Are you a Chad? A Stacy or a Becky? An Incel, or perhaps even a Femcel? Just like in life offline, we know the internet is full of different communities, and in the manosphere there is a particular group called ‘Involuntary Celibate men’ a.k.a ‘Incels’. Like many new movements and groups, Incels are an internet-derived phenomenon. I searched the deep web for more information on ‘The Incel Crisis’.
Incels are members of an online subculture who define themselves (and on Wikipedia) as ‘perpetually single’ or ‘dating shy’ and therefore “unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one”, a state they describe as ‘inceldom’. Self-identified Incels are often white, ‘geeky’ and almost exclusively male heterosexuals. A common narrative in Incels is that a high school crush ‘Stacy’ (see later for definition) rejected them in the past, and as a result of this they develop a hate for the female population as a whole. This rebuff has turned them dark, confused, and full of resentment. The jealousy and hatred they harbour towards women grow as they stew in their rooms—on forums—isolated from the ‘real world.’
Due to negative interactions with women who they believe have moulded their personalities to the very core, Incels base their self worth on female attention; adamant they are victims denied of sex only because of appearance. They feel they are doomed for a life of loneliness and neglect, with no hope, who see the world ‘how it really is’—which is ultimately ‘against them’.
Inceldom was created in 1993 by Alana, a neoliberal feminist aiming to found a place on the internet for people experiencing loneliness. Originally titled Alana’s Involuntary Celibacy Project (AICP), the forum quickly and unexpectedly turned into a backlash against women and the rise of feminist culture. The forums such as Reddit, 4Chan, and the now deleted Incel.me make for pretty grim reading, with angry, derogatory terms, and often racial slurs towards women. For example, JBW is used to imply that ‘just being white’ can resolve all Incel problems. The term ‘ethnicel’ is a non-white male who is Incel because of his ‘inferior’ skin––also disrespectfully called ‘currycel’ or ‘ricecel’ or ‘noodlewhore’.
Just like many subcultures, the Incels have their own jargon. They see women as either ‘Stacy’s’, who are feminine, attractive, unattainable and who only date ‘Chads’ (a.k.a Chad Thundercock) muscular, popular men who are presumed to sleep with many of women. Or ‘Becky’s’, who represents the ‘average’ woman. Women, in general, are also referred to in terms such as ‘femoids’, ‘Foids’ or ‘FHOs’ (Female Humanoid Organism). There are a group of women identifying as ‘Femcel’ yet Incels see the idea of who is female ‘involuntarily celibate’ as an oxymoron; they believe that unless a woman is “severely deformed”, she can have sex whenever she wants.
The Incels adopt the ‘Red Pill/Blue Pill’ metaphor from the film The Matrix––the red pill equals a life of harsh knowledge, the blue pill, a life of blissful ignorance. For Incels, to take the red pill means to know the ‘true nature of women’—that women are immoral, vain, unchaste, and not capable of loving ‘nice guys’ like themselves. To take the blue pill is to be a ‘normie’—an ordinary and conventional person (not an Incel)—living in ignorance of the ‘true nature of women’.
Incles believe in controversial paleomasculinism—that male domination and female submission are part of the natural order of things, and the ‘80-20’ rule (that 80 percent of women only want 20 percent of men) yet in the same breath they refer to women as ‘holes’ and evaluate women’s sexual market value (SMV). According to Inceldom, there are three types of men:
Alpha Male a.k.a Chads—a high-status male who gets all the sex he desires, because his controlling and socially-dominant personality is so alluring to females.
Beta Male—a male who is somewhat inept in relationships with females and thus doesn’t get “enough” sex because he isn’t confident enough to be an Alpha and he isn’t rude enough to be a bad boy.
Omega Male—a male who has no prospects whatsoever of getting laid a.k.a an Incel.
Extreme incels think women should not be able to vote because they are unintelligent, they also support rape and some have even murdered people, since 2014 there have been several cases of deadly attacks executed by Incles. There are a few Incels who declare themselves as ‘The Supreme Gentlemen’—a sub-genre of the ‘nice guy’ genus (a rank in the biological classification) that has allowed their ego to inflate to such an extent to cause ‘Omega rage’, a state of mind in which their lack of sexual prospects leads to violent sexual, suicidal, or homicidal behaviour (also known as taking the “black pill” due to nihilistic views).
