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Incels embrace Capital Gazette shooter — but only after they learn he harassed a woman

They put out a damn paper the next day

By David Futrelle

Several hours after the news broke that a gunman had shot five people dead at the Capital Gazette newspaper offices in Annapolis, Maryland, but before we knew much of anything about the shooter himself, I took a look at the forums on Incels.me to see if anyone on the site was saying anything about this latest mass killing.

Incels, after all, have an almost reflexive tendency to praise or excuse anyone who kills a high enough number of the “normies” incels consider their sworn enemies, and many of them worship incel mass killer Elliot Rodger as a virtual saint.

But no one there seemed much interested in this particular killer. “[P]rolly some political kind of shit given that it’s a newspaper,” wrote someone called mutant in a not-very-busy thread on the topic,  “really it’s only normals who care about left v right.”

Several hours later, we learned that the Annapolis shooter’s anger at the media — and at the Capital Gazette — had its roots in the newspaper’s coverage of his conviction for harassing a former high-school classmate on Facebook. Though she didn’t remember going to school with him, she told the paper, she tried to be nice because it seemed like he was having a rough time. But he quickly turned on her, allegedly bombarding her with threats and trying to get her fired from her job. Ultimately, the future shooter pleaded guilty to pleaded guilty to one count of harassment — and then started directing his ire at the Capital Gazette for having the gall to write about his case in a way he thought was unfair. (A court disagreed, dismissing his defamation suit against the paper.)

Well, this bit of news woke the murder fans on Incels.me right up, and soon they were hailing the Capital Gazette shooter as a new hero.

“Praise the saint,” wrote someone called JeffGoldblumInTheFly.

“When will he be canonised?” asked AfrikanCel.

“The newspaper was bullying him for being incel and Jarrod Ramos stood up to his bullies,” added incel4life. ” Jarrod Ramos is a hero.”

“Bless His Heart,” agreed doktordoom, “death to the media.”

A few of the commenters wondered if their new hero had managed to kill any “femoids” — that is, women — in his rampage.

“Did he score at least one femoid frag?” asked the aptly named evildoer.

In fact, he killed two women. “I don’t condone shootings,” noted someone called Jackson14, “but anyways looking at the victims one was a Stacy.”

This last assertion proved somewhat controversial, because the possible “Stacy” in question was a bit older than most incels consider ideal. “Maybe Stacy from 30 years ago,” grumbled Notgoingtomakeit.

“Come on man you don’t think she is hot?” Jackson14 asked.

Not everyone on the incels.me forums considers Ramos a saint, though. Someone called AR15 was unimpressed with his body count. “Weak score tbh,” he sniffed.

Others were unimpressed with his looks. “Homeboy look like a Lamb Of God tribute act :lul: ,” wrote one. “He legit looks like an egg.” added another.

Somehow I suspect that all the “sex redistribution” in the world wouldn’t transform any of these guys into actual decent people. It would just put more women at risk.

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Tovius
Tovius
2 years ago

These people always find the worst takes

Gijoel
Gijoel
2 years ago

typo Dave.

Ultimately, the future shooter pleaded guilty to pleaded guilty to

If I could bottle these arse-clowns personality I’d have the perfect emetic.

AuntieMame Redux
AuntieMame Redux
2 years ago

Empathy disorders really seem to be on the rise at the moment and I have absolutely no idea how we’re going to deal with it as a society.

I honestly don’t understand how anyone, anyone can read about this rash of shootings of the last years, even desensitized to violence as we are, combined with the information overload of our culture, and not think of the shock, fear and pain of the victims. The last minute thoughts of the people they love for those who take bullets and don’t, the physical shock and pain for the wounded and the dead, feeling helpless to give medical aid in the blank interim before help arrives, the survivor guilt and the hell of trying to incorporate being shot into the life narrative to list just a few. A very few.

Instead, we have these guys talking about how justified and heroic the shooters are? And so many others who silently cheer if the victims are different in even the smallest way? Does it really take a leap of imagination to be there with the victims?

Or am I undervaluing the lure of identification with the aggressor?
Is this a way to feel safe and powerful? Superior?

By the Power of Grey Squirrel
By the Power of Grey Squirrel
2 years ago

When I read that his grudge started when the paper accurately reported that he pleaded guilty to a charge stemming from the harassment of a woman, I knew it wouldn’t take long for the human sharts that are these “incels” to deify the shooter.

Nequam
Nequam
2 years ago

Steven I Dutch
Steven I Dutch
2 years ago

I was wondering how long it would take.

j
j
2 years ago

@AuntieMame Redux

I really hate to make this about myself but I think maybe I can’ provide some helpful perspective. I was a loser in school. I was invisible to girls and I knew it. Entitled or not, to constantly fail at engaging in something that every other boy engages in, all media tells me that I should be able to, I failed with girls constantly. This combined with the bullying that comes along with the being a turbo-virgin was extremely traumatic.

There is a song lyric I heard that kinda clicked with me because it felt true. “Women seem wicked when you are unwanted.” It isn’t the right thing to feel but it felt true for me and I bet all of my money that these guys feel the same way. I’m not defending their completely depraved and extremely deviant opinions. But you asked how these guys can be so depraved. Well let me ask you a question, would you feel bad for the suffering of the wicked? Men and women who engage in normal social relations with one another just pisses them off to no end. So honestly, I’m not suprised that atrocities delight them.

I think the guys who are too deep in this really should be put under observation. If a Muslim were to publically cheer for several terrorist attacks in a row they might be put under observation. I think Incels need to be observed as well. I think if someone is willing to cheer for mass murder then the only thing that stops them from performing an attack is nerve.

Anyways, I think one way to reduce the number of incels in the future is to actually pay attention to children’s social development and treat it as serious as we treat language and motor development. When we see a little girl or boy not hitting ‘social milestones’ we need to get those children professional help.

When I got professional help about a year ago, it very very literally changed my life. The internet and electronic glowing rectangles (screens) are really perverting human social interaction and I really truly believe that we need to start paying attention to social health. I don’t have sympathy at all for assholes who praise vicious killers, but I do have sympathy for boys who are going through what makes an incel. I went down that road and I chose professional help over the “black pill”. One thing to remember is that incels have an extremely high rate of suicidal thoughts. I hope that makes sense and I really hope I don’t offend anyone.

