This Is What Makes Incels Tick

It is this: Men want dominion over women.

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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:

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 about women even one tiny bit. They thirst, and they believe this thirst entitles them to power over women.

THIS is why authoritarian men hate abortion. THIS is why men want to forbid courts from denying them access to their children even — and especially — in the case of child abuse from the father. THIS is why men play economic keep-away with resources women need to live (it’s no coincidence that college degrees are worth less now that women are getting the majority of them…). THIS is why men side with accused predatory men, either categorically or by giving accused men every benefit of the doubt while assuming the worst about the woman involved. Lurk in the more fetid online corners of inceldom (and the new fascism, and conservative spaces, etc.) and you’ll read them sing the praises of the kind of total patriarchy they want, e.g. the brand of rural Sharia law they believe grants each man a wife over whom he has such total power he may torture or kill her as he wishes. Incels want so much more than just sex.

In the incel worldview they have lost this dominion first because they are the weakest of all men. In the perfect patriarchy, as they see it, even the most pathetic men will be granted a woman to own and fuck. As it is now, as they see it, the higher-ranking men — the Chads — are still able to make use of what remains of the patriarchy. While these men have sexual access and some power over women, this power isn’t available to the lowest-tier losers. Since incels believe being a loser is their genetic destiny, they believe the only way they’ll ever get their desires satisfied is if they are granted women by powerful men, i.e. patriarchy.

What is more fundamentally offensive to incels — and other men — is that the winners and losers in the sexual marketplace — as they imagine it works, anyway — are determined by women. Since men are being selected according to the criteria of women it means women hold dominion even over the Chads of the world. Any man could, in theory, have his Sex Access Card revoked by women. This means men have lost some kind of cosmic battle and are being manipulated and enslaved by women who use the erotic mania of men against them via some kind of matriarchy. This way of thinking and feeling isn’t exclusive to incels by any means, e.g. Jordan Peterson’s followers are motivated at their core by the same kind of anxieties and insecurities about the power possessed by women — sexual power, especially, and they direct their anger towards women in a similar spirit as incels.

Since — again — these men believe in genetic determinism — most don’t even believe in free will at all — they believe they’re doomed to be riven by lust and either thirst endlessly with no end to their torment, or to submit their agency to women and ‘play the game’ in order to sing and dance well enough to be elevated by the imagined collective assessment of women as a suitable man. Either way, they think, they’ve lost power and freedom. They believe men to be slaves of a kind. This is literally how these guys think. It’s not uncommon, but it’s uncommon to have it spelled out in all it’s madness.

Getting laid can’t fix the level of wrath and hatred in the hearts of men such as this. There is no point in engaging incels about sex since it really isn’t about that. They don’t want to get better — they don’t believe they can, and they don’t want to. They want to hurt women, they want power over women, and they want vengeance against women for their own suffering which they blame women for.

Incels talk about sex as the end-all, but it is just one part of a more comprehensive and dark worldview, one that is, in essence, the same one men have had for thousands of years: get power to take what you want from those who have it — in this context, that means robbing women of any protections that might secure their autonomy from men. Incels are best recognized as part of a vast interconnected system of men trying to control women, rather than as some isolated groups of eccentrics.

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

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