• Georgia Bates

Extremist Incel Groups: Can They Be Classed as a Form of Terrorism?


© Warren Wong via Unsplash


‘Incel’ is an amalgamation of the words ‘involuntary celibate’ and represents an online community of mostly young men- who consider themselves unable to attract women sexually.


The term emerged from a Reddit group in which thousands of users commiserate about their lack of sexual activity, attributing women for their presumed misfortune. Subscribers to the Incel ideology believe that they inhabit substandard traits that make them doomed to a life of involuntary celibacy. The Incel term was originally created by a woman 2 decades ago, originally anticipating an online community in which individuals unable to find sexual partners can turn to for support. Incel, unfortunately, snowballed into a misogynistic and bigoted community with revenge on their agenda. Since 2014, it is estimated that Incel has committed 8 mass murders with the killing of at least 61 people.


When did Incel gain traction within the media?

Incel first became eminent within the News Media following Elliot Rodger’s 2014 killing spree in California, the killer leaving a video graphic account of his ‘involuntary celibacy’ prior to his attack. Rodger explicitly called for violence against women and carried his attack against a sorority house, describing sorority members as ‘the kinds of girls I have always desired but was never able to have’ in his suicide note. Elliot Rodger was praised by the extremist side of the Incel community as a kind of hero. Murders and killing spree’s in the name of Incel have continued to reach headlines including Jake Davison who murdered 5 people in Plymouth before taking his own life.


What is at the core of their ideology?

Extremist Incel’s main bleat is with women’s ability to choose their sexual partners, rooting in frustration and historical misogynistic values that women are the inferior gender and shouldn’t have the choice. Mathematical problems and strange aliases are a major part of the online community, with many members believing that their sexual downfall is due to a statistical problem which is tampered against them. One post on the subreddit r/TheRedPill reads that…


"For every ten girls who are getting laid this week, eight of them are fucking just two guys.

If you’re not one of those two guys, there’s a 75% chance that you’re not getting laid at all. Only 20% of men fall into the category of “not alpha but still getting some”.

The haves and have-nots live in two different worlds. This is not a sliding scale situation where incremental improvement yields incremental returns. You either have more pussy than you know what to do with or you’re incel. There’s very little middle ground.

That’s what the 80/20 rule means. You really, really want to be one of the 20%."


What is so problematic about this mindset is that it minimises, objectifies, and categorises women into a mere mathematical problem- without their own, unique sexual frustrations, preferences and choices. Incel also uses umbrella names to categorise types of individuals according to their level of sexual attractiveness. Chads are males that fall into the top 20% category whilst Beta’s make up the other 70% leaving Incels as the last 10%, unable to find sexual partners. Stacy’s represent the most appealing women who can practically have any man she wants. Becky’s represents all other women yet it is notable that to Incels, no matter how unattractive a woman may be, she still has more choice than they do.


Can Incel be classed as a form of terrorism?

These strange nuances and violent attitudes and outbursts absolutely mean that Incel can be classed as a form of misogynistic terrorism. The Terrorism Act 2000 states that an action can be considered an act of terror if it is made for ‘advancing a political, religious or ideological cause’. Involuntary celibacy is not an ideological cause however how this frustration manifests itself into violence for extremist members of the group absolutely gives ground for Incel murders to be classified as an act of terrorism.