Steven I Dutch
Steven I Dutch
2 years ago

J: The song is “People are Strange” by The Doors.

Binjabreel
Binjabreel
2 years ago

@j
I mean my opinion is only worth so much but i thought you did a good job of threading that needle.

The internet is such a powerful tool for connecting people, but there’s a lot of terrible people who probably shouldn’t be connected exclusively to each other.

Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
2 years ago

Ramos is a Latino name. Apparently — at least at this moment in time and for certain incels — hatred for women wins out over hatred for people of color.

Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
2 years ago

From Elle magazine, a women’s fashion magazine:

The Line From Misogyny to Trump to Violence Is Undeniable and Unacceptable
By R. Eric Thomas
Jun 30, 2018

This week, politicians and pundits engaged in toothless virtue-signaling about the idea of civility. Frankly, every one of them should be ashamed. The president called the press the enemy of the state at a rally this month. He called a congresswoman “low IQ” and told her to be careful what she wished for. Yesterday five people were shot at a newspaper and the congresswoman received a death threat. These are not events occurring in a vacuum, and it’s atrocious that anyone would behave as if they are. Any congressional leader who is not openly and repeatedly taking the president to task for his behavior is complicit. Any member of his administration who is silent in response to his bullying has blood on their hands.

https://www.elle.com/culture/career-politics/a22001672/misogyny-is-at-the-root-of-our-mass-violence/

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

J,

The thing is, a lot of young women go through the same loneliness and social isolation. Yet, there isn’t a female version of this movement. Forever alone women aren’t cheering on mass murderers. Neither are young gay men for that matter. It can’t be attributed solely to having social problems or depression when gender is such a huge factor. If our culture wasn’t telling straight men that they deserve a hot woman (or several) and if women aren’t into them, they’re shallow bitches, we wouldn’t have this movement. That’s not to say that social awkwardness/isolation and depression aren’t part of it at all, but loneliness and depression are not gendered, so male entitlement is pretty clearly a large piece of the puzzle. The most important piece of the puzzle even.

This part isn’t directed at you specifically, but it’s honestly kind of terrifying that so many men over the years have posted here saying something along the lines of “I could have easily become an MRA/incel if not for (insert this or that reason). I was an awkward and insecure young woman. Didn’t have a boyfriend until my early twenties. Didn’t lose my virginity until I was nearly 19. I’m pretty sure my opinion of myself was far lower than most other people’s opinion of me, but I felt like an ugly loser a good portion of the time. Yet, it never once crossed my mind – even when I felt angry about guys not liking me – to want people to be killed over it. I never for a second wanted to rape men or throw acid in their faces. As far as I know, the same was true of other young women like me.

So why is it so easy for troubled young men to become virulent misogynists? Why is it almost a default state that decent guys have to talk themselves out of for the sake of being decent? If the decent, pro-feminist guys can understand how young men can become violently misogynistic, what the fuck is going on in the minds of all the other men? When I really think about this stuff, it makes me want to run off and join an all woman commune or something. How, as a society, can we just accept men reacting to rejection or even just the fear of rejection as normal?

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kupo
kupo
2 years ago

Anyways, I think one way to reduce the number of incels in the future is to actually pay attention to children’s social development and treat it as serious as we treat language and motor development. When we see a little girl or boy not hitting ‘social milestones’ we need to get those children professional help.

Am I understanding this correctly that one of the ‘social milestones’ that you think children need professional help if they don’t hit is something along the lines of getting a girlfriend/boyfriend or losing their virginity?

AuntieMame Redux
AuntieMame Redux
2 years ago

@j

I thought you did an amazing job of explaining aspects of the psychology of incels. I know that there have been times living in a toxic patriarchy that I’ve had to be very careful that fear wasn’t the first emotion I had about men.

I will point out a couple of things though. First, these mass murderers and shooters that the community is celebrating aren’t killing only women, not that this would be all right, but the incel community also celebrates the deaths of other men, otherized by labels like Chads and normies.

In other words men who can theoretically get female company. I realize that people who are socially ostracized feel hurt and resentment that leads to rage. I know that male socialization and social self respect has an element of being at least nominally successful with women. And that other men express their contempt for men who can’t perform as “real” men. I’m not ok with this and see it as one more aspect of the toxic patriarchy that we all live under.

I know this becomes a vicious cycle. I really do understand this. I know social development is important and that the ways human beings can be damaged are myriad. I know that often the people who need the most love, social support and understanding are sometimes the least able to attract and receive the social support they need.

I really do understand all of that and so do many others. I think this is the reason people often feel sorry for the incels and think that well applied humanist principles will heal them. And for some this may be true. No group and is a monolith.

But the absolute lack of any feelings for the victims or even acknowledgement that mass murder is a problem. And this over several years and numerous murders. Well, this is a problem for me.

Plenty of people have been bullied and don’t fit the mold that society brands normal and come from families ranging from the unloving to the dysfunctional and through to abusive. I know people who survive this as even reasonably functional people are rarer than our feel good individualist bootstrapping culture likes to think.

But the gleeful and repeated celebration of rape, murder, slavery and totalitarian ideals? This seems to me a step beyond. And we ignore it at our peril.

The pain of the outcast is sharp as you’ve described. That pain has been used to manipulate hurt people by enticing them into a group where they “belong” by stoking the rage and hurt as you’ve described. But you got help as you told us. And that is the difference.

Because help can’t be forced on people. I know people can take comfort in hyperbole and posturing but both the community support of rape, murder and every other sadistic social Ill combined with the fact that some of the recent murderers seem to have come directly from the incel community? And more enthusiasm and encouragement to murder all of the time? Well, this is something beyond hurt young men.

Thank you for writing and explaining.

Leum
Leum
2 years ago

So why is it so easy for troubled young men to become virulent misogynists? Why is it almost a default state that decent guys have to talk themselves out of for the sake of being decent? If the decent, pro-feminist guys can understand how young men can become violently misogynistic, what the fuck is going on in the minds of all the other men? When I really think about this stuff, it makes me want to run off and join an all woman commune or something. How, as a society, can we just accept men reacting to rejection or even just the fear of rejection as normal?

