Why America’s 'misogynist incels' adore Vladimir Putin and 'modern-day Russian fascism': journalist
During the Cold War, nothing angered right-wing Republicans more than seeing a red Soviet flag. But these days, Russian President Vladimir Putin is admired by many Republicans in the United States’ far-right MAGA movement — including incels. Washington, D.C.-based journalist Natalia Antonova, in an article published by the conservative website The Bulwark on January 5, lays out some reasons why Putin is so appealing to anti-feminist American incels.
The anti-feminist movement, which calls itself “the manosphere” online, contains a variety of rival factions. And those factions really hate one another. The PUAs (pick-up artists) favor an in-your-face form of patriarchy and believe that men should totally dominate women sexually, and they have a very low opinion of MGTOWs in the “manosphere.” MGTOW stands for Men Going Their Own Way, and MGTOWs are male separatists who have given up on women. As MGTOWs see it, feminism has made relationships a bad deal for men.
The PUA ideology was exemplified by an alt-right website called Return of Kings, which was operated by former PUA proponent Roosh Valizadeh. Since undergoing a religious conversion, Valizadeh has discontinued Return of Kings and disavowed the PUA beliefs he once championed. When Return of Kings was still operating, Valizadeh often expressed his contempt for MGTOWs. Valizadeh viewed MGTOWs as quitters and defeatists and argued that their problem was that they had no “game.”
But as much animosity as there is between PUAs and MGTOWs, they have a mutual disdain for incels — who are extreme even by the standards of other “manosphere” factions. PUAs and MGTOWs are fond of saying that they have “taken the red pill”; when incels say that they have “taken the black pill,” that’s their way of setting themselves apart from PUAs and MGTOWs and taking their misogyny to a whole other level of bitterness.
Incel stands for “involuntarily celibate.” As incels see it, celibacy has been forced upon them by feminism. And they are extremely bitter about it.
Putin is far from an incel, and he is admired by many PUAs. But as the Ukraine-born Antonova emphasizes, the Russian president really resonates with incels.
“Although he is losing his genocidal war against Ukraine and experiencing increasing economic turmoil at home, Russian President Vladimir Putin has one thing going for him: The genocidal dictator has children, palaces, and many rumored mistresses — the power-hungry alpha male’s dream,” Antonova explains. “Why, then, is he so admired by prominent ‘incels’ — i.e., men who refer to themselves as ‘involuntarily celibate,’ mostly because they are transparent misogynists who are rightfully spurned by women?”
Antonova adds, “The Book of Matthew warns of false prophets: ‘You will know them by their fruits.’ Today, you will also know them by their fans. And in western society, where nobody is really forced to like Putin, some of his most ardent fans are deeply troubled people.”
One “deeply troubled” individual Antonova discusses in her article is white nationalist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes, who is both a self-described “incel” and a Putin admirer. Fuentes is openly fascist in his views, declaring that democracy needs to be abolished in the U.S. And he has called for the U.S. to have a government similar to the Taliban’s regime in Afghanistan, but with a severe form of Catholicism rather than radical Islam and Shariah law.
Antonova describes Fuentes as “one of the most prominent and most troubled of Putin’s western boosters,” noting that he “doesn’t hold back on his admiration for Putin’s war in Ukraine, and considers (Putin) to be a beacon of hope for the white race.”
“Earlier this year, before he was fanning the flames of Kanye ‘I like Hitler’ West’s anti-Semitic meltdown, Fuentes made comments about sex with women that eerily echo the ideology of the Kremlin,” Antonova observes. “Fuentes also refers to himself as an incel, although he also states that he deliberately stays away from women, because he is heterosexual. One might think this makes him voluntarily celibate, but Fuentes explains: ‘The only really straight heterosexual position is actually ‘incel’…. What’s gayer than being, ‘I like cuddles, I need kisses?’”
Antonova continues, “It’s not that Fuentes is opposed to sex with women per se. He is opposed to asking for affection. Incels frequently complain that, as women have been given more choice over their personal lives, men must now woo them rather than dragging them off to a cave. Viewing all sexual contact as inherently transactional, incels decry the fact that they don’t have the upper hand in the transaction. Genuine affection doesn’t figure into their calculus, so it makes sense that people like Fuentes refer to sex with women as ‘gay.’ In their language, ‘gay’ = ‘weak.’ And the officially homophobic Russian regime would readily agree.”
According to Antonova, “modern-day Russian fascism” shares the “misogynist” outlook of incels even though Putin is hardly an “incel.”
“Affection can make you vulnerable,” Antonova argues, “and vulnerability is anathema to Putinism, which first rose out of an aggrieved, anti-western revanchism and a feeling of failure that over time turned into seething resentment…. Just like Putin, members of the American far-right, sensing that they are losing the culture wars, have painted themselves as outsiders, misunderstood and downright reviled…. Putin is fragile. The best way to disband his cult among the American right is to prove it for all to see by supporting his unequivocal defeat in Ukraine.”
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