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Asking Incels: An Insiders Account of the Involuntary Celibate Community

ICSVE Panel Discussion featuring

Naama Kates, Producer of Incel Podcast

Alexander Ash, Administrator of Incels.co forum

Jesse Morton, Former extremist turned CVE researcher and practitioner

David Jones, Researcher Organization for the Prevention of Violence in Canada 

& Anne Speckhard, Director ICSVE as Discussion Moderator

11:00 AM EST 

January 27, 2020  

Since May of 2020, the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) has been hosting regular virtual panel discussions focusing on trajectories in and out of militant jihadist terrorism and, more recently, taking a similar trek with those considered domestic extremists. Speakers have included prison officials and community leaders who run successful programs for preventing and countering violent extremism, former extremists, experts on race relations and many more. 

On January 27th, we held a panel discussion on the Involuntary Celibate (incel) community. 

Incels, a portmanteau of “involuntary celibates,” are primarily men who consider themselves unable to attract a romantic or sexual partner despite their desire for one. In recent years, several high-profile acts of violence linked to the incel community have been the subject of much media coverage and public speculation. Recent research has analyzed incels’ online postings and commentary, but there remains a glaring dearth of primary data collected from direct questioning of incel community members. For the last several months, ICSVE has been conducting in-depth primary research on incels, utilizing unprecedented access to the incel community provided and conducting interviews and surveys with incels themselves. 

This webinar, set to coincide with the launch of ICSVE’s first research paper on the subject, offered an insider’s look from a range of perspectives on a community that increasingly comes up in discussions on extremism. Each participant shared their insights on the community, discussed the risks associated with what is increasingly considered an extremist movement and outlined holistic solutions, from preventing and countering violent extremism interventions to counterterrorism mechanisms. First, former jihadist recruiter and now ICSVE researcher, Jesse Morton, discussed some of the research findings and set a stage for Alexander Ash, administrator of the largest online incels forum, incels.co, to discuss the community’s perspective and offer his reaction to the research findings. Then, Naama Kates, producer of the Incel podcast who has spent the last several years researching and interacting with the community, discussed her experiences as a woman learning from this community and thoughts on solutions to the underlying grievances. Mike King, researcher at the Organization for the Prevention of Violence in Vancouver, Canada then elaborated on the findings of a report he co-authored: Incels: A Background for Practitioners. Thereafter, we turned to the audience for questions and answers. 

Naama Kates is a writer, producer, and creator of “Incel,” a popular weekly podcast for Crawlspace Media. The show is a deep dive into the involuntary celibate community, and features dozens of interviews with incels, as well as researchers and practitioners in mental health, law enforcement, and security. The show has been featured in the New York Times, Vulture, NY Magazine, CTV, and News 4. Naama has a background in computer science and linguistics. 

Alexander Ash is the administrator of http://incels.co, currently the biggest incel forum on the web. The forum has remained controversial throughout the years, and it has increasingly become the focus of research by academia as interest in the community intensifies. Ash has retained a scholarly interest in incels since he became aware of the community in 2017, and has attempted to explain the incel world since to a public that tends to conflate the general incel community to incel-affiliated extremists. He is actively engaged in attempting to help the incel community deal with issues such as mental health and social isolation.”

Jesse Morton, ICSVE Senior Researcher and Practitioner, was once a jihadist propagandist (then known as Younes Abdullah Muhammad) who ran Revolution Muslim, a New York City-based organization active in the 2000s and connected to a number of terrorism cases. He connected al-Qaeda’s ideology and transformed it for America, creating English language propaganda and collaborating with the most notorious jihadist preachers of that era. Morton deradicalized in 2011, following his arrest in Casablanca and then incarceration in the U.S. Since then, he has worked to become a leading commentator and researcher on jihadist, far-right and far-left extremism and reciprocal radicalization. Before joining ICSVE, Morton ran Parallel Networks, an organization he co-founded with Mitch Silber, the former NYPD official that monitored and ultimately incarcerated him. Morton leads ICSVE/Parallel Networks’ Light Upon Light project, an off and online ecosystem of holistic programming that utilizes a unique transdisciplinary approach to combat polarization, hate and far-right, far-left jihadist extremism and targeted violence in the American ambit. 

Dave Jones is a researcher at the Organization for the Prevention of Violence in Edmonton, Alberta. In addition to conducting research on the scale and nature of extremism and hate in Alberta, he also works directly with individuals who are working to disengage from extremist and hate groups. David is also a junior research affiliate with the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security & Society (TSAS). He has presented his research before diverse audiences, including those at Canadian Joint Operations Command, the Brookings Institution, Oxford University, and the United Nations Safe Cities initiative. His research projects have been supported by the Department of National Defence, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Public Safety Canada, and TSAS.

