36 votes

How a support group for the dateless became one of the internet’s most dangerous subcultures

55 comments

  1. [31]
    3d12
    Link
    Interesting piece. Maybe I'm just internet-sheltered, but I was one of today's lucky 10,000 regarding this 'blackpill' nonsense. I don't want to believe this is something that people out there...

    Interesting piece. Maybe I'm just internet-sheltered, but I was one of today's lucky 10,000 regarding this 'blackpill' nonsense. I don't want to believe this is something that people out there earnestly believe, but my admittedly short residency around the *chan network in the late 00s and the interactions I had with people there lead me to believe it's definitely possible.

    One thing I thought was really cool -- but was buried pretty far down in the article, was this "Love Not Anger" project, which seems to be focused on providing support and resources to lonely people. I wonder if a movement like this is what people need? Add a physical token to it, like the dragonflies for ana/mia support, and maybe this can be a competing ideology? Or maybe I'm just optimistic.

    17 votes
    1. [16]
      ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      The project's tagline is "Beyond Involuntary Celibacy". That is not a good tagline. Sure, you want to address the issue – but if you want people to respect your efforts, you do not want to imply...

      The project's tagline is "Beyond Involuntary Celibacy". That is not a good tagline. Sure, you want to address the issue – but if you want people to respect your efforts, you do not want to imply that the people who need it are dateless virgins stuck in a loop of being unwanted due to no fault of their own, even if this is the case. People get sensitive about such framing and shut down. Who wants to be called "involuntarily celibate"?

      That said, I do think that the problem of overwhelming loneliness is worth addressing. I'm very curious about the reasons behind the situation as it is today, but haven't made that much progress figuring it out myself. Is it because of the increased "bubbling" – the growing self-seclusion into chosen areas of society and/or the Internet? Is it because of the increase in sexualized imagery all over the media without the healthy-relationships guidelines for your people who often lack the "common sense" advice? Is it because of the rise of the social media and The Relationship™ taking too high a place among the list of things one looks at there?

      To be transparent here: I'm one of those people who just can't seem to find a date. Hell, I'm barely able to make meaningful contact with people most of the time. I'm not entirely clueless as to the reasons for it: I lack the skills to support a relationship, I have character issues – fear of vulnerability and the subsequent lack of composition being one of them – and I have little experience actually being close to people. Still, it's not obvious to me how a flaw correlates with the (lack of the) desired result and, therefore, how I can fix it. I'd love to! It's been making me lonesome, on'ry, and mean, but how on Earth can I if I don't have a reflection of my actions?

      "Get a life" to someone like me sounds like "Just start seeing" to a blind person. You can't simply start discerning things that have been invisible your whole life. If nobody gave you that, and you know of no good source to reach out to for help, what do you do? A lot of people grow bitter and resentful because of it. The urge to communicate, to relate, to grow closer to someone is there, but there seems to be no tool and no method available to assert it in the real world.

      Like, do you just talk to people? No! There's rules! And you can't see them, and nobody's gonna tell you what they are once you've broken them – 'cause obviously you're a lost cause – and all that's left for you is to grow more bitter, more resentful, feeling more out of touch with a whole other gender... or worse, develop a hatred. I was lucky enough not to go that far, but man, it is not pretty being as deep as I used to be. (I got better, but it's more a matter of growing a thicker skin than satisfaction in the field of human contact. Most people do not start as good as I did.)

      It's not women's duty to educate their male peers on how to act around themselves – let alone something as denigrating as giving men sex – but man, shouldn't there be something? some sort of resource that young people of all genders can tap into and find their social legs? "Talk to your parents" – yeah, not always an option; many parents are entirely incapable of providing good advice to their children. "Talk to your teachers, or your religious leaders, or someone adult you can trust" – sure, if there is someone like that around; not always the case. "Talk to the therapist" – yes! do that if you can! and what about those of us who are stuck in a country with no free councilling?

      ...oy vey.

      It's one thing to be single for a few months. It's another thing to not even know what dating looks like from the inside. The sheer dreadfulness of being undesired – or, worse, being desired yet feeling undeserving of it – is not one to translate easily into words.

      I feel like people with no issues around dating would love to help their less lucky peers. I've seen people come together to help each other in matters big and small. This isn't that big, no matter how vast it feels to the person under the wrong impression about themselves. If there was a platform, and people could reach out, and most people would get good results so that the word would get around, I'm sure a lot of those with the know-how would lend their hand and share their insight freely. Helping others is in our nature. What has to exist is a platform to fascilitate it.

      18 votes
      1. dubteedub
        Link Parent
        I would encourage you to check out https://www.reddit.com/r/MensLib/, it is actually where I got this article from. /r/menslib is a positive forum for the discussion of men's issues from a...

        If there was a platform, and people could reach out, and most people would get good results so that the word would get around, I'm sure a lot of those with the know-how would lend their hand and share their insight freely. Helping others is in our nature. What has to exist is a platform to fascilitate it.

        I would encourage you to check out https://www.reddit.com/r/MensLib/, it is actually where I got this article from.

        /r/menslib is a positive forum for the discussion of men's issues from a feminist perspective. There have been a lot of posts on the sub from current and former self-described "incels" either seeking help or discussing how they broke out of the cycle.

        13 votes
      2. [2]
        mbc
        Link Parent
        Hey, I wanted to chime in and say that I was going through the same stuff as you until I was in my thirties. I wish there was a solution I could just give you, but there's not. I will relate how I...

        Hey, I wanted to chime in and say that I was going through the same stuff as you until I was in my thirties. I wish there was a solution I could just give you, but there's not. I will relate how I got out of it though. I started going out to bars with my coworkers. This fed my alcoholism a lot, but I don't regret it. Maybe if you're not a drinker, find something similar. Now, since I was with co-workers, I didn't focus at all on meeting women. I could never actually meet women on purpose and still can't. It just happens when I'm acting like a normal dude who doesn't care. For me, that was the thing that I wish someone had told me long ago: don't focus on meeting people, instead let that come organically. If I stayed single for another five years, fine. My nervousness and general dislike of meeting new people went way down because I wasn't building it up in my mind to be something important. I was just there to eat some chicken wings and down some beers.

        I hope this helps, and I hope time travel is invented so I can tell my past self this stuff. Failing that, I'll tell you and other people who might find it useful.

        13 votes
        1. krg
          Link Parent
          This matches my experience quite a bit. If you're at ease with yourself (which is easier done with the help of alcohol), then you're more able to shoot-the-shit which others may gravitate towards...

          This matches my experience quite a bit. If you're at ease with yourself (which is easier done with the help of alcohol), then you're more able to shoot-the-shit which others may gravitate towards if they're also in a shit-shooting mood, which can lead to new connections.

          Of course, there are those "one too many" nights, which...are no good. Still, alcohol/going to bars is a pretty good social crutch. Not without its dangers, but I don't know of any better way to get in the socializing groove.

          8 votes
      3. [4]
        Hypersapien
        Link Parent
        Do you understand that "involuntary celibate" is a name they took for themselves?

        That is not a good tagline. Sure, you want to address the issue – but if you want people to respect your efforts, you do not want to imply that the people who need it are dateless virgins stuck in a loop of being unwanted due to no fault of their own, even if this is the case. People get sensitive about such framing and shut down. Who wants to be called "involuntarily celibate"?

        Do you understand that "involuntary celibate" is a name they took for themselves?

        5 votes
        1. [3]
          ThatFanficGuy
          Link Parent
          Yes? No? Which answer do you expect me to give? If you want to point out an issue you have with my comment, don't use loaded questions. It makes the conversation more hostile, even if the core of...

          Yes? No? Which answer do you expect me to give?

          If you want to point out an issue you have with my comment, don't use loaded questions. It makes the conversation more hostile, even if the core of your question is a solid critique.

