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Misogynist Incels

Content warning: This article contains references to suicide, sexual assault, and rape. Reader discretion is advised.

Misogynist incels are a male supremacist movement of heterosexual men who believe they are entitled to sex with attractive women, but that feminism and women’s supposed inherent selfishness have denied them of this right.


The term incel is a shorthand for “involuntary celibate.” When referring to the male supremacist community of incels, the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism recommends the term “misogynist incels.” Like the term “racist skinhead,” the term “misogynist incel” distinguishes the male supremacist ideology and movement defined by their dehumanization of women and glorification of violence from those who may identify as incels without subscribing to that worldview.

Like many other male supremacists, misogynist incels believe we live in a gynocentric society that favors women to the detriment of men. Specifically, incels believe that in this gynocentric system, feminism creates a rigged, hierarchical “sexual marketplace” that unjustly gives women all the power in choosing partners.

Misogynist incels see themselves as ugly, socially awkward losers locked in the lowest caste of a social hierarchy and cursed to a lifetime of loneliness and involuntary celibacy. In the incels’ imagined taxonomy, conventionally attractive and confident men, referred to as “Chads” or “Alphas,” are at the top of this hierarchy and are perceived to be having 80% of sex in society while making up just 20% of the population. “Betas” or “Normies” exist in the middle tier of this hierarchy, having average sex lives but always at risk of losing their partner to a man in the higher tier. Meanwhile, they believe women are hypergamous, meaning they choose sexual and romantic partners who are of higher status to elevate their own. Thus, women will never willingly choose to have sex with an incel, so they are being deprived of what they perceive as their right to sex.

The dehumanization of women is central to the misogynist incel worldview. Misogynist incels commonly describe their graphic fantasies of violence against women and debate how many human rights women should be given in an ideal society. While they often use popular slurs to refer to women, they have also developed their own lexicon to capture their true hatred of women. Terms like “foid” – a shorthand for “female humanoid” – and “roastie” – a woman who has so much sex, misogynistic incels incorrectly believe, that her labia becomes deformed – are a few examples of this derogatory language intended to convey their belief that women are subhuman.

The misogynist incel movement is decentralized across many online forums and websites with no structural organization or leadership. The movement is transnational, with its largest presence in the United States. Misogynist incels are unified by their shared language, ideology and sense of victimhood. People associated with the movement gather in a highly trafficked online incel forum founded in 2017. Though the forum has over 23,000 members, the Center for Countering Digital Hate found just over 4,000 were active there between January 2021 and July 2022. The same report found that 28% of active users post about pedophilia and the majority of posters are supportive. Additionally, members of the forum post about rape every 29 minutes and about killing every 37 minutes.

Some incels believe that it is possible for them to “ascend” or overcome their celibacy by improving their appearance. This group promotes strategies such as bodybuilding and improving grooming habits as well as more extreme methods such as plastic surgery, including skull implants and penis stretching. A far larger portion of the community, estimated to be as high as 95.4% according to one community poll from March 2020, believe that an incel’s position in the sexual hierarchy is hopeless. These incels consider themselves “black pilled” and believe there is nothing they can do to ascend from involuntary celibacy. The black-pilled community believes that accepting this nihilistic worldview leaves very few options: giving up and accepting their circumstances (referred to by the community as LDAR [lie down and rot]), suicide or committing a mass casualty attack.

Misogynist incels are characterized by their glorification of violence. The forums associated with this movement are full of violent rhetoric, and users often encourage each other to “go ER” – a reference to Elliot Rodger and his 2014 attack that killed six and injured 14 others. Incel killers like Rodger are glorified as saints by these communities, and many users use their images for their profile photos on incel forums and social media. Violent rhetoric and calls to engage in violence are frequently masked as humor – a strategy often consciously employed by extremists to downplay the dangerous nature of their rhetoric and ease newcomers into their movement.

Key Moments

Misogynist incels remain a present threat to our communities. In 2023 alone, the most popular and extreme incel forum saw a growth of more than 4,000 members. This community is also increasingly supporting violence. According to a report by the Center for Countering Digital Hate, monthly posts about mass murders increased on the forum by 59% between 2021 and 2022.

The Anti-Defamation League documented three incidents of incel violence and plots in 2023, including an Arizona man who was arrested after allegedly threatening to commit a mass shooting and another who was charged with threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction after calling in a hoax bomb threat to Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas.

