Incel is a term that comes from the words involuntary celibate. It can be used of a member of an online subculture of men defining themselves as unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one, but it can also be used to mean anyone in such circumstances even if they don't participate in incel discussions online. Some members of this subculture have committed mass murders, which some people are trying to use as justification for treating all men who cannot find relationships or sex as subhuman.
Definition from broadest to narrowest
- Someone who doesn't have sexual or romantic relationships despite wanting them. Some say you have to be a virgin to count as an incel, others say that you have to be in such a situation for at least six months.
- Someone who recognizes that they are an incel.
- Someone who has made their identity out of being an incel, someone who partakes in the online community, forums and websites.
The Wikipedia article about incels does not mention that this difference exists, instead Wiktionary does. The Incel Wiki presents the viewpoint that Wikipedia ignores, it only accepts the "life circumstance" definition for the word "incel" (however, it uses a lot of the "incel jargon", including the -cel suffix). The difference is mentioned on the discussion page on Wikipedia under the by-default hidden "Frequently asked questions (FAQ)" section, where Wikipedia writes as follows:
Q1: What is the subject of this article?
A1: This article is about a particular misogynistic online subculture of people who self-identify as "involuntary celibates" or "incels" based on their inability to find a romantic or sexual partner. It is not about all people who are unable to find a romantic or sexual partner or all people to whom the phrase "involuntary celibate" could be applied, but only to that subculture.
Q2: Why is this article only about the subculture/community of self-identified "incels", and not about the idea of involuntary celibacy more broadly?
A2: It is the subculture which has achieved notability independent of concepts Wikipedia already covers, such as sexual frustration, celibacy, and sexual abstinence. Although a separate article about the broader concept of involuntary celibacy could be created, such articles have been deleted in the past in favor of coverage in existing articles.
Q3: Why is this article so negative?
A3: Articles on Wikipedia reflect the way subjects are covered in reliable, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. The articles cover aspects of those subjects in accordance with the extent to which those aspects are covered in reliable sources. There are negative elements of the subject in this article because that is the way many of the reliable sources cover it. If coverage of the subject changes, the article should be updated to reflect that.
In Canada, people are talking about whether incels should be classified as terrorists. The unwillingness of people to see the two very different uses of the word might at some point be used to classify all involuntarily celibate men as terrorists. This would only require the reinterpretation of the word from "subculture member" to "anyone involuntarily celibate".
Laura Bates and professor David Wilson
On August 16, 2021, a few days after the Plymouth shooting, an interview of Laura Bates on incels was published on the YouTube channel This Morning. Criminologist David Wilson was also heard in the video. In that video, David Wilson said that he would classify all about 10,000 UK incels as terrorists.
- Eamonn (interviewer): "Ten thousand what? Ten thousand oddballs, ten thousand terrorists? How would you classify them?"
- David: "I absolutely would classify them as terrorism. I mean, what is terrorism in terms of our legislation? It's the intentional use of violence to intimidate the public, and that's what they want to do. The, their get out of jail free clause, as it were, in terms of our legislation, is that this is intentional use of violence to intimidate that doesn't have a religious or a race or a political, either far right or far left ideology behind it, but the Devon and Cornwall police's rush to say this wasn't terrorism seems to me to have been very short-sighted indeed, because at the end of the day, Eamonn, Ruth, we are dealing with people who, because of their extreme misogyny, are targeting a specific group of people, women. This is an extreme form of hatred against women and we have to start naming it for what it is, and frankly it is terrorism."
- Ruth (interviewer): "The Devon and Corn police actually, David, say the decision that this incident was not a terrorist incident was made by the National Counter Terrorism network following a referral from Devon and Cornwall police, so they're saying that came from above them."