It’s because we live in a society that’s already at a fairly high baseline of misogyny. If you take a sample of random young men, most will hold misogynistic ideas about women because they’ve been taught by their families, churches, schools, and media to be misogynists. They’ve been taught that there are “rules” and if you follow them a girlfriend automatically follows. In other words, low-level misogyny is the default setting in our society, and people–especially men–have to actively work to combat it and most aren’t even aware that there’s anything to combat.

note to David: I used to be a poster here years and years ago with the same handle but a different email

AuntieMame Redux
AuntieMame Redux
2 years ago

@Kat

Great link to the Elle article, thanks. What is up with threatening a congresswoman? When exactly did it become ok for a president to do this kind of thing?

@j

I wrote a long reply to you but the post eater seems to have gotten it. I’m still hoping it will show up, but if not I’ll repost but this brings me to

@weirwood

Thank you for doing a great job teasing out the thing that is leading to not only the support of murder and rape and fascist ideals but the incel community is fielding actual murderers by their own claims. I feel bad for the hurt, the bullied, the awkward and the outcast but this is something beyond that. You pointed out the gendered nature of this phenomenon.

Zaunfink
Zaunfink
2 years ago

J, I’m going to echo what the others said: you did a really good job explaining your thoughts! We’ve had a lot of apologia for incel from “explainers”, you did well.

But I’m also going to echo what weirwoodtreehugger said, because my life was relatively similar. I was bullied from kindergarten up until I voluntarily left school at sixteen. My non-dateability was part of the jokes, a big part, actually.
In the suicide letter I wrote, having planned it all out, I realised two things – I didn’t want to die, I just wanted it to stop (which made me drop school instead of killing myself because fuck, life is beautiful in so many ways and I’m not letting them take that from me) and that I didn’t hate them.
They were all stupid, yes. But I had empathy for them. I knew they were teens like me, sometimes from weird backgrounds, with their own troubles and they didn’t know how to deal.

The only exception to that was one of the teachers. Him I would have gladly known run over. And I still can’t bring myself to say I want him to die lonely, because being lonely is horrible. I hope he feels guilty and I hope he suffers some kind of retribution and again, I wouldn’t mind him being dead – but I don’t want him to die painfully or such shit. Just…. Go away, don’t hurt other people.

You asked:

Well let me ask you a question, would you feel bad for the suffering of the wicked?

So yes. I would. And I believe that we all should. There are people I want gone, but I don’t want them to suffer, because my suffering was horrible to me. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, because it fucking sucked.
In fact, I much prefer “go away” to mean they’d change, realise the error of their ways than just die, because death is not really a solution.

@kupo

Since he was taking about “little boys and girls” I really really hope (and think) he wasn’t talking about sex. I read it more as kids not having friends at all or not getting invited to play with others when everyone is and so on.

j
j
2 years ago

@weirwoodtreehugger

Entitlement certainly is the biggest piece of the puzzle in my opinion. However, a lot of guys are lonely and entitled and they don’t become incels either. I just believe that there has to be something ‘extra’ to create an incel. I might be wrong though. Maybe these men would be out-and-out rapists in another time but for whatever reason, they just aren’t. (I suspect though that a lot of them actually are).

I think the majority of this kinda stuff comes from how boys are raised. My mother taught me to not be entitled to women’s bodies or company (but also taught me that girls/women might mistreat me as well). She was pretty feminist even though she hated the label, so I grew up with a lot of feminist axioms already in my head.

Boys are also more likely to externalize their feelings than girls. As in, girls will likely think the ‘problem’ exists inside them and boys will likely think the ‘problem’ exists ‘out there’. That’s why girls apologize and boys throw tantrums. It takes emotional intelligence to understand when a problem is external and when it’s internal. Frankly, I believe boys just simply aren’t taught emotional intelligence. I certainly never was, ever. When I first met my current mental health profession, that was the first observation she made about me. That I don’t know how to ‘feel’. She said that most boys/men she treats are like that as well.

To me, this means that men are often times emotionally children and children throw temper tantrums. However, when a grown man throws a temper tantrum, people can get hurt or killed.

I don’t know, I’m not an expert on this kind of thing at all. But maybe extremely low emotional intelligence feeds back into the entitlement thing? After all, what do children do when they ask for something and you say no? They get pissed like you committed a crime for not giving something they have no right to receive.

I’ve been thinking about and rereading your post for far too long and kinda realized that I’m attempting to project my personal experience on these incels. It was this line in particular:

Yet, it never once crossed my mind – even when I felt angry about guys not liking me – to want people to be killed over it.

that made me realize that I just simply do not understand these people. Just like you never thought about killing people over rejection, neither have I. It’s just a completely alien concept. I’m not going back and changing what I’ve already written but the line above made me consider that maybe incels are just evil men, plain and simple, and need to be put in cages.

Anyway, I think boys need to be taught emotional intelligence to at least the level that girls achieve (on average) even if that means that particular attention be paid to boys.

From one lonely loser teen to another, I’m sorry you had to go through that. It sucks and it hurts for sure. And it sucks to hear that you’d want to run away from the co-ed society we have, but I think I understand your reasons.

j
j
2 years ago

@kupo

Just real fast because I really don’t want that misunderstanding to stand lol.

No, I don’t think virginity should play any role at all. You can be perfectly healthy and not have sex until later in life. However, if a teenager is unable to begin dating then I’d think there would be numerous other signs as well. Difficulty making friends, not being invited to or not engaging in normal play, being the subject of bullying and responding poorly to it. That sorta thing. I think that a lot of children could benefit from early intervention when they are displaying abnormal social growth. Not that we track when bobby gets his first kiss.

jy3
jy3
2 years ago

“Bless His Heart,” agreed doktordoom, “death to the media.”

Wow, I thought everyone these days knew what “bless your heart” and “isn’t that nice” really meant.

