North Texas Daily

Incels need a support structure, not ridicule

Incels need a support structure, not ridicule

Incels need a support structure, not ridicule
September 24
12:00 2021

On April 23, 2018, 10 people lost their lives in Toronto to a man intentionally driving on the sidewalk. 

The perpetrator of the attack was Alek Minassian, who was harmless according to his classmates, was on the autism spectrum and had described himself as involuntarily celibate.

In an era where the phrase “sex sells” is commonplace, it can be hard to see that a minority of adults have not had sexual contact with someone else, the mean age of first intercourse being 17 years old. Some people are celibate for religious or personal reasons. However, involuntary celibates are people who desire sex but have been unable to find a consenting partner for six months. An involuntary celibate can be anyone: people with partners who don’t have sex, singles who have had sex in the past or people who are still virgins, be they heterosexual, gay, bi or trans. Cultural expectations in western societies place social expectations to begin dating, having sex and marrying “on time.” People will measure their progress towards these expectations as on time or off time. 

Being off time can be frustrating for anyone. As one woman put it, she feels “a sense of immaturity, a lack of completion.” The way other people see her when she reveals her celibacy also affects her relationships. “Men think it’s a bit strange when they date me and I have no [sexual] history whatsoever.”

It is the lack of connection, despite their best efforts, that lead some to check out from dating entirely and take the “blackpill.”

A pill is a way of looking at reality, taken from The Matrix where the red pill reveals the truth and the blue pill as the societal norm. The blackpill, as defined by New America, is the “belief that accepts the view of society dominated by women but rejects individual-level attempts such as learning game to achieve a sexual relationship with women.” 

Taking the blackpill, these people believe no matter how much they improve their physique or appearance, their natural limitations prevent them from escaping their predicament of being an Intel

The profile of these celibates could perhaps offer some insight as to why the blackpill is so prevalent in their online communities. In a study conducted by The Society for the Improvement Psychological Science, racially diverse groups have a high prevalence of mental health issues, with 59 percent suffering from depression, 74 percent from stress and anxiety, and 25 percent from autism. A whopping 95 percent believe they missed a developmental milestone they saw others experience naturally.

Why then would these people hop onto these forums? They use online communities to build a sense of belonging and to feel less lonely. There are some incels on these forums who post hateful content directed at women. Ten percent of the people post the majority of the content, and half of the people on the forum post a hateful message at some point towards themselves, other users and women. The involuntary celibates describe therapy as unhelpful, and research on individuals who remain sexually inexperienced beyond adolescence is few and far between as an uncommon population. Between the age of 25-44, virginity is 3 percent for men and 2 percent for women.  

Shaming people with problems rarely works to get them the help they need, especially considering the problems they have are prevalent among peers their age: shyness, negative body image and poor social skills. The blackpill and withdrawal from society are a part of a negative feedback loop, and without intervention, they will hamper their ability to develop the complex skills they need to form relationships. Being “off time” as the previous study mentioned, hurts their learning of initiating conversations, appropriateness and timing, and how to plan a date.  

The potential intervention for incels and the thoughts they hold on women requires various actions. Researchers need to recognize their prejudice towards adult virgins and eliminate their own bias. Caretakers of children should look out for psychological warning signs such as loneliness, relationship issues and suicide ideation. As young adults, they need more social support and opportunities for social contact to address their loneliness caused by their low social cognition.

Alek Minassian killed 10 people in Toronto because of deep-cutting psychological issues that led to him being behind neurotypical peers, off time and eventually take the blackpill to take it out on women with violence. A support structure that works to address issues of self-image and social skills can go a long way. What “Reviving Ophelia” did for women, those concerned about incels should do for them. Before incels hurt themselves or others, they need intervention.

Featured Illustration by Pooja Patel

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Chris Sotelo

Chris Sotelo

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