How 'incel culture' combines 'dangerous far-right ideologies' with mental health problems: report

How 'incel culture' combines 'dangerous far-right ideologies' with mental health problems: report
Nick Fuentes (image via screengrab)

When white nationalist Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes dined with former President Donald Trump and rapper Kanye West at Mar-a-Lago in November, the "word" incel came up in a lot of reporting. That's because Fuentes is a self-described "incel," which means "involuntary celibate." And many reports on that meeting explained what an incel is.

Fuentes and West are an unlikely combination. West is Black, and Fuentes is the founder of the America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC) — which he considers a white nationalist alternative to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). But they share antisemitic views.

One way in which Fuentes differs from Trump and West is the fact that the latter two are most definitely not incels. Their views are much closer to the PUA (pickup artist) side of the manosphere, a collection of anti-feminist ideologies.

READ MORE:Why America’s 'misogynist incels' adore Vladimir Putin and 'modern-day Russian fascism': journalist

Members of the manosphere are far from one big happy family. While PUAs typically brag about their sexual conquests and believe in fighting feminism by dominating women, MGTOWs (Men Going Their Own Way) are male separatists who have given up on relationships. There is considerable animosity between PUAs and MGTOWs within the manosphere, although they have a mutual disdain for feminism. Incels, meanwhile, are often avoided by PUAs and MGTOWs.

Journalist A.J. Willingham takes a look at incels in an article published by CNN's website on March 16, laying out some reasons why they are "dangerous."

"In its most basic form," Willingham explains, "incel describes someone, usually a male, who is frustrated by their lack of sexual experiences. The Anti-Defamation League, which works to address hate and extremism, defines incels as 'heterosexual men who blame women and society for their lack of romantic success'…. Beyond that, the incel identity shatters into several facets, some of which are considered dangerous both to the public and to the very individuals who claim it."

Within the manosphere, the term "taking the red pill" generally means accepting anti-feminist ideology. Incels have their own term: "the black pill," which is even darker than "red pill" beliefs.

READ MORE:'The level of ignorance is just profound': Ron DeSantis blasted over his defense of Russia

Willingham points out, "The 'black pill' is similar to the red pill, but describes a more nihilistic view that the reality of the red pill is unavoidable and unchangeable."

According to Willingham, the incel belief system can combine hyper-misogyny with everything from racism to mental health issues — a toxic combination.

"The mental health issues, isolation, bitterness and misogynistic thinking that often characterizes incel culture can lead incels to align themselves with increasingly extreme beliefs," Willingham warns. "Experts and studies have noted (that) incel culture frequently intersects with far-right ideologies and white supremacy. Over the past 10 years or so, several incidents of mass violence have been perpetrated by men who identified themselves as incels or publicized their beliefs in male supremacy."

One of the most infamous incels was Elliot Rodger, the California resident who murdered six people in 2014 before killing himself. Rodger was an extreme misogynist who suffered from mental illness, and many incels view him as a hero and martyr of their movement.

After Rodger's killing spree and suicide, Roosh Valizadeh — a major proponent of PUA ideology at the time — condemned the attack on his website Return of Kings but defended his own brand of misogyny. As Valizadeh saw it, Rodger was the wrong kind of misogynist and could have been mentally healthy if he had "game" and had embraced PUA beliefs instead of incel beliefs. Valizadeh, following a religious conversation, disavowed the PUA ideas he once promoted and shut down Return of Kings.

Mental health issues, according to Willingham, are not uncommon among incels.

The CNN reporter notes, "Psychologists observe that incel culture can also be dangerous to the very men who find comfort in it. A 2022 study published in 'Evolutionary Psychology Science' surveyed a sample of self-described incels. Researchers found 75 percent of the incels they questioned were clinically diagnosable with severe or moderate depression, and 45 percent with severe anxiety."

READ MORE: Misogynists who hate misogynists: The bizarre ways rival anti-women groups feud with each other

Read CNN's full report for at this link.

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