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Incel mates: A message to the ‘involuntary celibate’ movement

Toby Young attends The Virgin 1 Autumn/Winter lunch at Almada, Dover Street in central London. PHOTO: EMPICS Entertainment/Brian O'Sullivan. - Credit: EMPICS Entertainment

Young men are railing against the unfairness of the womenfolk of the world’s refusal to have sex with them. MITCH BENN sends them a public message.

I’ve been thinking, as it would appear have quite a few columnists of late, about the whole ‘incel’ thing.

Now ‘incel’, if you are fortunate enough to have avoided this particular jargon-quagmire, is an abbreviation of ‘involuntarily celibate’ and has become the chosen self-identification of a growing (mainly online, surprise surprise) movement of young men who are railing against the unfairness of the world and specifically the unfairness of the womenfolk of that world’s refusal to have sex with them.

Particular attention has been paid to articles written in the New York Times by Ross Douthat, and in the Spectator, by Toby Young, which (apparently) make scant reference to the fact that the ‘incel’ movement has recently graduated from online whining to full-on terrorism and mass murder – the man arrested after the recent truck attack in Toronto was a self-proclaimed ‘incel’ who dedicated it to the memory of another young man who reacted to his own romantic failures by going on a murderous misogynistic rampage back in 2014 (I know the names of both individuals but I’m not repeating them here).

Rather, the pieces take (perhaps ironic) pity on the ‘incels’ and ponder (perhaps ironically) the possibility of undertaking a programme of ‘sex redistribution’ to address their ‘needs’.

Now I added the ‘apparently’ to that last paragraph as I confess I haven’t yet read the Toby Young piece; as I’ve mentioned before, he blocked me on Twitter years ago and the piece itself currently lies behind the Spectator’s firewall.

Since I’m damned if I’m going to shell out for a 12-week minimum subscription to read one article I’ve decided to let that one go.

I’m willing to guess at the piece’s overall tone, though; the same sort of smirking, not quite facetious, hey-chill-out-I’m-just-throwing-these-ideas-out-there timbre that Douthat employs in his own piece, so that we can pretend it was all just a joke in the event of some humourless liberal coming along and pointing out that a) these guys have actually started killing people, and as such finding ways to accommodate them is indistinguishable from the ‘negotiating with terrorists’ that conservatives dismiss as anathema, and b) (and this is the big one) you can’t talk about ‘redistributing sex’ without contemplating subjecting women to state-mandated rape.

Because that is what we’re talking about: to class sex – which is an activity which by definition requires the participation of other people – as some sort of distributable resource or commodity, requires us to class those people (ie. let’s face it, women) as a distributable resource or commodity. Nobody has the right to demand access to the fun bits of other people’s bodies. And yes I’m sure that the point of Douthat’s piece – and possibly Young’s – was at least partly to draw sardonic comparison between the incels’ cry for sex redistribution with left-wingers’ calls for wealth redistribution; ‘how is one wrong and the other okay? Get out of that one lefties’ but if that’s the case they’re still equating the sexual consent of women with negotiable goods, so my point still stands, so ner.

The thing is, for all that column-slinging smart-arses like Young, Douthat and yes, me, might poke around in ‘incel’ philosophy to fill space and get attention (*waves hello*) the fact is that if you peruse any of the incels’ own online chat – and I strongly recommend that you don’t – then you’ll see that state-mandated rape and forced sexual submission of women is exactly what a lot of them are advocating.

So in the unlikely event that we have any ‘incels’ reading, I’d like to address them directly for a moment.

Hi guys.

You’re NEARLY right. Incel isn’t short for ‘Involuntarily Celibate’, it’s ‘incompetently celibate’. You see this is nothing new, guys. Back in my day, we just called it ‘inability to get laid’, and we responded by going home and working on our personal charm and personal hygiene. We didn’t seal ourselves into a bubble of commiseration and conspiracy and try to turn being a hopeless failure with the ladies into a ‘movement’.

What you’re suffering from is just a recodified version of old-fashioned bitterness. Bitterness is an easy trap to fall into when things go disappointingly; rather than examine where you might have gone wrong, it’s much easier to proclaim that you never had a chance, that the game was rigged, that you’re the victim of intrigue and shenanigans. It’s comforting, but it’s a dead end. You can’t fix the bad situation because you’ve convinced yourself that you played no part in its going bad. So it stays bad, and gets worse, until you (in some cases) descend into murderous self-pity.

Your problem isn’t that you want to kill women because they won’t have sex with you, it’s that women won’t have sex with you because they can tell you’d probably kill them if they changed their minds. You can’t denounce all women as evil manipulative bitches AND act surprised that they won’t go to bed with you. Make the connection, for heaven’s sake.

Guys, women aren’t the enemy and more importantly, they’re not THINGS to be acquired. They’re people. They’re individuals. Some are wonderful, most are okay, a few are horrendous, same as men. Women are our equals, to be befriended and associated with, to share interests with and hang out with, clothes on and upright. Learn to see women as human and perhaps they’ll start to see YOU as human, and then all sorts of wonderful things might happen.

Or you could just learn guitar. That’s what did it for me.

Oh, and Brexit is still rubbish (phew, that was close).

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