Dr. Anne Speckhard is Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) and serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. She has interviewed over 700 terrorists, their family members and supporters in various parts of the world including in Western Europe, the Balkans, Central Asia, the Former Soviet Union and the Middle East. In the past five years years, she has interviewed 257 ISIS defectors, returnees and prisoners  as well as 16 al Shabaab cadres and their family members (n=25) as well as ideologues (n=2), studying their trajectories into and out of terrorism, their experiences inside ISIS (and al Shabaab), as well as developing the Breaking the ISIS Brand Counter Narrative Projectmaterials from these interviews which includes over 200 short counter narrative videos of terrorists denouncing their groups as un-Islamic, corrupt and brutal which have been used in over 150 Facebook and Instagram campaigns globally. She has also been training key stakeholders in law enforcement, intelligence, educators, and other countering violent extremism professionals, both locally and internationally, on the psychology of terrorism, the use of counter-narrative messaging materials produced by ICSVE as well as studying the use of children as violent actors by groups such as ISIS.  Dr. Speckhard has given consultations and police trainings to U.S., German, UK, Dutch, Austrian, Swiss, Belgian, Danish, Iraqi, Jordanian and Thai national police and security officials, among others, as well as trainings to elite hostage negotiation teams. She also consults to foreign governments on issues of terrorist prevention and interventions and repatriation and rehabilitation of ISIS foreign fighters, wives and children. In 2007, she was responsible for designing the psychological and Islamic challenge aspects of the Detainee Rehabilitation Program in Iraq to be applied to 20,000 + detainees and 800 juveniles. Her publications are found here: https://georgetown.academia.edu/AnneSpeckhardWebsite: and on the ICSVE website http://www.icsve.org Follow @AnneSpeckhard

This is the fourteenth discussion in this series of panels discussing ISIS Foreign Fighters and terrorist rehabilitation. The first panel, “Issues of ISIS Prisoners & Repatriations in a Time of COVID,” can be reviewed here. The second panel, “Can an ISIS Terrorist be Rehabilitated and Reintegrated into Society?” featuring Redouan Safdi and Moussa Al-Hassan Diaw, can be reviewed here and the report that was inspired by this panel can be found here. The third panel, “Can We Repatriate the ISIS Children?” can be reviewed here and the report that was inspired by this panel can be found here. The fourth panel, “Terrorist Rehabilitation in the Dutch Prison System,” can be reviewed here. The fifth panel, “Into and Back Out of ISIS: An ISIS Defector Speaks Out,” can be reviewed here. The sixth panel, “Fighting ISIS Online: An Introduction to Breaking the ISIS Brand,” can be viewed here. The seventh panel, “Talking Terrorist Propaganda with a Pro,” can be viewed here. The eighth panel, “Terrorism Prevention, Intervention, and Rehabilitation with Juveniles,” can be viewed here. The ninth panel, “Community-Focused Interventions Against Terrorism,” can be viewed here. The tenth panel, “Are We Losing a Valuable Feminist Project in the Middle East?” can be viewed here. The eleventh panel, “Rescue Me: A Conversation with the Yamout Sisters re Prison Rehabilitation,” can be viewed here. The twelfth panel, “ICSVE and Parallel Networks Team Up to Fight Violent Extremism,” can be viewed here. The thirteenth panel, “The Journey Back — Turning Away from Extremism and the Road to Hope and Healing,” can be found here.

Chat Log

10:50:30 From Dr. Armando  Evangelista to Everyone : Hello everyone!

10:50:48 From Kyle to Everyone : Hello

10:51:13 From Mrityunjaya Dubey to Everyone : Hello Everyone. hope you all are good and safe.

10:53:46 From Kyle – MS Homeland Sec. to Everyone : Hello Naama & Jesse

10:53:52 From Isa Haskologlu to Everyone : Thank you from the Panda :)))

10:54:37 From Mrityunjaya Dubey to Everyone : Hello Dr Anne Madam! Hope you’re and safe

10:54:49 From Mrityunjaya Dubey to Everyone : Regards

10:56:16 From Isa Haskologlu to Everyone : :))

10:56:49 From Attafi to Everyone : Hello

10:58:43 From William Costello to Everyone : Hello all. MSc student of Evolutionary 

Psychology at Brunel University London here. Doing my dissertation on the topic of incels. I wrote a provocatively titled article on the subject and appeared on a number of podcasts to discuss, including Incel with the great and the powerful Naama Kates. I’ll link here if anyone is interested to read/listen and discuss further. 

10:59:47 From William Costello to Everyone : https://linktr.ee/CostelloWilliam

11:00:29 From William Costello to Everyone : https://williamcostello.medium.com/step-your-dick-up-why-incels-deserve-better-advice-307879d7c97b

11:00:45 From Vladimir Kačanovski to Everyone : Hello to everyone from Serbia, regards Vladimir

11:00:56 From Kyle – MS Homeland Sec. to Everyone : Hello all, I’m Kyle. An MS student of Homeland Security at Sam Houston State University researching on the prevention of soft target mass murder. I have discussed with Naama Kates on r/IncelTears & other topics

11:01:30 From Lydia Amberg to Everyone : hello to everyone from Switzerland

11:02:06 From Mrityunjaya Dubey to Everyone : I am a budding researcher in the field of International Studies from Symbiosis International University India.

