Cartoon: Incels

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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.

PANEL 1
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…

PANEL 2
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.

PANEL 3
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.”

PANEL 4
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.

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110 Responses to Cartoon: Incels

  1. 1
    Gracchus says:

    The thing that always strikes me about the “incel” movement is that there is no evidence that this is, in fact, a gendered problem; there are just as many women and nonbinary people who feel bad about not being able to have relationships as there are men. But the incels’ conviction that society is informed by a massive, rigid gender divide is so deeply ingrained that they assume that the problems men experience -must- be due to their male-ness, they couldn’t possibly be problems that are shared with people of other genders. All their “analysis” flows from this.

    It would be interesting to see if there are any similar communities of non-male people who feel bad about not having relationships. Clearly they don’t use the “incel” label, and hopefully they are less toxic (although having said that, they could still be fairly toxic while still being less toxic than the incels are).

  2. 2
    Erin says:

    This article strongly reminded me (for some reason) of this article:

    https://jezebel.com/5972788/no-one-is-entitled-to-sex-why-we-should-mock-the-nice-guys-of-okcupid

    I guess because both make fun of men who are not able to seduce women very well.

    No empathy for men? None at all? Find the worst quotes and behavior you can find in that particular group, and then mock them without mercy. Drive these losers to suicide.

    N.B. Hugo Schwyzer in my book is one of the biggest scumbags to have ever walked the earth. I don’t imply that connection in terms of personalities of the authors here.

  3. Erin,

    First, I’m wondering if you think Amp’s cartoon is an inaccurate portrayal of what an awful lot, probably the majority, of self-identified incels think/say.

    Aside from that, though, as a man, I do have empathy for those men, and I feel empathy for Hugo Schwyzer as well–which is not to say I condone their/his behavior or agree with the incel worldview. (I categorically reject it.) Given what those men say about women, though, why–if I understand your critique of the Jezebel article–do you think women should have empathy for them?

  4. 4
    Mandolin says:

    Being unable to find a partner when you want one sucks. I have friends who have dealt with it without becoming toxic; I empathize with them more.

    Somewhere around the time the incel movement generated the celebratory comments about the nine (ish?) year old who got killed at the (Ariana Grande? Maybe?) concert in Europe, I’m… not willing to extend them much grace. Obviously, that only reflects some people’s opinions; I hope that incels in general would read that with the same disgust I do and say, “This person does not represent me” — but there seems to be a lot of comments approving of murdering people in spree shootings.

    I probably have more empathy for the individuals than I do for the group.

    FWIW, I have a friend of a friend who has a thing for lonely guys. When they talk to the incel community about it online, they mostly just get called a slut. (This is third hand, so salt.)

  5. 5
    Celeste says:

    “Incels” and “men who are not able to seduce women very well” are not the same group of people.

    The cartoon is noting that the rampant, hideously ugly misogyny that pervades the Incel community is not unrelated to their lack of success with women. It’s a good and obvious point.

  6. 6
    Michael says:

    The problem I have with the type of message this cartoon sends is simple- there’s plenty of rapists and wife beaters that have no problem finding partners and plenty of 40-year old virgins who wouldn’t hurt a fly. I mean, it’s probably true about people who self identify as incels but it’s not true about sexuality in general and one of the reason why adult virgins hide their plight is because they’re afraid people will assume they’re Eliot Rodger.

  7. 7
    Michael says:

    @Erin#2, Richard#3- I don’t think it’s fair to compare the men in the Jezebel article with the guys who post on incel boards. The guys in the Jezebel article, IIRC, were mostly guys that said something sexist in their dating profiles- one guy, IIRC, was there just because he said “friendzone”. We’ve all said offensive things at one point in our lives- there’s a big difference between that and joining an actual GROUP dedicated to misogynistic speech. Women should feel empathy for the guys in the Jezebel article because most of them are no better and no worse- they shouldn’t feel empathy for the guys on the incel boards. A self-righteous bully who makes fun of people who screw up is still a bully. OTOH, when someone joins an actual GROUP like that, you can usually tell their intentions are no good.

  8. 8
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Gracchus,

    Various gender differences do make the ‘celibate’ experience different for men and women. For example, men seem to be judged on their (ability to attract a good) partner more than women, so men may feel more socially rejected if they are single. I’ve certainly noticed that the narrative that women often use to lay the blame for being single outside themselves, complaining about a lack of good men, is not a narrative that men are typically allowed to use. If they do use it, it seems to be interpreted as misogyny and pushed back against.

    Also, the evidence is fairly strong that it is far easier for women to find a casual sex partner, although women seem to desire this less on average (which is likely to be a cause for this). Here again, men seem to be judged negatively when they have little or no sex, while women tend to have this much less and often have the opposite (slut-shaming when they are eager to have casual sex). So this means that men with a poor sex life get a double whammy, with both a lack of satisfaction and social disapproval, while men with a good sex life get double benefits, while women tend to have more average outcomes.

  9. 9
    Erin says:

    As a side note, we should have empathy for anyone and everyone in the land of unicorns and rainbows. I’m unfortunately more selective at my stage of development, and here’s how I justify my hypocrisy regarding greater empathy for incels than for Hugo Schwyzer:

    I view incels as kind of dumb animals who are in pain (whether the cause is real or imagined, worthy or unworthy) and are just bleating out response to the pain they feel. It’s not manipulation on their part; it’s even the opposite, because what they should do is find out how to get the real world to react in a more favorable way to them – i.e. a bit more manipulation.

    Hugo, on the other hand, is a calculating, scheming, manipulating predator who thinks that no one sees through him. And many don’t – not even now after he has had some real-world consequences to his behavior. I’m just not evolved or woke enough yet to feel any empathy for that smirking user.

  10. 10
    Ben Lehman says:

    I’m sorry, has anyone here expressed sympathy or empathy for Hugo Schwyzer, other than Richard’s expression of universal empathy?

    He’s a shit. He’s always been a shit. I have zero time for self-absorbed charismatic manipulators regardless of their political affiliation.

    I doubt you will find much disagreement on that topic here.

    I can, it turns out, find Schwyzer’s brand of bullshit (of which he is far from the only peddler) is repulsive and find the misogynist incel movement’s brand of bullshit repulsive as well. I can disdain both charismatic manipulative abusers and desperate misanthropic abusers. I don’t have to choose!

  11. 11
    Mandolin says:

    Women are judged harshly for not having heterosexual partners. Old maid type insults, and article about ‘omg a terrorist attack is more likely than getting married over 30” etc etc are really common.

    I’m not going to play “better or worse” between how men and women are judged for being unpartnered, although historically… I mean, it has been much, much harder for women, especially when they were unable to do many transactions under their own names.

    Maybe you could try “men and women are judged differently when they are unpartnered.” Or even “the way that men are judged for being unpartnered is more likely to produce intel rhetoric” which seems to be true. (Correlation/causation questions aside.)

  12. 12
    Harlequin says:

    If you’ve got 35 minutes, I really appreciated the ContraPoints video on incels. I especially liked the point discussing why incels might stay on fora where other people regularly insult their appearance.

    ***

    I’ve certainly noticed that the narrative that women often use to lay the blame for being single outside themselves, complaining about a lack of good men, is not a narrative that men are typically allowed to use. If they do use it, it seems to be interpreted as misogyny and pushed back against.

    I’ll go with Mandolin here: I think it’s better to think of men and women as having different difficulties, not necessarily that a heterosexual person of one of the traditional binary genders has more difficulty than a heterosexual person of the other. And actually I think your example here is a good example of how that works, but maybe in a different way than you meant. “There are no good men around” is a statement about the speaker’s preferences: basically, that she cannot find a man who can meet her standards. The complaints you hear from incels, though, for example, are about the standards of their supposed partners: that women won’t sleep with them because women’s standards are unreasonably high. They share in common the idea that men’s preferences are fixed, but women’s preferences are negotiable. So even though there’s an externality there, as you say, there’s also an implied internality, that a woman could (and often, according to her support system, should) relax her standards and settle for someone less [insert trait here] than she wants. And that pattern repeats over a lot of social messaging about finding partners: women can and should change, while men are unchangeable. In turn, that shapes how people’s social networks support and educate them (see: PUAs, filling a hole where education about “here’s how you change to be a good partner” for men ought to be–though there’s more to that phenomenon that that, of course).

  13. 13
    Harlequin says:

    (On watching that video again, content warnings for discussions of suicide, misogyny, transphobia, and self-harm. If a mod wants to add that to the end of my link please feel free)

  14. 14
    Mandolin says:

    There are, and always have been, huge numbers of books and articles telling women how to attract a man by making sure they are suitably attractive (please don’t elide the entire beauty industry and body image pressure under the guise of “women get to pretend their faults are other people’s”) and nice enough and virginal enough and not too slutty and not too prudish and etc ad nauseum.

    You seem to not understand women’s experience very well. That’s fine; everyone has to learn from somewhere. But I think you might want to start looking around a bit more before you continue making assertions like this.

  15. 15
    Harlequin says:

    Mandolin, I can’t tell if that was aimed at LimitsOfLanguage’s original comment or my reply, but just in case it was the latter and I didn’t communicate well: I agree; I wrote and deleted a paragraph about the inverse, about how there’s quite a lot of info (good and mostly bad) for women who want to change to be/attract a good partner, and almost none for women on how to set good boundaries and limits. (Reading advice columns always makes me astonished at what some women will put up with.)

