The Shooters in the Rye

Photo source sagesolar | CC BY 2.0

The recent slaughter in Toronto has many people chattering away about “Incels”, or involuntary celibates. Several people have taken to Twitter to offer explanations via links to sites in the “manoverse” – that is, web pages dedicated to the notion that men are somehow the real victims of gender discrimination and, more specifically, misandry. Many of these sites hoist the Incel flag as a way to demonstrate their bona fides to a supposed terrorist army of young (or youngish) men whose self-alleged sexual frustration has reached murderous proportions.

The great irony of this is that “involuntary celibacy”, as a socio-cultural development, was first identified by the Georgia State University’s Department of Sociology in the late 90s, after which they published a paper about it here. It was a new social trend of large numbers of people in the United States who had become sexually and romantically redundant due to social dysfunction, or disability, chronic illness or obesity. These are people who are hardly ever or never able to engage in romantic relationships and sexual congress. One of the chief emphases of the study is that this is a problem afflicting both men and women, gay and straight, young and old, white, brown and black.

And yet somehow, through the often bilious alchemy of the Internet, this problematic social trend became appropriated by angry, sexually frustrated young white men, who have proceeded to weaponize…

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