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. The website, titled "Alana's Involuntary Celibacy Project", 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". 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. 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."
The message board love-shy.com was founded in 2003 as a place for people who were perpetually rejected or extremely shy of potential partners to discuss their situations.
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. 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.
When Alana read about the 2014 Isla Vista killings, and the way parts of the incel subculture glorified the perpetrator, Elliot Rodger, 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." 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. 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."
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." 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.
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. However the incel community continued to inhabit Reddit. 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.
Incel communities have increasingly become more extremist and focused on violence, in recent years. This has been attributed to various factors, including influence from overlapping online hate groups and the rise of the alt-right and white supremacist groups. The misogynistic and sometimes violent rhetoric 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. There are also incel forums that disapprove of hatred, and a dating website that caters to incels.
Many incel communities are characterized by resentment, self-pity, misogyny, misanthropy, narcissism, and racism. Discussions often revolve around the belief that men are owed sex, idleness, loneliness, unhappiness, suicide, sexual surrogates, prostitutes and the acquirement of sex robots, as well as various attributes they believe increase one's desirability as a partner such as income or personality. Some endorse suicide among incels, violence against sexually active women and more sexually successful men, harassment of women, and catfishing women. 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), as well as by those they believe shared their ideology such as Marc Lépine (1989 École Polytechnique massacre), Seung-Hui Cho (2007 Virginia Tech shooting), and George Sodini (2009 Collier Township shooting).
Many incels firmly defend concepts such as biological determinism and evolutionary psychology. 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. 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. Incels may attribute their lack of sexual success to factors such as shyness, sex-segregated work environments, negative body image, penis size, or their physical appearance, and commonly believe that the only thing more important than looks in improving a man's eligibility as a prospective partner is wealth. Some members of incel communities support the idea of "forced 'sexual redistribution'", where governments would require women to engage in certain sexual relationships, an idea which incels refer to as "sexual Marxism" and which others have described as "state-sanctioned rape". Some incels support the works of fringe social psychologist Brian Gilmartin, author of the book Shyness and Love which gained popularity among incel communities, and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson.
Incel communities are a part of the broader manosphere. According to The New York Times, involuntary celibacy is an adaptation of the idea of "male supremacy". 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. The New York Times wrote that "the group has evolved into a male supremacist movement made up of peoplesome celibate, some notwho believe that women should be treated as sexual objects with few rights." Incel communities sometimes overlap with topics such as Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW), men's rights activism, vlogs by people who believe they are experiencing "true forced loneliness" (TFL), and pickup artistry, although at least one male incel website has expressed hatred for pickup artistry and accuses pickup artists and dating coaches of financially exploiting incels.
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. Someone who believes in the black pill is blackpilled.
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). In the context of men's rights activism, "taking the red pill" means seeing a world where women hold power over men. The black pill, on the other hand, refers to hopelessness. It also holds that one's personality isn't very important.
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. 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. 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.
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 or incelibacy. It is sometimes used interchangeably or alongside other terms, such as "love-shy" (describing those with social anxiety or excessive shyness preventing romantic success), "FA" (short for "forever alone"), "unfuckability", "omegas", "zeta males", "betas" "the undersexed", or "the sexless". Alana, the coiner of the term incel, initially considered using other terms such as "perpetually single" or "dating shy".
Members of incel communities regularly use jargon and a distinct dialect to refer to various concepts. 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". "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. The abbreviation "NEET" refers to people who don't have jobs and aren't attending school: "not in education, employment, or training".
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), "marcels" (married), "nearcels" (those who are considered nearly incel), "hicels" (those who have high standards; are very picky when dating), "heightcels" (short), and "fakecels" (those who claim to be incel, but in reality have recently had sex or been in a relationship). 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) and "ricecels" (those of Chinese or Southeast Asian backgrounds), or collectively, "ethnicels".
Self-identified incels are mostly white, male and heterosexual, and are often described as young and friendless introverts. Some media outlets depict them as unemployed and living with parents. However, due to their varied nature, there is no singular typical trait that defines all incels. Although members of incel communities mainly reside in the United States, there are also incel communities for people outside the Anglosphere, such as the Italian website Il Forum dei Brutti.
