This month, so-called incels finally got the attention they have been craving so pathetically after Alek Minassian became their poster boy. Ten people were killed and 15 injured in an act of terrorism in Toronto - a van mowed people down as they went about their business and Alek Minassian was arrested for the atrocity.
It has since emerged that Minassian frequented white supremacist sites and praised racist murderer Elliot Rodger, who, aged 22, shot people at random and then killed himself. Minassian posted on Facebook: "The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!".
"Incel" is short for "involuntarily celibate" and in their hateful little subculture, "Chads" are the men who are getting laid and "Stacys" are the women who have sex with these men.
Incels do not take responsibility for their romantic and sexual failures. They are not interested in personal change so they can become happier, better-adjusted men. They just want to blame others for their lives, and this extends to harming innocent people in vile acts of terrorism.
These are the men who may seem harmless enough when they whine about constantly being "friend-zoned" but for these men, there is no value in friendships with women if they refuse to have sex with them. Instead of viewing healthy platonic friendships as part of a normal adult life, these men view women as gratification machines and if they drop in enough friendship tokens, sex will eventually come out.
If incels actually cultivated healthy friendships with women, they might learn that sometimes we don't have sex as much as we'd like either. Women get dumped, women get friend-zoned, women's partners may lose interest in sex - being "involuntarily celibate" isn't just for men. Sorry, guys, you're not special. And when this happens to a woman, it can hurt, it can be embarrassing, it can crush self-esteem and it can lead to feelings of worthlessness. But it's not women who are reacting to romantic and sexual disappointment by plotting cowardly acts of violence because a man wasn't interested.
When women aren't getting laid, we might get together and whine about men over a bottle of wine or a tub of ice cream, but you're not going to find us organising to kill innocent people. Sure, not every woman will handle being rejected in an entirely rational manner but the murderous bunny boiler of Fatal Attraction is a rare exception, rather than the rule, as crime statistics will bear out.
Like Daesh, the incels have started a deadly movement and the parallels are chilling. Incels and Daesh prey on vulnerable, lonely young men, men who feel disenfranchised, men who are yearning to feel powerful and important, men for whom the ability to control women to the point of rape and murder is appealing, men who get very angry when they are referred to as losers. And now, with the Toronto attack, it is clear that incels and Daesh are both planning to kill more innocent people in the name of hateful and perverse ideologies.
Incels and Daesh both hate women. They do not like to see women empowered or educated. They feel entitled to women's bodies, whether it is for their own selfish gratification (can anyone seriously imagine either an incel or a Daesh recruit giving a damn about female pleasure during sex?) or to breed a new generation of haters.
There is no respect for women in incel chat rooms or Daesh training camps. They both hold juvenile, reductive views of women, they want to control us but they are also disgusted by us. They are the very worst examples of toxic masculinity. Their murderous foot soldiers might be dismissed as lone wolves but they are the useful idiots for the leaders of horrific ideologies. They are both terrorist organisations. They both need to be stopped.
Photography by cocoparisienne