronto van attack suspect faces more attempted murder charges". BBC News. May 10, 2018. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  • Bowden, John (April 24, 2018). "Toronto rampage suspect referenced extremist male 'incel' movement". The Hill. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  • Cain, Patrick (April 27, 2018). "Expert traces link between violent online alt-right fantasies and real-world attacks". Global News. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  • Cook, Jesselyn (July 25, 2018). "From Nazis To Incels: How One Tech Company Helps Hate Groups Thrive". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  • Kobie, Nicole (April 26, 2018). "After the Toronto attack don't explain Incel ideology, ban it". Wired. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  • Williams, Mary Elizabeth (May 21, 2018). "No, girls and women don't "provoke" mass murderers". Salon. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  • Cooper, Kelly-Leigh (May 31, 2018). "The problem with mass shootings and the media". BBC News. Retrieved August 11, 2018.


MGTOW v Incel


Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) - Wikipedia

Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW /'m?gta?/) is a mostly pseudonymous online community[2][3] of men supported by websites and social media presences[4] cautioning men against serious romantic relationships with women, especially marriage.[5][6]

The community is part of what is more broadly termed the manosphere.[7] MGTOW have "...vowed to stay away from women, stop dating and not have children".[8] MGTOW focuses on men's self-ownership rather than changing the status quo through activism and protest, making MGTOW distinct from the men's rights movement.[9] The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified MGTOW as a fringe supremacist group.[10]



According to Mack Lamoureux, the "...MGTOW community's history is murky, but it was most likely birthed in the mid to early 2000's by two men who go by the online aliases of Solaris and Ragnar." [11] While MGTOW is most associated with Reddit online forums (the UK Express calls MGTOW a "Reddit movement"), there are also MGTOW-themed videos on YouTube.[12]


MGTOW has been associated with political viewpoints. Politically, MGTOW has been variously associated with libertarianism,[13] the alt-right,[13][14] and philosophical anarchism.[9] MGTOW use the word gynocentric to describe conditions that they claim favor women to the detriment of men, and are opposed to such circumstances.[15][6] MGTOW believe that there is a systemic gynocentric bias against men including double standards in gender roles, bias against men in family courts, lack of concern for men falsely accused of rape and lack of consequences for their accusers.[9]


According to Vice, there are five levels to MGTOW:[11]

  • Level 0 – Situational awareness: This is the lowest level of MGTOW. At this level, a man is viewed as having swallowed the "red pill" and thereby, MGTOW advocates claim men at this level "embrace the idea that gender equality is a lie and propaganda."
  • Level 1 – Rejection of long-term relationships: At this stage, a man "...rejects long-term relationships but will still partake in short-term relationships and sexual encounters."
  • Level 2 – Rejection of short-term relationships: In level 2, a man does not meet women for "...hook-ups or any form of short-term or sexual relationships."
  • Level 3 – Economic disengagement: a member at this stage "...refuses to earn more money than is necessary for sustaining life. He views the government as tyrannical and is trying to actively drain money from the bureaucrats."
  • Level 4 – Societal disengagement: "Here the man refuses to interact with society any more than ever", such as by living "off the grid" (e.g. in a cabin)

Views on relations with women

According to the columnist Martin Daubney, members of the MGTOW community believe that legal and romantic entanglements with women fail a cost–benefit analysis and risk–benefit analysis.[16] Jeremy Nicholson, writing for Psychology Today, similarly described MGTOW as "guys who have been frustrated and punished to the point that they see no further incentive to relate [to dating] [...], they focus on making themselves happy".[17]

Kay Hymowitz has stated that some self-identified MGTOW express discontent because they see women as hypergamous and manipulative.[18] The Business Insider reporter Dylan Love wrote a "fully-realized MGTOW (there are levels to it) is someone who shuns all relationships with women, short-term, long-term, romantic, and otherwise. He eventually shuns society as a whole."[19] Some MGTOW have many short-term casual relationships or engage in sex with prostitutes.[9] Celibacy, however, is also an option. A MGTOW that chooses celibacy over sex and relationships is said to be "going monk"[20] and some embrace maintaining their virginity.[13][21] Some MGTOW members advocate having sex with prostitutes or using sex dolls. While the movement is against relationships with women, The Sun notes that "For men who claim to be removing women from their lives, they sure love talking about them" on MGTOW online forums.[22]

It has been called an "...offshoot of the men’s rights movement but rather than getting stuck in and tackling issues, these guys have vowed to stay away from women, stop dating and not have children". One MGTOW supporter states that the movement is about " life your way rather than trying to make a woman happy or being a slave to cultural expectations”. Some "purists in the movement who are the most extreme" have decided to "avoid women entirely". [23]

Red pill

MGTOW use slang such as "red pilled" to describe members of their movement and "blue pilled" to describe men outside, or opposed to their movement.[24][25]

Relationship to other groups

Men's rights movement

MGTOW differs from the men's rights movement, in that while the men's rights movement aims at changing the status quo, such as by changing the laws, MGTOW call for focus on self-ownership[9] and withdrawing from interactions with women.

