StMU Research Scholars

The online Chauvinist Hog House

Have you ever wanted to go back in time and see how people lived their lives hundreds of years ago?  Well, lucky for you, all you have to do is hop on websites like Reddit or 4chan to truly experience how many men thought of women in the 1400’s. I am talking about a toxic group of individuals who unite online in their hatred of women and their longing to control. They are called involuntary celibates, or Incels for short. The internet has allowed people to connect and share ideas with each other easily, and this group has taken full advantage of that in order to recruit young, mostly white men who feel they are unable to find a romantic relationship because of how they look. It is easier to blame other people for being “shallow” than to take a hard look at oneself and see that rejection may be based on one’s horrible personality and unfavorable values that many find disturbing. To understand this group, you will have to figure out some of their terms, and vocabulary used to dehumanize people,  where they gather, and why they feel they are under attack from feminists or from women in general. Not to mention, the violation of human rights they disguise under their pursuit of “carnal knowledge” and the extreme violence they encourage to attain it. 1

Black Pill |term | courtesy of Google Images

Before diving deeper, we should know a few basic terms these groups use to communicate with other Incels and to spread more hate while many are none the wiser. The terms are carefully chosen to make it easier to convey the way these people think about the world around them. The most used term is “Chad.” A “Chad” is a guy who gets all the girls. He is everything a girl would want. He’s physically fit, “well endowed”, typically stupid, and only wants women for sexual gratification. While that doesn’t sound like, the ideal man for a woman, to an incel, regardless of the contradictions, this is what they believe women want.  The name choice comes from Chicago in the early 1990’s. Back then, a ‘Chad’ in a very different context was a successful young man.2 Now, incels use the term to dehumanize other males they find threatening. However, most other terms are chosen randomly based on what Reddit users on /incel or /braincel think what a stereotypical name would be for the person they are describing. For example, the term Stacy. Incels decided that “Stacy” is a stereotypical name for beautiful women. More often than not, these names are chosen by some kind of bias of the creator and the naming is not as important to them as the meaning. After all, the overall goal is to dehumanize other people and communicate hate speech somewhat under the radar. To outsiders, an incel talking about Chad might just seem like they dislike a person named Chad when in reality they are talking about a large group of people. The female version of a Chad was previously mentioned as “Stacy.” “Stacy” is the stereotypical mean girls. They are beautiful air-heads who are unintelligent and promiscuous. “Becky” on the other hand is an average girl. Of course, they only date Chads or “normies” (normal, average men), so they are considered to be just as bad as anyone else, however you may be able to get into a relationship with them when they hit the “wall.” The “wall” is the idiotic idea that women have a sexual market value, and when it hits zero, they have hit the “wall” and must find someone to settle for. If an Incels managed to find such a woman, he is a “Betabuxx.” All women are known as “Femoids” in the incel community. This means “Female humanoid organism,”  which is dehumanizing towards women. But if you have been recruited to the ideas of Incels, and now see the world as they do, you have been “Black pilled.” The idea is of course taken from The Matrix, but if you take that metaphorical black pill, you will see that the world discriminates against Incels. Of course, there is a long list of ignorant and sexist terms this hate group uses, but these are the ones you will see the most on Incels forums and websites to dehumanize their targets. 3 4

The Incel community advocates for the violation of a women’s basic human rights. They think that they are entitled to a positive human right that will require the government to give them a state-sponsored “girlfriend.” Of course, you should not let the term of girlfriend fool you. Incels have no intent of treating their government assigned women as anything more than a sex toy and a tool for procreation. The Incel community thinks that the idea of consent should be done away with. Violating a women’s human rights is simply the way the world should be, according to Incels. Of course, they are ignoring the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and clearly would be violating its article two. But clearly, the Universal Declaration of Human rights and other committees of the UN do not specifically address the incel community.5 6

