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Have you noticed that the more misogynistic someone is, the more likely he is to use “females” in sentences where most people would say “women”? I have no idea why they do that. (Well, I do have an idea – the effect is to dehumanize women a little. But I don’t know if they’re doing that consciously or unconsciously).
I probably wouldn’t have done a comic about “incels” a year ago, because too few people would know what that word means. Since then, tragically, an incel terrorist ran down a bunch of people in Toronto, and incels were suddenly in the news.
Of course, the overwhelming majority of incels are not mass-murderers. But the misogyny is so much more extreme than I’m used to, even on right-wing forums.
You don’t have to read an Incel forum for long to realize that the guys divide into two categories. Category one: those who write about “females” with white-hot rage and over-the-top contempt. Category two: those who choose to spend time in a forum filled with guys from category one.
“Incels” stands for “Involuntary Celibites,” a termed coined by “Alana,” a queer woman, back in 1993. She now says, “I can’t uninvent this word, nor restrict it to the nicer people who need it.”
When Alana created the first Involuntary Celibate forum, it was a needed support group for people dealing with a real problem. As someone who has gone years between romances, I relate to that problem. Loneliness and lack of connection are painful; lack of physical affection is painful; and a better society would have institutions to help people feel less alone.
Alana intended to create something like that back in 1993. Over the years, however, incels has become a group exclusively for bitter, misogynistic men to marinate in each other’s hate, to let it soak in even deeper. (We really need a new word, meaning “involuntary celibates who aren’t super misogynistic.”)
The gag in this cartoon is pretty obvious, I admit, but I haven’t seen it done yet in cartoon form, and I don’t mind doing old gags if I can try to do them well.
Of course, many incels would answer the question in panel four by saying that they don’t wonder why they aren’t getting laid. Rather, they believe they know why; they believe that they themselves are so ugly – physically, that is – that no woman would ever have them. (Or at least, no woman they’re willing to have back; many incels seem to think they have a moral right to sex with 21 year old women, and that sex with a woman in her thirties or older is a moral affront. Have I mentioned that these guys are really unpleasant?)
They’re wrong about why they’re not getting laid; most of the incels I’ve seen photos of are ordinary looking guys, and often pretty good-looking guys (Elliot Rodger, for instance). Furthermore, I was a wedding coordinator for over a decade, and in that time I attended over a thousand weddings. From that experience, I can tell you: People with all sorts of looks, including conventionally unattractive people, have been able to find love.
It’s not your looks, incels. It’s you.
I want to acknowledge that this cartoon was influenced by Jia Tolentino’s excellent New Yorker article, which was also the source of the quote I used in panel 3.
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has four panels, plus a small “kicker” panel under the bottom of the cartoon.
The panel is a close-up of a smartphone, behind held in someone’s hand. On the screen, a friendly-looking young man waves and smiles, speaking to the camera. He’s wearing a button-up shirt with white pinstripes. A caption below him on the screen says “I.C.K. Livestream.”
MAN: Welcome to the online conference of the Involuntary Celibates of Kansas – AKA “Incels!” Today we’ll discuss two main topics…
A shot of the same man, no longer on a cell phone screen; he is seated in front of a desk, speaking at the laptop on his desk. His hand is in his fist and he has an intense, almost angry expression.
MAN: Topic One: Females! We incels realize that females are spoiled children who are handed the world on a platter.
Another shot of the same man, this time looking at him from behind his laptop. He’s waving his hands as he speaks.
MAN: Society has become a place for worship of females. And htat’s so #$%*ing wrong! Females aren’t gods. They’re just #$%*ing cum-dumpsters.
The man’s dialog in this panel has a footnote. The footnote says “actual quote.”
Like panel 1, this is a close-up of the smartphone being held by a hand. On the smartphone, the man who has been speaking now looks hurt and puzzled. He is shrugging.
MAN: Topic Two: Why can’t we get laid?
KICKER PANEL BELOW BOTTOM OF STRIP
The same man is speaking angrily at Barry the Cartoonist. Barry is rolling his eyes.
MAN: You only drew this cartoon to get laid!
BARRY: Yeah, because that’s how getting laid works.