Incels: Radicalization in the Age of the Internet


(Names of terrorists will not be mentioned as their identity should not be celebrated nor martyred.)

“Well, this is my last video. It all has to come to this. 


I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection, and unfulfilled desires, all because girls have never been attracted to me.”

These were the words of a 22-year-old man from California, the day before he murdered six and injured fourteen people near the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, he then killed himself.  He is a martyr and member of an online group known as Incel, short for involuntary celibate.

This is one of the four high-profile massacres, followed by the 2015 Umpqua community college shooting, the 2018 Toronto van attack,  and the recent 2021 Atlanta spa shooting by self-proclaimed members of this community. This community is centered upon men who are unable to have sexual or loving relationships with women, it has become a pinnacle of their personality. Incels are one of many groups that have been born and radicalized in the age of the internet.

There are many supposed reasons for their inceldom, Hightcel– because of stature, Mentalcel– mental illness or conditions such as anxiety or autism, Drugcel– because of drug addiction, Race oriented or even Wristcel– an obsession of their frail wrists. What joins them all is the belief that love, sex, and happiness are completely out of reach, and it’s society’s fault.

“You denied me a happy life and in turn, I will deny all of your life, it’s only fair. (…) Humanity is a disgusting, wretched, depraved species”

The Incel theory is based on two concepts, the red and black pill. The red pill is a theory of human nature and sexuality. Incels see that there is a natural hierarchy of physical attractiveness using a one-out-ten ranking system. They believe that in a just world, their “looks match” would reciprocate attraction, for example, a 5/10 male to 5/10 female. However, their twisted logic has led them to believe that society, feminism, and women’s rights activists have enabled and promoted women to be hypergamous and the controllers of the sexual marketplace. Women look for someone above their social status or attractiveness.

This has created the “reality” of the 80/20 rule, only the top 20% of men can have meaningful sexual partners. Those who are not in that top percent have three possible outcomes: 1: Be an Incel, alone, sad, and resentful forever; 2: be a Normie: have a sexless marriage with a wife who only uses him and will eventually leave and take everything; or 3: be an Alpha, an independent man who has many sexual experiences and no emotional attachment to any by studying the “art of game” such as pickup artists. The black pill describes how this sexual marketplace is predetermined by genetics, you are either born attractive or not. Therefore, your possibility or impossibility of happiness is set in stone, the Incel is condemned to a life of solitude and misery.

“I’ll be a God exacting my retribution on all those who deserve it and you do deserve it just for the crime of living a better life than me.”

Incels are really just lonely men who struggle with self-esteem and grasping their inability to reach certain goals. But how does someone go from that completely understandable reality to an irrational catastrophized one? We can see many examples like this in other radical internet groups such as Qanon and their beliefs of the Deep State and that international pedophile rings are carried out in the basements of pizza chains. These people fall into a black hole of conspiracy that leaves them seeing so much falsehood, and even worse, it severely affects their lives, and mental or physical health, or that of others.

The Incel reality sees the worst possible outcome for themselves and others like them. They experience rejection and isolation and this leads to a certain calamitous thought process. They are unattractive to women, they will never be attractive to women, and they will be alone forever, thus they are condemned to be unhappy. Then this thought process looks for reasons why they are sentenced to misery. They believe that women are at fault, that feminism empower women to do this to them, that these social trends that made this possible are getting worse, humanity is doomed and they have only one solution, LDNR, a frequently used acronym in these communities for losing all hope and lie down and rot.

This philosophy has brought about extremist solutions such as sexual marxism, a state-mandated system to distribute sexual/life partners. These men became radicalized by forums that hook on to their vulnerability and once they are in, it is very hard to get out. External help is completely discredited as obviously women and the privileged few do not see their reality, a sort of micro-aggression known as chad-splanning.

Moreover, In many of these groups leaving is heavily looked down upon. Incels believe that “ascending” is impossible and hopeless, and if you believe that you will be able to ascend then you are the lowest of the low, a pathetic hopecel. The insecurity of these men is mutually exploited by each other as they tear each other down. Many post pictures of themselves to these forums knowing they will only receive horrifically depressing feedback. Maybe it’s cathartic, maybe it’s a coping mechanism, maybe they want to see these comments because if it hurts it’s true. There is also a common theme in Incel forums of glorifying suicide.

“You forced me to suffer all my life, now I will make you all suffer. I waited a long time for this. I’ll give you exactly what you deserve, all of you.” 

The internet has provided so many great things. All the information we need at the touch of our fingers. It has allowed us to be connected even if someone is on the other side of the world. I have lived in seven cities in my life, so the internet has given me critical connections to friends, family, and loved ones. The security and support that this connection has provided me cannot be put into words. Being thousands of miles away, in completely different time zones, is extremely difficult. The internet has allowed me to loosen the burden of this distance and I am eternally grateful. 

Nevertheless, with situations such as Incels, Qanon, Neo-nazism, and Neo-fascism, I believe we should ask ourselves what should be allowed on the internet. Free speech is critical to society as the conversation is necessary for growth, unity, individuality, and freedom. However, I do believe we need to contemplate where we should draw the line.

And to those who are in these groups: these communities, ideas, and philosophies, are not helping you grow and get out of this pit. I know it’s so hard, but reaching out for help, and improving yourself step by step does work. You deserve to be happy, self-improvement can aid you in getting there, but hating women and society is leading you nowhere but deeper into the darkness. Even though this might make you a hopecel, if you want to be happy, the black pill, the red pill, and the Incel forum will only make it worse. Turn off your computer and see the light, life is beautiful and it’s yours for the taking.


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