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            Hypersapien
            Link Parent
            I wasn't trying to be hostile. I'm sorry if it came across that way.

            I wasn't trying to be hostile. I'm sorry if it came across that way.

            7 votes
            1. ThatFanficGuy
              Link Parent
              I will take your reply at face value. To answer your intial question: I don't think it matters whether the community chose it anymore, because of the actions of (what I assume to be) the vile...

              I will take your reply at face value.

              To answer your intial question: I don't think it matters whether the community chose it anymore, because of the actions of (what I assume to be) the vile minority who've managed to drag the rest of the group down with them. That's one.

              Two is – I think a more positively-framed name should be more appropriate, given that the project's trying to move past their initial goals of providing comfort and support to the people in the incel situation, and, instead, exceeding those people's current position. The way I see it, they may have been incels, but if they take action in the frame of Love Not Anger, they're something else; not victim of a handful of intertwined factors, but proactive seekers of a better place. Gotta have a different name for a different thing, right?

              2 votes
              1. Removed by admin: 5 comments by 2 users
                Link Parent
      4. [8]
        krg
        Link Parent
        Ease up, dude. Accept that you may be awkward for some time (which, if not too bad, may be endearing to some) and go out there and fail. Only way to get your "legs." Maybe find an interest group...

        Ease up, dude. Accept that you may be awkward for some time (which, if not too bad, may be endearing to some) and go out there and fail. Only way to get your "legs."

        Maybe find an interest group on Meetup, or something.

        3 votes
        1. [7]
          Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          I know you're trying to help, but your advice is skating very close to the simplistic "get a life" advice that @ThatFanficGuy is rightly critical of. For some people, it's just not that simple....

          I know you're trying to help, but your advice is skating very close to the simplistic "get a life" advice that @ThatFanficGuy is rightly critical of. For some people, it's just not that simple.

          Thankfully, I'm not one of those people. But I've met some people like this (social anxiety, Asperger's, etc) and had a few friends like this over the years, and I've seen for myself it's just not that easy for some people to go out and meet other human beings.

          15 votes
          1. [6]
            krg
            Link Parent
            I'm not him, though I'm not unique. I've felt on the fringes, unable to connect, hopelessly awkward, etc... and what I've expressed helped me get out of that cycle of resentment and bitterness...

            I'm not him, though I'm not unique. I've felt on the fringes, unable to connect, hopelessly awkward, etc... and what I've expressed helped me get out of that cycle of resentment and bitterness towards the rest of the world. But I'm not him, though I'm not unique.

            Beyond what I figure is practical advice, I don't think there is much more to offer besides seeing a therapist? After all, I don't imagine there are many here qualified to dole out advice to those with severe anxiety issues (though, for what it's worth, I'm afflicted with panic disorder*) and other mental health problems.

            I guess the bigger picture I'm trying to paint is that letting these feelings fester is probably much more damaging than attempting some type of socialization, even if that doesn't seem to go well at first.

            But, again, I'm not a professional. Just someone who's gone through some similar things.

            *Likewise, someone telling me to 'ease up' during a panic attack wouldn't be helping, so..

            4 votes
            1. [5]
              Algernon_Asimov
              Link Parent
              Attempting some type of socialisation, and then failing - or even believing that you failed - can sometimes be worse than letting the feelings fester. Sure, there's the old adage that you can...

              Attempting some type of socialisation, and then failing - or even believing that you failed - can sometimes be worse than letting the feelings fester. Sure, there's the old adage that you can teach a child to swim just by throwing them in a lake, but... what if the child doesn't magically learn how to swim? What if they drown? Or what if they have to be rescued, and then suffer an intense phobia of all water for the rest of their life due to the intense trauma of nearly drowning? Throwing oneself in the deep end to learn how to swim can sometimes result in one sinking: hence the phrase "to sink or swim". Magically acquiring the skill of swimming is not the only outcome that can come from throwing oneself in a lake.

              Yes, getting people to practise socialising is a good thing. But they need some support while doing so, and they need to learn what to do in social situations, or how to deal with possible negative outcomes. When you teach a child to swim, you, an adult are present. You're showing them what to do. And you give them a flotation device to hold on to. And you teach them how to hold their breath under water in case they sink. You don't just throw them in the lake and let them fend for themself.

              11 votes
              1. [4]
                krg
                Link Parent
                Indeed! And I think Meetup is a good starting place to find groups that will be hospitable towards those still new to socializing. I haven't used the website, myself, though I've considered it.

                Indeed! And I think Meetup is a good starting place to find groups that will be hospitable towards those still new to socializing.

                I haven't used the website, myself, though I've considered it.

                4 votes
                1. [3]
                  Algernon_Asimov
                  Link Parent
                  www.meetup.com is a great website. I, myself, have attended a few meetup groups. I have even run a couple. Meetups are lovely environments for swimming. You can choose whether to swim in a small...

                  www.meetup.com is a great website. I, myself, have attended a few meetup groups. I have even run a couple. Meetups are lovely environments for swimming. You can choose whether to swim in a small local pond, or in the ocean, or whatever swimming conditions you want. The choices of swimming venues is endless. I highly recommend people use www.meetup.com if they're at all interested in swimming.

                  But it won't teach you how to swim. It's just a lake, not a swimming instructor.

                  9 votes
                  1. krg
                    Link Parent
                    I do think there are people that aren't in such dire straits and can benefit from a little exposure therapy, though. Again, for those whose social anxieties run much deeper, well... that's when a...

                    I do think there are people that aren't in such dire straits and can benefit from a little exposure therapy, though.

                    Again, for those whose social anxieties run much deeper, well... that's when a qualified professional can step in, I suppose. @ThatFanficGuy was lamenting on the lack of free resources in this regard, and I can't say that I know of any.

                    But, there was a point in large portion of my life where I was friendless and considered 'forever alone' my reality. I remember I even used to think "even if I did get a girlfriend, how embarrassing it'll be for me when she realizes I have no friends." I guess I'm lucky in that I eventually made my way in with a group and grew more confident in my ability to be around people.

                    3 votes
                  2. Micycle_the_Bichael
                    Link Parent
                    Unrelated to the topic at hand, but man I am not proud of how long I read this comment thinking you were talking about how you found a meetup of people meeting up at a pool and swimming together....

                    Unrelated to the topic at hand, but man I am not proud of how long I read this comment thinking you were talking about how you found a meetup of people meeting up at a pool and swimming together. Like literally. Not knocking it if people actually do that, being a competitive swimmer was the bulk of my identity for ~14 years. Just struck me as strange and niche advice (going to a swimming pool meetup, arguably the place most people feel the most uncomfortable and vulnerable), to laughing hysterically when I realized my mistake. Wanted to share in hopes you get a chuckle out of it too.

                    3 votes
    2. dubteedub
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      oh, my condolences. Yeah, the blackpill stuff on incel forums is real real dark. Contrapoints did what I think is her best video on Incels last year and it includes several readings of posts...

      Maybe I'm just internet-sheltered, but I was one of today's lucky 10,000 regarding this 'blackpill' nonsense.

      oh, my condolences. Yeah, the blackpill stuff on incel forums is real real dark.

      Contrapoints did what I think is her best video on Incels last year and it includes several readings of posts directly from the Incel subreddits that is just horrible. There are a lot of posts on those subs that are even labeled "suicifuel."

      13 votes
    3. nothis
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I first heard of "incels" after the Elliot Rodgers murder spree, which is weird since I consider myself nerdy enough to usually have encountered fringe internet slang before it pops up in...

      I first heard of "incels" after the Elliot Rodgers murder spree, which is weird since I consider myself nerdy enough to usually have encountered fringe internet slang before it pops up in mainstream news. This shit is rather underground, even for internet standards.

