When I was in high school we used to have two basic categories: the popular kids, and everyone else. “Everyone else” broke down into subgroups, and most of us who weren’t in the most popular crowd nonetheless found our peeps. I worked on the school newspaper, and we were a tight group of friends, guys and girls typically not paired off, who worked on the paper after school but also went to Saturday afternoon football games and the dances after. I did have a steady boyfriend, two classes ahead, which I guess made me doubly fortunate.

A small number of kids were isolated loners, unable to find a group to be part of. Some of those kids did better socially in college and in the work world, when there was a wider selection of others with whom to find common interest.

An even smaller subset of the loners became angry, hopeless adults. Pre-internet, they were isolated, with no easy way to amplify their outsider status and perpetually stoke their rage.

Now, with social media, young men who are unable to form relationships — with women, in particular — are their own category: “incels”, or involuntary celibates. Rather than confronting their social ineptness, they form a victim chorus with rage toward the women they believe spurn them and deny them the sex and female subservience they are entitled to.

Here are two articles about the men who gather under this odd new umbrella:



I read both of these articles shaking my head. I hear the newly focused danger to women from these angry men. But I’m unwilling to have women accept responsibility or blame for isolated, angry loners who can’t get sex.

We need a lot more focus on this new threat to women’s lives, and more resources to combat it. Despite Trump’s bellicose rhetoric, the danger to women is not coming from the world’s 1B Muslims, or from desperate immigrants on our southern border. It’s coming from our own communities, our own neighborhoods, from the boys and men we grew up with.


2 thoughts on ““Incels”

  1. for Phyllis: Honestly, I got madder and madder about this “incel” thing being the fault of women. Enough already. And you’re right — far too much investment on the part of these out-of-sorts men to limit women’s lives.

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