Alek Minassian, 27, was arrested earlier this week after he “deliberately” drove into a crowd on a busy North York sidewalk in Toronto, killing at least 10 persons and injuring 15 others. In a video obtained by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the accused is seen shouting “kill me” as a police officer points a gun at him. No shots were fired and after a brief confrontation, Minassian was arrested. While police said Minassian had not been known to police previously and was not linked to any militant group, however, in a Facebook post which has now been taken down, the accused reportedly made reference to and praised the “incel rebellion.” The post read: “The incel rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”
What is incel?
Incel, which is a combination of the words “involuntary” and “celibate”, refers to a group of men who feel they have been overlooked by women. Such men tend to see women as shallow and dreadful and someone who is only attracted to hyper-muscular men. According to US academic Ross Haenfler, “Almost all [incels] agree that the world (women) owes them sex and that they are oppressed for being sexless men.” However, when we use the term incel, we do not refer to all men who are deprived of sex. It refers to those men who are isolated and suffer from extreme social anxiety or depression.
Online group: Incel rebellion
The incel rebellion, also known as beta male uprising, refers to the online community of such men sharing similar views. They were earlier found on Reddit, which once provided an uncensored platform for such groups. However, while the platform later imposed a ban on the community on grounds that they violated a law against hate speech, some of the incels continue to remain active on the site.
Besides sharing their frustration of not having sex, members of the incel community tend to make extensive posts on “Chads” — successful and attractive men — and “Stacys” — attractive women who sleep with the Chads. The incels feel both the parties are unattainable. It is the feeling of helplessness to woo the women they want that makes the incels dangerous. Instead of coming together and supporting one another in dealing with the situation, they often allow their resentments to fester. They indulge in and celebrate violence and tend to justify their attacks on others, mostly women. Most of the incels prefer to remain hidden behind the cloak of anonymity that the internet provides them, with very few of them choosing to disclose their identity.
The big picture
According to psychologists, it is not the women that these incels hate but the society that allows their sexual oppression to continue. The incels feel that the very fact that women can make their own choices when it comes to men is what pushes them away into a corner and isolate them. They see themselves as a class, oppressed by a social system that’s rigged in favor of other men.
Is Alek Minassian an incel?
While police officials did not comment on a possible motive, except to play down a possible connection to terrorism, they, however, have admitted that the victims of the attack were “predominantly” women. Reports suggest that following the attack, Minassian has been praised on incel forums with several of them hailing him as a hero.