      I had a look at that site the article mentions and it's disturbing in its nihilism. They don't have a goal that can realistically be achieved, it's mostly wallowing in self-hate and depression. The overall sentiment is that they're all fucked (or rather, aren't), there's nothing they can do about it and society should fundamentally change so women can be forced to date ugly losers like them. The "ugly loser" part isn't an insult, it's how they refer to themselves, it's an accepted "fact" any suggestion to overcome it is met with sarcasm and anger. There's a lot of "science" (read: unsourced excel graphs copied from some website) "proving" that non-chads have no chance of ever finding love. It's math, people, you can't escape it!

      If you look at the avatars and usernames, you see a lot of images of mass murderers. Like, every third avatar. This is some dark shit. I recognized several Rodgers photoshops, that image of the Las Vegas Shooter with closed eyes, the Batman-movie-theater shooter with his dyed red hair and the Toronto guy. Some of these users have thousands of posts and are deeply integrated with the community.

      It's places like this that make you question whether the historic proponents of freedom of speech ever considered a medium like the internet. There's no way this shit can be healthy for society. This is basically a psychopath training camp.

      7 votes
    4. Hypersapien
      Link Parent
      I was familiar with the incel doctrine that women were a single monolithic entity that all behaved the same way and were motivated purely by misandry and male wealth and physical attractiveness,...

      I was familiar with the incel doctrine that women were a single monolithic entity that all behaved the same way and were motivated purely by misandry and male wealth and physical attractiveness, but I was unaware that they had come up with a new name for it, taking things further than the "redpillers".

      6 votes
    5. [2]
      lepigpen
      Link Parent
      I think 'love not anger' and being optimistic is just not how this works. As somebody who goes through depression and loneliness trying to "change" the situation and just promote the opposite is...

      I think 'love not anger' and being optimistic is just not how this works. As somebody who goes through depression and loneliness trying to "change" the situation and just promote the opposite is just nonsensical.

      I've known for a while that the way to moderate it and control it is to have an understanding of these feelings and issues, embrace them, immerse yourself in things relevant to those emotions.

      The PROBLEM is the internet. The internet is such an immense, insane problem that people are still downplaying because we're addicted to it. People simply do NOT behave how they would in person on the internet. They find platforms or groups to behave in an unnatural, unusual manner. And then they get enough positive feedback and reassurance from like-minded people to feel justified in behaving this way outside of internet platforms.

      I think our culture is diseased by the internet and that's a horrible, sad thing tto say considering how great of a tool it is. But it's pretty obvious. I don't even think it's a bold thing to say. A lot of people seem to be in agreement. We are addicted to being fake and behaving abnormally through internet platforms. Basically lying. Lying has become borderline acceptable now.

      But loneliness, depression, and the anger that can come from it is not a "bad" thing it's a natural thing. You have to flow with it, ride the wave, accept the parameters that surround you. Banging at a wall of self doubt and melancholy just makes you exhausted and makes you more upset at the issues that defeat you.

      It shouldn't be 'love not anger'. It should be 'anger is a part of you, but it isnt who you are'. Because thats the goal, to not be consumed by anger. Consumed by depression. That's 'going off the deep end'. Everybody has a part of themself they do not like or do like. We go in in life with them, regardless. We do not isolate parts and define ourselves thusly. We are the entirety of ourselves, our greatest achievements. Our most embarrassing flaws. What we should aim to be most is understanding and wise. Optimism and pessimism can both kick rocks. I want balance, maturity, and mindfulness.

      4 votes
      1. 3d12
        Link Parent
        It's funny that your tone expresses disagreement but we're basically saying the same things. I don't think 'Love Not Anger' means literally those words, but rather 'Love [yourself,] Not [be full...

        It's funny that your tone expresses disagreement but we're basically saying the same things. I don't think 'Love Not Anger' means literally those words, but rather 'Love [yourself,] Not [be full of] Anger'

        Probably just subjective interpretation.

        As for your idea that the internet is a cause for society's disease, I can't fully agree. There are those who will seek to use the internet to be their least genuine self, but I have a hard time believing these same people wouldn't be so two-faced without it. I think it was just harder for them to find echo chambers to support their radical beliefs before then, not that people simply didn't have them or act on them.

        I appreciate your contribution to the discussion! Have a great weekend!

        1 vote
    6. [9]
      krg
      Link Parent
      I didn't know about this stuff until maybe a year or two ago, and I'd like to think of myself as an "Internet regular." Which, makes me wonder...how many people truly do subscribe to this...

      I didn't know about this stuff until maybe a year or two ago, and I'd like to think of myself as an "Internet regular." Which, makes me wonder...how many people truly do subscribe to this ideology? Enough to get noticed, sure...but I feel like it's got to be 1% or less of the general population.

      It seems like a lot of these societal problems that get brought up in online media these days really only touch a relatively small amount of society, but they get blow out of proportion.

      Over the past two decades, the incel community, which numbers somewhere in the tens of thousands

      Where is this number coming from, I wonder?

      I don't have any statistics on hand, so maybe these ARE major problems. Well, I figure anything that can inspire one to kill is a major problem, regardless of demographic statistics. Still, I suppose headlines that read "Most people get on with their lives just fine with the occasional hitch" don't attract as many eyes.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        When members of that “relatively small amount of society” go on killing sprees, I'd say that some concern, and even alarm, is a suitably proportionate response.

        It seems like a lot of these societal problems that get brought up in online media these days really only touch a relatively small amount of society, but they get blow out of proportion.

        When members of that “relatively small amount of society” go on killing sprees, I'd say that some concern, and even alarm, is a suitably proportionate response.

        7 votes
        1. krg
          Link Parent
          I'm hoping you read my entire post and noticed that I echoed this sentiment! But, that line of thinking can extend to any group bent on ideological violence, really. And there are so many...

          I'm hoping you read my entire post and noticed that I echoed this sentiment!

          But, that line of thinking can extend to any group bent on ideological violence, really. And there are so many...

          2 votes
      2. [5]
        dubteedub
        Link Parent
        The largest forum for incels is /r/braincels. It was quarantined on Reddit back in September of last year when the admins announced their revamping of quarantines. Subscriber counts are not...

        Where is this number coming from, I wonder?

        The largest forum for incels is /r/braincels. It was quarantined on Reddit back in September of last year when the admins announced their revamping of quarantines. Subscriber counts are not visible on quarantined subs, but right before the quarantine hit they had about 40,000 subscribers alone.

        Archive - https://web.archive.org/web/20180906073555/https://www.reddit.com/r/Braincels/

        There are also huge groups on incels on the chans as well.

        5 votes
        1. [3]
          krg
          Link Parent
          Ah..well, that's about %0.1 of Reddit's userbase, assuming /r/announcements contains every user. Not a whole lot, but still fairly infamous and destructive. Edit: I see you can still go there and...

          Ah..well, that's about %0.1 of Reddit's userbase, assuming /r/announcements contains every user. Not a whole lot, but still fairly infamous and destructive.

          Edit: I see you can still go there and the number of subscribers increased, which would put it (same assumptions as above) at about %0.17 of Reddit's userbase.

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            dubteedub
            Link Parent
            Yeah, but tens of thousands of users getting "black pilled" and radicalized into a sexist women hating death cult is still a big issue regardless of what percent of the population they are.

            Yeah, but tens of thousands of users getting "black pilled" and radicalized into a sexist women hating death cult is still a big issue regardless of what percent of the population they are.

            7 votes
            1. krg
              Link Parent
              Sure, it's best to nip these things in the bud. But I also think it's healthy to have some perspective. If we're treating this as a health issue, I don't think we've come close to the level of...

              Sure, it's best to nip these things in the bud. But I also think it's healthy to have some perspective. If we're treating this as a health issue, I don't think we've come close to the level of 'epidemic.' Refer to my first sentence.

              And as I previously noted:

              Well, I figure anything that can inspire one to kill is a major problem, regardless of demographic statistics.