Honey Badgers' response
- Why are fatphobia, body positivity and ageism valid feminist talking points while an interviewer in the original video asked why is an incel not getting sex a woman's fault, couldn't the incel look in the mirror and see his physical and mental appearance? (Laura agreed on the validity of the question) [39:30 - 40:54]
- For incels, sex is a proof of social value. People like Laura Bates wonder why incels are (supposedly) obsessed with sex while they themselves tell men that unless they have sex with women, they are despicable human beings. No wonder incels complain about not being able to attract women if a man who is unable to do that is a horrible person. Moreover, we have removed men's unique values e.g. by calling men's greater achievements "harms done to women" and requiring women to be acknowledged everywhere (e.g. "the men and women who died in protecting our society" talk on memorial day), thus leaving men's sexual appeal the only thing that gives men social value. [43:48 - 47:44; 1:24:07 - 1:25:18]
- If the shooter had just only killed himself (most incels who kill somebody only kill themselves), the segment would not exist. We wouldn't care about him at all, but now that one incel took innocent people's lives with him, we wonder how to stop these woman-haters from killing men and women. [47:49 - 49:56]
- People on incel forums call women foids ("female humanoid"), which is proof on "how little they think of women as human beings." Why is it not a problem when men are called scrotes on a female dating forum? Alison wondered if the term foid is a response to that acceptable devaluation of men, boys and masculinity. [54:18 - 56:26]
- Laura is saying that these men are valueless and horrible if they don't have sex with women. She'd like to shut down the incel community where they could find even some kind of social value (that's what communities do, they offer people social value). This might even make violence more likely as the only place where an incel can get social value is taken away. One guy in hundreds of thousands might then be disturbed enough to react to that violently: if he is going to be called a terrorist, so be it, he'll accept that label and commit violence. [1:00:55 - 1:02:59]
- Contrary to what Laura Bates said, incels are not "mostly white" but of all races. According to Naama Kates, half of the incels are non-white. When Laura is talking about "mostly white young men" she wants to scare people, not only with the "men" part but also with the "white" part. [41:58 - 44:40]
- When Elizabeth Hobson runs into a group of angry men online, she does not take their insults personally. Instead, she shows curiosity and compassion, and the anger melts immediately. Men want women's approval and to be listened to by women. That is a power that feminism does not give to women, but rather exploits. Thus women do not owe feminism anything, but rather feminism owes women everything. Feminism has harmed women with their ideological infiltrations to things like therapy for men who are at risk at being aggressive and raping. [48:59 - 51:51]
- "It's your response to the most vulnerable members of a group that really determine whether or not you have compassion to that group or you see them as just a utility." (Direct quote from Alison at 56:31 - 56:40).
- (Regarding the quote above [up until the mentioning of Cornwall police], classifying incels as terrorists), these people are arguing for misogyny to be classified as a religion/ideology, of which all men should be seen as suspects of. This isn't surprising as they [the interviewees] are "adherents to the Church of Womenworsting" and want to see the "sin of misogyny" everywhere. Incels might thus be the only ideological cult that no member wants to belong to. While it's wrong to judge, say, Muslims for their most extreme members (who are terrorists), somehow it's OK to judge incels for their most extreme members, as well as men as a group as rapists. [1:00:24 - 1:04:49]
- "When I talked to a feminist and I said 'you know there, that rape is uh something that this group of people is ma-, particularly prone to, uh, people with cognitive disorders that lead to, uh, uh impulse impairment'. When I said that, or what th-, that, they, there is a high number of rapists among this group of people, they said 'you are stigmatizing this group of people.' How astounding!" (Direct quote from Alison at 1:04:54 - 1:05:20). (And yet saying that most rapists are men is supposedly not stigmatising men?)
Starting from 2:00:43 of the second response video you can hear Laura calling the incel community a "very racist community" and white supremacy a "deeply misogynistic ideology." Brian responded that race has nothing to do with it, and that Naama Kates has noted that the most vocally frustrated members are nonwhite as their race gives them a disadvantage with women. These are Asian and Black. According to Brian, being a nerdy autistic black guy who lives in the hood is hard, because black women (referring to US black women in the hoods with lots of violent crime) select their men for their dominance. This is a product of feminism and the welfare state, among other things.
