[cw: rape and misogyny]
r/incels was toxic and misogynistic by Reddit standards, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more terrifying sentence. It was a place for people to congregate to yell about how much they hate women, and then wonder why women won’t sleep with them. It was every nasty, sexist tendency of toxic masculinity-fueled, entitled young men shoved – or, you may say, quarantined – into one hellish place.
Reddit banned r/incels, acting swiftly to stem the tide of such terrible behavior by waiting nearly two years to do literally anything. But let’s not be churlish: Reddit actually Did A Good for once, and we should applaud them, and also ask them to maybe be a bit faster next time.
And on a personal note, I also applaud…myself! Because even though I heard about how awful r/incels was, I never once looked at it. For once in my life, my drive to find something terrible & gaze deeply into it from afar, like a pig wallowing in mud, was defeated by my mind’s self-preservation instincts. Go me! But now I must pick over the fragments of r/incels’ fetid corpse.
Incels, short for “involuntary celibates”, are some of the worst people on the planet – again, they stood out as terrible on Reddit, a kind of zoo for disgusting male subcultures. At their best they appear to have spent time raging against literal strangers maybe having sex, asking profound questions like “why do women like men who are nice and considerate, and don’t spend all their time insulting women on the internet?”. Truly the mystery of our time. Earnest displays of joy and happiness were anathema to them, triggering bizarre and terrifying displays of revulsion.
At their worst, incels are genuinely criminal, often condoning rape – even outright discussing how to get away with it. r/Incels was a vile echo chamber where misogynistic ideas were reinforced and deepened by an insular community. Angry, entitled misogynist dudes still have places to congregate – for example, Reddit – but they have one less place that’s for them – and that’s why we should celebrate its ban.
And to incels themselves: to misquote The Social Network, let it be known that women don’t hate you because you’re a nerd. They hate you because you’re an asshole.