Incels, or involuntary celibates, are probably the most infamous segment of the “manosphere” – the online morass of misogyny that includes incels, Pick Up Artists (PUAs), MGTOWs (Men Going Their Own Way) and Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs). They also appear to be the most prone to public displays of brutality: Law enforcement attributes 50 murders in North America in the last six years to violent incels.
But despite the notoriety of the term, we don’t know that much about the incel population, which researchers speculate could include as many as 100,000 people, most of them men. Who are incels? What do they believe? What drives their actions?
In March 2020, moderators at incel.co, one of the largest incel online forums, released the results of a community poll. Reactions on the site ranged from gratitude to outrage.