Opinion: The Incel Movement is Another Product of Fear

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“The Incel Rebellion has already begun!”

This was the statement that was posted on Facebook by Alek Minassian; the man who took the lives of 10 people on April 23rd, 2018 in the Toronto Van attack. He made the post only minutes before committing the attack.

“Incel” is short for “involuntary celibate.” It is how the men of the movement refer to themselves. They claim that they have a “right to sexual intercourse” and advocate for rape and violence against women as punishment for rejecting them. According to a New York Times article,  Reddit banned an online “incel” group in 2017 for violating the website’s policy that prohibits users from posting content that calls for violence or physical harm. The movement sounds like a plot point in a film that portrays a dystopian future. Unfortunately, it is not. The movement has grown in recent years and it has an official website called incels.me.

In addition to his Facebook post about an “Incel Rebellion,” Minassian also made a post acclaiming Elliot Rodger; the perpetrator of the 2014 Isla Vista Massacre that left 7 people dead and 13 injured. Rodger was a white supremacist. In a manifesto of over 100,000 words that he titled, “My Twisted World,” he spoke about carrying out a retribution against women who have refused to have sex with him. Days before the massacre, he posted a video detailing his motives called, “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution,” to Youtube:

This ideology held by Minassian and Rodger is bad enough on its own, however, the movement is growing from an ominous new trend; the fear of losing dominance.

The trend is causing troublesome events in society and is resulting in more division among citizens. It is a trend that started brewing after Barack Obama was elected as the first African American President of the United States in 2008. White males in America were unwilling to accept that a Black man was elected President in a country that had been governed by white men since 1789. An early sign of the fear that they possessed was the “birther conspiracy;” the false theory that Barack Obama was not a U.S. citizen and thus, should be ineligible to run for President. The fact that President Obama fixed an economy that almost seemed irreparable only angered them more, and for them, his success in securing a second term was the last straw.

During President Obama’s final term in office, the political climate was beginning to change. More and more white male voters began to cross over to the Republican Party. The House of Representatives and the Senate continuously became more red. And, the Republican Party began to advocate for stricter policies on immigration, crime, and healthcare; all issues that disproportionately affect minorities in a negative way. It became clear to political scientists and historians that the GOP was basically telling white male voters, “They want to give your job to a foreigner, we’ll save it,” “They want to bring dangerous foreigners into the country, we’ll keep them out,” “They want to mandate equality, we want to keep you above everyone else.” These became the ideologies that are now celebrated by white male voters when picking their candidates.

But how does this fear of losing privilege relate to Alek Minassian and Elliot Rodger? Well, despite Rodger being a white supremacist, race is not the only trigger of this type of fear, as there is more than one way that white men hold dominance in society.  Like the election of Barack Obama in 2008, another historical event has recently occurred; the nomination of the first woman candidate for President of the United States. Rumors about Hillary Clinton’s second bid for the White House began circulating in 2013. From that point on, women’s rights took center stage, accompanied by an increase in support for policies that benefitted women. However, white men did not seem too fond of this. First they felt that they were losing racial dominance in the election of 2008, and now, they felt that they were going to lose gender dominance in 2016. When Clinton lost, the women’s movement became more active than it had been in decades. The day after Donald Trump took office, nearly 1,000,000 people attended the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. to protest in advocacy of policies regarding women’s rights. Later that year, in October, the “#MeToo” movement took social media by storm to protest against sexual assault and sexual harassment. Once again, white men began to see that they were going to lose their grip, this time on societal dominance over women. With that said, it seems illogical for one to believe that it is only a coincidence that Rodger and Minassian carried out their attacks against women during a time when women’s rights are at center stage.

The effect of this fear in losing dominance is profound. In 2015, America was left in shock when a white supremacist murdered 9 people in an African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina. He claimed to have hoped that the attack would ignite a race war. Only 2 years later, many people including myself were in disbelief when we turned on the TV and witnessed hundreds of white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, Virginia. This was the type of event that we had thought was a staple of the past, but instead, it was the reflection of a growing fear inside of white male citizens that would have dire consequences. Racial tensions had already begun to escalate in the years prior as a result of the growing prevalence of police brutality and use of excessive force in America, along with America’s mass incarceration of Black men.

Between mid-2017 and now, there have been several violent attacks that may portray this fear in action. In June 2017, America experienced the worst mass shooting in the country’s history with 58 people killed and 422 injured by gunfire in Las Vegas, Nevada. The perpetrator was Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old white man who was experiencing a loss in wealth. Later, in November 2017, America faced another mass shooting. In this incident, Devin Kelley, a 25-year-old white man with an extensive history in violence against women, shot and killed 26 people at a church in Texas. Officials have said that members of his church had heard him praise Dylann Roof; the perpetrator of the Charleston church shooting. In January 2018, Blaze Bernstein, a college student who was both openly gay and Jewish, was murdered in a hate crime by a former high school classmate of his who was the member of a Neo-Nazi group. Then, in February 2018, 17 students were murdered in Florida at Stoneman Douglas High School. Once again, the perpetrator was a white male. His name is Nikolas Cruz, and investigators have disclosed that he was a member of a private Instagram group that he used as an outlet to express racist, homophobic, xenophobic, and misogynistic views prior to the attack.

Among the circumstances, the prevalence of these incidents and the political change that they run parallel to has become a pattern. What does that pattern show? It shows an increase in mass killings that are carried out by white males. The perpetrators in these attacks commonly have racist, homophobic, or misogynistic beliefs or values. This is interesting considering that minorities, LGBT people, and women are more respected now than they have ever been in the past. That being said, it is not far fetched to assume that the thought of losing societal dominance is causing defiant white males to lash out through violence against the people who they feel are taking their power. After all, research predicts that by 2050, minorities will outnumber Caucasian people by 25,000,000.

White heterosexual males should not be mad at ethnic people or immigrants. They should not be mad at women or the LGBTQ community. If they want to be mad they should only blame themselves, because nobody forced them to be naive enough to think that their gender, heterosexuality, and lack of pigment meant that the world belonged to them.

These recent retaliatory, violent incidents are starting to become the “norm,” and the Incel Movement is just a new addition to that standard; one that must be put to a stop before it gets even worse.

Fear is a powerful thing isn’t it?

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