              2 votes
      3. alyaza
        Link Parent
        i mean, isn't a societal problem that only affects a small portion of society still a societal problem, though? i feel like the scale shouldn't necessarily play a huge role insofar as media...

        It seems like a lot of these societal problems that get brought up in online media these days really only touch a relatively small amount of society, but they get blow out of proportion.

        i mean, isn't a societal problem that only affects a small portion of society still a societal problem, though? i feel like the scale shouldn't necessarily play a huge role insofar as media coverage goes, or how we choose to respond to things. incels might not be as important as income inequality, for example, but it's not like income inequality is hurting for media coverage or going totally unaddressed and conversely, it's not like incels should be totally relegated or ignored or not have their issues dealt with just because they only impact a small portion of society, given the harm that they cause and have caused historically.

        i get the sentiment that the media sometimes overplays how significant things of this nature are, but at the same time i think i'd rather have them overblow something which has literally killed people like incel radicalism has than i would they just straight up not cover it. at least as far as i've observed, it's easier to get the media as a collective to change how they report on something than to get them to report on something they don't intend to report on to begin with.

        1 vote
  2. [20]
    TheInvaderZim
    Link
    vox with the agenda as usual. Here is the exact sentence where this article falls apart: And here we go down the usual liberal rabbit-hole, where there's a conspiracy of fundamentally sexist,...

    vox with the agenda as usual. Here is the exact sentence where this article falls apart:

    They are a dark reflection of a set of social values about women that is common, if not dominant, in broader Western society.

    And here we go down the usual liberal rabbit-hole, where there's a conspiracy of fundamentally sexist, racist, _ist people coming to get you that the internet is enabling, so hide yo kids hide yo wife and hide yo husband, etc etc. Even if it is true (and I believe that -to an extent- it is!) the forum misattributes the origin of modern incels to this tendency, basically saying "you've got people who are misogynistic, and they get together, and generate more misogyny." This is supported in the conclusion, where the author talks about how the incel movement is (to paraphrase) an "inevitable result" of "this logic of male entitlement and perceived female obligation that runs through the culture," and proposes that they're an elevated threat, not just a social/criminal threat, but a political threat as well.

    The conclusion even skips the actual reasoning in favor of the agenda:

    “Our widespread isolation and unhappiness and sterility might be dealt with by reviving or adapting older ideas about the virtues of monogamy and chastity and permanence and the special respect owed to the celibate.”

    This statement is generally correct. Being prudish has a place, and puts more emphasis on deeper relationships.

    Douthat’s arguments are far more careful and nuanced than those of an incels.co user would be. But both share the same core sense that something important was lost when women’s sexuality became less heavily regulated by social norm and law, that things were in some important ways better when women were more formally slotted into social roles focused on supporting men.

    This interpretation is a giant leap from that, and a perfect representation of the agenda Vox is pushing (or, rather, specifically building up then attacking).

    Skipping that, here is my fundamental problem with this view of incels. Take this snippet of the article:

    Incels believe a man’s sexual success is almost entirely determined by unalterable biological traits: things like his jawline, cheekbones, or eye socket shape. The result, in their view, is that modern Western society is defined by a kind of sexual class system.

    At the top of the incel hierarchy are the most attractive men, “Chads.” Incels believe that roughly 20 percent of the population is made up of Chads but about 80 percent of women are only interested in men of this class. “Stacy,” the incel term for the most attractive women, will only consent to sex with Chad, Tyrone (the incel word for a black Chad), Chang (East Asian Chad), Chadpreet (South Asian Chad), or Chaddam (Arab Chad). Incels, in case you can’t tell, have serious racial hang-ups.

    The bottom 20 percent of women will consent to sex with the vast majority of men who fall somewhere in the middle of the attractiveness tier, alternatively called “betas,” “cucks,” or “normies.” And at the bottom, of course, are incels: men who are so innately unappealing that they can never convince a woman to sleep with them.

    Now take this and look at it through the lens of someone who is looking for purely sexual success. Someone who's just looking for tinder flings and bar pickups, one night stands, etc. Which part is wrong?

    And believe me, I'm not saying this pertains to only men. Here's the same statements applied to a potential woman incel:

    Incels believe a woman’s sexual success is almost entirely determined by unalterable biological traits: things like her facial features, breast size, or figure. The result, in their view, is that modern Western society is defined by a kind of sexual class system.

    At the top of the incel hierarchy are the most attractive women, “Stacys.” Incels believe that roughly 20 percent of the population is made up of Stacys but about 80 percent of men are only interested in women of this class. “Chad,” the incel term for the most attractive men, will only consent to sex with Stacy. Incels, in case you can’t tell, have serious racial hang-ups.

    The bottom 20 percent of men will consent to sex with the vast majority of women who fall somewhere in the middle of the attractiveness tier, alternatively called “betas,” “cucks,” or “normies.” And at the bottom, of course, are incels: women who are so innately unappealing that they can never convince a man to sleep with them.

    Again, looking at it through a purely sex-based standpoint, this is still by and large correct. In both cases, the 80/20 statistics are totally unfounded, and men looking for sex, in general, are much more likely to fuck anything with a pulse than women, but there are a LOT of underlying problems here that the article doesn't get into at all.

    Which is my issue overall, I suppose. It talks about the original incel community (which I learned was actually a friendly support group, which I would not have guessed), and how it's been transformed, and the consequences of that transformation, but not why it exists. So, in lieu of the article doing it, here are the 3 reasons:

    1. Blame culture. To externalize is to be American. Everything is always someone else's fault. Too poor? Job's fault, not to do with your skills. Too socially inept? Society's fault, not you failing to recognize that you innately connect with others by doing things together. Not enough privacy? Google's fault, nothing to do with you signing away your privacy in exchange for a free lunch.

    Now take this and apply it to incels, and you've got a society telling these unfortunate souls that they should just blame everyone around them instead of look internally for problems, and then reinforce that, and you get the toxic culture.

    1. The 'new sexual revolution' has damaged our society. If you're really looking for something to blame beyond yourself, this is 100% it. Online dating is the equivalent to looking for a job - post a resume and wait for a response. Sites like tinder have taken the emphasis on physical attractiveness and turned it up to 11. Dating itself is a terrifying virtual minefield of social problems in itself, with the woman being convinced that 1/X men is going to take advantage of them, and the man being convinced that 1/X women is going to do anything from blow the abuse whistle as soon as things go wrong, to cheat, to be a gold-digger.

    So you've got a crucible of socially awkward, potentially unattractive people being subjected to a nightmare of a social environment, and, at the top surface-level, are innately at a disadvantage because of their outlook (and their looks).

    1. Introversion is at an extreme. Even though I leave the house for obligations and to keep in shape, I can't say I've participated in any real social event in around a year, possibly 2+ if it's one where the express purpose is to just hang out with friends. The internet has filled that void completely, and I don't feel like I'm left wanting. If I went to a group meet to talk about what I talk about on tildes, I could meet a partner there. Expecting to meet a partner on tildes, though, is ridiculous. The same can be said for video games vs sports, and so on.

    This is true for ANY introvert who uses the internet instead of going to bars or whatever. So you've got a group of people looking for someone to blame, socially awkward and standing no chance in conventional dating or otherwise because of it, who judge sex as their indicator of success, and you compound it by completely removing the normal avenues that you would take to talk to people - meetups, hangouts, and so on - replacing them with the internet.

    Here is the reality, and a better 1-sentence summary of incels than anything in the article itself:

    Our society is sick, and incels are a symptom expressed through misogyny, not the sickness itself.

    The author posts that there is no solution as a conclusion, but I disagree: the solution is for us, as a society, to finally begin taking responsibility for the mental well-being of animals that live in the most complex, confusing and rage-inducing time in history. If we can, the incel problem, like so many others, will start to disappear.

    10 votes
    1. [17]
      Rocket_Man
      Link Parent
      Do you mean this or specifically just how online dating has developed? Because there's been a tremendous amount of good from people being more open about sex. Even if online dating has some issue,...

