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Arshy Mann @ArshyMann
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For the past little while, I've been working on a piece about Toronto's relationship to the alt-right, especially the "manosphere." Unfortunately that research has become relevant. I'm going to share as much as I can here for people who may not be familiar with these movements.
"Incel" refers to "involuntary celibate," essentially meaning that a person can't get laid because of their looks/personality. The incels make up one segment of the broader "manosphere", a collection of online masculinist communities that interplay with one another.
"Incel" was a term actually coined by a queer Toronto woman in the 90s to give a name to how she was feeling at the time. It morphed into something horrific. "I can't uninvent this word, nor restrict it to the nicer people who need it."…
Self-described incels today are almost entirely men who are laser-focused on their inability to have sex & blame women. Of the manosphere communities, incels are the most virulently misogynistic.
Incels have a variety of memes & tropes that they return to constantly, such as "Stacy" (attractive women who have sex) & "Chad" (attractive men who have sex). Non-incels are described as "normies" & they're also derided.
Elliot Rodger, the Isla Vista shooter, is worshipped (semi-ironically, but also semi-seriously) as a kind of god. His manifesto is shared & quoted & he's constantly deployed as a meme.…
Incels differ in important ways from Men's Rights Activists. While both movements are misogynistic at their core, MRAs deploy a human rights framework to argue men are oppressed. Incels don't talk about rights, they just hate.
Incel language is often explicitly racist & they can be especially focused on interracial relationships. That element of racial panic is prominent in Elliot Rodger's manifesto.
There are a number of online destinations where incels gather and are radicalized. /pol/ on 4chan. r/incels on Reddit was popular before it was shutdown. They moved to r/braincels, but it's not as widely used. Also SlutHate, the forum where Elliot Rodger posted (formerly PUAHate)
Incels often play out violent fantasies online. People who report on the community, like @DavidFutrelle, have been trying to warn us that more incels will turn those fantasies into reality. Even now they're talking about acid attacks & mass rapes.…
The path to radicalization for incels often starts with the Red Pill/Pick-Up Artist communities. They try to utilize the pseudo-scientific/dehumanizing seduction techniques, still can't get laid & become infuriated. That's the path Elliot Rodger went down.
To clarify, the manosphere is a catch-all term that refers to a number of online male communities that overlap, branch off, interface & oppose each other in complicated ways. It includes pick-up artists, men's rights activists, incels, men going their own way etc.
An important point: if Minassian was an incel & the author of that Facebook post, his attack should probably be described as terrorism, although the lone wolf variety. Incels have an ideology & the goal is to terrorize women & "normies."
Incels & the broader manosphere are an important component of what we've come to think of as the alt-right (depending on your definition of that term). Misogyny is the most common gateway drug to other forms of hate.…
There's a lot more to say on this topic, and we still don't have all the information about yesterday's attack, so I'll just end with a few recommendations for further reading.
To better understand the rise of these toxic masculine online subcultures & how they interface with one another & the rest of the alt-right, @AngNagle's book "Kill All Normies" is an invaluable resource.…
4chan & the "ironic-but-not-really" brand of hatred it created is a big part of the incel story. For a primer on how that platform evolved, read @DaleBeran's essay.…
To really understand incels & the manosphere, you have to dive into the archives of "We Hunted the Mammoth." @DavidFutrelle has been following this stuff for years.
For a more crowdsourced approach to understanding incel culture specifically, take a look at r/inceltears.
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