At 2:10:44 of this response (12:20 of the original video on the This Morning channel), Eamonn the interviewer asks Laura about how frightened Laura is for her own safety. Laura answers that she would be more frightened if she were in the United States. As her "evidence", she brings up Roy Den Hollander (without mentioning his name), the man who killed Marc Angelucci and US District Court Judge Esther Salas's son as well as injuring her husband. Zero women were killed. "So two men are dead, women most affected, is that right?", asked Alison at 2:12:26. As Alison said at 2:14:48, Laura was using a murder of an MRA to paint herself and other feminists as victims.
What this labelling seems to imply
Since some people call MGTOWs "incels in denial" (see e.g. here) it is not far fetched to say that in the future all (long term) single men will be called "terrorists" as there is nothing really preventing officials from refusing to believe a voluntarily single man when he says he's single voluntarily. This would essentially eliminate men's ability to choose how they want to arrange their way of living: all men would be forced to live in relationships or else they will be called terrorists. The discussion on how this affects aromantic asexual men is yet to be had. So far, asexuality and aromanticism are seen as something you can self-identify as (see here and here; this article explicitly states in its title that "Asexuality is Not a Diagnosis"), but the labelling of incels, and subsequently MGTOWs as terrorists might lead to the requirement for asexuals and aromantics to seek diagnosis to avoid being branded as terrorists. At least one asexual man has already had the fear of being labelled an incel, and in the future this may become an even larger threat.
"You almost certainly have incels as employees"
At the beginning of May in 2018 Ellen K. Pao commented on incels:
Because of the confusion between the subculture and the life circumstances, can be interpreted either now or in the future as a call for removing sexually undesirable men from their workplaces.
- Incels: Why Empathy Works Better Than Derision by The Prim Reaper on YouTube
- Incels by History Debunked on YouTube
- Incels Don't Deserve Our Pity, they Deserve a Wake Up Call! | Fundzerker Stream by Badger Live Streams on YouTube
- Laura Bates VS The Incels: A Very Dramatic Story Worthy of the Oxygen Network | HBR Debate 63 by Honey Badger Radio on Apple Podcasts
- Bates VS The Incels Part 2: The Lifetime Cinematic Universe | HBR Debate 64 by Honey Badger Radio on Apple Podcasts
- Snapshot archive with three occurrences of the word "scrote"
- Vice Hunts the Dreaded Incels and are Losing Their Minds | Rantzerker 144 by Honey Badger Radio on Apple Podcasts
- Vice Hunts the Dreaded Incels and is Losing Its Mind PART 2! | Rantzerker 145 by Honey Badger Radio on Apple Podcasts
- Toys For Tots Cancelled, Man Arrested For Researching Incels | HBR News 286 by Honey Badger Radio on Apple Podcasts
- Brian and Lindsey REACT to "Belle Delphine Talks Incel Culture" on the H3H3 Podcast by Honey Badger Radio on Apple Podcasts
- Canada Police Target "Incel Terrorism", Title IX To Ignore the Law? | HBR News 257 by Honey Badger Radio on Apple Podcasts
- Advocating for Incels and Finding the Middleground With Derrick AKA Brendio Fireside Chat 138 by Honey Badger Radio on Apple Podcasts
- Talking w/ Actress & Filmmaker Naama Kates: The Incel Project | Fireside Chat123 by Honey Badger Radio on Apple Podcasts
- Talking With incels.co Admin "Randy" About Incel Community | Fireside Chat 118 by Honey Badger Radio on Apple Podcasts
- Talking With Jellybean Gen About Incels, Failure to Launch | Fireside Chat 113 by Honey Badger Radio on Apple Podcasts
- Isolation and loneliness as thought crime | HBR Talk 238 by Badger Live Streams on YouTube. A response to this anti-incel article by The Guardian.