    Anyway, the analogue of incels among women is “women who can’t find an interested male partner” not “women who are dissatisfied with their options”. And IME the women in the former case, and many people around them, will think the problem is with the woman, and not with her desired partners. There’s nothing about not being able to find a partner that forces you to decide your preferred partner’s gender is horrible; that’s a choice incels make.

  16. 16
    Erin says:

    Ben Lehman sez:

    “I’m sorry, has anyone here expressed sympathy or empathy for Hugo Schwyzer, other than Richard’s expression of universal empathy?”

    ————

    I’m not sure why you are sorry – you don’t have to be – but Richard Jeffrey Newman expressed sympathy or empathy for Hugo Schwyzer here in Post 3:

    “… and I feel empathy for Hugo Schwyzer as well …”

    I was responding to that. If you feel that I misrepresented his post, or took it out of context, I would be glad to look at what you are saying and respond to it.

  17. Michael:

    The problem I have with the type of message this cartoon sends is simple- there’s plenty of rapists and wife beaters that have no problem finding partners and plenty of 40-year old virgins who wouldn’t hurt a fly. I mean, it’s probably true about people who self identify as incels but it’s not true about sexuality in general and one of the reason why adult virgins hide their plight is because they’re afraid people will assume they’re Eliot Rodger.

    It may be because it’s late and I’m not thinking clearly, but I am having a hard time following the logic of this comment.

    Also, I will have to go back and read the Jezebel article again, but you may be right. Erin simply said the comic reminded him of that post, and I might have conflated two different groups of men in my response to him. I will not say more about the degree of empathy women ought or ought not to have for the men talked about in the article until I have read it again.

    Erin:

    You didn’t answer either of my questions: Do you think Amp’s cartoon is inaccurate? And I will rephrase my other question: Given the unambiguously hateful, misogynist thing the man in the cartoon says about women, why do you seem to think (unless I have misunderstood you) that women ought to have empathy for the kind of man he represents?

  18. 18
    Michael says:

    @Richard#16- The problem I have is that the cartoon could be interpreted to mean that people who are dateless are dateless because they’re bad people- in reality good people are dateless sometimes, bad people are dateless sometimes, good people get plenty of dates sometimes, bad people get plenty of dates sometimes. I know that wasn’t Barry’s intention but still…

  19. 19
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Harlequin,

    about how there’s quite a lot of info (good and mostly bad) for women who want to change to be/attract a good partner, and almost none for women on how to set good boundaries and limits. (Reading advice columns always makes me astonished at what some women will put up with.)

    I think that this is true for men as well. In so far that men have less trouble asserting themselves, I think that this is more how men are encultured in general and not because of the messaging/policing/etc they get for relationships.

    Mandolin,

    and nice enough and virginal enough and not too slutty and not too prudish and etc ad nauseum.

    Again, being single and/or sexless is clearly a sign of virginity and a lack of sluttiness and thus virtuous for women. It’s true that not all messaging/policing/etc goes this way, but lots of it does.

    But I’m used to your kind of reaction, where any claim that women don’t have it worse than men in all ways and all situations results in angry protestations, whataboutery, references to how things were 50 years ago, etc. Ironically, this is part of traditional gender roles, where men are not allowed to point to outside circumstances to explain problems that are specific to or more common for men. This is how men get as assertive as they are, by often being denied help with their problems.

    Michael,

    This cartoon shows a stereotype, which is pretty much the only way in which (involuntary) single men are portrayed when they are addressed as a group. So it reinforces the already existing association between (involuntary) singlehood in men and the reason for that being misogyny.

    It’s problematic in the same way as having a society very often picture black women as single mother welfare recipients, gay men as pedophiles, black men as violent robbers, etc.

    This kind of trading on stereotypes is why I don’t very much like Amp’s cartoons, because by it’s very nature, it dehumanizes people and teaches people to round others down to nasty stereotypes.

  20. 20
    Gracchus says:

    “@Richard#16- The problem I have is that the cartoon could be interpreted to mean that people who are dateless…”

    I think it’s pretty clear from the cartoon that it is only intended as a commentary on the “incel” movement, which is a subset of the dateless (even a subset of dateless men, although sadly, not that small a subset).

  21. 21
    Ampersand says:

    But I’m used to your kind of reaction, where any claim that women don’t have it worse than men in all ways and all situations results in angry protestations, whataboutery, references to how things were 50 years ago, etc.

    This is a completely unfair strawman, and a very hostile one at that. Please do better.

  22. 22
    Ampersand says:

    I think it’s pretty clear from the cartoon that it is only intended as a commentary on the “incel” movement, which is a subset of the dateless (even a subset of dateless men, although sadly, not that small a subset).

    You are of course right, at least as regards my intent. (And to be fair, Michael acknowledged that his interpretation – or, maybe, it was not Michael’s interpretation, but the interpretation he is worried other people will have? – wasn’t my intent).

    Michael, I guess my feeling is that if someone interprets a comic that’s very clearly about incels – he announces himself as an incel in two of the four panels! – as being about dateless men in general, then I’m not sure what I could have done to keep them away from that interpretation.

    Gracchus, I would have guessed – and it’s only a guess – that incels are actually a pretty small minority of dateless men. As far as I know, there’s no real evidence one way or the other.

  23. 23
    Gracchus says:

    “Gracchus, I would have guessed – and it’s only a guess – that incels are actually a pretty small minority of dateless men. As far as I know, there’s no real evidence one way or the other.”

    It’s really hard to know, to be honest. I know a lot of dateless men, and none of them are, as far as I know, incels – but it’s possibly that they are active in the incel community and I don’t know it, and it’s also possible that my personal experience isn’t representative. For that matter, my definition of “incel” may not be the correct one – it’s quite possible a feminist woman might see my friends or incel or even identify me as one. So, basically, if it turned out that 50% of all dateless men were incels I can’t really say I would be shocked.

    Also, I didn’t want to seem like I was making a #notallmen argument. Even if most dateless men aren’t incels, non-incel dateless men still participate in, or benefit from, the culture of toxic masculinity that incels arise from, so it’s still their duty to be mindful of the lessons to be learned from the horrible-ness of the incel movement, and do what they can to resist it.

  24. 24
    Mookie says:

    LimitsOfLanguage,

    Again, being single and/or sexless is clearly a sign of virginity and a lack of sluttiness and thus virtuous for women

    When het women ‘fail’ at their role–Be Desirable to Men!–the failure is perceived to be their own. When men fail to be studs in the eyes of other men, when they don’t get the amount and kind of sex they want, it is again the fault of women, who are chastised for being gate-keepers of their own bodies and masters of their own desires and needs, where sex is only a choice for one party in a heterosexual pairing.

    Also, there is an enormous gap between “sexless” and promiscuous, but it’s much, much smaller for women. And, anyway, this all comes down to female bodies and who has access to and dominion over them. Both men and women are encouraged to regard sex as something that happens to and on women and is looked upon as taking something from women.

    Amp,

    Gracchus, I would have guessed – and it’s only a guess – that incels are actually a pretty small minority of dateless men. As far as I know, there’s no real evidence one way or the other.

    Well, the majority of the world’s men have never heard of incels, particularly because it’s a phenomenon born and nurtured on the Anglophone internet, so, yeah, it would be a small minority.

  25. 25
    Mookie says:

    Unless the term has broadened from an identity and a political ideology with a medicalized name to a mere state of being, that is.

  26. 26
    Gracchus says:

    Well, there is more to “inceldom” than self-identification. Like, a lot of men might not use the term, but would have basically the same views. For comparison, a man doesn’t have to self-identify as a white supremacist, let alone join white supremacist groups or set themselves up as a spokesman, to actually be a white supremacist.

    Really the “incels” are just a new label for something very old – heterosexual men who feel entitled to the subjugation and effective enslavement of women.

  27. 27
    Michael says:

    @Ampersand#22- I guess the problem I’m having is with the LOGIC. You’re arguing that they’re single because they’re misogynistic. Great! I guess that means that we can be sure our President isn’t a misogynist. :)
    A more honest answer would be “Maybe you would be still be single if you were a saint and maybe you wouldn’t. The reason to be less sexist isn’t because you’ll get dates. It’s because it’s right”.

  28. 28
    Michael says:

    @Gracchus#21, 26- “I think it’s pretty clear from the cartoon that it is only intended as a commentary on the “incel” movement, which is a subset of the dateless (even a subset of dateless men, although sadly, not that small a subset).”
    “Well, there is more to “inceldom” than self-identification. Like, a lot of men might not use the term, but would have basically the same views. For comparison, a man doesn’t have to self-identify as a white supremacist, let alone join white supremacist groups or set themselves up as a spokesman, to actually be a white supremacist.
    Really the “incels” are just a new label for something very old – heterosexual men who feel entitled to the subjugation and effective enslavement of women.”
    The problem is that taken together these create a situation where dateless men have to be extremely careful not to say anything sexist while complaining or else people assume they’re single because they’re sexist. The majority of men occasionally say or do something sexist. It’s similar to the “poor people are poor because of their own flaws” argument.
    The real issue is that dateless men are the last group of people where progressives feel comfortable saying “bootstraps” as a solution. Progressives generally act like the choice is between society doing nothing or a “Handmaid’s Tale” situation instead of thinking about possible solutions to the problem of loneliness that don’t violate anyone’s rights.

