North Texas Daily

Incels don’t need sympathy, they need a wake up call

Incels don’t need sympathy, they need a wake up call

Incels don’t need sympathy, they need a wake up call
September 16
13:00 2022

Content Warning: The following story contains language related to sexual abuse, violence and suicide.

What started as an internet subculture of men dissatisfied with their sex lives has snowballed into what Texas Department of Safety officials call an “emerging domestic terrorism threat.” Self-proclaimed “incels,” also known as involuntary celibates, are men who feel isolated because of their lack of sexual experience and conventional unattractiveness.

What incels need is to unlearn misogyny, not receive sympathy. It’s not something they should do alone either — the men surrounding them must also undo their sexism.

While toxic masculinity does negatively impact men, it’s also a product of patriarchal ideals perpetuated by them. Therefore, men have the upper hand in minimizing the harm done by incels.

Often, women and attractive men are considered to be one of the causes of their isolation.  Visit an incel forum, and you will witness one of the few communities that blatantly tear each other down in the name of seeking enlightenment. In some posts, an incel will remind others that “it doesn’t get better,” and another will outright tell incels to commit suicide for their benefit.

The beginner incel makes a choice to “take the red pill” and see the world for what he believes it truly is: women are hypergamous and anyone who isn’t insanely attractive stands little to no chance of finding love. Once the lonely individual is farther down the self-deprecating rabbit hole, there is a final truth called the “black pill.”

This is where an incel accepts that attractiveness is a matter of genetic luck. Anyone lacking the right facial and skeletal features is destined to be lonely and without sexual experience for the rest of their lives. Thus, happiness is just out of reach.

As expected, the black pill forces incels down a path of hatred directed outwardly and within. Although newsrooms tend to report more about how this ideology drives some incels to homicide, it’s not uncommon for incels to have suicidal thoughts. On top of that, incels are largely isolated from society — in many cases through no fault of their own.

Instead of validation and friendship, the world offers incels shame and humiliation. Even now, headlines like “The internet is enabling a community of men who want to kill women” paint all incels as murderous maniacs when only a small percentage of them resort to violent crimes.

On the other hand, those who have seen the genuine misery that incels endure feel the key to minimizing the harm caused by the movement is sympathy, namely from women. After all, inceldom is more a mental health crisis than a terrorist threat. Both are inefficient ways of managing the incel crisis.

Much of incel terminology is based on dehumanizing women, with some incels even referring to women as “femoids” when other sexist insults have been exhausted. Inceldom is the product of a culture that capitalizes off of human sexuality, commodifying women and toxic masculinity. Those problems can only be solved by the men who perpetuate them, not the women who fall victim to them.

Because incels are a byproduct of competitive masculinity where women and sex are reduced to social capital, both are thought to guarantee male acceptance and happiness. It’s a false promise that glorifies men who fit a social standard and wrongfully elevates societal expectations to that of universal truth.

Male authoritative figures are responsible for instilling a healthy perspective on masculinity and self-worth, but they should also dismantle their misogyny that could pass on to younger boys. It’s apparent that men active on incel forums believe dating and romance are really just a marketplace for sex, and “femoids” are perceived more as accessories to male status than as fellow human beings. They aren’t alone in their dehumanization because it’s inherited from the misogyny they’ve been exposed to.

Male peers have just as much responsibility to each other. Instead of dragging each other down for not maintaining the standards society forces on them, men should try to maintain an atmosphere of authenticity and compassion. The average American loses their virginity at age 17, but a good 14 percent of men in their early twenties are virgins, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Masculinity is not meant to be comparative, it’s self-expression, and policing that can rob men of empathetic comradery. Sex and love are not competitions but human experiences.

Patriarchal constructs are a double-edged sword nobody gains from. Sure, society shouldn’t demonize the same people they’ve isolated, but incels don’t need to be babied. Sympathy, especially from women, feeds into the entitlement that makes incels so angry. This should be a wake-up call, not just for incels but for everyone who upholds misogyny within their communities.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text “HOME” to 741741.

Featured Illustration by Jazmine Garcia

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Hana Musa

Hana Musa

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