Deep fried Thot Patrol |meme |courtesy of google images

So, who cares about a bunch of socially awkward men who hate women? The group of nerds who played Pokémon and Magic the Gathering in my 8th-grade class hated women too. You can say the same about the majority of the people who leave comments on YouTube videos. They are annoying and ignorant but seem harmless. Unfortunately, that no longer is the case. Several mass shootings have been committed by men identifying as Incels. The most prominent one being the two attack in Toronto, Canada that killed 16 people and injured over 20 more back in 2015 and earlier this year. A more recent one would be the Santa Fe school shooting that occurred earlier this year. The student is believed to be an incel and committed his act due to the rejection of his romantic advances of another classmate.  One of the Toronto shooter left a manifesto blaming feminist liberals for his inability to find a romantic partner. They all claim to be doing this for “Incel Rebellion.” An idea that has been poping up within incel forums that the only way to overcome their supposed discrimination, is through violence. In many cases, this violence was manifested in the form of a mass shooting or hijacking vehicles to run people over. This group has left the online forums and ventured into hate crimes and mass murdering.7  89

The group has done well attracting new members. Young men go into the group thinking it is a group of like-minded people who are having difficulty finding a relationship, and then quickly become radicalized. 10 This is a major problem developing online and little is being done to stop it. However, internet culture has a weird way of attacking fringe groups. 11

Gang Weed is a meme-style using irony that normally features “The Joker” from Batman or some other character or person that has been edited to have Joker make-up, and usually features the phrase “We live in a society” and points out a ridiculous ideology that a group believes in by mocking it. Unfortunately, there are several people who think that these memes are done unironically and agree with the message they are sending. A great example of this is the “Thot Patrol” memes. First, used to mock internet users who shame women online, it is now also used by Incels to further their own message of hate. 12

Gang Weed| Meme |courtesy of

Not all Incels are hopeless or unable to understand the ironic memes made to shame them for their foolish ideas. An ex-Incel, Jack Peterson, was once an emerging spokesman for the Incel community. According to him, he did not join for the misogyny, but for companionship with other men who felt like he did. He finally left after hearing the news of a mass shooting in Canada previously mentioned. 13 However, more people join daily than leave the sites.

The best way to stop this group is to dismantle the misogyny that already exists. The thought that women should bend to the will of men did not just come out of nowhere. Its something women have been resisting against since the beginning of time. The only way to make sure groups like this do not exist is to rid the world of the idea that this is normal or acceptable, to begin with. While this would be wishful thinking, it is hard to say what a realistic solution would be. If we knew the solution to stop extremist ideology, the world would be a much safer place. 14

  1. TAUB, AMANDA. 2018. “‘Incels’ Aren’t Alone In Online Harvesting Of Men’s Sense of Loss.” New York Times, May 11.
  2. Risen, Clay  2001 “Lincoln Park Trixie Society” Flak Magazine.
  3. Conti, Allie “Learn to Decode the Secret Language of the Incel Subculture” Vice (June 25, 2018)
  4. Daelemans, Walter, Guy De Pauw, Tome De Smedt, Maja Gwozdz, Sylvia Jaki, Eduan Kotze, and Leila Saoud. Multilingual Cross – Domain Perspectives On Online Hate Speech Report no 8 CLiPS Research Center, University of Antwerp. Antwerp: University of Antwerp Prinsstraat, (September 10, 2018).
  5. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. (December 18, 1979).
  6. Morris, Chris “What Isan Incel And Why Are People Talking About Them?” Fortune (April 25, 2018).
  7. Beauchamp, Zack. “Incel, the Misogynist Ideology That Inspired the Deadly Toronto Attack, Explained.” Vox. (April 25, 2018).
  8. Gessen, Masha. “After the Santa Fe Shooting, We Still Resist the Idea of the “Ordinary” Terrorist.” The New Yorker (May 24, 2018).
  9. “The Virgin Terrorist” Economist 427, no. 9089 (April 28, 2018): 32 EBSCO.
  10. Beauchamp Zack, “Incel, the Misogynist Ideology That Inspired the Deadly Toronto Attack, Explained” Vox (Apil 25, 2018)
  11. Talbot, Michael “‘Incel Rebellion Has Already Begun’: Expert Explains Van Suspect’s Cryptic Facebook Post” CityNews Toronto (April 25, 2018).
  12. Lynch, Conor “Angry Young White Men, the “Incel Rebellion” and an Age of Worldwide Reaction” Salon (May 12, 2018).
  13. Jeltsen, Melissa “The Unmaking Of An Incel” The Huffington Post (June 7, 2018).
  14. “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” United Nations Human Rights UNITED NATIONS PUBLICATION. February 14, 2014