Paradoxical Intention - Resident Cheeseburger Slut

j | June 30, 2018 at 8:15 pm
@AuntieMame Redux

I really hate to make this about myself but I think maybe I can’ provide some helpful perspective. I was a loser in school. I was invisible to girls and I knew it. Entitled or not, to constantly fail at engaging in something that every other boy engages in, all media tells me that I should be able to, I failed with girls constantly. This combined with the bullying that comes along with the being a turbo-virgin was extremely traumatic.

Not to downplay your feelings on the matter, but this is something nearly everyone I knew went through at least once in their school lives, myself included.

I was a loser in school too. I was invisible to boys my age, and I’ve even had a guy and his friends openly laugh in my face when I attempted to tell them that I had a crush on him. This isn’t gender exclusive.

I failed hard when it came to attempting to manage my feelings and hormones when I was a teenager, and hell, even into my 20s. To this very damn day I still balk at the idea of telling people if I have a crush on them or if I feel a certain way because I’m so scared of rejection, and it’s partially because my self-esteem was crushed by my peers (and my abuser, but that’s another sad tale for another day).

I also can’t fucking tell if someone’s trying to flirt with me because I literally believe that I’m not worth being flirted with. The person I’m dating now literally called me bae for MONTHS before they just came out and told me that they had a crush on me. We’ve been dating for a little over two years now.

Media also tells young girls that they’re nothing if they can’t get a man. If we’re not some dude’s arm candy, we’re not important. If we’re not pretty enough to be desirable, we’re not worth the air we breathe, and that can lead to bullying as well. I was constantly bullied for being fat and not wearing makeup and being too poor to afford all the trendy clothes. The only way I made any real friends outside of my normal social circle was by joining my high school’s drama class, and that didn’t help my anxiety any.

I’m not trying to hand-wave your experiences away, and I hope it doesn’t come across that way, but I just want to give you a bit of insight to show that it’s not just men/boys that go through this, people of all genders do. It’s a commonality, even if the circumstances are a bit different.

Anyways, I think one way to reduce the number of incels in the future is to actually pay attention to children’s social development and treat it as serious as we treat language and motor development. When we see a little girl or boy not hitting ‘social milestones’ we need to get those children professional help.

That…that seems like a slippery slope, my dude.

Some issues I can point out off the top of the ol’ domepiece:

– Parents might not be able to afford the “professional help” that these children might need.
– Government clearly doesn’t care about mental health (or physical)
– Those children might not be at risk of becoming incels or some other domestic terrorists, but they might just be mentally ill with other things. And while getting some professional help might help with those other issues, assuming that these kids might be at risk of becoming assholes because they don’t hit their social milestones at some arbitrary time frame might actually be more damaging to their mental development.
– Asshole is not a mental illness. Just because these people are assholes, it doesn’t automagically make them “mentally ill”. This creates more stigma around people with actual mental illnesses and makes it harder for them to come out to get help.

It’s a thought that comes from a good place, but you know what they say about the road to hell, right?

When I got professional help about a year ago, it very very literally changed my life. The internet and electronic glowing rectangles (screens) are really perverting human social interaction and I really truly believe that we need to start paying attention to social health.

While I agree that the internet has changed social interaction for worse, it’s also made good changes, and I don’t feel it’s particularly fair of you to kind of sweep that under the rug.

For instance: When I felt suicidal, I was able to go online and talk to people who were able to help me. When I wanted to talk about my abuse but couldn’t afford professional help, I went and talked with other survivors to just get it off of my chest and out in the open.

I met my now roommates online, and we were online friends for years before they helped me get out of a very abusive situation and get me back on my feet.

My datemate lives all the way on the other shore of the US, and the internet is the only way I can talk to them. It’s also how we met. (We met on this very website, actually.)

Yes. The anonymity of the internet has made some monsters out of people who are able to pretend to be a decent human when the mask isn’t there, but it’s also allowed me to meet people who are decent with or without it. It’s allowed social movements to be born and it’s allowed people to become more informed and learn from the experiences of people they never would have met without it.

All change comes with pros and cons, but we can’t just ignore or downplay the pros because the cons are present.

I don’t have sympathy at all for assholes who praise vicious killers, but I do have sympathy for boys who are going through what makes an incel. I went down that road and I chose professional help over the “black pill”.

I said it before on a thread a few weeks back, but Inceldom and their thought processes aren’t a mental illness, but rather a cult like mentality.

They tell their victims what they want to hear, precisely when they need to hear it, usually at a very low point in their lives. They hear that all their woes aren’t their own fault, but rather the fault of society. It’s “Chad” taking all the women, and “Stacy” that’s turning her nose up at them over their wrists or the tilt of their eyes, things they have no control over.

And it’s the rest of us “Normies” that just want them to go away and not exist, according to the Dogma of the Incel.

Yes, getting some professional help might banish some of these thoughts, but the issue isn’t that their numbers are inherently mentally ill, but rather they took someone’s toxic bait, and are now regurgitating it.

Again, asshole is not a mental illness, but it is an intoxicating way to get some semblance of power when you feel powerless. And that mentality can be cured. Mental illnesses cannot. They can be managed, but they can’t be cured.

And therein lies the difference.

One thing to remember is that incels have an extremely high rate of suicidal thoughts.

So do I, but I don’t threaten to kill or otherwise hurt other people.

j
j
2 years ago

I’m going to be evil and triple post. To reply to everyone else, yeah you all are absolutely right. The simple depravity of cheering for mass murder is just…how does one even begin? I’m afraid that while I did spend time in the mano-sphere, my time there just isn’t the same as the incel-sphere. I thought I understood them but I simply have never had their kool-aid before. Every single incel is a clear and present danger to everyone holy crap.

And thanks everyone.

Pie
Pie
2 years ago

@j

Frankly, I believe boys just simply aren’t taught emotional intelligence. I certainly never was, ever. When I first met my current mental health profession, that was the first observation she made about me. That I don’t know how to ‘feel’. She said that most boys/men she treats are like that as well.

Nah. Lots of feeling, but only a small number of feelings are acceptable, you see. Disgust and lust would be the important ones, pretty much everything is gay, obvs.

j
j
2 years ago

@Paradoxical Intention

I don’t mean to disregard anything you said in your post because pretty much all of it would just be repeated head nods. Though you didn’t say it, it seems that I’ve been too sympathetic with the incels. But one thing, specifically the portion between the first and second block quote about your childhood.