      The 'new sexual revolution' has damaged our society.

      Do you mean this or specifically just how online dating has developed? Because there's been a tremendous amount of good from people being more open about sex. Even if online dating has some issue, but even then I don't think online dating is that bad.

      Most large dating sites are all owned by match group. One of their taglines being Our Brands Offer Unique Products for Virtually Every Dating Desire which I think is generally true. Ok cupid, Tinder, Plenty of Fish and Match.com all offer very different experiences. While they might all focus a bit too much on appearance there's still plenty of room to let your personality take benefit you.

      One specific problem with incels is that they often have shit personalities which ends up making them obsolete on all dating sites if they aren't extremely attractive.

      8 votes
      1. [16]
        TheInvaderZim
        Link Parent
        Ah, shit, this is way too long. Sorry. Just skip some of the bullets if you don't care, independently they're not particularly important to the dialog. I mean the new sexual revolution in general....

        Ah, shit, this is way too long. Sorry. Just skip some of the bullets if you don't care, independently they're not particularly important to the dialog.

        Do you mean this or specifically just how online dating has developed?

        I mean the new sexual revolution in general. Before you grab your pitchfork, though, allow me to explain. Sorry, if this rambles - I have a lot of raw ideas that I've never considered putting into words before. I speak from the position of being an outsider looking in - I've never engaged in the culture, nor do I disparage those who choose to take part, I'm only disappointed that I do not have a place in it, if not somewhat grossed out by the shift itself.

        First, I 100% agree that the new sexual revolution (a term which I take to mean 'the advent of more casualized, less taboo cultural views towards sex and sexuality in general') has done good. People being able to openly discuss sexual preferences, fetishes, and hangups without being judged has been a boon for our world, particularly for marginalized groups (LGBTQ+).

        I also (tangentially) agree that gross personality is part (well, most/all in most cases) of the problem with incels, which I didn't put anything about under blame culture, but certainly is covered under it.

        That said, the revolution (for lack of a better term - cultural shift? Let's go with that) brought a lot of problems with it, too. Keep in mind, this isn't talking about the problems it's caused for sexuality itself - how devalued it's become, how incredibly hard it is for people who have more traditional values about it to find each other - this is JUST about how it's affected relationships, which is HALF the problem.

        • Relationship definitions have changed, and are easily conflated with 'good, repeated sex,' to the point where the two are mistakenly interchangeable for many. Sex should be a piece of a relationship, the icing on the cake, but is often now the foundation that the relationship is built on. If not the reason for meeting, it's the reason the two stay together, and if not the reason the two stay together, the reason that one half is SEEKING a relationship. That last one is not just incel culture, it is everywhere. This overall is a HUGE part of what creates a modern incel - they're lonely and seeking a relationship, but because they're supposedly not appealing, they assume that sex = fulfillment when nothing could be further from the truth.

        • For better or worse, a sexual culture means sexuality is more important than ever before. It should not be. If I meet a partner (I'm probably a bi male) that I am comfortable or even falling in love with, sexual compatibility is so absolutely unimportant to me until my pants come off, and even then, is a TINY part of what I'm seeking out of a fulfilling relationship. But that mindset is at fundamental odds with the culture shift. Obviously, of course, you don't want to confess your love to another man and find out that it literally will not work, but outside of that, sexual compatibility - performance, desires, etc. - is such a tiny part of why a relationship should work. Despite that, it's become a HUGE part of what as a culture you're told to value in a partner. If you're sexually compatible, so it's said, it's worth investigating the rest of the relationship. If not, you may as well stop there.

        • Sexual image is ridiculously overimportant as well. Like it or not, the first thing you look at in our culture is the profile picture, and people (myself included!) are WAY shallow about looks. More on this in a minute. This doesn't even mean that so-called 'unattractive' people don't have a chance - it DOES mean that if you're meeting people in any scenario, you're going to shoot for the 10 before the 5.

        • Dating sites - where to begin? I suppose I should clarify that dating sites are an inalienable part of the cultural shift, because they've virtually replaced the 'normal' paths to relationships in the advent of the internet replacing the 'normal' way to socialize. I don't actively seek out women to talk to IRL, and even when I did, I had NO IDEA where to find them. Remove coworkers and classmates from the equation, and most people will not have a third easy way to find and talk to potentially compatible partners, so, dating sites.

        • The sites are a competition, because virtually any dating website functions as a 'relationship market' by design. They have to, or else you're basically dating blindly, which is arguably even worse. So aside from the other problems with that (listed below), take the preexisting problem of looks being super important and throw it into overdrive, because no matter how in-depth the profile, that's still basically the only mouth-feel you've got for the other person before you meet in terms of how they act and what they're actually like. And, structurally, it's initially a lot easier to see looks and look past personality than it is to look for personality and see past looks.

        • Because of said 'marketplace' feel (similar to the job market), online dating is possibly the most demeaning thing that I have personally ever experienced. Build out your personality resume, take a flattering picture, and apply to the open partner positions for the opposite sex, with the date being the job interview. I have never felt worse about myself or been so depressed as I was after trying outline dating. It is AWFUL, demeaning, inappropriate, violating, deprecating, and best of all...

        • that process is not how relationships are naturally formed to begin with. There is so much you should consider about a person as you get to know them before even THINKING about going out on a date. That's, like, half the relationship completely skipped! How are you supposed to get to know someone as a romantic partner, if you don't even know if you can be friends? How they act? Who they are?

        • which is to say nothing of how the relationship begins - with one person putting themselves out, and the other person accepting. Relationships are 50/50. This absurd (somewhat gross, IMO) idea put out by everything from tinder to christian-mingle that 1 person goes and "gets" the other one is fundamentally broken. I would hardly even think I could make a good friend doing that, nevermind find a partner.

        • And, just to put it out there, there is no getting around the fact that a man will ALWAYS be the applicant, but for exceptionally rare occasions. Of all the things the cultural shift abolished, the one thing it didn't is that men are supposed to be the ones to ask under any circumstances. Except now you're taking a personality test before you ask, and I'm curious which site is going to be the first one to ask for references under the pretense of avoiding anything from date-rape to STDs.

        • Capping it all off, similar to how oversexualization has, via cultural imprint, fundamentally changed how relationships are formed/viewed, these online sites have fundamentally changed how the process for dating works. Do you know how fundamentally stupid the idea that you can't date a friend is? Although I haven't experienced it personally, that idea perfectly encapsulates everything that's gone wrong with this cultural shift, and it's everywhere! Relationships, theoretical or practiced, are now an entirely new monster, completely separate from your actual life when they should be so integral that you can't separate them.

        And this isn't even touching on the fundamental ways that relationship structures and ideals themselves have changed OR, again, the way that sex itself has cheapened and the effects that's had. Relationships take time, effort, work, and sacrifice, and are based on so much more than you can get out of a dating site, a one night stand or a first date. We as a society have completely forgotten that.

        But if you take away nothing else, read this: I don't expect you to agree with everything up there. Some of those experiences are subjective, others due to age group or subculture. Not all of them apply to everyone and everywhere. I'm sure one of them is flatly wrong, or has a huge, glaring exception I don't know about. But if you agree with even one of the above points, it by itself is fundamentally wrong and has hurt our society, and could easily cause someone to, uh, "go incel" for lack of a better term. And circumstantially, every one of them is present.

        So yeah. You could say that I have a problem with the NSL in general AND with specifically online dating. Serious apologies for the rant. This is way too long.

        8 votes
        1. [4]
          kfwyre
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          There's a lot to digest here, and I thank you for your honesty and candor. This is a tough topic to be open about. I would have considered myself an "incel" had I had the vocabulary for it at the...

          There's a lot to digest here, and I thank you for your honesty and candor. This is a tough topic to be open about.

