What are Incels?
Incels are self-branded involuntary celibates, who are essentially misogynistic men unable to obtain female attention. They believe that women are to blame for this and some even go as far as believing women should be punished for it. The term was first coined by a bisexual woman named Alana in 1993 who innocently set up a Reddit forum to complain about gender norms. Unfortunately, Alana’s intentions were pushed aside and men with aggressive alternative views took over. More forums on multiple different platforms emerged and the concept of incels is now well known. Although many have used the term ‘incel’ as a light-hearted insult, the consequences of some incels’ actions have been violent and dangerous to not only women, but everyone.
On the 12th of August, Jake Davison killed 5 people in Plymouth before killing himself with his legally owned shotgun. The victims included Davison’s own mother, a three-year-old girl, her father, a dog walker, and an elderly lady. Despite these deaths, and a further two people injured, the police have strayed away from naming the incident a terrorist attack. At first, the killings seemed to be as a result of an argument between Davison and his mother which spilled onto the streets. However, it later appeared to be something more sinister. Jake Davison’s YouTube channel surfaced revealing his ties to the incel community. Davison sympathised with incels, calling himself a ‘terminator’ and complaining about his life having no meaning.
When diving deeper into his now-deleted YouTube channel, Davison was not only a sympathiser but an active member with incredibly problematic views about women. He continuously complained about not having a girlfriend, called women “simple minded” and blamed women for being sexually assaulted. This goes to show that there are key links between incels and violence.
In a previous Femlegal article ‘Everyone is invited, unfortunately’, we discussed the societal norms that lead to rape culture. The same can also be said for allowing incel platforms to exist, cultivating a culture that is dangerous for women especially. Davison’s Facebook and YouTube accounts were only taken down after the shooting, bringing into question whether his content should have been allowed on those platforms. Davison also liked and reshared a lot of gun-related content and legally owned his shotgun. He even had his gun license revoked after an assault last year, but this was reinstated allowing him to commit these murders. This begs the question of whether the authorities are doing enough to regulate people with such misogynistic views. If the police had checked to see the content Davison was creating and his views towards women, would they have allowed him to own a gun? It is no wonder many people are angry about the attack, which has brought an end to 5 lives. This shows how incels are dangerous not only to women, but to everyone.
I graduated with a Law degree from Keele University this summer. I have just started my LPC alongside an Msc in Law, Business, and Management. I am keen to enter the corporate field and currently volunteer with Citizens Advice.