Never in my entire life until tonight did I even consider that childhoods like what you describe happened to girls/teens/women. Not being hyperbolic either. I almost want to say sorry but I’m not even sure what for.

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
2 years ago

A lot of pieces of the puzzle up there. Clearly there’s a radicalization pipeline, a process that leads through disaffection to stewing resentment and anger to, eventually, joining something violent. That can be the “incel” groups, or a cult, or ISIS, or other terror organizations, or tiki torch parades in Charlottesville, or even legitimate organizations that take advantage of the same despondency in their potential recruits, such as nation-state militaries. And clearly boys and men are much more likely to move far down the pipeline, due to toxic masculinity.

Equally clearly, those early in the pipeline can be saved, though it’s likely far, far too late for anyone posting murder praise at an incel site. And, there is a branch in the pipeline, which a few boys and most girls caught in it follow instead, which leads to self-harm and potential suicide instead of to outwardly-directed violence. Sometimes that self-harm can consist of seeking out (perhaps unconsciously) abusive partners.

This problem should be attacked from two angles. On the one hand, obviously toxic masculinity must be dealt with, as it leads to mass violence. Not even just incel terrorism and sporadic unaffiliated spree-shooting. I suspect most of the world’s armed forces depend on the pipeline for recruits, in this era of little conscription. Without military recruits to build standing armies, there would be little or no war. Address toxic masculinity and the rewards might not “just” be the usual assortment of feminist goals. They might include peace on Earth.

The second angle, of course, is to stop people entering the pipeline to begin with. Even if toxic masculinity were “solved” somehow, we’d still have depressed, withdrawn people committing suicide after taking the other branch, unless the pipeline is blocked at the source.

What is that source? Why do some people become excluded and devalued? It’s not just members of oppressed groups, though they are especially likely to (and to end up on the self-harm branch since society does not give members of these groups license to feel entitled and to commit violence — hence the lack of many violent, toxically-entitled gay men). Random cishet white men end up ignored and devalued here and there as well, for no readily discernible reason. It seems to be a spontaneous symmetry breaking.

My guess here is that the missing piece of the puzzle is the hyper-competitive neoliberal dog-eat-dog ideology of most of the western world these days. This zero-sum thinking demands that someone in any group has to be “the loser”. It also says you’re stupid if you spend any time with “the loser”, who will just drag you down. Certainly you don’t pick “the loser” to be on your team in any competitive event. So, someone whose skills are not seen as especially useful, or even just someone at random, will get excluded. And the more a person gets a reputation as “that loser”, the more self-reinforcing it becomes, in a feedback loop. So even if you had a class of 20 identical boys, statistically indistinguishable from one another, they’d have a basketball practice, one would by sheer chance shoot the fewest baskets, and that would be the start of a downward spiral for him, socially. Or one would underperform in a math test, or happen to get the flu and miss some event, or …

There’s a deeper underlying problem of devaluing people qua people and considering the value of a person to be limited to one’s estimate of their usefulness. This is inherently a part of neoliberal ideology. There is a type of objectifying language found everywhere these days that resembles the ways women get objectified, but is even more pervasive and, since no-one is excluded from it, even more invisible. It shows up whenever we talk about some CEO’s “net worth” … a person’s worth is reducible to the dollar value of their assets? It shows up when we ask “what are you?” and the answer isn’t “a person” but “a plumber” or “a lawyer” or “a TV repairman”. You are your job? You are your skills? You are your assets? You are your income? Are you nothing more?

This, I think, is what the Wachowskis were hinting at in the first Matrix film. It is why Neo was a cubicle drone by day and every blue-pill seen in the films is bustling to or from work, otherwise a part of the machinery of neoliberal commerce, or is desperately trying to escape temporarily from the same (the rave early in the first film — the only time we see blue-pills outside a workday context, and, significantly, where the red-pills are recruiting).

There’s a very pervasive and nearly invisible view of people that reduces them to their present or potential future commercial value, and which even reduces the rich to just their fortunes. And I think it is this that plays a large role in people falling into the very start of that pipeline in the first place, by shaping social interactions and relations even from a very early age with an unhealthy degree of competitive, zero-sum thinking that creates a ruthless calculus when some five-year old asks another, “will you be my friend?” … and the respondent considers whether associating with this person will raise or lower their status, and what will their other friends think.

Kevin R.
2 years ago

@Surplus to Requirements

This, I think, is what the Wachowskis were hinting at in the first Matrix film. It is why Neo was a cubicle drone by day and every blue-pill seen in the films is bustling to or from work, otherwise a part of the machinery of neoliberal commerce, or is desperately trying to escape temporarily from the same (the rave early in the first film — the only time we see blue-pills outside a workday context, and, significantly, where the red-pills are recruiting).

This is also what Fight Club was satirizing, complete with showing exactly how that pipeline of toxic masculinity you described works. Everybody who got involved in Tyler Durden’s movement was a man who’d been chewed up and spit out by the machinery of post-Reagan neoliberalism, from the narrator who worked as a product recall specialist for a car company (literally calculating how much a human life is worth, with shades of the infamous Ford Pinto memo from the ’70s) to Bob the former bodybuilder, whose abuse of steroids to achieve an idealized masculine form led to him losing his testicles to cancer — a literal emasculation if ever there was one. They turn to the fight club and later Project Mayhem as an escape, but as it turns out, it’s only a more extreme version of the values that put them in that place to begin with, simply taken to their logical conclusion. Fight Club basically called the manosphere fifteen years in advance, right down to the fact that, behind its mask of countercultural “sticking it to the (wo)man”, it offered no solutions or even much in the way of actual rebellion.

(In the most bitter irony, the biggest fans of Fight Club wound up being among the very sort of self-styled macho men that Chuck Palahniuk was mocking, people who missed the joke entirely and embraced Tyler’s messages whole-hog without a hint of self-reflection. To give you some idea of just how badly the point flew over some people’s heads: this was the movie that invented the term “special snowflake” that’s so beloved by the dregs of the internet, and there is a pick-up artist who calls himself Tyler Durden.)