          I would have considered myself an "incel" had I had the vocabulary for it at the time. I grew up gay in a very conservative Christian community, so I quite literally thought, and had every reason to believe, that I was entirely alone in the world. The closet is a terrible, lonely place.

          I didn't come out until my twenties and faced quite a lot of shit for it. I could tell you horror stories about the things people have done and said to me. I say this not for dramatic effect but because, amidst all of that awfulness, I remember sinking to my lowest "incel"-esque low where I was deeply resentful that people were angry at me for being gay despite the fact that I had never once "been gay" with anyone. I'd been celibate! My whole life! And yet somehow I was still sinful and filthy. The incongruity would have been funny if I hadn't been so depressed nor in such danger.

          When I was in that community, I had a laundry list of justifications for why I was alone.

          "Nobody else is openly gay."
          "Even if I found someone we wouldn't be able to do normal things like hold hands or go on dates."

          And the biggest one of all:

          "Every guy I fall for is straight. No guy will ever want me back."

          I didn't have this terminology at the time either, but what I was experiencing was a "cognitive distortion." I was "catastrophizing" and assuming the worst possible outcome. It's incredibly seductive because there's a short line from possible to probable and then from probable to certain. My mind would take possibility to the bank and turn it into certainty, and always in favor of the negative.

          What was missing from my reasoning? All other possible outcomes! Including positive ones!

          "I definitely can't be the only one who feels this way."
          "If I do meet another gay guy in this community, we'll probably have a lot in common!"
          "Because of all I've been through, I've developed a lot of patience and strength. These are good qualities that I have to offer!"

          Cognitive distortions are the intellectual equivalent of looking in a funhouse mirror and assuming the reflection is genuine. And they're remarkably pervasive. I know this because I moved away from that community and went to live an a much more queer-friendly place. The hatred and animosity were gone, but my catastrophizing stayed. It just changed its logic.

          "I'll never be able to compete with other gay guys. They look so much better than I do."
          "I'm damaged goods from all that I've been through. Nobody's going to want me."
          "If straight people have trouble finding someone and they're compatible with roughly 50% of the population, how will I ever find someone when I'm looking at 3%? And half of them are probably closeted anyway!"

          Not all of it was about being gay either. My brain loved to wallow in a lot of the standard insecurities that nearly everyone faces.

          "I'm too awkward in conversation."
          "My friends are only pretending to like me."
          "I'm meant to be alone."
          "I'm too fat/ugly/obnoxious/weird/annoying/[negative adjective of the week]."

          I don't remember exactly when it was, but "forever alone" became memetic on reddit, and I bought into it. Hard. Had "incel" started to gain more widespread popularity when I was younger, the term would have been equally magnetic for me. I felt that it described a fundamental truth of my existence.

          What I couldn't see at the time was that what I believed to be a fundamental truth was really the product of my brain failing to function correctly. I thought I was completely, thoroughly logical. I was smart. Smarter than the rest, even, because I wasn't being "emotional" about things. I had every reason in the world for why I would be alone. I'd had reasons for years. But this reasoning was only effective because my brain had blinders on.

          A comment in your original post stuck with me:

          "If I went to a group meet to talk about what I talk about on tildes, I could meet a partner there. Expecting to meet a partner on tildes, though, is ridiculous."

          The short epilogue to my story is that I met my husband on reddit. Not because of a dating subreddit but because of our posts. He'd noticed mine, I'd noticed his, and he decided to take a leap and PM me. We started messaging back and forth on reddit, which later moved to texting, which later moved to Skyping, which much later moved to a serious discussion about what our future would look like.

          We're now married. Live together. Own a house. We've got a dog! I say this not to gloat or rub it in, but because this is a life outcome that I literally considered impossible for most of my time on this lonely, forsaken planet.

          I don't think my husband and I are the norm, by any means, but we're, at the very least, a possibility. Meeting someone through an internet forum is a real thing that can happen. Probable? Doubtful. But still, at the very least, possible.

          And I mention this because I see a lot of my own cognitive distortions in your post. You give lots of great reasoning, but it skews negative in a very heavy way. And if you are going to give weight to negative possibility, it's only fair that you give weight to some positive ones too. Don't let yourself be taken in by the lie that modern dating is doomed and that all outcomes lead to unhappiness. Those are possible but they are not certain!

          Consider the possibility that these might just be growing pains of changing times. What if things get better in a couple years? What if something new comes about that changes up the scene? What if new social norms develop? What if some of the ideas in your post start to take hold? After all, ten years ago we weren't meeting through apps, and ten years before that we weren't meeting on the internet. A lot can change in a short amount of time. Ten years ago I watched seven million Californians take away the rights of gay couples to marry in their state. Six years later, I watched our right to marry be upheld across all 50 states.

          I'd been with my partner for years by then, but even still I'd held onto a particularly clingy piece of catastrophizing. Before 2015, I'd lived my entire life with the following disheartening truth:

          I'll never be able to get married.

          It was a distortion that had decades of weight behind it. It felt more real and more weighty than any of the other ones. And I watched that "truth" be proven false right before my very eyes. In fact, typing this now, I can't believe it was four years ago. It feels like it was yesterday. Even if you don't believe in the positivity I'm espousing, at the very least believe in change.

          Through your words you show that you're thoughtful and articulate. You're passionate. You're able to process the big picture but not forget about the individuals within it. Though I don't know you, you've implicitly shown a lot of strengths just by what you've written here. Don't let negativity sandbag your good qualities. Don't let your brain tell you everything's awful. I let it happen to me for far too long, and it sapped a lot of richness from my life.

          8 votes
          1. TheInvaderZim
            Link Parent
            Thanks for the post! I wish I could engage with it more, but I dont have a lot to add. I appreciate you opening up about your own experiences so thoroughly, and I'm glad youve found happiness! You...

            Thanks for the post! I wish I could engage with it more, but I dont have a lot to add. I appreciate you opening up about your own experiences so thoroughly, and I'm glad youve found happiness! You could totally partner with a gay rights organization or charity and write an autobiography, youve got a great history. (In fact, I work for a ghostwriting/hybrid publishing firm - if you ever decide you want to, send me a message!)

            I dont mean to come off as personally negative. I see the situation as, at worst, disappointing - it works for other people, it just didnt click for me. But I dont resent it, or harbor any negatives aside from a slight scar on my ego. I just see it as disappointing because until something changes, which isnt happening anytime in my 20s at least, I'll likely remain alone. And its not that I'm depressed about it - I'm glad to say I've made peace with the idea, which is why I'm not even actively seeking a partner - I'm just understandably let down that there's not a whole hellova lot I could do to change anything besides throwing myself back into a system I cant stomach to begin with. Something is just missing, even though I cant identify what or even why i'd need it or even if I'd like it when I found it.

            Like, whatever happens, happens. I'm not upset about that. But I appreciate the words of encouragement, nonetheless.

            3 votes
          2. [2]
            Tygrak
            Link Parent
            Hey, thank you so much for this post! I am so happy for you that you found a partner like this, that's so awesome. I feel I am going through a similar phase to the one you described, even though I...

            Hey, thank you so much for this post! I am so happy for you that you found a partner like this, that's so awesome.

            I feel I am going through a similar phase to the one you described, even though I live in a pretty gay-friendly place, probably way better than where you grew up. I hate the incel community and don't identify with it in anyway, mainly because I long for a real relationship, not just sex. But I still do the things you described - the catastrophizing.

            I even have a pretty awesome supportive friend group (I don't even know why they talk to me, they are so much smarter and in most ways have their shit together much more than me haha) - I feel like I am extremely lucky and have everything going for me, but I still spend a ton of time thinking about how I have no chance to ever find someone. I think about how awkward, ugly and other stuff I am and millions of other reasons, similar to the ones you already described, with which I am trying to explain why I had no luck so far. But most of the time I arrive at the conclusion that I am just impatient and that I have so much time and I am so young, that I will hopefully meet someone someday. Even though I think I am in a good place, and think I always reach the right conclusion, I still probably spend too much time thinking about the unnecessarily negative stuff. I wish there was a way to just go back to when I didn't want a relationship, because I definitely were in a better place mentally.