Mack Lamoureux states that while "[a]t first glance, it's easy to lump MGTOW in with typical Men's Rights Activists (MRAs) who also believe that female oppression is a myth and that it's actually males who are oppressed—but that's not the case. The two groups differ significantly ... While MRAs are out to fix the problem through action and activism, members of MGTOW hold self-preservation above all else, and because of this the majority of the community seems to have decided to bow out."[11]

Teens Going Their Own Way

An Australian newspaper described the growing number of teen males who have decided to adopt MGTOW, which it called TGTOW (Teens Going Their Own Way).[26]

Herbivore men

According to Roselina Salemi, writing for La Repubblica, the Japanese concept of herbivore men is a subset of MGTOW.[27] Mack Lamoureux, writing in Vice, sees herbivore men as a consequence of Japanese socioeconomic conditions and MGTOW as an ideological choice.[4] In a DELFI article MGTOW are described as a protest against feminist laws in the West whereas herbivore men are a response to traditional gender roles in Japan, such as those of salarymen.[28] Kashmira Gander writing for The Independent, sees herbivore men serving as role models for MGTOW.[13]

Disagreements with other groups

MGTOW see feminists; "white knights", defined as "men who unquestioningly jump to women's defence in hope of hooking up with them";[29] "manginas", a derogatory manosphere slang term for male feminists;[30] "social justice warriors"; the LGBT rights movement; and support for safe spaces as obstacles to male self-ownership.[13] MGTOW have been described as having a "serious problem with feminism."[11]

MGTOW have a reciprocal disdain for the seduction community ("pick-up artists").[9] The MGTOW movement has been criticized by the pick-up artists (PUA) for being cult-like, antithetical to human nature, and likened to separatist feminism.[9] Matt Forney from Return of Kings, a pick-up artist website, calls MGTOW a "creeping cult of male loserdom" and says it is a "lonely hearts' club for the refuse of the male species". Forney mocks MGTOW as "Virgins Going Their Own Way" and says they are "personally repellent losers".[11]


Some writers have generally held a critical perspective of the MGTOW community. An article in The Economist about MGTOW states that the "rebalancing of the sexes has spawned 21st-century misogyny", with slogans like "Save a male and stop a wedding™" being an unregistered trademark of[31] Leah Morrigan states that the MGTOW founder Sandman's videos "proclai[m] his bitter, indiscriminate hate towards women", who he claims are all "manipulative whores and liars" who Sandman "slut-shames, fat-shames, and age-shames".[32] When women are discussed on MGTOW forums, it is often "angrily";[33] the Southern Poverty Law Center places it "on the borders of the hateful incel community".[10]

Pick-up artists "disparage the community", calling their "'philosophy'...completely wrongheaded."[11] W. Bradford Wilcox, a conservative and visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, was criticized by the MGTOW activist who goes by the pseudonym "Turd Flinging Monkey", who was against Wilcox's video about the "benefits of marriage for men", which notes that "married men work harder (about 400 more hours), smarter (they’re less likely to quit without having found another job), and more successfully (they make about $16,000 more per year) than their single peers".[34]

Researcher Barb MacQuarrie, who described the community as "misinformed", said, "They have no real ability to identify the global forces that are at work in their life, so they hang the blame on feminists", and interact with other "disillusioned, disenfranchised men" using "deplorable" rhetoric. She says that MGTOW advocates show "a complete lack of self-reflection", and their decision to live "separatist lifestyles" away from women is "pathetic". MacQuarrie summed up her views with the comment, "They're only reinforcing each other's really distorted perceptions of what's happening in the world. They are confining themselves knowingly to a life of isolation and a lot of limitations. It's sad."[33]

See also

Notes and references

1.Jump up ^ "Men at War". Reggie Yates' Extreme UK. Season 1. Episode 2. January 12, 2016. 22 minutes in. BBC. BBC Three.

2.Jump up ^ McCarthy, James (November 22, 2015). "David Sherratt, 18, is a men's rights activist who won't have casual sex in case he is falsely accused of rape". Wales Online. Retrieved December 31, 2015.

