Connect with us

Latest News

Don’t let ‘incel’ misogynists like the Toronto killer tell you they’re special — I was a virgin until I was 27

Published

on

Get the Think newsletter.

The man who murdered ten people in Toronto with a van was, like the 2014 Isla Vista killer, considered themselves “incels,” or involuntary celibates. Incels are men who blame the world, and especially women, for the fact that they are virgins, or aren’t having sex as often as they want. They see women as manipulators who choose powerful but shallow men, and unfairly ignore and even torment good guys like themselves. Resentment becomes an excuse for misogyny, and sometimes, for violence.

In the aftermath of the Toronto massacre, some people were quick to use the killer’s celibacy as an insult. As just one example, a New Statesman piece referred to the killer as “pathetic” and noted that there was an “inclination to dismiss these men as sad losers dwelling in their parents’ basements.” This fits a common pattern with men like this. Violent incels are portrayed as radicalized sad sacks, or as failures who have weaponized their own inadequacy.

But there are two problems with portraying incels as outcasts or failures. First, it mirrors their own rhetoric, and their own view of themselves. Secondly, it makes incels appear unusual or special.

There are two problems with portraying incels as outcasts or failures. First, it mirrors their own rhetoric, and their own view of themselves. Secondly, it makes incels appear unusual or special.

The truth is more unsettling. Incels are, in many respects, fulfilling gender norms. They haven’t failed to be men. And when they embrace misogyny and violence, they become exactly what we expect men to be.

Incels see themselves as being unusually unhappy or hard done by. But perceiving oneself as a sexual failure is common for people of every gender. I certainly did. I was a virgin until I was 27. I wasn’t saving myself for marriage; I was just bad at dating, somewhat unlucky and shy. My (now) wife, was, thankfully, very determined and refused to let a little shyness stop her.

Looking back now, it’s easy to be flip. But 20 years ago, my virginity was a source of substantial anxiety, unhappiness and self-loathing. Young men are supposed to have a lot of sex. And if you’re not having a lot of sex, you’re supposedly contemptible. I had good friends, and was not especially miserable on other fronts. But I was not having a lot of sex, and, as a result, I felt ugly and broken a good portion of the time.

20 years ago, my virginity was a source of substantial anxiety, unhappiness and self-loathing. I was not having a lot of sex, and, as a result, I felt ugly and broken a good portion of the time.

The cultural pressures are everywhere, for both men and women. Sex is presented, in movies, films and advertising, as so central to the human experience that it goes without saying that anyone who isn’t sexually active must be miserable. But I don’t think my misery was because of some sort of biological imperative. Like most people, of every gender, I had figured out by my twenties that you can orgasm without the help of other people. And, as I mentioned, I had plenty of close and meaningful friendships. My feelings of worthlessness were learned.

But again, that feeling of worthlessness wasn’t odd or strange. For that matter, people of every gender can feel that they’re not performing their gender correctly. Normative standards for gender expression are designed to make people feel like they are abnormal if they don’t conform. I had friends who were dating when I wasn’t, and many of them (men and women) were also unhappy. Many of them felt like they were not doing it right (whatever “it” might be.)

Incels think they’re uniquely oppressed by gender expectations. But the truth is, gender expectations feel constricting and painful for everyone. Not least for people who aren’t straight cisgender men.

Image: Alek Minassian Toronto van attack
Police are seen near a damaged van after a van mounted a sidewalk crashing into pedestrians in Toronto on April 23, 2018.Aaron Vincent Elkaim / The Canadian Press via AP

But while gender roles don’t hurt straight men more than anyone else, the discomfort of straight men is an especially powerful lever. A patriarchy needs a way to call men to their masculinity. A society in which men dominate needs to get men to do the work of domination.