            I don't even know what I am trying to say. I guess I am just saying that I want a relationship and that I trust that I will someday have it, but I am still unhappy currently, even though I knew there isn't too good of a reason to be.

            Haha, god I am bad at writing coherent texts, that aren't just bad unrelated rambling. As I already said, thank you for your post, it really is great to hear someone who went through similar stuff and ended up in a good spot.

            2 votes
            1. kfwyre
              Link Parent
              Thank you for sharing! That's definitely a tough place to be in, and quite familiar to me even though I'm long removed from it. I think being gay specifically is tough because, in searching for...

              Thank you for sharing!

              That's definitely a tough place to be in, and quite familiar to me even though I'm long removed from it.

              I think being gay specifically is tough because, in searching for someone, you can run up against a lot of image-focused, casual sex types of people. There's nothing wrong with that type of person intrinsically, but they can be massively offputting if you're someone who wants a full-fledged relationship. They can also further a lot of insecurities.

              That said, I wish you the best of luck with your journey. A relationship is a wonderful thing to have, but it's not a panacea either. One of the harder parts of being in a relationship is that things don't magically become movie-like, even though that's how it often can feel in the beginning. There's still friction, surprises, growing pains, uncertainties, and, yes, insecurities.

              Learning to be kind to yourself and appreciate who you are while single will help you not only now but when you finally do find someone. For one, confidence and a strong sense of self look good on anyone, but a solid foundation for yourself will better help you weather any future storms, which there will invariably be.

              If wanting a relationship is your goal, don't feel like you're stuck in limbo. You can start laying the groundwork now in yourself. It sounds like you have a good handle on what you want, but you might have a bit of a negative skew on who you are and how you fit into the world. If that's the case, work to reframe that negativity and allow for more positive possibilities and outcomes. Dwell on hope instead of futility sometimes.

              And, above all else, know that your friends genuinely like you! That's why they're your friends! Everybody feels impostor syndrome sometimes, and everybody knows what it's like to feel like they're the only one on the periphery of a social group. These are common, but they are not usually true.

              The reality is that we tend to ignore and avoid people we dislike, rather than abide them (unless we must). If your friends continue to spend time and connect with you, that means they like you! Doesn't matter the reason, either. They see worthwhile things in you, just as you see positive qualities in them. Make sure that you turn that focus inward and see the good in yourself too. It's definitely there, and it'll grow if you nurture it.

              1 vote
        2. [6]
          nothis
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I think the article isn’t about that. It’s IMO very supportive of pre-misogyny incel culture and general self-help communities for people who have trouble dating. It’s mostly an article about how...

          I think the article isn’t about that. It’s IMO very supportive of pre-misogyny incel culture and general self-help communities for people who have trouble dating. It’s mostly an article about how to jump from that to blind, murderous hatred.

          Have you looked at that incels.co website? I had a look and summarized it in a comment above. People use avatar images of famous mass murderers left and right. They openly and humourlessly fantasize about torturing women to make them pay for their rejection. This can not be justified with not getting laid. This is a different category.

          Anyway, most incel sob stories start with something like “I had a crush on someone in high school and she rejected me”. Like, dude, almost every guy experienced something like this. It’s called growing up.

          4 votes
          1. TheInvaderZim
            Link Parent
            I agree the article isn't about that, but my point was that's the problem. Like, let's say that tomorrow every incel on earth is identified, tracked and "stopped" - that is, tomorrow, we by some...

            I agree the article isn't about that, but my point was that's the problem. Like, let's say that tomorrow every incel on earth is identified, tracked and "stopped" - that is, tomorrow, we by some miracle reduce their societal impact to zero and remove them from the internet.

            The problem is that the phenomenon won't just disappear that quickly. More will replace them. Incel culture is the end of a path that our culture has led certain problematic (vulnerable) people down, and I'm bothered by the 'lessons learned' from this article, where they identify it as a threat and very weakly link it to the conservative/alt-right boogeyman instead of pointing to actual causes that we should be demanding actual change for.

            1 vote
          2. [4]
            Neverland
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I was curious who would host a site like you described and it's now been suspended by the TLD owner.

            incel.co

            I was curious who would host a site like you described and it's now been suspended by the TLD owner.

            nameservers: pr-suspensions.neuweb.biz, PR-Suspensions-1630320541.us-east-1.elb.amazonaws.com.

            Domain Suspension

            This domain has expired and is now suspended. If you would like to restore it please contact the registrar used to register your domain. You can check the registrar used for your domain at whois.CO.

            1. [3]
              nothis
              Link Parent
              Ah i think it’s incels.co, plural!

              Ah i think it’s incels.co, plural!

              1 vote
              1. [2]
                Neverland
                Link Parent
                Ohhhhhhh

                Ohhhhhhh

                1. nothis
                  Link Parent
                  Does it still exist? I don't feel like going there again, lol.

                  Does it still exist? I don't feel like going there again, lol.

                  1 vote
        3. [3]
          Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          As someone who recently had a 10 year long relationship fail because I treated sex like the "icing on the cake" I disagree with a large portion of your premise. I also disagree with your idea that...

          As someone who recently had a 10 year long relationship fail because I treated sex like the "icing on the cake" I disagree with a large portion of your premise. I also disagree with your idea that a relationship can only start with a friendship first. You may be demisexual or sapiosexual, but not everyone is.

          I do, however, agree that dating sites and apps have fundamentally shifted how people typically approach dating and this is problematic for many of the reasons you brought forth. Most apps are fundamentally demeaning, because they have become so ruthlessly targeted on profits, and because socially the way that men and women interact with these apps is so diametrically different.

          A lot of the issues you bring up are the exact same issues I have with monoamorous culture in general (many monoamorous people see nothing wrong with dating multiple people at the same time 😂) and is in ways fundamentally tied to how I view the world (also bi; more accurately pan), so my own view is also biased. In fact, I think both of us are biased quite a bit as compared to those who end up going down the incel path, and perhaps what we need to do is to try and understand them better first rather than making assumptions of what's wrong based on what we're observing as problematic.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            TheInvaderZim
            Link Parent
            Sorry about your relationship. I agree that understanding is the key; I also think, though, I've got enough of an understanding to at least render elementary judgement. Where are the areas that...

            Sorry about your relationship. I agree that understanding is the key; I also think, though, I've got enough of an understanding to at least render elementary judgement. Where are the areas that you or I are lacking understanding?

            1 vote
            1. Gaywallet
              Link Parent
              It's very difficult to point out what we don't know, but I think the difference in the weight you give to healthy sex and how you think people need to be friends first are both examples of ways we...

              It's very difficult to point out what we don't know, but I think the difference in the weight you give to healthy sex and how you think people need to be friends first are both examples of ways we approach relationships a little bit differently.

              Both of these lenses cause us to view online/app dating slightly differently and I suspect incels have yet another viewpoint on the matter. In fact, I suspect there are actually a variety of viewpoints within the incel community.

              It's very easy in science to get biased if you go into a problem with the idea that the problem is something in specific. If you think a gene is responsible for a health condition, your study is going to ignore everything that isn't genetic - epigenetics, external factors, etc.

              It's relatively easy to get an outsiders look at this problem and to draw conclusions, but I think the next big step is to collect the thoughts and feelings of insiders and bring them to professionals in behavioral psychology who can help to begin building a framework or understanding of how people become incels so that we can better understand where to target resources.

              2 votes
        4. [2]
          Rocket_Man
          Link Parent
          I feel I should preface this by saying I was a young man slowly starting to go down the incel path. But in my search for a relationship found it and will likely stay with my SO for the rest of my...