  29. 29
    Gracchus says:

    “The problem is that taken together these create a situation where dateless men have to be extremely careful not to say anything sexist”

    I’m comfortable with this.

    In fact I’m comfortable with all men, dateless, dateful, or somewhere in between, taking extreme care to not say anything sexist.

    I’m more than comfortable, in fact, it sounds like an amazing world and one I would love to live in.

  30. 30
    Celeste says:

    It’s amazing how much everyone seems to want to make this about “dateless men” instead of recognizing that it’s a specific commentary on a specific, extremely toxic, subculture.

    I assume that’s because “poor lonely men who can’t get dates” is a more sympathetic group than “violent misogynists who publicly fantasize about raping and murdering teenage girls.”

  31. 31
    Gracchus says:

    @ Celeste: Like I said above, I think disassociating the incel movement from men in general is a bit too #notallmen. It’s not about trying to detoxify incels, though, it’s the opposite – it’s about realising that the incel movement tells us more than just something about its members; the existence of incels tells us something about men as a group, and masculinity as a phenomenon. There are a lot of men who aren’t incels (however we define it) but should probably still be more concerned about incels, and do more to speak out against incels and the cultural dynamics that create them, than they are and do.

    As I said above, I don’t think of myself as an incel, and I don’t think any of my male friends are incels (although, as I also said, it’s arguable) but that doesn’t mean I can just say “well, I’m not an incel, so when feminist women criticise incels, I don’t need to listen”.

  32. 32
    Jake Squid says:

    …the existence of incels tells us something about men as a group, and masculinity as a phenomenon.

    I can’t count the number of men I’ve worked with who speak about women exactly the way incels do. The difference is that all of these guys had/have wives and/or girlfriends. And that’s the only difference that I can see.

  33. 33
    Michael says:

    @Gracchus#29- the problem is when men saying sexist things is used as an excuse to dismiss their problems.

  34. 34
    Celeste says:

    Sure, Gracchus, and I don’t disagree, but being concerned about the toxicity of Incels as a movement and how that reflects the sexist toxicity of our culture at large isn’t the same as pretending that every criticism of Incels is ‘mocking male virgins’ or ‘lacking empathy for dateless men.’.

    I have lots of empathy for lonely people! What I object to in Incels isn’t being lonely or socially awkward or even being upset and bitter about it.

  35. 35
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Mookie,

    You completely fail to get my point, which is not about blame, but about judgment. Do you understand the difference between the two?

    Note that my claim is not that women are judged less, but that for men, more negative judgment is heaped on men who already do badly, while it is more spread out for women. So fairly successful women are judged more negatively than fairly successful men, but unsuccessful men are judged more negatively than unsuccessful women.

    The result is then that men have higher highs, but also lower lows.

    BTW. Your claim that all blame is always put on women is absurd and ignores the many cases where blame is put on men.

    Gracchus,

    There is sexism and there is sexism.

    I think that people should be allowed to express frustration at the decisions that potential partners make, individually or collectively. This frustration tends to be targeted at one specific gender, because most people are only attracted to one gender and only have direct experience with that gender.

    Because those statements are targeted at one gender, they can very easily be interpreted as sexist. Ironically, the accusation of sexism when people make these complaints can itself be sexism when single men who complain about the decisions of women get matched to the incel stereotype, while single women who make the same kind of complaints get matched to a more sympathetic stereotype.

    Celeste,

    People have a strong tendency to try to understand others using the stereotypes that they are familiar with.

    Activists have fought and do fight against negative stereotypes and in favor of more positive stereotypes to get people treated better.

    So the reason why people argue against the negative stereotype is because they want lonely men to be treated better.

  36. 36
    Celeste says:

    A cartoon criticizing Incels specifically is not a criticism of lonely guys in general.

    Incels are not a group representative of lonely guys.

    The group of people who act like they ARE representative are the ones creating any negative stereotype.

    If they’re worried about the stereotype, they ought to stop.

  37. 37
    Gracchus says:

    “Sure, Gracchus, and I don’t disagree, but being concerned about the toxicity of Incels as a movement and how that reflects the sexist toxicity of our culture at large isn’t the same as pretending that every criticism of Incels is ‘mocking male virgins’ or ‘lacking empathy for dateless men.’.”

    It’s not the same, although they do share the core concept that there is a connection between the behaviour of Incels and the behaviour of men. So I worry that a pushback that hits the “not all men are Incels” button too hard might end up over-correcting.

    Basically, to guys saying “You can’t make fun of all dateless men because of what Incels do”, that’s true, but really, nobody is making fun of dateless men – they are merely asking them to be accountable and to prioritise the problems their culture causes for women over their own problems of not being able to get companionship and/or sex.

    Those who characterise it as “mocking dateless men” are, in my opinion, just concern trolls who actually have no problem with the Incel movement and want to stop all criticism of it, but realise the Incels are so horrific they can’t really be defended, and instead just try to cast an invincible pall of doubt that in practice covers every Incel.

    I don’t actually see anybody “mocking dateless men” but I would rather see dateless men being mocked and Incels being criticised, than I would see dateless men being free of mocking but Incels go un-criticised.

  38. 38
    Gracchus says:

    “Because those statements are targeted at one gender, they can very easily be interpreted as sexist. ”

    This phenomenon, where people assume a man complaining about not getting a date must be an Incel, seems to exist only in your imagination.

    Can you give me any examples of men being mocked for being Incels who don’t identify with the movement?

    In my experience feminists, while not perfect, are actually very good about telling the specific difference between complaints about one’s own situation, and universalist complaints about an entire gender.

  39. 39
    Kate says:

    It’s very interesting to me that the commenters who are so concerned that Amp’s targeted criticism of icels might be over-applied to innocent men who merely can’t get dates didn’t speak up in the earlier thread about Jordan Peterson.

  40. 40
    Celeste says:

    Those who characterise it as “mocking dateless men” are, in my opinion, just concern trolls who actually have no problem with the Incel movement and want to stop all criticism of it, but realise the Incels are so horrific they can’t really be defended, and instead just try to cast an invincible pall of doubt that in practice covers every Incel.

    This is 100% correct.

  41. 41
    Ampersand says:

    Basically, to guys saying “You can’t make fun of all dateless men because of what Incels do”, that’s true, but really, nobody is making fun of dateless men…

    I do hear people making fun of dateless men in general. But they’re not made fun of in the way this cartoon makes fun of incels. The stereotype of men who can’t get dates is that they’re sad, soft losers who might still live with their mothers and can’t bring themselves to talk to a woman they’re attracted to. (A lot of these stereotypes went into Raj and Howard’s characters in the early seasons of “Big Bang Theory.”) This is anecdotal, of course, but it seems to me if I hear someone make fun of a man by saying “he’s 30 and has never had a girlfriend,” these are the stereotypes being evoked. And, to be clear, I’m against those stereotypes and wouldn’t base a cartoon on them.

    But it’s a stretch, imo, to imply that we shouldn’t make fun of incels for their over-the-top misogyny for fear of evoking this other, general stereotype about dateless men, as some have in this thread.

    I don’t actually see anybody “mocking dateless men” but I would rather see dateless men being mocked and Incels being criticised, than I would see dateless men being free of mocking but Incels go un-criticised.

    Fortunately, we don’t have to make that choice – the two things are mostly unconnected. The people criticizing incels, and the people making fun of dateless men, are not the same groups of people. The people writing articles and feminist blogs criticizing incels are usually pretty far left; the making fun of dateless men (a la Big Bang Theory) is more of a general mainstream thing.

  42. 42
    Ampersand says:

    So fairly successful women are judged more negatively than fairly successful men, but unsuccessful men are judged more negatively than unsuccessful women.

    Unless there’s a strong “excuse” (i.e., the person is a nun or priest), I think both dateless men and dateless women are encouraged by our culture to think of themselves as deficient and contemptible. There are exceptions, who (if they’re hetero) blame their datelessness on deficiencies in the other sex. But although I’ve encountered this with both individual men, and individual women, it seems like bitter dateless women remain individuals, while some bitter dateless men form groups like incels and mgtow.

  43. 43
    Ampersand says:

    Michael:

    The problem is that taken together these create a situation where dateless men have to be extremely careful not to say anything sexist while complaining or else people assume they’re single because they’re sexist.

    You keep on doing this – slipping from discussions of incels to discussions of more general groups (in this case, dateless man). But that’s not justifiable. None of the arguments you’re criticizing are seeing these groups as interchangable (although I think Gracchus is arguing that they’re different points on a spectrum?).

    I think the large majority of people in general, men included, are sexist. But being “sexist” and being “incel” are not the same thing. If I hear a man (dateless or otherwise) make a joke about how women like shopping, or say that he thinks small children need their mothers to be primary caretakers, I’ll think he’s sexist, but I’m not going to assume that he subscribes to the kind of vicious misogyny that incels spout.

