I’ve been reading a bit about the incel phenomenon, and I think it lumps all of them into a negative category.
The typical stereotype of an incel is that of someone like Elliott Rodger - violent, misogynistic, just doesn’t “get it” about how women think, thinks he is entitled to women, etc. But there is a whole other category of involuntarily-celibate people who, through little or no fault of their own, struggle mightily to get a mate.
People who are severely disfigured by burns all over their face and body, for instance, may find it near-impossible to find someone who will want to marry them. Someone who is paralyzed from the neck down is not a hot marriage commodity. An amputee missing both arms, or legs, is going to have a hard time finding a mate. A 3.5-foot tall man, born with dwarfism, is going to struggle mightily in the dating world compared to a 5 or 6 foot tall man. And there’s also a sheer-math issue in some nations; in China, there are 30 million more men than women. Assuming most of them are heterosexual, it will simply be mathematically impossible for most of them to get a wife. All of these factors can make someone involuntarily-celibate without necessarily any bitterness, misogyny, or entitledness on their part.
It doesn’t necessarily make it impossible - for every type of person I listed above, you can surely find at least one exception who did get married anyway - but their circumstances make it 10x harder than it would be for the average person.
Where I’m going with this is, we should stop blanket-labeling all incels as bad and instead divide them into good-incels vs bad-incels. The latter would denote people like Elliott Rodger. The former would denote people who would otherwise stand an average and normal chance of finding love and marriage except for some factor that is out of their control.
Someone unable to find a relationship or have sex doesn’t make them an Incel. Attitude makes them an Incel. The “bad incel” defines the term.
I think this is just going to be the tomato-tomahto part where people cannot agree on the central term, like “political correctness.”
If the term is “involuntarily celibate,” then that by definition means everyone who…wants a relationship or sex but cannot or does not have it.
Before I met my wife, I didn’t have a lot of luck dating. I was (and still am) kind of shy and introverted, and not particularly good at striking up conversations with women.
When I talked about it, to my friends and whatnot, those are the terms I used. “Not a lot of luck.” “Have a hard time talking to women.” “Shy.” That kind of thing. I never said that I was “involuntarily celibate.” That’s not a phrase that naturally comes to mind, unless you have already been drawn into the incel movement, and have absorbed all the hateful attitudes that go with it.
In short, nobody uses the word “incel” except incels.
You’re mistaken about what “incel” means, then. It’s not just some generic word for “involuntarily celibate.” It’s the name of an online community, coined from the words “involuntarily celibate.” And while the founder of said group had good intentions, the group devolved into what it is today.
It is not a generic term for people who are virgins and would prefer not to be. The group evolved an entire ideology, one that most people do not share and thus do not join with said group.
This is a bit obscured by the fact that said group has since split off into a few splinter groups. But it has never been a generic term. Incels themselves would object to others using the term if they don’t share their ideology.
My example is “African American” when discussing a white guy who moved here from South Africa.
Incel is not simply someone who is celibate because they haven’t found a partner yet. Like others have said, it’s a state of mind.
As mentioned already, that’s not what Incel means. It’s like saying anti-Semitism means being bigoted against all Semitic people because of a literal understanding of the words. It ignores usage, meaning, and history. The same is true for Incel. The word has a specific meaning, and it’s not a literal interpretation of the underlying terms.
And here’s where the thread should end.
An incel is a person who identifies with the incel community. Some of them HAVE had sex, but because they still hold the same toxic attitudes towards sex, relationships, and women they still identify with incels.
Someone who hasn’t had sex, or currently isn’t, but who doesn’t obsess over this fact to the point of building an identity around it, is not an incel.
Fucking Phoenicians! They ruined Phoenicia.
I think we’re getting bogged down into a semantics debate rather than addressing the core issue, which is that it’s entirely possible for someone to struggle in relationships or finding a mate for reasons that are not necessarily related to a bad attitude or ideology.
That is true. And those people are not “incels.” The incel community is self selecting.
You are the one trying to muddy the topic by semantic expansion of an existing understood phenomenon.
Also, now that “incel” is out there and “acceptable” as an object of hate/scorn, there are people who will want to widen the term because they hate men they consider unattractive. That’s not acceptable.
I would say the way things are going, drop the “incel” word entirely unless you are specific about what you’re referencing.
Then please create a new thread that actually describes whatever topic you want to discuss. And this time don’t poison your own well with ill-chosen arguments about terminology.
I mean this helpfully, not scornfully. You’ll probably have greater sucess with a fresh thread than trying to un-derail this one. Or at least restate clearly and from scratch whatever your OP was really intended to be. And do so in the next couple of posts, then ask everybody to start over from post #20 or whatever.
Pretty much all Americans would like to see America be “great”. That doesn’t mean that all Americans are MAGA.
That seems like an entirely non-controversial proposition.
But is the term “incel” or any term useful?
They’re people. More men maybe, but some women have trouble attracting as well. Sometimes their approach and situations can be improved. Sometimes they can’t, and maybe they get the most benefit by accepting what they have and making the best of it. But is the “incel” grouping going to help them at all? I think they deserve to be treated as individual people more than some group.
I come from social awkwardness, was more awkward at one time. I’m single right now and I need to be the best version of myself I can be. I have been to meetups that are dominated by socially awkward people and… I understand the “ick” feeling at some point. It does get discomfiting at times. But some of these people can improve, and if they want to date there is hope. But I’m not sure lumping together helps very much.
A different term might be useful. But “incel” is already taken. I’m not convinced we need a word “for someone to struggle in relationships or finding a mate for reasons that are not necessarily related to a bad attitude or ideology.” Any such term will probably be over inclusive or under inclusive.
We’ve had exactly the same issue in threads asking why there’s anything wrong with virtue signaling, and laying out an extensive thesis pointlessly explaining why displaying virtue is not necessarily a bad thing. Displaying virtue is not a bad thing, but virtue signaling is a bad thing by definition, because the established idiom carries a negative connotation of ostentation.