          I feel I should preface this by saying I was a young man slowly starting to go down the incel path. But in my search for a relationship found it and will likely stay with my SO for the rest of my life. So for me online dating worked out quite well. I also think it gives me some perspective on how these things work.

          Relationship definitions have changed, and are easily conflated with 'good, repeated sex,' to the point where the two are mistakenly interchangeable for many. Sex should be a piece of a relationship, the icing on the cake, but is often now the foundation that the relationship is built on.

          Relationships take time, effort, work, and sacrifice, and are based on so much more than you can get out of a dating site, a one night stand or a first date. We as a society have completely forgotten that.

          You mention this idea a couple of times and I think it's wrong. Some people are dumb and shallow and don't seem to have a mind of their own. However, the majority of people are normal people who want a relationship and don't care about sex much. People don't have as much sex as everyone thinks.

          I would agree with you that people are isolated. Online dating shouldn't be a persons only option. But it has become very hard to do outside of that. My success with online dating does make it difficult. I know others who have a terrible time and I could point to what I think is causing them problems but I wouldn't really know unless I did it myself again, which doesn't look to be happening.

          2 votes
          1. TheInvaderZim
            Link Parent
            That's totally fair. I'm going to disagree with you on the portion of the population, but have no data besides personal experience to back it up. Depends on the circles you run in, I suppose -...

            That's totally fair. I'm going to disagree with you on the portion of the population, but have no data besides personal experience to back it up. Depends on the circles you run in, I suppose - when I spent some time with my coworkers a couple weeks ago, those points don't describe any of them, but for many of my coworkers at my past jobs, or people I met when I was in college, the attitude was screamingly evident.

            I think my dissatisfaction with online dating, on the other hand, has to do with the systematic approach to it. I am just not comfortable building relationships through that general process. In that way, then, it's a me problem, which is why I opened by emphasizing that I don't disparage the practice.

            1 vote
    2. [2]
      hackergal
      Link Parent
      What do you propose we do to tackle the problem? What would a solution look like?

      What do you propose we do to tackle the problem? What would a solution look like?

      7 votes
      1. TheInvaderZim
        Link Parent
        Excellent question! It's not terribly complex in theory, just virtually impossible in execution. First, proper and PERSONALIZED education from grade school through college, which looks like a...

        Excellent question! It's not terribly complex in theory, just virtually impossible in execution.

        First, proper and PERSONALIZED education from grade school through college, which looks like a properly funded education system with individualized standards per student, along with updated curriculum to encompass modern topics - everything from taxes to sexuality to personal achievement. It's mind-boggling just how little our youth learn about themselves or the world in high school, and I say that as someone who only escaped public education, what, 6 years ago?

        Second, take steps towards promoting an awareness of mental health, and make it affordable. Psychology checkups should be as regular for westerners as doctors' appointments, and it blows my mind that they aren't. If the US govt. REALLY wanted to stop mass shootings and the alt-right (we don't), they'd be throwing our defense budget into psychologists and awareness campaigns while calling it a matter of national security, because it is.

        9 votes
  3. emdash
    Link
    Individually, this quote from the article stood out to me. This would be a big first step for a lot of people who self-identify as "incel" to realise. Bitching & complaining on the internet is...

    Individually, this quote from the article stood out to me.

    Romantic connection seems to happen when you find joy in other aspects of life, then share that happiness with other people.

    This would be a big first step for a lot of people who self-identify as "incel" to realise. Bitching & complaining on the internet is effectively the social equivalent of a no-op. It doesn't further a "goal" of finding a partner, and will only regress you further due to a vicious cycle of self-antivalidation. Go outside, step away from the computer, and find a hobby you enjoy. You will organically and naturally meet people who share the same experiences.

    I don't personally care too much for dating myself—I've always been an introvert—and whilst I do have a boyfriend, we share common joys for things that make us happy. But what I can attest to, is that when I became interested in paragliding and decided to pursue my love of it by becoming a paraglider pilot, my social interactions increased dramatically. Everyone was really nice, and I've made quite a few friends because of it.

    People spend way, way too much time on the internet (I include myself in this), and to be honest the current sites & solutions we have are making people sick.

    10 votes
  4. [3]
    vakieh
    Link
    Lol. It was NEVER a support group for the dateless, it was always full of the weirdest, creepiest shit imaginable. Vox messed up HARD on their research for this one, probably because most of it...

    Lol. It was NEVER a support group for the dateless, it was always full of the weirdest, creepiest shit imaginable. Vox messed up HARD on their research for this one, probably because most of it occurred on a combination of websites that no longer exist, and people like ReformedIncel are rose coloured glassing things to try and distance themselves from the active extremism that resulted from it. Loveshy was the core, not the spinoff.

    The true face of the incel subculture predates any of those forums - on personal blogs and individual handles. Govgetsgfs (one of many handles, not his first) was the longest lasting I know of, but even that ended up getting nuked (and very thoroughly scrubbed) after the 2014 attack. It was remade with a different bent and an attempt at rewriting history here, because his handle was doxxed and he was an angry mob away from having his life violentacrez'ed. Particularly hilarious is the "Warning about defamation, lies and incorrect information about me online" link, which directly links back to things the old blog had on it, like having the government pay women to marry men (and criminalise being single) - hence the most notorious handle - and how he was angry with his mother for not having sex with him.

    I'm sure one of the old /r/drama people will have this archived, might be an idea to send it to vox so they can fix their 'slow radicalisation' narrative.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      Did you read the article before writing this? Have you read any of the other articles which talk about the history of the incel culture? It's ironic that the Vox writers say that Alana wants to...

      Lol. It was NEVER a support group for the dateless,

      Did you read the article before writing this? Have you read any of the other articles which talk about the history of the incel culture?

      The founding irony of the incel community is that it was created by a woman — and a politically progressive queer one at that. Her real name is Alana (she asked to keep her last name private), and she’s an artist and consultant based in Toronto.

      The experience of finally entering the dating pool made Alana want to help others with her difficulties. So she launched a website called Alana’s Involuntary Celibacy Project, one of the earliest online havens for people who wanted to have romantic relationships but couldn’t. She spent a few years monitoring her creation but came to realize that she couldn’t be an authority for these people and wasn’t fixing their problems. Feeling both futile and a bit like she’d grown out of the incel world, she ceased her involvement in the forums around 2000.

      It's ironic that the Vox writers say that Alana wants to keep her last name private because these paragraphs include a link to an article she wrote 20 years ago about involuntary celibacy - using her full name.

      But, if you think Vox "messed up HARD" in their research... what about the BBC? They interviewed Alana months ago, citing the same history. I wouldn't be surprised if Vox "borrowed" some of their research from the BBC. Do you think the BBC also "messed up HARD"?

      9 votes
      1. vakieh
        Link Parent
        While I have done, I honestly don't need to - I watched it happen live. I was active in CS forums at the time, and the nature of that field back then (less so now, but still there) attracted...

        Did you read the article before writing this? Have you read any of the other articles which talk about the history of the incel culture?

        While I have done, I honestly don't need to - I watched it happen live. I was active in CS forums at the time, and the nature of that field back then (less so now, but still there) attracted certain personalities. Almost every board had their 1 or 2 weird dudes. Hell, even MUDs and stuff had at least 1 per server.

        I do think they messed up hard (Vox and BBC both), because they failed to vet the sources they had. There is and was a mad push to change the narrative throughout the 'community's history - painting the mainstream portion as just regular people with a lack of a sex life, while 'those weird people' were the odd ones out. It was never like that, the core of the community was always horrible. The fact that Vox & BBC claim 'Alana’s Involuntary Celibacy Project' was 'creating' the community is laughable - there was already a community, it just existed on forums about other things too.

        4 votes
  5. Removed by admin: 5 comments by 3 users
    Link