Men are born into patriarchy, but if patriarchy is going to perpetuate itself, men need to assent to it and work to maintain it. Patriarchy attracts men in part through material rewards, like higher pay or better jobs. But anxiety is also a powerful motivator. Men learn that they aren’t real men unless they sleep with (the right) women. They learn that real men are entitled to women. Women become a status symbol; a thing to assert a man’s own manliness. And since men also are supposed to assert their masculinity through violence, the results are predictable.

None of this absolves misogynist murderers. It simply means that their murders are acts of deliberate terror. Patriarchy is maintained in part through the ongoing threat of violence against women who aren’t sufficiently deferential. That violence takes lots of forms, from misogynist comments to street harassment to domestic violence. The violent attacks by incels are less frequent, but still part of the pattern.

Incels have deliberately adopted an oppositional identity. It’s tempting to take them at their word, and link their sexual failure to their evil. But there’s nothing wrong with living in your parents’ basement.

Incels have deliberately adopted an oppositional identity. It’s tempting to take them at their word, and link their sexual failure to their evil. But there’s nothing wrong with living in your parents’ basement — whether you’re a man or a woman. And no matter what your gender identity is, there’s nothing wrong with not having sex in your 20s or 30s — or never having sex at all.

What’s wrong is a culture which tells men they’re entitled to all the power and tells women they’re not entitled to much of anything — not even sadness or angst. Part of the incel narrative, after all, is the idea that men are the real victims.

Ultimately, the incel movement’s hatred is banal, not deviant. Shame and misogyny are familiar motives far beyond one particularly poisonous internet clubhouse. It would be nice to be able to say that incels are as isolated and shunned as they claim. But they’re not.

Noah Berlatsky is a freelance writer. He edits the online comics-and-culture website The Hooded Utilitarian and is the author of the book “Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics, 1941-1948.”

Source link

Latest News

Nice terror suspect and second victim named – as man with links to attacker arrested | World News

Published

on

The Nice attacker who killed three worshippers in a church has been identified – and a second victim has been named.

Police sources said Thursday’s terror suspect – 21-year-old Tunisian Brahim Aouissaoui – arrived in Europe by boat last month and was unknown to security services.

A judicial source told Reuters news agency on Friday a 47-year-old man was detained late last night on suspicion of having been in contact with Aouissaoui, confirming an earlier report on BFM TV.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Shots fired as police storm church

It comes as France’s interior minister warned further attacks are likely on French soil while the country is engaged in a “war against Islamist ideology”.

“We are in a war against an enemy that is both inside and outside,” Gerald Darmanin told RTL radio.

“We need to understand that there have been and there will be other events such as these terrible attacks.”

After reaching the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa on 20 September, Aouissaoui entered France, travelling through the southern Italian city of Bari on 9 October.

He arrived in Nice by train yesterday morning and changed his clothes at the station, before walking 400m to the Notre Dame church where he killed a 60-year-old woman and 55-year-old church worker Vincent Loques, a father-of-two.

She and Mr Loques died at the scene, while a 44-year-old Brazilian-born woman made it out of the church to a nearby cafe and raised the alarm before dying from her wounds.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Aftermath of ‘knife attack’ near French church

Simone Barreto Silva had lived in France for 30 years and had three children, according to Brazilian media reports, which said although being a trained cook she was a care worker who looked after the elderly.

The mayor of her home city of Salvador, the capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia, paid tribute to her in a tweet, saying she was born in Lobato, a suburb of the city.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Prosecutor details Nice attack timeline

France’s chief anti-terrorist prosecutor, Jean-Francois Ricard, said after the attack at the church, the suspect moved towards police in a “threatening way”, shouting “Allahu Akbar” [God is greatest] before being shot and seriously wounded by officers, who fired at least 14 bullets at him.

He remains in a critical condition in hospital.

The suspect had with him an Italian Red Cross identity document, a Koran and two phones, while a bag containing two unused knives was also found.

The blade used in the attack was 30cm long, with a cutting edge of 17cm.

:: Subscribe to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

Witnesses described hearing “screams” after the attack and being told to run away quickly by police at the scene.