    The real issue is that dateless men are the last group of people where progressives feel comfortable saying “bootstraps” as a solution.

    I think this is true to a significant degree. But I think it’s counterproductive to use a discussion of incels as your context for bringing this subject up. It just comes off as if you’re either trying to protect incels from criticism, or looking for ammo for a “feminists hate men” argument.

  44. 44
    Ampersand says:

    In comment #22, I wrote:

    Michael, I guess my feeling is that if someone interprets a comic that’s very clearly about incels – he announces himself as an incel in two of the four panels! – as being about dateless men in general, then I’m not sure what I could have done to keep them away from that interpretation.

    Michael responded:

    @Ampersand#22- I guess the problem I’m having is with the LOGIC. You’re arguing that they’re single because they’re misogynistic. Great! I guess that means that we can be sure our President isn’t a misogynist. :)
    A more honest answer would be “Maybe you would be still be single if you were a saint and maybe you wouldn’t. The reason to be less sexist isn’t because you’ll get dates. It’s because it’s right”.

    Michael, your response is a complete non-sequitur. Even if I agreed with everything you said here, that in no way makes it non-ridiculous for someone to take this cartoon as being about dateless men in general, instead of about incels.

    You’re arguing that they’re single because they’re misogynistic. Great! I guess that means that we can be sure our President isn’t a misogynist. :)

    This argument’s logic is completely flawed. If I say to someone whose cookies came out badly “your cookies are bad because you used salt where you should have used sugar,”[*] it doesn’t logically follow that anyone who uses sugar rather than salt is going to make good cookies. There’s more than one way to ruin a cookie.

    Being bitterly hateful of women, and unable to hide it, is a disadvantage in dating. A non-negligible number of people find that repulsive or creepy.

    My saying that doesn’t mean that anyone who can’t find dates is a bitter misogynist, however, because there’s more than one way to be dateless. “That person is tired because she’s overworked” doesn’t equal “all overworked people are tired,” nor does it equal “all tired people are overworked,” nor does it equal “if you’re not tired then you must not be overworked.”

    I do agree that this cartoon simplifies things. But I think most readers understand that political cartoons often simplify and exaggerate.

    [*] I made this mistake the first time I tried to make cookies.

    (ETA: “nor does it equal “all tired people are overworked,””)

  45. 45
    Celeste says:

    As long as we’re talking about it, I DO have sympathy for lonely people of all genders who feel unloved and unloveable.

    I’m not sure what can be done (or ought to be done) in terms of public policy to help them get dates – but I’m certainly in favor of universal mental health care which can both help folks work through their issues and help them cope with feelings of loneliness and isolation.

  46. 46
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Gracchus & Celeste,

    I’m glad that we’ve established that people with different opinions are just bad actors who can be dismissed as hateful people. Thank you for your open-mindedness.

    Ampersand,

    As for the argument that lonely men are currently not often associated with incels:

    The very existence of incels has only recently become visible to the mainstream. Negative stereotypes and associates are not static or eternal. They can come about, grow and decline. There are ways to feed this process and to starve it. I worry that it is now being fed.

    Celeste,

    I’m not a big fan of using psychiatry to ‘treat’ people to be less upset about having important human needs met. We also don’t try to make homeless people look at the bright side of living under a bridge.

    Many possible interventions are possible, both for loneliness in general and a lack of a partner specifically. One thing that is rather amazing is that partnering up is one of the major goals of most people, just like finding a job. For the latter, we offer extensive education, yet for the former, we let people figure out things on their own.

  47. 47
    Celeste says:

    I’m not a big fan of using psychiatry to ‘treat’ people to be less upset about having important human needs met. We also don’t try to make homeless people look at the bright side of living under a bridge.

    I think that anyone dealing with painful emotions ought to have support. There’s no bright side to having a loved one die, yet grief counseling exists and is useful.

    And yes, I would support, at least in theory, the idea of teaching students social skills.

    Negative stereotypes and associates are not static or eternal. They can come about, grow and decline. There are ways to feed this process and to starve it. I worry that it is now being fed.

    Yes, one way to feed that negative stereotype is to act as though every criticism of incels is a criticism of lonely men in general. Why do you keep doing that?

  48. 48
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    Harlequin, thank you for recommending the Contrapoints video on incels. [content warning for all sorts of nastiness]

    I’ve got some issues with mostly different sorts of self-hatred, and it was worth my 35 minutes to see the obsession from the outside.

    Any thoughts about why self-hatred can be a tempting obsession?

  49. 49
    Michael says:

    @Ampersand#43- “But I think it’s counterproductive to use a discussion of incels as your context for bringing this subject up. It just comes off as if you’re either trying to protect incels from criticism, or looking for ammo for a “feminists hate men” argument.”
    Which I wouldn’t have done, if you wouldn’t have used a meme that was previously used against Nice Guys Tm in your cartoon. BTW, I agree that incels are horrible people and I’m not arguing that feminists hate men. I’m arguing that feminists hate men that fail to live up to the standards of masculinity- see below.
    @Ampersand#41- “Fortunately, we don’t have to make that choice – the two things are mostly unconnected. The people criticizing incels, and the people making fun of dateless men, are not the same groups of people. The people writing articles and feminist blogs criticizing incels are usually pretty far left; the making fun of dateless men (a la Big Bang Theory) is more of a general mainstream thing.”
    That’s just not true. Many feminists have done all they can to conflate “dateless men” with “alt right”. Some other feminists have complained about this:
    https://tvo.org/article/current-affairs/neo-nazis-might-be-loser-virgins-but-sex-will-only-fix-one-of-those-things
    https://www.elle.com/culture/career-politics/news/a47398/stop-telling-white-nationalists-they-just-need-to-get-laid/
    “Being bitterly hateful of women, and unable to hide it, is a disadvantage in dating. A non-negligible number of people find that repulsive or creepy. ”
    But the majority of men who are hateful of women manage to find partners. If they didn’t then we wouldn’t need laws against wife beating and “date rape”. It’s possible that these men find partners because they hide it. But it’s also possible that some women are willing to romance these men despite their misogyny. As one of the articles above describes:
    “not only will some women have sex with every strain of white supremacist, but that they’ve long played a central role in their movements. ”
    White supremacists aren’t the most egalitarian men on the planet.

  50. 50
    Michael says:

    The same idea- that dateless men have only their own sexism to blame for their datelessness- was also used against Nice Guys Tm- and people were criticizing that idea when applied to them. From Radicalizing the Romanceless:
    “(I say this to) condemn everyone who gives the nice pat explanation “The real reason Nice Guys™®© can’t get dates is that women can just tell they’re misogynist, and if they were to realize women were people then they would be in relationships just as much as anyone else.” This advice I see all the time, most recently on a feminist “dating advice for single guys” list passed around on Facebook:
    Step I. Consume More Art By Women – I think it’s a good idea to make a deliberate year-long project of it at this time in your life, when you are trying to figure out how to relate to women better…Use woman-created media to to remind yourself that the world isn’t only about you + men + women who have/have not rejected you as a romantic partner.
    I want to reject that line of thinking for all time.”
    Or if you don’t like Scott Alexander:
    http://linkshund.blogspot.com/2013/08/nice-hat-nice-guy.html
    “Nice Guy Syndrome is, in its way, the realisation of a sad truth about the world: that sexual attraction is basically amoral, and that the deciding factor in whether you get to have a vaguely satisfying love life isn’t some universal moral imperative of being a decent person, it’s morally neutral things like physical attractiveness, intelligence or confidence, or downright immoral and repugnant things like beards. ”
    “When men talk to men about not being dicks, not only do our own prejudices and urges to assert masculinity competitively come into play, we often try to catch flies with Old Spice instead of vinegar by offering things misogynists will aspire to.

    This is especially true when it comes to Nice Guys. We start off with a story about how we used to be shy and awkward and sexually frustrated just like them, but we’re not any more. More often than not we’ve found ourselves a wonderful wife/girlfriend/polyamorous lifestyle which we may or may not mention (see above). We try to win them over with helpful dating advice. We point out that not only is shitty behaviour shitty, but that it’s actually not even sexy. We ramble inexplicably about smurfs, tell them to get proper female friends, then conclude:
    People, men and women both, are complex, emotional creatures, and virtually all of them are horny. If you’re honest with yourself and honest with them you will form trusting, open connections with a large network of humans. Those people are called friends. You will be in many friend zones. You will be a better person. Someone will fuck you. Trust me.
    We tell these Nice Guys, who complain that women won’t fuck them just for being nice, that if they became Actual Guys Who Are Nice, they’d be rewarded with women just like we were.”

  51. 51
    Michael says:

    Imagine a poor black man who has a short temper and beats up people at the slightest provocation. That’s definitely a disadvantage in seeking a job. But is it right to tell him, ” If you control your temper, you won’t be poor anymore”. No. Because controlling his temper won’t magically make racism go away. The real reason for him to control his temper is because it’s not fair to take his anger out on everyone around him. And it’s the same thing with the incels. A better way to explain things would be this, from Radicalizing the Romanceless:
    “Personal virtue is not very well correlated with ease of finding a soulmate. It may be only slightly correlated, uncorrelated, or even anti-correlated in different situations. Even smart people who want various virtues in a soulmate usually use them as a rule-out criterion, rather than a rule-in criterion – that is, given someone whom they are already attracted to, they will eliminate him if he does not have those virtues. The rule-in criterion that makes you attractive to people is mysterious and mostly orthogonal to virtue. ”
    There’s one other thing that Barry doesn’t seem to understand. Many dateless men view incels the same way that non-fundamentalist Muslims view Muslim fundamentalists or law-abiding black men view violent black criminals- they despise them but they also are wary of outsiders conflating them with them. If someone drew a cartoon of two black Crips members saying to each other “I wonder why we’re poor?”, many black men who had no sympathy for the Crips still might have issues with it.