3.Jump up ^ Doyle, Paulie (January 5, 2017). "How 'Fight Club' Became the Ultimate Handbook for Men's Rights Activists". Broadly. Vice Media. Archived from the original on January 6, 2017. Retrieved February 10, 2017.

4.^ Jump up to: a b Lamoureux, Mack (September 24, 2015). "This Group of Straight Men Is Swearing Off Women". Vice. Retrieved December 30, 2015.

5.Jump up ^ Wilcox, Bradford (May 18, 2016). "Maxim Masculinity: One Legacy of the Divorce Revolution". Family Studies. Institute for Family Studies. Retrieved October 25, 2017.

6.^ Jump up to: a b Perrins, Laura (May 24, 2016). "Feminists and male supremacists have much in common – both are wrong". The Conservative Woman. Archived from the original on May 26, 2016. Retrieved February 14, 2017.

7.Jump up ^ Goldwag, Arthur (Spring 2012). "Leader's Suicide Brings Attention to Men's Rights Movement". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center (145). Retrieved April 6, 2015.

8.Jump up ^ Barraclough, Corrine (3 April 2017). "First men, now boys are 'Going Their Own Way'". Retrieved 14 April 2018.

9.^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g C. Brian Smith (September 28, 2016). "The Straight Men Who Want Nothing to Do With Women". MEL Magazine. Archived from the original on February 14, 2017.

10.^ Jump up to: a b "Male Supremacy". Retrieved September 20, 2018.

11.^ Jump up to: a b c d e f Lamoureux, Mack (24 September 2015). "Inside the Group of Straight Men Who Are Swearing Off Women: They call themselves Men Going Their Own Way and they dislike feminism so much they are grabbing their balls and going home". Vice. Retrieved 20 April 2018.

12.Jump up ^ Hodgkin, Emily (5 July 2017). "Are modern men becoming CELIBATE? Online movement is encouraging men to ignore women". Express. Retrieved 21 July 2018.

13.^ Jump up to: a b c d e Gander, Kashmira (September 27, 2016). "Inside the world of men who've sworn never to sleep with women again". The Independent.

14.Jump up ^ Wilkinson, Abi (November 15, 2016). "We need to talk about the online radicalisation of young, white men". The Guardian. Retrieved February 13, 2017.

15.Jump up ^ Daubney, Martin (November 24, 2015). "George Lawlor's story shows how universities have become hostile towards men". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved January 14, 2016.

16.Jump up ^ Daubney, Martin (November 15, 2015). "Meet the men giving up on women". The Sunday Times. Retrieved December 30, 2015. "As a result of these views, such men are making logical, factual and cost-benefit-based decisions about women, dating and sex—and their brutally stark conclusion is that it's simply not worth the risk, expense or effort."

17.Jump up ^ Nicholson, Jeremy (April 3, 2012). "Why Are Men Frustrated With Dating?". Psychology Today. Retrieved January 8, 2016.

18.Jump up ^ Hymowitz, Kay (February 27, 2011). "Why Are Men So Angry?". The Daily Beast. Retrieved December 30, 2015.

19.Jump up ^ Love, Dylan (September 15, 2013). "Inside Red Pill, The Weird New Cult For Men Who Don't Understand Women". Business Insider. Retrieved January 4, 2016.

20.Jump up ^ (October 9, 2016). "The MGTOW group really, really don't like women". Archived from the original on October 8, 2016. Retrieved February 9, 2017.

21.Jump up ^ Palash Krishna Mehrotra (September 10, 2016). "Why people don't want to make babies anymore (except Indians)". DailyO. Retrieved February 9, 2017.

22.Jump up ^ Harrison, George (7 June 2018). "MEN GOING 'MONK' These men hate women so much they've sworn off sex and refuse to speak to them: Meet the 'Men Going Their Own Way'". The Sun. Retrieved 23 June 2018.

23.Jump up ^ Harrison, George (7 June 2018). "MEN GOING 'MONK' These men hate women so much they've sworn off sex and refuse to speak to them: Meet the 'Men Going Their Own Way'". The Sun. Retrieved 23 June 2018.

24.Jump up ^ "Balls to all that". The Economist. Retrieved 2018-03-05.

25.Jump up ^ "'Por que confraternizar com o inimigo?' Os homens que evitam se relacionar com mulheres". BBC (in Portuguese). G1. 29 November 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2018.

26.Jump up ^ Barraclough, Corrine (3 April 2017). "First men, now boys are 'Going Their Own Way'". Retrieved 14 April 2018.