Catalpa
Catalpa
2 years ago

If feeling isolated, bullied, and victimized results in mass murderers, then you’d think that fat kids, LGBT kids, and kids who are a visible minority would make up the vast majority of mass murderers, since they tend to be the most isolated and the most targeted by assholes due to being different. And you’d expect generally even ratios of male and female murderers, since it’s not like one gender has a monopoly on being tormented as a teen.

And yet the vast majority of mass murderers are slim white cishet dudes. Ergo, suffering is not what creates these murderous pieces of shit. Maybe it’s a factor in it, but given that almost everyone suffers in a similar fashion yet only a very specific demographic tends to produce spree killers indicates that the suffering is not the unique property causing this.

Well let me ask you a question, would you feel bad for the suffering of the wicked?

Depends. If a dickhead decides to spout misogynistic, racist, bigoted bullshit and ends up losing all his non-dickhead friends, I’m not going to feel bad about the asshole’s isolation.

However, if said dickhead is plowed into by a drunk driver while crossing the street, then, yeah, I’m going to be shocked and saddened that the dickhead is in intensive care because he happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Because, you know, basic human empathy.

Similarly, I’m going to be saddened if a feMRA is hammered with misogynistic harassment or if an asshole-y POC is subjected to racism, or if a violent criminal is raped in prison. Because human beings shouldn’t be subjected to horrible treatment like that, no matter how shitty of a person they are.

If a wicked person suffers from proportional consequences for their wicked actions, then my sympathy for them is going to be nil. If they’re suffering because something unjust which shouldn’t happen to anyone is occurring, then I’m going to be sad about that.

Moggie
Moggie
2 years ago

I shudder at the thought of monitoring kids’ “social milestones”, and “getting them professional help” if they’re not hitting those within somebody’s norms. Should more help be available for kids? Absolutely! I sometimes wonder whether my life would have taken a different path if there had been stigma-free counselling available at my school, to anyone who chose to use it. But schoolkids are already under plenty of pressure to hit targets: do we want to add normative social behaviour to this? “Please report to the health office, because you’ve been observed spending a significant amount of time alone in the library instead of socialising, and your teachers report that you smile less often than the norm for your age”. I’m pretty sure schools would find a way to make that do more harm than good.

kupo
kupo
2 years ago

Never in my entire life until tonight did I even consider that childhoods like what you describe happened to girls/teens/women. Not being hyperbolic either. I almost want to say sorry but I’m not even sure what for.

This might sting a bit because I’m going to be blunt. What you should be sorry for is not seeing women as full human beings. This is how society molded you, so I’m not saying it’s something you did intentionally, but that’s what it is.

I’m guessing you have considered that other boys/men had similar experiences. But to not even consider that women experience this, too, is to not consider women to be similar to you. To believe they can’t understand what it’s like. That they’re not individuals who might have good social skills or bad social skills or a mix of the two. That they don’t suffer from lonliness. That they never get rejected.

You also probably (because this is common) only think of attractive women when you think about women. It’s common for men to assume women don’t experience rejection because they don’t even notice women they don’t find attractive. We (women who aren’t conventionally attractive) are straight up invisible. Even if we’ve asked one of these guys out he’ll honestly believe he’s never once been asked out because we don’t count. We’re another class of person altogether, one that’s not allowed to be part of the dating pool. We’re quite regularly abused for even attempting to wade in it.

Nequam
Nequam
2 years ago

However, if said dickhead is plowed into by a drunk driver while crossing the street, then, yeah, I’m going to be shocked and saddened that the dickhead is in intensive care because he happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Because, you know, basic human empathy.

Makes me wonder sometimes if there’s such a thing as “empathy fatigue” because, f’rex, when that Northern Kentucky white supremacist was killed by a drunk driver I couldn’t even pretend to feel sorry.

Dvärghundspossen
Dvärghundspossen
2 years ago

You also probably (because this is common) only think of attractive women when you think about women. It’s common for men to assume women don’t experience rejection because they don’t even notice women they don’t find attractive. We (women who aren’t conventionally attractive) are straight up invisible. Even if we’ve asked one of these guys out he’ll honestly believe he’s never once been asked out because we don’t count. We’re another class of person altogether, one that’s not allowed to be part of the dating pool. We’re quite regularly abused for even attempting to wade in it.

So I think the sitcom “Coupling” by Steven Moffat was overall really fun despite being pretty sexist… And this reminds me of an ep, it was pretty long ago I watched it so I don’t even remember which season, but anyway, there’s this guy Patrick at a party chatting to a couple of attractive women, and we first see the conversations from his point of view. A few of the lines seem off though, and don’t really make sense. Later, we’re shown what really happened at the party. Turns out there was also a fat woman in the conversation, and some lines of dialogue were said by her – that’s the reason the dialogue was a bit odd when we saw it from Patrick’s perspective, because she was literally invisible to him.

Passagère clandestine
Passagère clandestine
2 years ago

And yet the vast majority of mass murderers are slim white cishet dudes. Ergo, suffering is not what creates these murderous pieces of shit.

Maybe that’s the most important problem. Society tells them that they’re at the top of the food chain, or social ladder. When there is a movie or a book describing how a PoC or a homosexual or a woman etc. reached success, the implied message is that they reached success despite the “handicap” of being a PoC or a homosexual or a woman etc. and that if you try hard enough you can obtain what effortlessly belongs to slim white cishet dudes.

And yet those slim white cishet dudes see that, not only they’re not effortlessly getting girl friends, but even if they try women will have nothing to do with them.

Cyborgette
Cyborgette
2 years ago

IDK, I grew up with similar levels of isolation and systematic abuse, and I even got to do it while looking and living like a guy. I went through the whole hating-my-own-guts thing, the suicidal depression, the feelings of uselessness, everything. Still never considered murdering random strangers over it. And especially never considered murdering women, being busy putting them on pedestals and all. When I was shamed for being a virgin, I got angry at the stupidity of using that as a measure of adulthood.

