This Is What Makes Incels Tick

Victoria Strake
5 min readMar 8, 2020

It is this: Men want dominion over women.

Photo by Tom Pumford on Unsplash

Incels articulate the vulgar desires of men invested in maintaining patriarchy: if women are able to control access to their own bodies, then men lose power. Underdeveloped man-children want access to women. Patriarchy grants them access. Incels might be so foolish they actually say it all out loud, but lots of men want the same thing: a society in which women have no agency and no ability to protect themselves from men. Without seeing the bigger picture it’s impossible to understand incels on their own terms.

It’s the same sentiment shared by new fascists and conservatives and authoritarian evangelicals, among other illiberal types having contempt for women. If women can say ‘no’ and have their community back them up, then men lose the ability to satisfy their desire for sex and power and cruelty at their leisure. This is the dismal logic that leads men to oppose anything that gives women the ability to stand on their own without the approval of men.

Incel reasoning in brief:

1) I — the incel — can’t be happy without women — I need sex, respect, validation, and control.

2) Women have rejected me, and life is intolerably painful as a direct result.

3) Because I can’t change, women will always reject me.

4) I am too weak — too ‘beta’ — to change anything on my own.

5) Stronger men will give me what I want if I help them get what they want.

Conclusion: If powerful men made it so women were unable to deny me access to them then I could get what I want, be happy, and stop suffering.

It all adds up to this: Men want dominion over women. Incels are invested in strengthening patriarchy for their own selfish reasons, but it’s merely a subset of a greater movement to suppress and expose women to men; other men are more convinced of their own individual potency and believe if only, say, the government or liberals or social just warriors would get out of their way they could have the kind of total power over women they crave. It’s a dizzying level of entitlement combined with a lack of concern for others less developed than most rats. Incels are among so many men who just do not have the capacity or desire to care…



Victoria Strake

Essayist, former scientist, trans woman. Striving for actionable methods of peaceful revolution — relationships, community, mutual aid, subsistence, science.