Before he allegedly drove a van into a Toronto crowd, killing 10 people and injuring more than a dozen others, Alek Minassian made a Facebook post announcing (among other things) that “The Incel Rebellion has already begun.”
It used a term that had many people scratching their heads. What was incel? And why would it incite such an act?
Incel is an abbreviation for involuntarily celibate, a community that is almost exclusively male and frustrated with its lack of sexual experience and/or activity. It’s a group that quickly veers towards misogyny, with anger focused on women as a gender. And, in some cases, that frustration and anger turn to violence, aimed at “normies” (people who have sex).
In the now-deleted post, (which the social media service confirmed to a Toronto reporter was authentic), Minassian wrote:
That’s a lot of unfamiliar terms. Here’s a short breakdown of what he was talking about.
4chan – A notorious message-board website that started as an image-sharing hub, but quickly devolved to a haven for online trolls.
00010 – the trade number for the Canadian infantry. Minassian briefly served in the armed forces last year.
Chads and Stacys – Terms used for attractive men and women who have normal sex lives.
Elliott Rodger – In 2014, he killed six people and injured more than a dozen near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus in Isla Vista, Calif. before killing himself. He had a self-professed hatred for women and was frustrated by his own virginity. He is looked upon by the extreme corners of the incel community as a hero. The incel world has created several memes featuring him. In a video filmed before his rampage, Rodger complained about still being a virgin at 22, and described himself as a “supreme gentleman.”
On top of its hatred for women, the incel community also uses plenty of racist language as well. And like many alt-right groups, it’s getting bolder. Following news that Minassian was allegedly part of the group, his hero status rose. And one user put out a call for other violent acts, ranging from acid attacks to mass rape.
Incel, while it’s a group most people aren’t familiar with, isn’t new. A Reddit group catering to the community had 40,000 users before it was banned in 2017.