Online ‘Incel’ Community Provokes Real-World Violence Against Women

By now, most readers are likely aware of the recent van attack in Toronto which claimed 10 lives. The motives behind the massacre have since come to light: Alek Minassian, 25, was apparently a proactive member of a growing online community dedicated to espousing violent misogyny — messages which he apparently internalized and acted on.

This group is collectively known as “incels,” short for “involuntary celibate.” Though the term was actually coined by sociologists back in 2001, this subculture — thanks primarily to internet message boards – has recently expanded.

For many readers, the concept of the “incel” may be entirely foreign. This subculture comes with its own lexicon and advocates varying degrees of real-world action. But boiled down, the typical incel is a young male who is convinced that he will never engage in consensual sex — and, as such, harbors a profound resentment not only toward women, as well as men who are engaged in healthy, happy relationships with women. For more background on “incels,” check out my article from last fall.

While this might sound like a description of an angst-filled teenage boy, the incel community creates an echo chamber that makes it difficult to move beyond this phase and  toward maturity. The “crabs in a bucket” metaphor is most apt — usually if someone within the incel community suggests that self-improvement might be worth consideration, they are almost always universally condemned and publicly eviscerated.

For years, incels have been more or less an internet-based community. Although certainly unhealthy and self-destructive, it hasn’t been until more recently that incel ideology has been put into action.

The Toronto attack is certainly a stark example of this. According to authorities, shortly before going on his rampage, Minassian published a Facebook status that said an “Incel Rebellion has already begun,” in addition to praising “Supreme Gentleman” Elliot Rodger.

For those who might not recall, Elliot Rodger was the American behind the 2014 Isla Vista attacks, during which Rodger killed six people and injured 14 others before killing himself. Investigators later uncovered a manifesto written by Rodger, in which he explained that he intended to punish all women for his perceived sexual rejection. For many incels, Rodger has since been elevated to martyr status, having been the embodiment of incel ideology put into action.

One of the most important aspects of inceldom is the wholehearted belief that women are inherently inferior to men but cunningly use their sexuality to manipulate some men and torture others — such as incels. Women aren’t people in the eyes of an incel; they’re objects. And as strange as it may seem that this conclusion could be held so fervently by a growing subcommunity, it should be no surprise given the digital echo chambers they confine themselves to.

Take Action!

Last year, Care2 called on — the world’s most popular website — to remove a “subreddit” called “r/Incels” per the website’s policy against hate speech and incitements to violence. After great pressure, the controversial subreddit was shuttered. But much like a light suddenly being turned on, r/Incels members scattered like cockroaches to other communities on Reddit.

Unfortunately, Reddit’s administrators seem unconcerned about these subreddits, which include r/Braincels, r/menforeveralone and r/MGTOW — short for “men going their own way.” But just as with r/Incels, if given enough public pressure, Reddit’s administrators will act.

Urge Reddit to ban these three subreddits and any others which engage in similar pro-violence misogyny by adding your name to this Care2 petition. Remember to share the petition with friends, family and on social media!

Concerned about an issue? Want to raise awareness about an injustice? Join your fellow Care2 users by learning how to make your own petition and make your voice heard today!


Photo Credit: Kaitlyn Baker/Unsplash


Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

Thank you for sharing

Emily J
Emily J6 months ago

The groups should probably be investigated incase members are plotting any more acts of violence, it's a bit worrying that they've progressed from mere ranting anti-woman hate and unintelligable jargon on these sites to actually killing people.

Gino C
Gino C7 months ago

Thanks for posting

Karen H
Karen H8 months ago

Mike A, the Christian Bible is also misogynistic. If an unmarried woman is raped, she must marry her rapist. A father trades his daughter into marriage for sheep. Read Paul's epistles. Women are to be quiet in church, they're to submit to their husbands in all ways, etc. With religions teaching that women are worthless, it's no wonder we're treated that way by many (thankfully not all) males.
The DoJ won’t prosecute because they obviously agree with incels. Look at Trump, who calls women whores, sluts, filthy pigs, dogs, and more.

DAVID fleming
Past Member 8 months ago


Nicole H
Nicole Heindryckx8 months ago

Honestly, I never heard or read anything about these "gentlemen". May be this virus has not spread to W. Europe, or because of my age, but this is the first time I learn something so disgusting, filthy, frightening as "Incel". I keep wondering where all this filth is coming from and where it will end. My God, I'm really getting worried for my granddaughters now. I will certainly contact them about this phenomenon, and hopefully, this virus has not reached us yet. But what not is, can be tomorrow ! And better they are informed now, then 1 day too late. Violence against women, just because they have twisted minds, and think they never will have proper sexual relationship/s with women. What an idiots. May be if they would act more normally they would stand a chance to have a sexual relationship with a young girl or woman... instead of being so dangerous AND CHILDISH !!

Julie D
Julie D8 months ago

Sickening and frightening.

cara d
cara d8 months ago

good to learn

Veronica Danie
Veronica Danie8 months ago

Thank you so very much.

Veronica Danie
Veronica Danie8 months ago

Thank you so very much.