What is an incel? The term used by Toronto attack suspect explained

‘Involuntary celibates’ blame women for denying them their right to sexual intercourse

Elliot Rodger, a self-described incel,  in 2014 shot and killed six people in Isla Vista, California.  Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Elliot Rodger, a self-described incel, in 2014 shot and killed six people in Isla Vista, California. Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

a
 

Minutes before turning his van onto a Toronto pavement on Monday, killing 10 people and injuring more than a dozen others, Alek Minassian wrote a post on Facebook, according to the Canadian authorities. In it, he praised Elliot Rodger, who in 2014 shot and killed six people in Isla Vista, California. Minassian (25) also wrote of an “incel rebellion”, referring to a term, shorthand for “involuntary celibates”, used online by a community of misogynists to describe themselves.

“The Incel Rebellion has already begun!” the posting read. “We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”

Here’s a brief guide to the incel community, including some of the coded language, such as “Chads” and “Stacys”, used by its members.

Who are incels?

Incels are misogynists who are deeply suspicious and disparaging of women, whom they blame for denying them their right to sexual intercourse. Theirs is a relatively new take on a “male supremacist” worldview, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The centre, which closely tracks hate speech, reports that incels grew out of the pick-up artist movement, which takes a manipulative approach to seduction, but is rejected by incels who find it too humanising of women. At their most extreme, incels have advocated rape and other forms of violence against women.

What does Elliot Rodger have to do with this?

That advocacy for violence is where Rodger, a self-described incel who left behind misogynistic ramblings, fits in. Like Minassian, other incels have praised Rodger, calling him a “Supreme Gentleman”, “saint”, “hero” or “brother”, and praising his violent rampage.

Alek Minassian wrote in a Facebook post shortly before Monday’s attack in which 10 people were killed: “The Incel Rebellion has already begun!” the posting read. “We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”
Alek Minassian wrote in a Facebook post shortly before Monday’s attack in which 10 people were killed: “The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”

About a day before his 2014 killing spree, Rodger uploaded a video titled “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution” in which he complained of his own rejection and vowed to punish all women for his loneliness. “Girls gave their affection and sex and love to other men but never to me,” he said. “I’m 22 years old, and I’m still a virgin. I’ve never even kissed a girl.” Some self-proclaimed incels have even reportedly begun praising Minassian in the same way the community revered Rodger.

Who are ‘Chads’ and ‘Stacys’?

Minassian’s vow to “overthrow all the Chads and Stacys” mirrors language used by Rodger and other incels. Men who are successful with women are known as “Chads”, while the women who reject incels are known as “Stacys”.

What is the ‘Incel Rebellion’?

Incels sometimes talk of an incel or “beta” uprising, a movement led by beta males, like themselves, to overthrow what they view as the oppressive feminism of society.

Where do incels congregate?

Incels have and still do post on Reddit, though the site, one of the world’s most popular online gathering places, barred its incel community in November, citing a policy against hateful and violent speech. That community, a subreddit, had about 40,000 members, though it isn’t clear how many of those members subscribed to the philosophy and how many merely tracked it out of curiosity.

Incels have nonetheless found or returned to other online gathering places, including 4chan, an anonymous message board that has for years been home to a dark, and sometimes disturbing, corner of the web, often characterised by such misogyny.

In his Facebook post, Minassian reportedly described himself as “Private (Recruit) Minassian” and expressed a desire to “speak to Sgt 4chan”. – New York Times

a
The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.