Incels and cultural change 

couple of newlyweds celebrating wedding day
Pictured are two barbie dolls. The incel community is just a group of insecure men who have the ideology that women are the cause of all their problems. The “Barbie” movie has made waves in trying to change that ideology by providing men with the idea that they’re worthy even without having intimacy with others. Photo by Tara Winstead/Pexels

Last week I wrote about the incel community and the factors that turn relatively normal men into violent misogynists. This is a group of extremely violent, insecure and self-hating misogynists who have been responsible for the deaths of at least 47 people and countless more injuries over the past few years. The growth of this ideology comes from reckless internet anonymity, algorithm policies, popularized alt-right politics or what is typically known as the alt-right pipeline. The point is to say that it is a real threat to American society, which is important to treat it as such and understand where it comes from in order to deal with it accordingly. So that’s where I’m at now, what are we going to do about this? 

The psychological root exploited to make a person an incel is a deep-seated insecurity, typically those that relate to the ideal forms of masculinity. This could look like not being able to economically provide in an increasingly unfair economy, not looking like the sought-after men on TV, lacking in real social connection with women or the other number of reasons that a man might feel inferior in this society. This is a very important point because the common factor is the patriarchal set of expectations placed upon men by, essentially, themselves. The male-dominated society we live in is what upholds hyper-masculine standards of beauty, the idea that men must provide, the culture that praises men for being sexually active and derides women for the same. This is a societal issue that creates these men and it requires societal change to address it. The bad news is that it’s not exactly the solution these men are looking for.  

Feminism is the answer, as it attempts to tear down the patriarchy that affirms the hold of these ideas on our society. The body positivity movement which helps everyone feel comfortable in their skin is the answer to the inadequacy felt by men who aren’t tall, strong or uphold a masculine figure. Feminists are the ones attempting to break down the dehumanization of women into sex objects that determine the status of men who “hold” them. They thereby eliminate the power dynamic that exists between men that causes such resentment towards women who are unwilling to take part in a game based on their subjugation. It is also feminists who are the true advocates for men’s mental health, breaking down the patriarchal stigma against emotionality and openness that often leads to isolation and depression. 

pile of barbie dolls
Pictured are disassembled barbie dolls in a pile. While women have the ideology of self-care and body positivity, men are made to believe that the “ideal man” is someone who points to feminism as the root cause of their insecurities, which then leads to women being dehumanized. Photo by Skitterphoto/Pexels

Unfortunatly incels reject this answer, they point to feminists as the root cause of their problems with some referring to them as the “female KKK”. In a sense, by rejecting this ideology they are choosing to address the reasons that cause their problems. They hope that by coming out on top of the system that has hurt them, they can finally be rid of the pain and insecurity that has plagued them.  

This is a key difference between men and women, for when men experience sexual marginalization they respond with aggrieved entitlement over a “right to sex” (which does NOT exist) due to the low value they give to the lives of women. When women respond it is with self-love and positivity, trying to change the context of the political choice that is “desire”.  

So how do we change the minds of people who do not want to listen? The answer is by changing society without changing incels. It would be an ideal situation to use therapy and heavy reframing to point incels toward their true enemy, the patriarchy. But, this is not necessarily possible for men who already exist in a different reality. Instead, it’s a matter of prevention, of making men have self-worth without the conquest of other bodies (is this a good time to mention the “Barbie” movie?), of erasing the image of the “ideal man” or any other symptom of the patriarchy which underlies all of this. As I wrote last week, there’s also the need to check the internet and the policies that allow these violent ideas to spread so fast. It’s easy to say that society needs to change, which could be hard to make happen, but necessary all the same. This issue reaches the core of our cultural values as a nation, and it represents the grave consequences that happen when they’re left alone and festering. 

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