  52. 52
    Ben Lehman says:

    I agree that dating is not primarily a contest of moral virtue. Nor is it particularly a meritocracy. Nor is it particularly fair.

    I also agree that, yup, some feminists believe these things. (Additionally, so do other groups, feminists probably conform to about the average proportion of “people who believe dating success is about being a good person.) Likewise, there are definitely some feminists who reject men for being insufficient masculine — feminists are part of a culture that celebrates specific assigned-masculine traits, and are no less part of that culture (and thus no less attracted to those traits) for being feminist.

    So?

  53. 53
    Kate says:

    I’m arguing that feminists hate men that fail to live up to the standards of masculinity

    That’s just not true. Many feminists have done all they can to conflate “dateless men” with “alt right”. Some other feminists have complained about this:

    The “standards of masculinity” are part of the patriarchy that feminists criticize. That’s why we say that patriarchy hurts men too. Both the articles you link to @49 open with the words of a comedian named Michael Rappaport. One of them then cites journalist Dana Schwartz, writing for Babe and Entertainment Weekly – neither publication is known for its feminist creds. I’m not saying that feminists/the left never can be cruel to dateless men or men who don’t live up to the standards of masculinity (although you provide no links to the “many feminists” who do “all they can do to conflate ‘dateless men’ with ‘alt right'”. But, as you’ve shown with your links above, we’re pretty good about calling people out on that shit.
    Conservatives are the ones who are more likely to mock people who don’t meet the standards of masculinity. So, I still find it interesting that Amp’s comic about incels is so concerning to you, but you had nothing to say about this topic in the thread about Jordan Peterson, who we were criticizing for saying (among many other things):

    “He was angry at God because women were rejecting him,” Mr. Peterson says of the Toronto killer. “The cure for that is enforced monogamy. That’s actually why monogamy emerges.”

    I think Jordan Peterson is a lot more worthy of your criticism than Amp is. Yet in that thread, you only saw fit pile on in accusing me, one of Peterson’s critics, of arguing in bad faith.

  54. 54
    Michael says:

    @Kate#53- tweets where Dana Schwartz refers to herself as a feminist:
    https://twitter.com/danaschwartzzz/status/758800409733378048
    https://twitter.com/DanaSchwartzzz/status/1016838631082770432
    But of course, there aren’t any major feminist figures who made derogatory remarks about men that fail at masculinity without being criticized, right?
    Like Amanda Marcotte?:
    https://img.alternet.org/culture/leslie-jones-online-harassment-alt-right
    “Yiannopoulos got his gig after doing the yeoman’s work of riling up BASEMENT DWELLERS on Twitter.”
    Or Arthur Chu?:
    https://ravishly.com/2015/03/16/nerd-masculinity-they-wont-give-it-without-fight
    “To paraphrase Martin Luther King, straight white middle-class dudes who are “nerds” are people who’ve been negatively judged on the content of their character.”
    Or Leigh Alexander?:
    https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/224400/Gamers_dont_have_to_be_your_audience_Gamers_are_over.php
    “They don’t know how to dress or behave.”
    Or Rebecca Watson?:
    http://skepchick.org/2015/07/men-who-harass-female-gamers-are-losers-but-maybe-not-literally/
    “Maybe if someone were able to examine every person who attempts to harass me, we’d see that some of them don’t LIVE WITH THEIR PARENTS, or haven’t been convicted of sexual assault, or do have rich, fulfilling lives. ”
    And since you asked, yes, I do think that Jordan Peterson is a horrible human being but I had nothing to add to the thread, and most of the “civilized” world already considers him a bad person. Now it’s your turn. Are you willing to denounce all these prominent feminists?

  55. 55
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Kate,

    The “standards of masculinity” are part of the patriarchy that feminists criticize.

    There seems to be a very high level of nerd-hatred among feminists, which is interesting because nerdiness seems to be a trait that is biologically rather strongly correlated with men. Also, in many ways nerdy behavior goes against the masculine norm.

    In other words, the rejection of nerds is not rejecting the male gender norm, but men for being biologically male, so true misandry.

    Conservatives are the ones who are more likely to mock people who don’t meet the standards of masculinity.

    I would argue that conservatives tend to ascribe moral faults to unsuccessful people (in general). This can consist of stereotyping and even when they may agree that oppression or disabilities exist that hamper groups, they tend to focus on what the specific individual can do or could have done better to improve their situation, rather than the rest of society. Or as a progressive may call it: victim blaming. Also, there is rarely any tolerance at all for anger or such directed at those who oppress or don’t have disabilities (what SJ people may call: those who punch up).

    What I often see among feminists on this topic is very conservative behavior. Lots of stereotyping and when specific people come up, a tendency to look for how that person is to blame, disregarding oppression or disabilities that may make it far harder for that person. There is rarely any tolerance at all for anger or such directed at those who oppress or don’t have disabilities.

    I think Jordan Peterson is a lot more worthy of your criticism than Amp is.

    The irony is that Peterson was arguing based on a progressive morality there. In the economy, the progressive ideal is not to let people with huge natural gifts extract as much value from many less gifted people, as they alone can offer to many others. This can for example be done through progressive taxation. Furthermore, the least gifted people should not merely be able to extract value from others to the little extent that they themselves can produce value for others. This can be done by having welfare or such.

    However, this same logic is curiously not applied when it comes to love, by most progressives. Of course, the main reason is probably that love cannot be redistributed as well as food or healthcare, for various reasons. It does not seem realistic to solve this problem completely or even largely. However, I don’t see why this means that the goal should not be to reduce this, if there are good solutions to do so.

    For example, what we do see is that polyamory frequently results in gender imbalances where a subset of one gender ‘hogs’ many partners. In most traditional societies, it is a subset of men who have a ‘harem’ of women.

    Peterson believes that a culture and/or legal system that encourages or mandates long-term commitment to one partner reduces this and produces greater equality in love and thereby results in more equal incentives for men. In other words, he is called an extremist because he believes in encouraging marriage!

    Now, of course you can criticize his logic, his axioms, the quality of his solution, etc; and some/many of these are based on conservative beliefs. However, Peterson is often attacked for immorality and that accusation seems steeped in hypocrisy, where people who argue to help other groups, even in fairly extremist ways get credits for having the right goal, while people like Peterson get attacked fiercely for helping groups that he believes need help.

    PS. Note that studies suggest that the level of discrimination against ugly people is quite large. Not only do they have considerably worse life outcomes than pretty people, it can even be observed that due to the halo effect, people ascribe all kinds of unrelated positive qualities or faults to people based on their looks.

  56. 56
    Kate says:

    Michael, I’m with you about all the ways our culture shits on men who don’t live up to standards of masculinity. Both Marcotte and Watson mock harasers in ways that hit a lot of innocent bystanders. That’s not o.k.. So, absolutely, I’ll call out both for mocking of people who need to live with their parents for economic reasons, and implicitly accusing innocent people of being harassers. It is unnecessary and cruel. Also, harassers are sometimes financially successful, and characterizing them this way lets them off the hook. I’m with you on that. But, Marcotte and Watson fucked up because they were failing to live up to feminist values, not because they were following them. That’s why feminists say the patriarchy hurts men too.
    The other two pieces you cite are both members of sub-cultures I don’t belong to criticizing their own cultures. I don’t have a problem with either one:
    Author Cho, a self-described nerd, is arguing against the line you cited, for a broader definition of nerd. His ultimate conclusion:

    It’s time for “nerds” to admit the things that make us “nerdy”—social exclusion, unusual interests, atypical learning development—don’t erase the privileges we also have. That LGBTQ people, people of color, and, yes, women are all vulnerable to those things—and have to deal with a pile of other issues as well.

    The Leigh Alexander piece is about gamers (she is a gamer). The line you quote (which I don’t think is really problematic) is, in context:

    I often say I�m a video game culture writer, but lately I don�t know exactly what that means. �Game culture� as we know it is kind of embarrassing — it�s not even culture. It�s buying things, spackling over memes and in-jokes repeatedly, and it�s getting mad on the internet.
    It�s young men queuing with plush mushroom hats and backpacks and jutting promo poster rolls. Queuing passionately for hours, at events around the world, to see the things that marketers want them to see. To find out whether they should buy things or not. They don�t know how to dress or behave. Television cameras pan across these listless queues, and often catch the expressions of people who don�t quite know why they themselves are standing there.
    �Games culture� is a petri dish of people who know so little about how human social interaction and professional life works that they can concoct online �wars� about social justice or �game journalism ethics,� straight-faced, and cause genuine human consequences. Because of video games.
    Lately, I often find myself wondering what I�m even doing here. And I know I�m not alone.