27.Jump up ^ Salemi, Roselina (January 12, 2016). "Finalmente soli". La Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved February 8, 2016. "Dentro c'è di tutto: 'erbivori' (nel senso di per nulla carnali) stile giapponese, ..." (Translated: "Among [the MGTOW] there are all sorts of things: 'herbivores' (meaning: no carnal relations) of the Japanese type, ..."

28.Jump up ^ "Moteru minciu apie "tikrus vyrus" forumuose prisiskaites vaikinas: vyrai, susimastykite". DELFI (in Lithuanian). October 12, 2015. Retrieved January 13, 2016.

29.Jump up ^ Harrison, George (7 June 2018). "MEN GOING 'MONK' These men hate women so much they've sworn off sex and refuse to speak to them: Meet the 'Men Going Their Own Way'". The Sun. Retrieved 23 June 2018.

30.Jump up ^ Harrison, George (7 June 2018). "MEN GOING 'MONK' These men hate women so much they've sworn off sex and refuse to speak to them: Meet the 'Men Going Their Own Way'". The Sun. Retrieved 23 June 2018.

31.Jump up ^ "Balls to all that". The Economist. 16 June 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2018.

32.Jump up ^ Morrigan, Leah (6 September 2015). "The Fear of Being Alone Has Ruined Modern Dating". Huffington Post. Retrieved 21 July 2018. "Then there is Men Going Their Own Way, or MGTOW, an online men's community that supports "a statement of self-ownership, where the modern man preserves and protects his own sovereignty above all else". I was delighted to find this site until I read further and found that what began as masculine empowerment quickly turned vile."

33.^ Jump up to: a b Forani, Jonathan. "'A way for men to come together': Men Going Their Own Way just want to be left alone". Metro. Archived from the original on March 14, 2018. Retrieved April 14, 2018.

34.Jump up ^ Wilcox, W. Bradford (19 May 2016). "The Divorce Revolution Has Bred An Army Of Woman Haters – The divorce revolution has created a large minority of men who are ambivalent or hostile towards sacrifice, commitment, women, and marriage". The Federalist. Retrieved 21 April 2018.

The Film

It’s remarkable how watching a short film online can elicit such an emotional response that it changes the course of your day. This week’s Staff Pick Premiere, “Incel” from director John Merzialde not only evoked this reaction from my first viewing, and sent me into a deep dive of online research, but also lingered in my mind as I contemplated what leads individuals to commit atrocious acts of evil and ultimately, what can save them. “Incel” is a film about the darker side of the internet. The side that harbors dangerous ideologies through online subcultures and allows them to fester until one day, those hateful ideas have the potential to leak out from the forums and into the real world.

The term “incel” is short for “involuntarily celibate.” It was originally coined in the early ‘90s by a website created for people to share their experiences of sexual inactivity. Since then, “incel” has evolved into an internet subculture of men who unwillingly remain sexually inactive and often employ hateful ideas of misogyny and racism to justify their plight. Merizalde first became interested in the subject after the 2014 mass shooting in Isla Vista, California in which 22-year-old Elliot Rodger targeted a nearby college sorority, killing six people and injuring fourteen others before committing suicide. Rodger was posthumously heralded a hero among incel communities for these actions and according to Merizalde, the event was uniquely disturbing due to the ability to track “the trail of vlogs that [Rodger] left online leading up to the attack. His descent into violent, misogynistic beliefs with a plan for “retribution” was chronicled over time, which eventually culminated in a manifesto video.” The film’s main character, Sam played by Theodore Pellerin, known for Boost (2017), It’s Only the End of the World (2016) and At First Light (2018), was inspired by Rodger and Merizalde used lines from Rodger’s vlogs verbatim as a reminder of the reality of what happened and can continue happening.

The film opens with an almost-four-minute-long continuous shot. A choice that instantly creates tension and — coupled with Pellerin’s exceptional performance — draws the viewer in as his character, Sam, aggressively attempts to get a woman’s phone number. After retreating back to his dorm room, we find Sam sharing his frustrations and suicidal thoughts to an incel community. Reading the posts on the screen, we get a sense for the rhetoric used in these types of forums as other incel members encourage Sam to harm himself and others, and we fear what influence these comments will have on him.

“Incel” successfully puts the viewer in a difficult and uncomfortable scenario, forcing them to consider how anonymous online culture is able to propagate hateful ideas that can misguide someone to tragic outcomes. What is ultimately the scariest aspect of “Incel” is realizing that this type of irresponsible discourse isn’t specific to a small incel community. Instead, violent banter within online culture is found all over the internet, which gets to Merizalde’s central question that he poses with his film: how do we identify and confront the reality of online radicalization, without compromising our right to free speech? The film’s ending, like the question, is open ended and is worthy of consideration and dialogue, before it’s too late.