Who are the Incels?

Incel is an abbreviation for involuntary celibacy, which translates as involuntary abstinence.

This is the name of people who have never entered into intimate relationships in their lives or are forced to abstain for reasons beyond their control, although they want to establish sexual intercourse.

The reasons for abstinence can vary. First of all, this is external unattractiveness (in the opinion of the owners of the appearance themselves). Religion, discrimination, shyness, poverty, lack of communication skills, shyness of a person in love, social isolation, or the law can also lead to abstinence.

Incels should not be confused with asexuals who deliberately refrain from intimacy, and with those who are hampered by health problems.

Site from the 90s. How the Incel movement was born

It all began in 1997 when Canadian student Alana launched the Alana’s Involuntary Celibacy Project website. By the age of 24, the girl did not have a single serious romance, for which she blamed her nondescript appearance: a combination of short stature, fullness, and eczema.

Alana wanted to unite people with similar problems. The girl believed that it would be easier for them if they shared with each other the stories of their involuntary abstinence.


The project instantly became popular, and site visitors began to call themselves incels. For the first three years, the site operated exactly as its creator intended. In 2000, Alana began an affair and left the community.

But then something went wrong.

Who are the Incels? Forums, men and women inside the movement

Over time, the Incels began to evolve into a radical virgin movement. Its representatives began to urge each other to hate those who, allegedly, because of their greater attractiveness, deprives them of the opportunity to have a relationship or simply have sexual intercourse.

The Incels began to create their own sites and forums. The overwhelming majority of participants in such communities were men, mainly from North America and Europe. Many forums have a ban on women.

Over the years, the Incel communities have become increasingly extremist. They often blame women for their problems, calling for revenge through violence. Therefore, many incel forums are banned and closed. But they continue to create threads on popular platforms like 4chan and Reddit.

However, not all incels are like that. Many of them do not share radical views and go into separate discussions on the same Reddit where even women write. But in the largest communities, alas, misogyny reigns.

Chad (Chad), Stacey, black pill, and chin meme

During the existence of the Incels, the movement has developed its own jargon and memes.

They call chad men whom women never refuse. Such representatives of the stronger sex are unusually good-looking – they are tall owners of an ideal figure. Women literally hang themselves on them.

The main feature of the Chad is a strong-willed chin.


What separates the abstaining virgin from the victorious male.

Stacy is the beauty everyone wants. Her appearance is rated 10 out of 10 by Incels. In fact, this is the name for any girl who refuses a “virgin”. Stacey prefers to communicate only with the Chads. Maidens who look simpler are called Becky by the Incels.

The difference between a regular girl and Stacy is in the inceles’ representation.

Sub8 are regular people who never date Chad and Stacy but strike up a relationship. Of course, they do not pay any attention to incels either.

The Incels are obsessed with their imaginary ugliness, and the appearance of Chads, Stacy, and ordinary people can discuss for hours, elevating them to the rank of a fetish. The Incels do not allow people to enter into relationships because of personality traits, rather than a prominent chin or height.

The Black Pill is an analogy to the movie “The Matrix”, where Morpheus suggested Neo choose a red or blue pill and find out the truth or remain in blissful ignorance.

For the incels, the black pill is a symbol of accepting their loss in the genetic lottery. A person resigns himself to his unattractiveness and doom to loneliness until the end of his days.

In the threads about the black pill, the Incels often write about the desire to commit suicide or take revenge on the world for the injustice of which he became a hostage.

Why are incels dangerous? Incels and extremism

The hatred accumulating in the incel community provokes the representatives of the movement to crime. The most famous of these is the Santa Barbara fireball, hosted by Elliot Roger in May 2014. His victims were seven people, including the shooter himself. Roger soon became the hero of the Incelo forums.

And in April 2018, 25-year-old Alek Minassian drove his van into a crowd in downtown Toronto. As a result, ten people died – most of the victims were women. A few hours before the tragedy, he wrote a post on his Facebook page, where he quoted the words of Elliot Roger and warned that “the incel rebellion has already begun.”

Anastasia Fetter

Anastasia Fetter