President Emmanuel Macron, who visited Nice on Thursday afternoon, said his country was “under attack” and expressed the “support of France towards the Catholic community”.

He added that the number of soldiers deployed to protect schools and religious sites would be increased from about 3,000 at the moment to 7,000.

It comes as the country remains under high alert for terrorist attacks following the beheading earlier this month of French middle school teacher Samuel Paty in Paris.

Source link

Continue Reading

Latest News

US election 2020: Rival Trump and Biden supporters hurl insults at each other outside rally – some resort to spitting | US News

Published

on

In the tightly contested state of Florida, emotions are running high.

Outside a Joe Biden rally in Tampa, small but vocal groups of Democrats and Republicans are facing off.

“Why are you so dumb?” a Biden supporter shouts out of his car window, with an equally furious Trump fan yelling back.

Outside a Joe Biden rally in Tampa, small but vocal groups of Democrats and Republicans faced off
Image:
Outside a Joe Biden rally in Tampa, small but vocal groups of Democrats and Republicans faced off

On Thursday, both presidential candidates went head to head at rallies in the US – and so too did some of their supporters.

Separate tribes line either side of a busy highway, each armed with brightly coloured opposing banners backing their man.

“Vote for Trump like true Americans. You want socialism move to Cuba,” a heavily tattooed biker named Ghost shouts to the chorus of beeping trucks.

“We’ve been getting middle fingers showed at us [by Democrats] for the past hour and a half that we have been here,” he tells me.

He’s passionate and angry – saying he’s voting Republican for the first time to protect his children’s futures.

A towering figure with huge muscles, he’s an imposing sight.

Ghost says he's voting Republican for the first time to protect his children's futures.
Image:
Ghost says he’s voting Republican for the first time to protect his children’s futures.

He disputes that he could be accused of being intimidating, saying everyone has the right to choose who they vote for.

And he claimed that, when Biden supporters showed up at Donald Trump’s rally earlier in the day, no one abused them.

In fact, we saw a Democratic voter being heckled that morning, and Trump fans are definitely unwelcome guests at the evening’s Biden rally.

We watch as one man leans into Democrats’ cars to question them.

Eventually, aggregation sparks confrontation and a driver spits at him.

“He kept coming in our car. We told him not to, we had to do something to get him away,” Dee and driver Phil say as another argument breaks out in the background.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

What if the US election result is contested?

“My president is a racist,” one man shouts.

“Trump is not a racist,” someone chants back.

The polls in Florida are uncomfortably close and divisions are deepening.

“This is not going to be the worst,” warns Phil.

“When Biden wins next week, Trump’s going to say that it’s rigged and he’s going to tell all his people with guns to go out and start protecting their liberties,” Dee claims.

If there was any doubt about just how bitter this election fight has become, this teatime showdown makes it brutally clear.

There are just a few days to go until the election and in a battle this tight, tensions are growing.

Source link

Continue Reading

Latest News

New Zealand votes to legalise euthanasia – but not marijuana | World News

Published

on

New Zealand has voted to legalise euthanasia, but looks set to reject a legal bid to allow the recreational use of marijuana.

Two referendums took place at the same time as the general election that saw Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern win a second term this month.

The first vote on assisted dying has already secured enough “yes” ballots – 65.2% – to become law, meaning New Zealand will become the seventh country in the world to legalise euthanasia.

But with almost half a million postal votes yet to be counted, 53.1% of New Zealanders have voted against joining Canada and Uruguay in making cannabis legal, the electoral commission said on Friday.

As a result of the vote on assisted dying, from November 2021, terminally ill patients with less than six months to live will be allowed to arrange their own death.

They must be 18 and have the approval of two doctors, newly passed legislation states.

The final results of both referendums will be announced on 6 November.

In 2017, Ms Ardern supported a referendum on cannabis in order to form a coalition government.

She refused to say which way she would vote, until Friday when her spokesman said she supported both referendums.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending