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Is Porn to Blame for the Incel Problem?

by Beth Divine 14 Aug 2018

The recent terror attack in Toronto which killed ten people and injured many others brought to light the subgroup that label themselves ‘incel’ – or involuntarily celibate. The term ‘involuntarily celibate’ was actually coined by a woman, who was mourning the fact that despite her willingness to partner up, there was a dearth of suitable matches out there for her. Since then her innocent term has been hijacked by a set of lonely young men, with whom it would be easy to sympathise were they not so angry and hate-filled about it.

Incels have a paradoxical viewpoint of the world: they ‘deserve’ a girlfriend and the state should provide them with one, yet at the same time there is a lot of resentment towards rules, both societal and governmental. Women are simultaneously too good for them and unobtainable, falling into two categories: good-looking, busty women are promiscuous amongst only good-looking men (called Chads, for some reason, while these Alpha women are called Staceys) and are unobtainable by incels. Less good-looking women (who should try harder with their appearance), called Beckys, are selfish, lusting only for Chads, and not putting out for incels, even though they should, and they should be grateful for the attention while they do so…

As you can see by the above, incels haven’t really thought things through. It is almost certain that incels are practically (or possibly actually) shut-ins: heedless of their own appearance or manners, yet expecting the rest of the world to laud them for some nameless quality.

Incels tend to gravitate to porn for sexual gratification, where it is possible that their twisted ideas are confirmed: all the girls are hot, and they all put out for the studs. They see that some male porn stars are less than perfect physically, which makes them wonder why he’s getting the girl, when he, the watcher, does not. Porn often depicts unrealistic sexual acts, where vigour and visibility are of high importance, while love, tenderness and laughter are nowhere to be seen.

Does this mean that porn is the problem? Have depictions of gratuitous, sometimes rough, nearly always male-dominated, sex resulted in a generation of young men who do not know how to love? No, of course not. Just as violent video games do not make people go out and shoot up their cities, neither does porn make men into rapists, violent fantasists or socially inadequate people incapable of a normal dating life.

The problem may well be exacerbated by porn, but fellow incels, people looking to stir up mischief, and political intolerance may also have a similar effect. The reason that not all introverts become incels probably goes to their infancy – possibly even their conception. A child raised with love, seeing their parents treat each other with respect and mutual affection, who is happy and healthy and cared for – that child is highly unlikely to become twisted with hatred, lashing out violently at an object of desire. Incels have come about because of children being unloved and unlooked-after, craving human interactions (we are social animals) but lacking the skills to engage with others in an appropriate manner.