Additionally, on May 6, a man who engaged with the popular incel forum opened fire at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, killing eight people and injuring seven others. Prior to the attack, he shared posts from a popular incel forum known for supporting violence on a Russian website. Additionally, a username registered on the incel forum on April 28, 2023, matched the username the shooter used on that Russian site. This connection was largely celebrated by other members on the incel forum and led to a debate about the justifiability of mass violence.

In their own words

“Violence ceases to be violence when it is guided by virtue. And no one has been more virtuous in this century than Saint Elliot”

– Comment on an incel forum post titled “‘They are animals...’ ER was right,” Aug. 25, 2023

“Jews heavily pushed feminism. Roasties have such high standards because they are ‘liberated’. You probably would have gotten your d*** wet by now if it weren’t for feminism and for Jews.”

– Comment on an incel forum post titled “Jews are the reason you are an incel,” Oct. 6, 2021

“Is rape, the way it is defined now, such a bad thing? It allowed men and women to procreate. Allowed humanity to grow and prosper instead of dying out. Allowed people to live fulfilling sexual lives and build families. Is it so bad that we don’t want to give much concern to something fickle like ‘consent’ and instead want redistribution of sexual opportunities among the masses?”

– Comment on a now-defunct incel forum, “Is Rape really such a bad thing?” Aug. 8, 2020

“If I can’t find one decent female to live with, I will find many indecent females to die with. If they are intent on denying me life, I will have no choice but to deny them life. ... Their arrogance, indifference, and treachery will finally be exposed, and punished. If I can’t make a living, I will make a killing.”

– Scott Paul Beierle in a note he wrote shortly before his attack at Hot Yoga Tallahassee, Nov. 2, 2018

“It’s basically a movement of angry incels such as myself who are unable to get laid therefore, we want to overthrow the Chads which would force the Staceys to be forced to reproduce with the incels.”

– Alek Minassian’s confession in a police interview following his attack, April 24, 2018

“For the last eight years of my life, ever since I hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure a life of loneliness, rejection, and unfulfilled desires. All because girls have never been attracted to me. Girls gave their affection, and sex, and love, to other men. But never to me. I’m 22 years old, and I’m still a virgin.”

– Elliot Rodger in his YouTube video “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution,” May 23, 2014

“I will be a god, punishing women and all of humanity for their depravity. ... I cannot kill every single female on earth, but I can deliver a devastating blow that will shake all of them to the core of their wicked hearts. I will attack the very girls who represent everything I hate in the female gender”

– Elliot Rodger in his manifesto “My Twisted Life,” May 23, 2014

“You think I’m unworthy of you. That’s a crime I can never get over. If I can’t have you girls, I will destroy you. You denied me a happy life, and in return I will deny all of you life; it’s only fair. I hate all of you.”

– Elliot Rodger in his YouTube video “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution,” May 23, 2014


The term “incel” originated as part of a project to build an inclusive community for lonely people. In the 1990s, a young Canadian woman founded Alana’s Involuntary Celibacy Project, a site where people could feel comfortable talking about their sexual inactivity and social awkwardness with others. Over time, the website diverged from this purpose and became an echo chamber for increasingly hostile and misogynistic beliefs. Many misogynistic incels came to their community by way of pickup artistry, which promoted the idea that people exist within a “sexual marketplace” that favors women and so-called high-status men, as well as predatory tactics that they promised would help men coerce women into sex.

While not a misogynist incel himself, George Sodini helped catalyze the breakaway of misogynist incels from pickup artists (PUAs). On Aug. 4, 2009, Sodini brought two semiautomatic handguns hidden in a duffel bag to an LA Fitness gym in Collier Township, Pennsylvania. He then opened fire in a dance class full of women, killing three and injuring nine others before finally killing himself. Sodini left behind a note that directed readers to his online diary, which documented his romantic failures and escalating rage towards women. His diary showed that while he was a follower of the PUA community, he felt he was unsuccessful with women.

