The scary thing about incels isn’t the incels ..

The recent attack in Toronto has generated lots of OMG Incels! discussion in the mainstream media, including explanations of what an incel is. This is a good thing, though as David Futrelle says, incels have been vile for a while — it shouldn’t have taken Toronto to wake people up. San Bernadino incel and murderer Elliott Rodgers went on his killing spree four years ago; incels celebrated his anniversary (May 24) last year and I’m sure they’ll do so again. In another case from last year an Australian neo-Nazi plotting a shooting spree said his lack of sex was one of his motivations.

But what’s really scary is that people in the mainstream express alarmingly sympathetic or similar views to the outraged incels. Economist Robin Hanson wonders why we fret about economic inequality but not sex inequality. And now it seems male supremacist guru Jordan Peterson, believes we should take action to appease the incels. His solution? Enforced monogamy. Not in the sense of banning divorce, but in some fashion mandating that women pair off with the incels (“Otherwise women will all only go for the most high-status men, he explains, and that couldn’t make either gender happy in the end.”).

And yes, I clicked through to the source article and that is indeed what he says, though he doesn’t give details. Perhaps because there’s nothing he can say that would make forcing women to pair off with men sound reasonable or sane. It’s particularly telling Peterson opposes economic redistribution, but feels the incel threat is so great, redistributing women is A-OK (let’s let the terrorists win!). I’m guessing that as sexual frustration doesn’t drive women to go around committing terrorist acts, Peterson won’t feel the need to force men to make them happy (or perhaps like many incels he believes even fat and ugly women get laid all they want).

Peterson is mainstream enough that the NYT’s Bari Weiss portrays him favorably as part of an intellectual dark web, saying politically incorrect things nobody else dares say. Yes, saying male dominance is justified by male superiority is soooo edgy! Nobody else out there is saying things like that.

It’s not even new. Back in the Reagan era, antifeminist George Gilder argued that men simply don’t have the instincts to behave like responsible human beings unless they have a woman to civilize them. Marriage makes men mature; without it, they’re just self-destructive thugs. So women have a duty to society to put their lives on hold and marry men. Much like Peterson, the focus should be on low-status men. Losers. They’re the ones who need uplifting. Rush Limbaugh made the same point in the 1990s: men can be dangerous savages or they can be responsible members of the community. It’s up to you, women (why yes, this is very close to the explanation for twenty-something slackers I’ve written about before) And claims that male killing sprees are women’s fault go back at least a decade.

And for a final example, we have right-wing Christians Jared and Douglas Wilson (unrelated) who in addition to believing women should have no rights, have also expressed a view that for men, sex is all about conquering and dominating while women’s role is to submit: “the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasure party.” I think incels would be down with that — and as far as I know, conservative Christians still consider the Wilsons as legitimate thinkers in good standing.

6 Comments

Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

6 responses to “The scary thing about incels isn’t the incels ..

  1. Zosimus the Heathen

    While I’ve long had a morbid fascination with the various strange subcultures that could be said to comprise the so-called Manosphere (or Manuresphere as I’ve taken to calling it), incels aren’t a group I’ve really looked into all that much. For the most part, I’ve tended to dismiss them as rather comical and harmless[*]; in light of the recent mass killings planned or carried out by self-proclaimed incels, though, this belief is no doubt dangerously naive.

    In a way, I do sympathize a little with incels’ frustration, given that boys and men *are* still given a decidedly shitty script when it comes to mating and dating ie you’re a loser if you don’t have lots of sex (whether, deep down, you really want it or not), and it’s your job to get it by whatever means, fair or foul, you’re able (and you’re also somehow supposed to just *know* how to be attractive to the opposite sex, without any help or guidance from anyone else). I also sympathize somewhat with the aversion a lot of incels apparently have towards “normies” and their ways because, as someone who never really felt terribly “normal” himself, “normal” society’s script for relationships has never much appealed to me either. As far as I can tell, this script goes something like the following:

    1) find someone of the opposite sex to get in a serious relationship with;
    2) end up having two-point-whatever children (whatever the current average is) with said individual;
    3) follow a bunch of stupid rules, and conform to a bunch of stupid stereotypes, depending on your sex (though *very* minor deviations may be allowed);
    4) drive each other crazy because of the aforementioned thing;
    5) finally come to an acceptance of each other’s stereotypical differences because you realize that while you’re from Mars, your partner is from Venus (or vice versa). This stage is often accompanied by frequent expressions of that annoying cliche: “Viva la difference!”, and the realization that traditional gender roles are in fact TOTALLY AWESOME.

    Um yeah… I think I’ll pass!

    I’m probably getting it all wrong, though. From what I’ve heard, incels’ grievances go far beyond the aforementioned (not unreasonable, in my view) ones, and enter the realm of the dangerously delusional (maybe that’s one of the reasons I still haven’t delved too deeply into the incel subculture; I still want to hang onto the comforting illusions I have about it!). It puts me in mind of something insightful I once read about a similar group of weirdos: self-proclaimed Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW): that while MGTOW pretend to be against the traditional rules for heterosexual dating, they really aren’t; they’re just annoyed that they haven’t been able to make those rules work for themselves.

    *This is largely because I’ve heard that a lot of incels have a melodramatic tendency to consider themselves doomed to lives of perpetual loneliness and sexual frustration simply because one of their facial features is supposedly one or two miillimetres too large or small, or half a degree “off”.

    • Individual incels, I’d like to think, were just normal miserable lonely people at some point. As a movement they are indeed much worse. I can totally understand feeling miserable because they’re alone, but I’ve never had the urge to lash out at all the women who supposedly spurn me because they’re pursing “high value” or “high status” males.
      It’s heavily mixed in with extreme male supremacy—Elliot Rodgers, for instance, discussed in his manifesto how hanging out on incel sights had confirmed his view that women shouldn’t have the right to pick who they sleep with because they pick “wrong.”

  2. Pingback: No, feminists did not create Jordan Peterson | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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