    It was written at a time when she was being harassed by Gamer Gate. She ultimately felt forced to abandon several projects and dramatically decrease her online presence.

  57. 57
    Kate says:

    There seems to be a very high level of nerd-hatred among feminists, which is interesting because nerdiness seems to be a trait that is biologically rather strongly correlated with men. Also, in many ways nerdy behavior goes against the masculine norm.

    In other words, the rejection of nerds is not rejecting the male gender norm, but men for being biologically male, so true misandry.

    This is complete and utter bullshit on so many levels. There are plenty of female nerds, plenty (perhaps most) of them feminists. Being a nerd goes against female gender norms just as much, or even more than it goes against male gender norms.

    I would argue that conservatives tend to ascribe moral faults to unsuccessful people (in general). This can consist of stereotyping and even when they may agree that oppression or disabilities exist that hamper groups, they tend to focus on what the specific individual can do or could have done better to improve their situation, rather than the rest of society. Or as a progressive may call it: victim blaming. Also, there is rarely any tolerance at all for anger or such directed at those who oppress or don’t have disabilities (what SJ people may call: those who punch up).

    I agree totally.

    What I often see among feminists on this topic is very conservative behavior. Lots of stereotyping and when specific people come up, a tendency to look for how that person is to blame, disregarding oppression or disabilities that may make it far harder for that person. There is rarely any tolerance at all for anger or such directed at those who oppress or don’t have disabilities.

    You’ve totally lost me here. Can you link to some actual examples of this in action?

  58. 58
    Mookie says:

    Feel free to share with us the hard science of gendered biological correlations of nerdiness [all sics].

  59. 59
    Michael says:

    @Kate#56- read how Chu describes nerds- “It’s a truism that the most openly vicious practitioners of any brand of oppression tend not to be the people at the very top level of privilege, but those in the second-to-last row, desperate for someone at the very bottom that they can feel better than.”
    Chu is describing nerds as “the most openly vicious practitioners of oppression”. The fact that he describes himself as a nerd doesn’t make it any less problematic than if a black man talked about how other blacks like crack and raping white women or a Muslim talked about how other Muslims are terrorists.

  60. 60
    Mookie says:

    How is Chu intending “truism” to be taken there? Because that’s certainly the way sexist bullies who style themselves as nerds conceive the world (that they are comparatively unprivileged and lacking institutional power, the world at odds ith their “culture”), but it remains to be seen whether that self-serving conceit stands up to much scrutiny.

  61. 61
    Michael says:

    @Mookie#60- but later on, he says “And when it comes to gender, the men who make up that bottommost row of the male power pyramid are called “nerds,” and the culture they’ve created is what we call “nerd culture.”” And “straight white middle-class dudes who are “nerds” are people who’ve been negatively judged on the content of their character.” The only nerds he praises are LBGT nerds, nerds of color and female nerds. How can this piece be interpreted as anything but an attack on straight white male nerds?
    My larger point is that feminists are like the townspeople in the Secret of Father Brown- they’re willing to forgive only those things they don’t regard as sinful but as conventions. Chu is clearly attacking straight white male nerds as a group- suggesting that they’re evil because they fail at masculinity. But feminists forgive him because it’s a convention, not a sin.

  62. 62
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    One way I’d say that I’ve seen feminists do male shaming/buy into toxic masculinity is the use of jokes about small penises.

    I think I’ve been seeing fewer small penis jokes lately, but jokes about Trump’s small hands are still in the category.

    When I see small penis jokes, I’m apt to point out that they’re unfair and this has been taken well, but I don’t know why the unfairness wasn’t obvious in the first place.

  63. 63
    Kate says:

    I don’t think anyone would argue that feminists never fuck up and say things that are mean or cruel. We are human. Humans make mistakes. But, these sorts of comments and jokes happen when we fail to live up to feminist values, not because we are following them.

  64. 64
    Kate says:

    When we say “Feminists do male shaming/buy into toxic masculinity” this can mean two things.
    One, which no one denies, is that there are feminists who have engaged in male shaming and bought into toxic masculinity. After all, for any large group there are members that engage in pretty much any bad behavior you can think of. Feminism is not immune from toxic masculinity, or racism, classism, ableism, hetero and cis centrism and on and on. These prejudices are are endemic in our society. One must constantly work to root them out of our psyches, and even when we do, they’ll pop up when we’re not paying attention.
    But, the second reading, and the one that I think people are arguing for here, is that there is something about feminists or feminist theory which make feminists more likely to engage in male shaming and that supports toxic masculinity. Pointing to a few anecdotes of feminists behaving badly is kind of meaningless to establishing that. This is what I am arguing against.

  65. 65
    Michael says:

    @Kate#64- What we’re saying is that there’s a PATTERN of the Left associating misogyny and the alt-right with being a virgin, living with one’s parents, etc. What sort of evidence would you need to prove that?

  66. 66
    Kate says:

    What sort of evidence would you need to prove that?

    EVERYONE in our society shits on men who are virgins living with their parents. You seem to be claiming (correct me if I’m wrong) that feminists/the left are somehow unusually bad in this respect; that there is something in feminist/left ideology which makes us more hostile to men who are virgins and/or living with their parents; and/or that society would be kinder to these men if it weren’t for feminists. I can think of four ways one could establish that:
    1.) Analysis of feminist writings, establishing that application of feminist principles would lead to greater marginalization of men who don’t meet current standards of masculinity. My understanding of feminist theory is that, while feminism centers women (as it should) it acknowledges that patriarchy hurts the very men you are concerned about. If feminist principle were actually put into action, both women and marginalized men would be better off. But, of course, groups often don’t live up to their principles, so….
    2.) Show me a pattern in feminist writings that is substantially different from what we see in society in general, and among other groups. As mean as feminists can be sometimes, I see them significantly kinder to marginalized men than, jocks (to take an extreme example). For example, you could choose a small group of publications over a targeted time period, some feminist, some not. Which ones make the most digs?
    3.) Show me a comparison of attitudes in two different geographic regions, one where feminism is strong and one where it is weak.
    4.) Show me change over time. Was society kinder to virgins who live with their parents when feminism was substantially less popular than it is today.

    Those things are all hard work. Establishing patterns is hard work. In the absence of those, at least link to anecdotes which actually support your point. You linked to four anecdotes, none of which explicitly link being a virgin, or living in one’s parent’s house with being on the alt-right. None of your links mentioned virgins at all. Two of them mentioned men living with their parents, but in relation to general online harassment, not the alt-right specifically. One was criticizing white male nerds (who tend to have successful careers, and most of whom do find partners in the end), for not acknowledging female nerds and nerds of color. Again, no mention of the alt-right. The fourth was about gamers. Again, lots of gamers live on their own and have partners. The line you objected to was “They don’t know how to dress or behave.” It said nothing about relationship status or living with their parents.
    If these are the strongest anecdotes you could find to illustrate your point, you’ve lost.

  67. 67
    Sebastian H says:

    I don’t think feminists shit on male virgins MORE than much of society. The complaint is something more like: you want to reshape sexual relations and we still get shit on. Or something like that.

    So you’re asking evidence that feminism is worse, but the complaint is that feminism often focuses directly on the types of problems under discussion, and then does the same anyway. Human psychology often treats people who pretend to care but then treat you the same after all as worse than those who never even pretended to care.

    (Also I think your #4 may actually be true, but I’m not sure that feminism has much to do with the change).

    To be clear, this is all exploratory, as I’m not an incel.

  68. 68
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Maybe a dumb question, but what’s the best place to get familiar with incel culture, assuming there is such a thing? Do they have a place where they congregate and write stuff? I don’t think I’ve ever met one or read the writings of one. I gather it won’t be fun reading, but now I’m curious.

  69. 69
    Kate says:

    I don’t think feminists shit on male virgins MORE than much of society. The complaint is something more like: you want to reshape sexual relations and we still get shit on. Or something like that.

    But, I think that IS what Michael is saying (correct me if I’m wrong, Michael). In any case, he attacks all of feminism for the faults of a few individual feminists -and then links to thing which don’t even prove his point. This is sort of ironic, since his complaint is that the left/feminists unfairly associates male virgins who live with their parents with the alt right. That complaint is sort of off topic for this thread, because that isn’t even what Amp is doing here. Amp is specifically writing about the incel movement, which includes the deeply hateful attitudes about women which he mocks here (among many many more) as part of their core beliefs (proof style 1, in my post above).

  70. 70
    Michael says:

    @Sebastian H#67- I don’t think these complaints come from incels specifically.
    @Kate#69-My argument is that there’s a specific PATTERN of demonizing men that fail to live up to masculinity coming from feminists. Getting back to Barry’s cartoon, the problem isn’t Barry criticizing incels- I agree, they’re scum- but Barry saying that they would have dates if they weren’t misogynistic, which is problematic and reflective of a larger problem of feminists lacking empathy for men that fail at masculinity.
    But I realize that we’re never going to convince each other, so I’m going to stop commenting.

  71. 71
    Gracchus says:

    “But I realize that we’re never going to convince each other, so I’m going to stop commenting.”

    Passive aggressive much?