Sodini was just one of many sexually frustrated and entitled men who grew angry with the PUA community. A few months after his deadly attack, another failed PUA created This site launched as an online community that advertised itself as dedicated to “revealing the scams, deception, and misleading marketing techniques used by dating gurus and the seduction community.” The site attracted misogynist incels who used the forum not only to vent about the PUA industry, but also to express their vitriol toward women and occasionally their growing support for violence. By 2012, the site had over 8,200 registered members, and its Twitter account had more than 10,000 followers. One of these users was Rodger, who would go on to commit the first incel terrorist attack. “If we can’t solve our problems we must DESTROY our problems,” he wrote in one post, foreshadowing his attack. “One day incels will realize their true strength and numbers, and will overthrow this oppressive feminist system. Start envisioning a world where WOMEN FEAR YOU.”

On May 23, 2014, Rodger stabbed his two housemates and their friend to death, then calmly went to Starbucks, where he ordered a triple vanilla latte and uploaded a video titled “Retribution,” where he detailed his motivations for the upcoming attack. Rodger then traveled to the Alpha Phi sorority house at the University of California Santa Barbara.

He targeted this sorority because he believed it symbolized the desirable, unattainable women who would have rejected him. In his manifesto, he claimed to have stalked these women in preparation for the attack and wrote, “I will ... slaughter every single one of them with my guns and knives. ... Then we shall see who the superior one really is!” Unable to get into the house, Rodger turned his gun on three women outside the house, shooting them, before returning to his car to continue his murderous rampage throughout Isla Vista. He drove around the city sporadically shooting out of his window and running into pedestrians before finally killing himself. Rodger killed six people and injured 14 others.

While the misogynist incel community had been progressing for years, the Santa Barbara attack marked a pivotal moment where misogynist incels coalesced into a distinct movement. Supporters consumed Rodger’s manifesto and YouTube videos, turning them into foundational texts of their movement. Hours after the attack, one PUAHate user declared, “Elliot Rodger is a hero,” but went on to warn: “Keep in mind incels, this forum is a place to ‘funnel’ dangerous people, and is being tracked. Keep your posts mundane and your f---ing terrorist attacks to yourself.” Today Rodger is glorified as “Saint Elliot” and the “Supreme Gentleman” by misogynist incels who continue to celebrate his violence.

Physical violence and ramifications

Since 2014, more than 100 people have been killed or injured in the name of misogynist incel ideology. The Anti-Defamation League has documented 33 incidents of incel violence and plots, including terrorist attacks, murder, bombing plots and assaults.

In April 2018, a man deliberately drove a van going more than 30 mph directly into crowds of pedestrians in Toronto, Canada. He killed 10 people and injured 16 others. Shortly before the attack he posted the following statement on Facebook: “The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman [Elliot Rodger]!” In a police interview after the attack, he further elaborated on the incel movement, his identification with the misogynist ideology, and their plans to overthrow the existing system. When asked by police how he felt about the people he murdered, he replied, “I feel like I accomplished my mission.” Despite his clearly stated motive and identification as a misogynist incel, major news outlets covering the attack described his motive as “elusive.”

Months later, a 40-year-old Army veteran with a lengthy history of escalating violence against women entered a yoga class in Tallahassee, Florida. Perhaps to block out the sounds of his victims, he put on hearing protection and then shot four women, killing two and pistol-whipping a man attending the class. Years later the U.S. Secret Service pointed to this incident in a threat assessment case study and urged, “Hatred of women, and the gender-based violence that is associated with it, requires increased attention from everyone with a role in public safety.”

Incidents of harassment and assault often precede mass casualty attacks. Long before the shooter opened fire in the hot yoga studio, he had stalked, harassed, groped and assaulted numerous women. In 2022, an incel from Tennessee was arrested and charged with aggravated stalking and harassment after he threatened a coworker who had rejected him. Earlier that year, another self-described incel was arrested on multiple hate crime charges after pepper spraying three women and a man in Costa Mesa, California. It is impossible to see the complete landscape of misogynist incel violence, as many similar incidents may not be reported to law enforcement or appear in news coverage.

While misogynistic incels largely keep to their online communities, at least one has used their ideology as a foundation for a political run. In 2018 self-declared incel Nathan Larson ran to represent Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives. Though he eventually withdrew, during his campaign it was revealed Larson was the creator and administrator of an incel website that promoted pedophilia and violence against women. On the site, Larson described himself as a ‘rapecel’ and published an essay titled “How to Psyche Yourself Up to Feel Entitled to Rape.” He called for Congress to repeal the Violence Against Women Act and “switch to a system that classifies women as property.” Like many misogynistic incels, he also embraced white nationalist and antisemitism, praising Hitler as a “white supremacist hero” and a “good thing for Germany.”

