Incels, the Manosphere, and Entitlement, Oh My!

A “new” type of terrorist is making headlines after one man in Toronto, Canada drove a van through a crowd and murdered ten people. The murderer was a self-proclaimed “incel”, or involuntary celibate, which is a sub-culture of men who hate women and everything they stand for because they believe women are forcing them to be celibate. Incels hate attractive women (who they refer to as “Stacys”) for not having sex with them and really hate semi-attractive women for wanting to have sex with only attractive men (who they call “Chads”). Incels believe they are owed sex by “regular” women, and are driven to hate and anger when they are turned down by these women. These men meet in Internet forums and commiserate about their lot in life as unattractive (either physically or mentally) and unwanted. They form a portion of the “manosphere”, or a direct opposition to feminism that resides on the Internet.

So what happens when these incels don’t get what they want from women? What happens when they get turned down by a woman one too many times? If pushed too far, one of two things could happen: They could choose to become murdering sociopaths like the man in Canada, or they could choose to turn their backs on women completely.

My blog was the target of a group of the second type of men, a sub-reddit called “Men Going Their Own Way”, or MGTOW. This particular group of men, entrenched in misogyny, believes that women are oppressing men and taking away their self-ownership through societal obligations such as marriage and procreation. This group also believes that the government sides with women and perpetuates this “oppressive” societal interaction through the use of family court systems who favor mothers in custody cases and ex-wives with the use of alimony. MGTOW encourages men to turn away from relationships of any kind with women. When my blog turned up on the MGTOW sub-reddit, my stomach flipped when I read the hateful comments.

“This whore is the prime example of why I will go my own way.”

I wanted to bring this kind of behavior to light because this type of man is one that all women are familiar with in some capacity. Luckily, we get to encounter these men slightly before the Incel or MGTOW stage of their misogyny. The interactions we have with men like this are generally more subtle, but they are an eerie echo of the sentiment within the Incel and MGTOW movements.

Imagine you are a woman walking down the street and you pass a group of men. One of the men whistles and says, “Damn, girl, look at that ass. Shake it, mami.” You don’t acknowledge the whistle or comments but you are immediately tense because you know what is going to happen next: he will get hostile. “Man, fuck you, bitch. You’re ugly as fuck anyway.” You continue to walk away quickly, hoping he doesn’t follow you and get physical.

Ask the women in your lives. I guarantee they have experienced a form of hostility from a man that mirrors this scenario. (Side note: what does the man EXPECT as a reaction from what he perceives as flattery but is clearly a form of entitled meat gazing? Should the woman turn to him and say “Oh, thank you so much for your admiration. Would you like my number so I can suck your dick later?” Probably not, because then she is a whore in their eyes, and no self-respecting man would want a woman so cavalier about sex. *insert eyeroll*)

There are different flavors to this type of scenario that are centered on men who believe women owe them something:

-On dating websites when a man sends multiple rude messages to a woman and then gets angry when she doesn’t respond

-In a friendship when a woman “friend zones” the guy friend who has been hanging out in the wings waiting for her to be single. The man gets angry that she has put him in the “friend zone” because he has been there for her and deserves to be dated.

-In a vague acquaintanceship when a man asks a woman out and she turns him down and he gets angry at her, insisting that he is a “good guy” and that “anyone would be lucky to have me in their life.”

Women are taught as little girls to avoid confrontation so that they don’t anger the men they are not attracted to. We are taught to avoid eye contact, avoid walking alone, and to be nice to those around us. More often than not, we are not verbally told to act this way, but we learn by watching our mothers and sisters, our aunts and cousins. We see how they turn their eyes down and walk faster. We see how they handle sexual harassment cases at work. We see that sometimes it is easier to act interested than it is to say no and deal with the anger. Unfortunately, not saying “no” outright is seen as leading the men on and confuses and angers the man when the relationship goes nowhere. So do you say “no” and deal with the immediate anger (sometimes worrying about getting murdered) or do you vaguely lead them on and perpetuate the idea that you owe the man something?

Misogyny, the manosphere, sexual harassment, the #MeToo movement, feminism, the flawed family court system…it is all interconnected and volatile. It seems to be coming to a boiling point in today’s society and is changing how the sexes interact. But this type of man, one who believes he is entitled to sex, is not new to us as women. They just finally have a social platform to exchange remarks that are damaging for both genders.

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