  72. 72
    J. Squid says:

    … Barry saying that they would have dates if they weren’t misogynistic…

    I don’t think that’s what he’s saying. Getting laid is not the same as getting dates. It seems like the cartoon is saying that incels have no understanding of romantic relationships. I can see how you interpret it that way, I just disagree.

  73. Michael:

    Barry saying that they would have dates if they weren’t misogynistic…

    That’s not how I read the comic at all. I read that last panel, and the kicker, as making explicit what Amp understands the subtext of a lot of incel-talk to be—which is not the same thing as him saying he thinks they would have dates if only they were less misogynistic.

    This is not to suggest that it’s not worth talking about how and why some feminists do not always live up to their own ostensible standards in how they treat/talk about/react to men who fail at traditional masculinity, or even how and why that failure might be common enough to be a pattern (though I’m pretty sure I don’t agree with you about that).

    Rather, I think you are misreading the comic in order to shift the conversation over to what you want to talk about, not what, at least as I read it, the comic is actually about.

  74. 74
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    Just as a general thing, it’s a common feminist idea that misogyny makes men deservedly unattractive to women, and presumably misogynistic men would be more attractive if they’d stop being misogynistic.

    Unfortunately, this isn’t true. There are plenty of misogynistic men who have no trouble attracting women. There are men who aren’t misogynistic who don’t attract women.

  75. 75
    Ampersand says:

    “But I realize that we’re never going to convince each other, so I’m going to stop commenting.”

    Passive aggressive much?

    With all due respect, please don’t make comments like this. Thank you.

  76. 76
    Ampersand says:

    I actually think Michael’s critique of the comic is basically fair – it can be read the way he’s reading it. If I were doing it over, I’d try to think of a way to forestall that interpretation, maybe by changing the kicker panel.

    In my defense, Michael is ignoring that political cartoons exaggerate. If I did a cartoon about racist employers and Black unemployment, it would be unfair to interpret that cartoon as “Barry says all employers are racist” or “Barry says all Black people are unemployed.” But I think that’s pretty much how Michael is reading this cartoon. (He’s also ignoring the other half of the joke – that it’s ridiculous/ironic that people who consider women subhuman monsters, also resent not being with women).

    But although I do think his critique of the comic is basically fair, where Michael goes from that – his claim that “Many feminists have done all they can to conflate “dateless men” with “alt right”” – is much weaker. If there really were “many” feminists doing “all they can,” then he would have been able to find quoted examples that are much more on point.

    (Also, the implication that feminists are required to be pure saints, and never say anything imperfect, when responding to their harassers is tiresome).

    What’s truer is what Ben has said (others on this thread have said similar things):

    I agree that dating is not primarily a contest of moral virtue. Nor is it particularly a meritocracy. Nor is it particularly fair.

    I also agree that, yup, some feminists believe these things. (Additionally, so do other groups, feminists probably conform to about the average proportion of “people who believe dating success is about being a good person.) Likewise, there are definitely some feminists who reject men for being insufficient masculine — feminists are part of a culture that celebrates specific assigned-masculine traits, and are no less part of that culture (and thus no less attracted to those traits) for being feminist.

    It’s ironic that Michael is in a forum full of feminists who agree that dateless men as a group (as opposed to incels) are not bad people, not alt-right, do not deserve loneliness, and do not deserve to be blamed or shamed for being dateless, but he can barely acknowledge that. This puts Michael in the position, not of arguing that dateless men as a group are not bad people – we all already agree on that – but of arguing that feminists are bad people.

    Nancy: I definitely agree that misogyny is not a total barrier to dating.

    But I do think that the kind of open, incredibly extreme misogyny incels express – the kind of misogyny that’s far outside the borders of what our society considers acceptable, the kind that nobody would argue “oh, it’s not really misogynistic” – is repellent to a large number of women, and so would make it harder to date (or get laid).

    But “harder” isn’t “impossible,” and saying “this makes it harder” isn’t the same as saying “if you got rid of this, then it would automatically happen.”

  77. 77
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    I did some (horrifying) reading this morning on a subreddit full of guys from a now banned incel sub. The misogyny was on display, but I wasn’t expecting all the self-hatred. They were just as obsessed with guys who have game as they are with the women who won’t sleep with them. I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else on social media. I know misogynists who are very good at attracting women, have girlfriends, and even marriages with children. I don’t know many self-hating men who do well attracting women. You put misogyny and self-hatred together, and that’s a recipe for very lonely men.

  78. 78
    Erin says:

    Maybe someone can clue me in – just for my edification – are incels some formal group somewhere or are they just more or less random guys who women don’t like and who pop up to give their theories on why that is?

    I never thought that “incel” was some club or something, but maybe it is.

  79. 79
    Kate says:

    Just as a general thing, it’s a common feminist idea that misogyny makes men deservedly unattractive to women, and presumably misogynistic men would be more attractive if they’d stop being misogynistic.
    Unfortunately, this isn’t true. There are plenty of misogynistic men who have no trouble attracting women. There are men who aren’t misogynistic who don’t attract women.

    To add to Amp’s response and Ben’s excellent earlier comment – just because a trait isn’t a deal breaker for all women, that doesn’t mean it isn’t unattractive to most of them. The notion that women are positively attracted to assholes is very destructive. While I don’t think anyone here is saying that, it is a common trope among incels, MRA’s and pick-up artists, and Nancy seems to be dancing around it. I dated my fair share of assholes before settling down with a genuinely nice guy. There were three factors:
    1.) They displayed* other positive traits which I found wildly attractive (intellectual/artistic in my case), which sort of blinded me to their faults.
    2.) I was raised with misogyny to such a degree that, despite my feminism, I didn’t see minor manifestations of it for the red flags that they proved to be.
    3.) In the early stages of a relationship, misogynistic men often work very hard to hide the worst of their misogyny from their girlfriends; pretend they’re being ironic or joking when caught expressing their real beliefs; and/or do the “but you’re different, baby” routine (usually all three).

    * I use the word “display” here for a reason. There are a lot of men with very positive qualities who are not seen for them for a variety of reasons, like shyness or anxiety.

  80. 80
    Kate says:

    Erin – incels are self-defined. This is not a label anyone else is putting on them.

  81. 81
    Erin says:

    Kate sez:

    “Erin – incels are self-defined. This is not a label anyone else is putting on them.”

    Ampersand sez (right in the article):

    ” ‘Incels’ stands for ‘Involuntary Celibites,’ a termed coined by ‘Alana,’ a queer woman, back in 1993.”

    ————————————————————————–

    So it kind sounds like someone else put a label on them.

    But that’s not even what I was asking. The former term, I guess, was “men who don’t have sex with women, and not because they don’t want to”. So someone comes along and puts a shortened label on that. I don’t care about the label at all.

    I’m wondering if the men in this group are all “involuntary celibates” or if there is a specific grouping of these men who are acting on their own or as “spokesmen” for the entire group.

    As a side note, I don’t think I’ve ever been misinterpreted / misunderstood as much as on this board. I just can’t seem to get my thoughts across at all. What I think is my major point turns into a minor point, and an absolutely minor, throw-away detail becomes the main point. I can’t write more clearly.

  82. 82
    Kate says:

    Alana was using the term to describe herself.

  83. 83
    Erin says:

    Whatever the history, Kate, it sounds like Alana sure doesn’t count herself among incels today.

    But I guess that has now turned into the point I was trying to make, so … I give up. Please return to your normal everyday duties.

  84. 84
    Ampersand says:

    Erin – yes, that’s true. Alana used to count herself as an “incel,” when she created the term to refer to herself and other folks on a message board she created.

    Over time she drifted away from the group. And over time, the group of people self-identifying as “incel” became all-male, rather than mixed-sex as it had originally been.

  85. 85
    Ampersand says:

    I’m wondering if the men in this group are all “involuntary celibates” or if there is a specific grouping of these men who are acting on their own or as “spokesmen” for the entire group.

    As I understand it, there is no formal group with leadership and so on. Rather, there are online message boards created and used by, self-defined incels. The largest one (as far as I know) was r/incels on Reddit.com, but reddit banned the board because of calls for violence against women. The “Braincels” reddit is another one; that one has almost 40,000 subscribers (although of course, not 100% of subscribers will be incels).

  86. 86
    Erin says:

    As I understand it, there is no formal group with leadership and so on. Rather, there are online message boards created and used by, self-defined incels. The largest one (as far as I know) was r/incels on Reddit.com, but reddit banned the board because of calls for violence against women. The “Braincels” reddit is another one; that one has almost 40,000 subscribers (although of course, not 100% of subscribers will be incels).

    Thanks – I’m happy that someone understood what I was trying to discuss.

    It sounds like kind of a loose confederation with men drifting in and out of various message boards. I assume that if an incel gets a girlfriend, that puts a (self-imposed) damper on his membership.

  87. 87
    Grace Annam says:

    Jeffrey Gandee:

    Maybe a dumb question, but what’s the best place to get familiar with incel culture, assuming there is such a thing? Do they have a place where they congregate and write stuff? I don’t think I’ve ever met one or read the writings of one. I gather it won’t be fun reading, but now I’m curious.