67 Responses

  1. Very intriguing article about how far people facing computer screens can go. I had not known that this group of people existed on the Internet. Of course, there are many so-called “trolls” and “haters” that comment and put down certain content on many different websites, but they can usually be ignored. But, the fact that this group of people is actually carrying out heinous crimes on behalf of their radicalized ideology is absolutely terrifying.

  2. This article was very interesting and perplexing. I had no idea that this existed due largely to not being a user of any of these kinds of forums. Individuals who seek to objectify women are shallow. Initially, I believed that was a joke of some sort, because it is crazy to me that people actually think this way. I like that you went in depth to define terms that I was so confused about.

  3. I’ve come across this community countless times in the forms of meme pages or spam accounts on instagram, and I’m glad you decided to write your article on them, because it’s something I would’ve never thought would be on here amongst the abundance of political/crime articles. Incels are disrespectful and reek of insecurity. I liked that you acknowledged that, although they seem harmless, some may be potentially dangerous.

  4. The beginning of this article seems like the author is setting up a joke because I have never heard of this group or they stand for. And am I thankful I haven’t. How can someone see another breathing, thinking human being and view them as just a sex object? I understand that free speech is an amazing thing but when that speech incites violence I think it should be limited, I think Reddit should shut down these people and kick them off their platform.

  5. First, I want to apologize to you that you had to dive deep into the incel community. They are truly one of the worst parts of the internet. Fueled with hatred and ignorant beliefs they are becoming a lot more dangerous. It is truly sad but it’s great to see an article address the issue and let other people know about the type of people still out there. Really enjoyed reading the article and you should make more on these type of internet deep dive.

  6. I had no idea that there were things existing like this in our time. This is weirdly interesting to read because it seems so strange for the time in which we are living in now. I don’t agree with this group and what they stand for and I do think that they shouldn’t exist and hope that this is the case sooner than later.

  7. I never knew about this topic and who these people were, and the idea actually made me laugh. Although everyone has a right to their own speech, it is sad and funny to think that people have taken time out of their day to dehumanize woman and put them into a light that makes them inferior. I think that the most shocking part of this article was that this group thinks that they need a government sponsored girlfriend, as if we are just objects. I loved how this article made the connection between group and also crimes that have occured.

  8. The talk about women’s rights is a very talked about topic in society now a days however I had never ever heard of these Incel groups found online. It is so disturbing to come to find that there so many like minded ignorant men out there, and while the article states that much of the hate and discrimination is kept online the fact that there have been occasions where they lash out violently through shootings or other horrible acts is frightening. The internet is obviously a very difficult place for the government to patrol and its impossible to expect a solution that would solve 100% of issues like this and so many others but hopefully over time we can take steps as a society to eradicate these ideologies in real life, as the article stated, and hopefully this will help make the internet a safer place.

  9. I truly hope that this community will cease to exist. The internet is a powerful tool and allows people to express their opinions. However it can be abused, and unfortunately this is exactly the case. A group of like minded people have come together on the internet, coin their own terms, and foster their group. I never heard of this group before but knowing they exist infuriates me. Seriously hope that they all become accountable for their actions.

  10. At the beginning of the article, I found it amusing that a bunch of men with no-lives would invest so much time into creating a group that dehumanizes women just because they are unable to have a relationship with one. The mood of the article quickly changed, however, when I realized that this often leads to very serious events like shootings. I really hope these men start working on themselves instead of just being angry and hopefully chauvinist attitudes like these will soon cease to exist.

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