I just can’t bring myself to sympathize with incels. Like, I get the radicalization process thing, but anyone who gets this irrationally angry at other people over lack of sex is just fucked up on a very deep level.

Also the “passing on mah genes!” thing. Guys, do you have any. idea. whatsoever. how much effort it takes to raise a kid? Let alone several? That is some serious work there. Or you can slack off and abusively make your wife do all the work, and traumatize the hell out of your descendants, maybe for several generations to come – that sounds SO much better than not having any kids, right?

God, I can’t even imagine the horror of growing up with an incel-aligned dad. And I’m a survivor of childhood abuse myself, including sexual abuse.

Nope. No sympathy. At all.

Birdie Bird
Birdie Bird
2 years ago

J said

Never in my entire life until tonight did I even consider that childhoods like what you describe happened to girls/teens/women.

Am curious, if you think back to that time in your life, how did you think girls experienced dating?

This perspective seems to be a revelation to you.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Never in my entire life until tonight did I even consider that childhoods like what you describe happened to girls/teens/women. Not being hyperbolic either. I almost want to say sorry but I’m not even sure what for.

That is exactly the root of incel and other misogynistic groups. Men and boys are not socialized to see things from women’s perspectives or think of us as real people. If you’re not a real person, you can’t really suffer and you don’t really need bodily autonomy. The same is true for other privileged vs. marginalized classes. I remember reading about a study that showed that white people perceived black people as experiencing less physical pain than white people do. I’ve always wondered if a similar study has been done with men. I think a major reason that men are so likely to engage rape apologia and so likely to think that a man getting rejected or laughed at is a bigger deal than a woman being beaten, raped or murdered is that men simply don’t grasp that we’re able to suffer.

Anyway, I think it’s important to take a long hard look at yourself and figure out why it never occurred to you that women experience these things. I would encourage you to really listen to what women say. Both online and off. Try to read more books and watch more movies and TV shows that are created by women about women. It’ll make you a better person.

So I think the sitcom “Coupling” by Steven Moffat was overall really fun despite being pretty sexist…

Me too and I’m glad someone else here admits it! Despite its flaws it frequently had me in stitches. Especially the Jeff and the Jane centered episodes. I remember exactly what episode you’re talking about too. It so perfectly captures exactly how men see (or don’t see) women. Incels and aggrieved nerd boys can whine about not being seen as cool all they like, it’s better than not being seen at all. The invisibility of not conventionally attractive women is also captured really well by the Buffy season 1 episode “Out of Mind, Out of Sight” Clea Duvall plays a shy frumpy girl who is ignored so much that she literally becomes invisible and starts taking revenge on Cordelia and her friends.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Passagere clandestine,

That’s definitely a big part of it. Kyriarchy promises white cishet middle class men that if they do their part to uphold it, they’ll get their portion of the spoils. The spoils being things like a good non-dead end job and attractive women. But that promise is a lie. Some men will get the spoils, some men won’t. With people who are not white cishet middle or upper class men refusing more and more to be second class citizens and with capitalism being in the end stages where it’s no longer functioning in a way that can sustain a big enough population that’s secure enough to not question the system, the number of men who get the spoils is shrinking. These men are angry about that but too unaccustomed to empathizing with people who are different than them to begin to understand where their anger should be placed.

The last thing I’m going to bring up is not addressed to a particular person but to the thread in general.

Why are we assuming that incels as a group experienced bullying in childhood at a higher rate than the general population? Why are we assuming that they suffer disproportionately from depression? These seem to be taken for granted by most everyone who discusses incels, whether they are sympathetic to them or not. But I’m not aware of any real research into this. It’s just kind of assumed. And I think it relates to the knee jerk assumption that man pain is very important and therefore, if a man self reports that he’s suffering more than everyone else, it must be true.

I’m not convinced these dudes had rougher childhoods than anyone else at all. I’m sure some of them were bullied. I’m sure some of them have depression. But that’s going to be true of every group. Until I see some evidence that these claims are true, I’m just going to go ahead and take the default position that if a man is a virulent misogynist, it’s because he’s an entitled shithead.

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
2 years ago

Regarding not realising that everyone feels loneliness, including women… Kupo bein’ a star, here. Thank you for your bluntness.

WWTH:

Until I see some evidence that these claims are true, I’m just going to go ahead and take the default position that if a man is a virulent misogynist, it’s because he’s an entitled shithead.

QFT. Thank you for articulating something that has been bothering me, but that I hadn’t been able to figure out.

Perhaps it is taken for granted because they *say* they’ve been ‘bullied’ or ignored, when in reality they just had a fairly normal life. This contrasts to the cishet white male protagonist in media that they expect, and is perhaps why they FEEL they’ve been so hard done by.

mildlymagnificent
mildlymagnificent
2 years ago

wwth

I remember reading about a study that showed that white people perceived black people as experiencing less physical pain than white people do. I’ve always wondered if a similar study has been done with men.

This applies in spades to colonialist attitudes. The English lords and masters (and I presume the French-Spanish-German-Belgian-everyone as well) are easily identified in the way they regarded the populations they subjugated or otherwise exploited. Indians, Irish, indigenous people in randomly assorted places from Africa to Pacific islands were always presumed
1) not to suffer in childbirth the way delicate refined English women did,
2) not to grieve when their children died in the way that people of “superior” white populations did.

As soon as you read or hear someone opining that “those women go back to picking potatoes straight after childbirth, doesn’t affect them at all” you know that you’re listening to someone who is racist, classist or both. (Though it’s hard for us now to comprehend that in those environments, aristocrats and landed folks ran race and class together. They actually believed that their maids, gardeners, shopkeepers and craftspeople were a different, inherently inferior, race compared to them in _exactly_ the same way that people with the wrong coloured skin were.)

A frustrating attempt to get Google Scholar to produce the sort of study we’d need about how men regard women’s pain … went nowhere fast. There’s probably something out there somewhere but my brain won’t come up with the open sesame search term that would get me where I wanted to go.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
2 years ago

@ Rhuu and WWTH – I agree. With incels, we’re dealing with extremely unreliable narrators when it comes to the proportionality of their suffering vs. what actually caused it. These are people who, in all seriousness, equate a single romantic rejection with the Holocaust. And it’s usually a gentle rejection, too. Women are likely to be more careful with men’s feelings due to socialization, safety fears, and less anxiety about the effect on social status of being asked out by someone unconventionally attractive. You’ll never see women wearing the equivalent of “no fat chicks” T shirts.