The term Incels use at the core of their community is ‘Looksism’, the belief that a person’s physical appearance is the primary determinant of their attractiveness as a mate. It seems that together on these forums they obsess over masculine traits such as FWHR (face, width, height, ratio), chin size, nose size, baldness, weight and height amongst others and rate each other’s looks. By rating and insulting each other, they transform the Incelosphere into a toxic environment.
The Incel community is incredibly secretive and because of this it is impossible to know how many Incels there are. Social anxiety, depression and a lack of self-esteem are issues that most Incels deal with—something that is at the core of this culture. Recently, more and more motivational videos and comments on how to change for the better have appeared in the Incel forums—with many YouTube videos from ‘ex-Incels’—in a bid to change this perpetual toxic corner of the web and its resulting femicide. The original Inceldom creator Alana is now trying to offer a new platform where lonely people would find respectful love, instead of being stuck in a perpetual loop of anger.
Call me old-fashioned but rarely do you get someone to do something you want by insulting them. “Snowflakes”, “Binge Gamers” and “Me Me Me Millennials” were just some of the few terms used by the British army in an attempt to recruit 16-25-year-olds via updated iconic WWI army posters. Living in a digital world, of course, Twitter went up in flames about this. Some argued that millennials, in fact, were acting like snowflakes over a few words—it’s just an ad, right? Saying one is a “binge gamer” is surely just another way to show the stamina and dedication a gamer staying up all night has.
Yet this comeback fails to see how deep the problem with language is when it concerns the army and ignores the influence and power Britain’s international and political interests have socially across the world. Regardless of its flailing Brexit pound, Britain is still seen as aspirational for many, especially in previously colonised countries across the world, therefore its culture is also one to look up to. So what are we saying about new voters and young adults by essentially calling them to arms by telling them off for being selfish?
This idea of millennials being narcissistic does not just sound old fashioned but is, and in the same outdated breath, social media tends to always be blamed for the foundations of these arguments. The army is essentially saying young people are too busy taking selfies (one of the posters even uses the words “selfie addict”) to care about their country—while ironically sharing their campaign across the same social channels.
What it neglects to see is how much young people are doing more than ever because of this tool. “Creative” was amongst some of the most published terms millennials used to describe themselves while Google searches for how to be an activist skyrocketed in 2018. Whether that was heading to a feminist march that helped girls who are among the poverty line access free sanitary towels at school (just like Free Periods organised with 2,000 other protestors i.e. young people showing up for their peers), or is the push for the Gender Recognition Act for transgender rights in October 2018. I could go on and on but I won’t because you’ve already witnessed it. And probably retweeted it too.
Yet this poster has worked—hasn’t it got everyone talking about it? In an ultra Piers-Morgan-Katie-Hopkins-style bash, its hypocrisy has also gone viral. The tweet “Which 47 year old man came up with these” aptly said what everyone else, sorry, 16-25-year-olds largely thought of in the room. This disconnect with young people is not just shown in how we’re slandered as good-for-nothings but also the toxic language used in the campaign reveals a whole lot about British Army’s relationship with matters of mental health.
The wimpish qualities of a ‘snowflake’ undermine mental health issues such as anxiety and depression—issues millennials are more succumbed to due to the global market competition, lack of jobs and decrease in quality of life while general costs are on the rise. The defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, however, has defended the campaign, calling it “a powerful call to action that appeals to those seeking to make a difference as part of an innovative and inclusive team. It shows that time spent in the army equips people with skills for life and provides comradeship, adventure and opportunity like no other job does. Now all jobs in the army are open to men and women. The best just got better.”
But something isn’t working. The campaign was a direct result of not meeting recruitment targets—something Capita, an outsourcing giant, have been given £495m to do. 47 per cent of applicants have dropped out of the process voluntarily in 2017-2018 while the army has only 77,000 full trained troops instead of the 82,500 target. The British Army and Capita argue it’s due to the length of training that applicants have fallen through but could it also be a result of the British Amry’s archaic ways of doing things and its inability to speak to those they have so brazenly tagged ‘snowflakes’?
Language and ideas have a trickle effect. What this campaign shows, beyond yet another boardroom of decision-makers who are completely disconnected from the public they are targeting, as the toxic culture towards mental health within the country that is still raging. So if the British Army thought it could lure a generation by textbook negging them and pasting diverse faces on its posters, it needs to catch up and realise we don’t do that in 2019.