In December 2020, Larson was arrested after he was found traveling with a missing child he had groomed online. He was charged with kidnapping and child pornography. On Sept. 18, 2022, Larson died in custody while awaiting trial.

White supremacy

While incels are typically assumed to be white, people of other racial and ethnic groups make up a large portion of the community. According to a 2020 survey conducted by the moderators of one popular misogynist incel forum, 55% of respondents identify as white or Caucasian. Non-white incels are collectively referred to as “ethniccels” and other labels such as “ricecel” (an East or Southeast Asian incel) or “blackcel” (a Black incel) are used to differentiate between specific groups and outline the racial stigma and emasculation each group faces that they believe interferes with their ability to form sexual or romantic relationships. Many of these conversations reflect a belief in a racial hierarchy and influence of white supremacy. The acronym “JBW [just be white]” is frequently used to express white men’s perceived sexual advantages.

The influence of this white supremacist belief in a racial hierarchy can be seen in their attitudes towards interracial relationships. Misogynist incels often express hatred for interracial relationships due to a combination of their beliefs in a racial hierarchy and their own sexual frustration. Many white incels believe they are superior to men of other races and thus more deserving of relationships with white women. In one YouTube video, Scott Paul Beierle, the misogynist incel who murdered two women and injured four others in a 2018 attack, expressed his disgust for interracial relationships and asserted that white women involved with non-white men were betraying “their blood.”

Similarly, despite being half-Asian himself, Rodger spoke of the rage he felt when he encountered white women with “a full-blooded Asian” or “an inferior Mexican guy” while he “was still suffering as a lonely virgin.” After describing a story of how his roommate’s friend lost his virginity at 13, Rodger wrote: “How could an inferior, ugly black boy be able to get a white girl and not me? I am beautiful, and I am half white myself. I am descended from British aristocracy. He is descended from slaves. I deserve it more.”

White supremacist symbols and attitudes are prevalent throughout misogynist incel communities and individuals. Forum posts are rife with swastikas, racial slurs and antisemitic conspiracy theories. Scattered among the avatars of infamous incels and anime characters are white supremacist killers and Nazi imagery. In addition to fantasizing about raping and murdering women, Scott Paul Beierle also openly expressed his admiration of Hitler, the Holocaust and the white power group Aryan Nations. Before his 2020 arrest, Joseph Minor, a neo-Nazi from Queens, New York, reportedly expressed his plans to organize a “well-trained incel hit squad” to ignite a race war that specifically targeted Jewish and Black people. Prior to Oliver Bel’s (a 24-year-old from the United Kingdom) plan to conduct an incel “killing spree” or male supremacist Johnny Young’s pepper-spray assaults of several women, both young men actively participated in neo-Nazi forums and websites.

Key figures within the far right strategically use misogyny to radicalize incels into their movement by converting grievances over sexual frustration into racial bigotry. This strategy is evidenced by livestreamer Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist and antisemitic livestreamer. Fuentes identifies as a “proud incel” and reframes inceldom as a noble choice, suggesting that relationships with women will only distract them from the white nationalist cause.

However, nowhere is this misogyny to neo-Nazi pipeline better illustrated than with Andrew Anglin, who runs the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer. Anglin not only identifies as an incel and writes about “incel pride,” but has also referred to himself as “the self-appointed spiritual successor to Elliot Rodger.” Since 2015, Anglin has increasingly embraced misogyny to draw disaffected incels and other male supremacists into the neo-Nazi movement. He outlined this strategy in a post on the Daily Stormer: “By putting a focus on male issues, our movement is offering something to young men who are looking at their world.” He continued, “Whereas race can be an obscure concept for young Whites who haven’t been forced to deal with other races directly, and the Jewish problem can be downright esoteric, the problem of being forced into subservience to women ... is something we have all experienced as young men raised in a feminist society.”

“Incels are full of rage, and it is trivial to turn these guys into K*** [Jew] haters,” read another post on Daily Stormer. Like other white power activists, Anglin embraces incels and legitimizes their grievances before offering white supremacy as a solution to their problems.