So when an incel claims he was mercilessly bullied, I tend to think maybe he didn’t get to be first in line for the bus that day, or somebody took the last ice cream sandwich at lunchtime.

Passagère clandestine
Passagère clandestine
2 years ago

A frustrating attempt to get Google Scholar to produce the sort of study we’d need about how men regard women’s pain … went nowhere fast. There’s probably something out there somewhere but my brain won’t come up with the open sesame search term that would get me where I wanted to go.

Doctors instead of men, so women do it too, but if anything it confirms that society as a whole doesn’t see women as suffering as much as men:

Both anecdotes and academic research point to a disturbing trend: in the medical industry, there’s a long history of dismissing women’s pain.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180518-the-inequality-in-how-women-are-treated-for-pain

j
j
2 years ago

@Kudo

Doesn’t sting because it’s true. It just is. Sorry to be selfish but it’s all really distressing. There isn’t a syllable of what you said that I doubt for a moment. If it’s fine, I’d like to lurk a bit.

@Birdie Bird

Frankly, my girl friends (platonic) downloaded their problems on me very often. I knew the difficulties (and sometimes abuse) they dealt with in their relationships. However, the idea that a girl couldn’t find a relationship to me is just, I don’t know, impossible? Girls were better in every single way possible, an entirely different kind of person.

LinsayIrene
2 years ago

However, the idea that a girl couldn’t find a relationship to me is just, I don’t know, impossible? Girls were better in every single way possible, an entirely different kind of person.

This kind of idealization of women and girls is… well, maybe ‘soft sexism’? Because you’re not perceiving them as full human beings that come in as wide of a variety as men and boys do. The girls that couldn’t get relationships in high school were invisible to you because they weren’t attractive to you. Trust me, they were there.

I couldn’t have gotten a boyfriend (I’m bi, but where I grew up having a same-sex relationship was unthinkable) in high school if I’d paid for one. I was an awkward kid (diagnosed with autism as an adult) who wore thick glasses and was a little chunky. No boy was interested in me. No boy even spoke to me kindly. They were happy to sexually harass and assault me (because I had to audacity to grow large breasts), telling me that I was ugly and disgusting and that no one would ever love all the while, but be my boyfriend? Nah. Not even when I lost weight and got contacts.

hapnadsmannen
hapnadsmannen
2 years ago

I had a similar experience in my youth; i only lost my virginity past 20 and only had a real relationship lasting more than a few weeks when i was past 25. Now I was what they call a mentalcell because from time to time there were actually girls that showed interest in, them taking the initiative even, me but then I withdrew for some psychological reasons of my own. I broke this pattern eventually without any kind of professional help by asking myself really seriously do you want to change your life and are you willing to change and to sacrifice other things to make that happen.

I never doubted that there were girls and women in a similar situation actually or otherwise feeling very bad about their lives. I knew some of them. Intellectual understanding is one thing and emotions are another however and on an emotional level I could certainly feel anger at women and have revenge fantasies, though never seeing it as more than fantasies. But what if I had encountered an ideology telling me I was justified in hating and wanting to hurt other people (Internet just barely existed at the time, few people sought out communitites of peers then)? The tendency to rationalize feelings is strong, so maybe I would have picked up radical masculinist ideology too.

I think there is a lot of truth to the idea that men tend to externalize more often than women so women suffering from social isolation and being unwanted, if they let those feelings dominate their lives, it doesn´t take the form of aggression but rather of self-harm, depression etc.

LindsayIrene
2 years ago

Just testing because my last comment got eaten. I haven’t commented in a couple of months, maybe I come off as new?

LindsayIrene
2 years ago

[Okay I’ll try this again. Hoping this doesn’t end up as a double post]

However, the idea that a girl couldn’t find a relationship to me is just, I don’t know, impossible? Girls were better in every single way possible, an entirely different kind of person.

This kind of idealization of women and girls is… well, maybe ‘soft sexism’? Because you’re not perceiving them as full human beings that come in as wide of a variety as men and boys do. The girls that couldn’t get relationships in high school were invisible to you because they weren’t attractive to you. Trust me, they were there.

I couldn’t have gotten a boyfriend (I’m bi, but where I grew up having a same-sex relationship was unthinkable) in high school if I’d paid for one. I was an awkward kid (diagnosed with autism as an adult) who wore thick glasses and was a little chunky. No boy was interested in me. No boy even spoke to me kindly. They were happy to sexually harass and assault me (because I had to audacity to grow large breasts), telling me that I was ugly and disgusting and that no one would ever love all the while, but be my boyfriend? Nah. Not even when I lost weight and got contacts.

kupo
kupo
2 years ago

@LindsayIrene
The comments have been having issues lately. Some just get eaten, unfortunately. 🙁

@j
Lurk or contribute, either is fine. 🙂 I want to let you know that we’ve had quite a few former manospherians come in here and most just insult us and tell us we’re wrong and mean for pointing out these kinds of things in their posts, so I just want to say it’s really great that you’re open to new ideas and ways of looking at things.

mildlymagnificent
mildlymagnificent
2 years ago

Completely off-topic. The best election ad ever.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi6v4CYNSIQ

This woman is great.

Cyborgette
Cyborgette
2 years ago

@wwth

That is an excellent point about bullying and childhood hardship, and I think you’re right. My bad. Also suspect there’s a victim blaming dynamic there, like how school shooters are assumed to be bullied.

Last time I had a (almost violent) encounter with fascist types though, they didn’t remind me of victims, but of the bullies I knew growing up. Used to getting their way through aggression and physical strength, and terrifyingly angry when called out on it.

Those were probably Proud Boys or such trash, but the difference seems kind of academic at this point.

Hambeast
Hambeast
2 years ago

mildlymagnificent – I think that has a lot to do with the way retail/food service/domestic workers get treated today, as well.