The first incel website, Alana's Involuntary Celibacy Project, was gender-inclusive. There are also women-specific forums, such as /r/Femcels and /r/ForeverAloneWomen. Nonetheless, there is disagreement in online incel communities on whether women can be incel, with some claiming that male incels outnumber female incels, others claiming that it is impossible for women to be incel, others claiming that only women with a physical deformity can be incel, while others argue that only highly unattractive women belonging to the "bottom percentile in terms of appearance" can be incel.
Estimates on the size of incel communities vary, and range from the thousands, to tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands.
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.
"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. 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, and members of incel communities often discourage posters who post about mental illness from seeing therapists or otherwise seeking treatment. Some incels with severe depression are also suicidal, and some members of incel communities encourage suicidal members to commit suicide, sometimes recommending they commit acts of mass violence before doing so.
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. 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. 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. He has been referenced by the perpetrators or suspected perpetrators of several other mass killings.
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. 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". The trend has since continuedafter 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." 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.
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." 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." 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.
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.
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).
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".
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. The term "Incel Rebellion" is sometimes used interchangeably with the term "Beta Uprising", which refers to a violent response to incels' perceived sexual deprivation.
Incel communities have been widely criticized in the media and by researchers as violent, misogynist, and extremist. 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 Im used to seeing on even white supremacist sites." 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. 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." 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".
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. 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.
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. 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, or for giving attackers notoriety by reporting on them at length.
MGTOW v Incel
Men Going Their
Own Way (MGTOW) - Wikipedia
The community is part of what is more broadly termed the manosphere. MGTOW have "...vowed to stay away from women, stop dating and not have children". 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. The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified MGTOW as a fringe supremacist group.
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."  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.
MGTOW has been associated with political viewpoints. Politically, MGTOW has been variously associated with libertarianism, the alt-right, and philosophical anarchism. MGTOW use the word gynocentric to describe conditions that they claim favor women to the detriment of men, and are opposed to such circumstances. 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.
According to Vice, there are five levels to MGTOW:
According to the columnist Martin Daubney, members of the MGTOW community believe that legal and romantic entanglements with women fail a costbenefit analysis and riskbenefit analysis. 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".
Kay Hymowitz has stated that some self-identified MGTOW express discontent because they see women as hypergamous and manipulative. 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." Some MGTOW have many short-term casual relationships or engage in sex with prostitutes. Celibacy, however, is also an option. A MGTOW that chooses celibacy over sex and relationships is said to be "going monk" and some embrace maintaining their virginity. 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.
It has been called an "...offshoot of the mens 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 "...living 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". 
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.
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 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 oppressedbut 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."
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).
According to Roselina Salemi, writing for La Repubblica, the Japanese concept of herbivore men is a subset of MGTOW. Mack Lamoureux, writing in Vice, sees herbivore men as a consequence of Japanese socioeconomic conditions and MGTOW as an ideological choice. 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. Kashmira Gander writing for The Independent, sees herbivore men serving as role models for MGTOW.
MGTOW see feminists; "white knights", defined as "men who unquestioningly jump to women's defence in hope of hooking up with them"; "manginas", a derogatory manosphere slang term for male feminists; "social justice warriors"; the LGBT rights movement; and support for safe spaces as obstacles to male self-ownership. MGTOW have been described as having a "serious problem with feminism."
MGTOW have a reciprocal disdain for the seduction community ("pick-up artists"). 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. 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".
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 MGTOW.com. 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". When women are discussed on MGTOW forums, it is often "angrily"; the Southern Poverty Law Center places it "on the borders of the hateful incel community".
Pick-up artists "disparage the community", calling their "'philosophy'...completely wrongheaded." 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 (theyre less likely to quit without having found another job), and more successfully (they make about $16,000 more per year) than their single peers".
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."
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hostile towards sacrifice, commitment, women, and marriage".
thefederalist.com. The Federalist. Retrieved 21 April
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 films main character, Sam played by Theodore Pellerin, known for Boost (2017), Its Only the End of the World (2016) and At First Light (2018), was inspired by Rodger and Merizalde used lines from Rodgers 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 Pellerins exceptional performance draws the viewer in as his character, Sam, aggressively attempts to get a womans 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 isnt specific to a small incel
community. Instead, violent banter within online culture is
found all over the internet, which gets to Merizaldes
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
films ending, like the question, is open ended and is
worthy of consideration and dialogue, before its too