    You might try following the blog We Hunted The Mammoth. David Futrelle routinely sifts through the most awful parts of the manosphere and takes screenshots, with commentary.

    http://www.wehuntedthemammoth.com/

    Grace

  88. 88
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    Kate, I’ve heard about one more reason women stay with abusive men, though it may not be part of your history– a belief that a woman can and should be able to reform a bad man.

  89. 89
    Kate says:

    I wasn’t talking about staying with abusive men. I was talking about serial dating a bunch of garden variety assholes. Abusive men are a whole other topic.

  90. 90
    Ben Lehman says:

    As far as I can tell, and this is just from personal observation and experience, the best way to get laid / get dates / get relationships is to conform more-or-less to patriarchal gender norms, with 1-3 exceptions, most of which should make you “cool” or “different.” Being too far outside of your assigned gender norms, in too many ways, is bad in the general pool of heterosexual dating represented by dating sites, apps, and the like.

    Which, in both genders, means low-level misogyny of some kind or, usually, several kinds.

    The incels have fucked up by being way too misogynist. They’re totally outside of normal levels of socially acceptable misogyny. But I don’t think that any misogyny is 100% negative for dating success (particularly for women.) It just has to be within socially acceptable bounds.

    It’s still wrong to be misogynist, and I still don’t think people should be misogynist. But I don’t think that “not being misogynist will get you laid” is true. Far and away, the most successful people (men and women) I’ve known in terms of heterosexual dating were misogynist in small, socially acceptable ways that they adjusted based on their read of the local social group.

    This is neither here nor there, re: incels, who as I’ve stated above are so far off-the-charts in their misogyny that it doesn’t matter. But it’s a place where I think feminist often get their analysis of dating wrong.

  91. 92
    Gracchus says:

    “. I was talking about serial dating a bunch of garden variety assholes. Abusive men are a whole other topic.”

    I may not be thinking of the right thing when I think of ‘garden variety asshole’, but isn’t being an asshole just being abusive, albeit in a low-level way that most people can tolerate most of the time? Perhaps there’s a distinction here to be made between “abusive men” and “men who are abusive”, but it doesn’t seem a very hard one.

    Micro-aggressions are micro, but they’re still aggressions, and aggression is abusive.

  92. 93
    Michael says:

    @Gracchus#92- I would consider physical abuse abusive. I would also consider true gaslighting – not merely disagreeing- abusive.
    And micro-aggressions are aggressions, so therefore they’re abusive isn’t very helpful, since I can think of micro-aggressions that the majority people have used. If everyone is abusive, no one is.

  93. 94
    J Squid says:

    I would consider physical abuse abusive. I would also consider true gaslighting – not merely disagreeing- abusive.

    There are many other forms of emotional abuse besides gaslighting.

  94. 95
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    I think that most incels can be best understood as people who believe that they are permanently unlovable, for one or more unchangeable traits they have. For example, you have guys who blame their height, their looks, their race, who believe their intelligence or lack of it is off-putting, etc. It can also be a combination of factors. Quite a few incels make this quite explicit by their self-chosen labels, like shortcel, facecel, blackcel, braincel, etc. So they tend to believe that women are extremely picky about unchangeable traits, which ironically means that they very strongly believe in privilege.

    A basic way to defend the ego is to align desires with what one can actually get. For example, when you deny a child something, they may make this quite explicit by stating “I didn’t want it anyway.” When the desire is fairly strong, a common way to try to suppress desire is to strongly focus on the flaws of what one cannot get. So incel misogyny is a fairly basic and childish defense mechanism by men who feel bad about not having a girlfriend, to feel less bad about it.

    I think that it is quite interesting to see how most of the people here focus on the misogyny, which is probably a cognitive defense mechanism that usually follows from their initial dating problems, rather than the cause (at first). The basic complaints by incels seem to be heavily exaggerated, but do contain an element of truth. Women do seem to prefer taller, prettier, whiter, not too intelligent or dumb, etc men.

    However, here again a cognitive flaw may be the reason why people here tend to ignore the IMHO pretty explicit claims by incels: humans suffer from the halo effect, where they tend to have difficulty with complex opinions. There is a tendency to judge people in one area based on how they are judged in another completely separate area. For example, if a person is pretty, people tend to judge that person as being nicer and ugly people get judged as being less nice.

    This probably also works in reverse, where people tend to be unwilling to accept positive (or insufficiently negative) information about people whom they have already decided are evil.

    I think that this is one reason why people tend to strawman people they disagree with so often.

  95. 96
    Ampersand says:

    I think that most incels can be best understood as people who believe that they are permanently unlovable, for one or more unchangeable traits they have.

    I entirely disagree. Lots of people fit that description but would never be incels. People in the original incel group – in particular, the women – may have thought everything you just mentioned, but still would not be welcome in today’s incel community.

    For that matter, a man who cannot get anywhere with women, but has no idea what about him is the problem, would still be welcome among incels, despite your definition. But if he was anti-misogyny, he’d be quickly chased out.

    I think that it is quite interesting to see how most of the people here focus on the misogyny, which is probably a cognitive defense mechanism that usually follows from their initial dating problems, rather than the cause (at first).

    I’m sure you’re right, in some cases. But why do you think some men go that route, while others don’t? Is it just a completely random coincidence – a coin toss – which men respond to datelessness by embracing misogyny, and which do not? It seems to me that embracing misogyny is a choice that can legitimately be criticized.

    I certainly agree that the halo effect exists. (Does anyone deny it?)

  96. 97
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Ampersand,

    Of course there are cultural and personality-based reasons why some men feel attracted to that culture and others do not. Just like:
    – there are people who get very upset at animal husbandry practices, where some become vegan or vegetarian and where others use violence.
    – there are people who get very upset at racism, where some are drawn to violent militias and others are not.
    – there are Muslims who are upset about discrimination, ‘haram’ behavior or other aspects of Western culture, where some are drawn to terrorism and others are not.

    My point is that it probably makes little sense to try to explain the frustrations of incel men by looking at the coping mechanisms they turn to, just like it makes little sense to try to explain the frustrations of Muslim terrorists by how we reject their terrorism. The causal chain is: some frustration + specific cultural and personal elements that make terrorism seem like a solution -> terrorism -> harsh response by Western society against terrorists. It seems wrong to argue that their terrorism made them unsuccessful, which then made them frustrated.

    Similarly, I think that for incels, the causal chain is: some frustration + specific cultural and personal elements that make misogyny, hatred of successful men and wallowing in a culture where less attractive people have higher status seem like a solution -> hatred of women, successful men, etc -> strong dislike by society (including women).

    It seems to me that embracing misogyny is a choice that can legitimately be criticized.

    Sure, but doing so is not an answer to their initial frustrations and if it is not coupled with recognition of the legitimate gripes that they do have, may just further encourage them to see the rest of society as fundamentally hostile to their well-being.

    Incel culture is a counterculture, just like many other cultures were or are (including Social Justice). Counter-cultures typically go off the rails a bit or a lot and crazy people tend to get drawn to it. A typical conservative response is then to ignore the legitimate gripes and the more reasonable parts of the counterculture & instead define the entire movement by the most extremist elements & suppressing it. This in turn then tends to make the less extreme people feel slandered, oppressed, abused, etc.

    One thing that saddens me is that many counter-cultures who experience these injustices and who break through into the mainstream/power to become ‘the culture,’ then turn around to do the same thing to other counter-cultures that they themselves experienced (while cultures that drop out of the mainstream/power and turn (back) into counter-cultures often suddenly rediscover tolerance, freedom of speech and such as important values).

    I personally think that a far more effective way to react to counter-cultures and more importantly, a far more just way, is to try to address the reasons why people feel attracted to them. This doesn’t have to mean adopting their beliefs and can even mean rejecting their claims, but based on being fairly charitable, trying to find the reasonable in their views, rather than (just) the unreasonable.

  97. 98
    Gracchus says:

    “I can think of micro-aggressions that the majority people have used. If everyone is abusive, no one is.”

    I think it’s probably axiomatic that everybody has behaved in an abusive way at least once in their life. But to say that there’s no effective differentiation between people who are habitually, unapologetically, even proudly abusive, and people who are unthinkingly or reactively abusive is something I can’t agree with.

  98. 99
    lurker23 says:

    i think there are some different ways to think about this? in-cels seem to be really unhappy because they have what is for them a very bad life. but they are just a bunch of people who have bad lives and are unhappy, angry, and mean.

    at some point do people who have a bad life and who are really unhappy because of things that are mostly not their fault get to be really angry or mean at whoever they want even if the people they are angry or mean at are not the people who made them have the bad life?

    are people who have a bad life and who are really unhappy because of things that are mostly not their fault not supposed to be angry or mean at anyone at all, maybe?

    Or are people who have a bad life and who are really unhappy because of things that are mostly not their fault get to be really angry or mean at people only if we agree that they are only angry or mean at the people who caused them to have a bad life, or only if “mostly not their fault” is “not their fault at all in anyway” maybe?

    i think you need to make this decision first and then apply it to incels. i do not like what incels do but i do not think incels are much different from other people who are also upset, angry, and mean.

  99. 100
    Ben Lehman says:

    I actually think that people can have shitty lives, for reasons that are not their fault, and not become violent extremists. The idea that if someone has a hard knock life for reasons that are mostly not their fault they will necessarily become a violent extremist is flat wrong.

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