11:02:08 From L Blanc to Everyone : Salut!

11:02:23 From ICSVE – Molly Ellenberg to Everyone : Here is where you can find our past events: https://www.icsve.org/news/icsve-events/

11:02:24 From Sara ben abdelouahab to Everyone : Hi Everyone Nice to join you !

11:02:55 From ICSVE – Molly Ellenberg to Everyone : Here is ICSVE’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/icsve

11:10:39 From ICSVE – Molly Ellenberg to Everyone (in Waiting Room) : Here is one of our recent reports on the incel survey regarding the COVID1-9 quarantine and the Canadian government charging an incel with terrorism: https://www.icsve.org/asking-incels-part-1-assessing-the-impacts-of-covid-19-quarantine-and-coverage-of-the-canadian-terrorism-designation-on-incel-isolation-and-resentment/

]11:11:37 From ICSVE – Molly Ellenberg to Everyone (in Waiting Room) : Here is another on the same topic: https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/counterterrorism/perspective-what-incels-can-tell-us-about-isolation-resentment-and-terrorism-designations/

11:12:40 From Michael Haines to Everyone : My apologies for being late

11:13:54 From ICSVE – Anne Speckhard to Everyone : Arie Kruglanski who is present delves into the whole issue of how terrorist groups are dealing with and possibly taking advantage of covid quarantine This article explores the broader impact of COVID on terrorist activity: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/23779497.2020.1832903

11:24:15 From Michele St-Amant to Everyone : To read OPVs report on Incels, please find the link here: https://preventviolence.ca/publication/incels-for-practitioners/

11:31:27 From Figen Murray to Everyone : where can we find your podcasts

11:32:12 From ICSVE – Molly Ellenberg to Everyone : Here is a link to the Incel podcast: 

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/incel/id1469915971

11:32:27 From Figen Murray to Everyone : thank you

11:35:14 From William Costello to Everyone : Francesca Minerva has a lot of research around the area of “Lookism”. 

11:35:20 From Sam Mullins to Everyone : https://www.adl.org/blog/the-extremist-medicine-cabinet-a-guide-to-online-pills

11:35:34 From ICSVE – Anne Speckhard to Everyone : thank you Sam!

11:38:33 From Michele St-Amant to Everyone : Bumping this down here : To read OPVs report on Incels, please find the link here: https://preventviolence.ca/publication/incels-for-practitioners/

11:39:16 From Naama Kates to Everyone : here’s the link to the podcast: https://anchor.fm/incel

11:39:32 From Naama Kates to Everyone : it’s also just called “incel” and you can find it wherever you listen to podcasts

11:44:57 From Dr. Lisa McConnell to Everyone : Lack of choice? Wouldn’t all the beliefs/actions/behaviors associated with any group ultimately be a matter of choice? We choose what we believe, we choose how we act, we are not objects to be acted upon.

11:45:12 From William Costello to Everyone : Great point re the suicidality rather than violence. However I’d suggest – The identity/fraternity of the incelosphere is seductive compared to an anxiety inducing place in a ritualistically humiliating, exhausting and expensive dating market. 

11:45:30 From ICSVE – Anne Speckhard to Everyone : true Lisa although incels don’t chose their situation and their emotional responses of anger and frustration over it are understandable

11:46:11 From ICSVE – Anne Speckhard to Everyone : what they do with those emotions is a choice

11:46:45 From H. Colleen Sinclair to Everyone : And why aren’t they charged as gender-motivated hate crimes?

11:47:04 From Naama Kates to Everyone : because they rarely actually target women

11:47:08 From ICSVE – Anne Speckhard to Everyone : good question Colleen

11:47:27 From Kyle – Incel Researcher – MS Security Studies/CVE to Everyone : Their anger and frustration is more understandable. Their use of online forums help express their frustrations but suspending them by labeling it “terrorism” or “pedophilia” makes the prevention of terrorism difficult.

11:47:33 From Stefan Krakowski to Everyone : Question to Mike King; why are there so many incel cases in Canada?

11:47:36 From Naama Kates to Everyone : historically, the “incel killers” have killed random 

targets

11:47:45 From David Yuzva Clement to Everyone : Thanks for organizing this panel. My questions is whether the attempt to explain human social existence only through the lens of biological determinism, e.g. that individual and group behavior are the direct results of inborn physical characteristics, and whether this thinking is harmful because no social intervention can significantly alter human relations based on this kind of biological thinking.

Anne Speckhard after the event: Thank you David for pointing this out.  It’s one of the reasons we agreed to do this research on the incel.co forum, we believe that even given biological problems that incels do not have to be hopeless, despairing and therefore angered over their situation.  There are ways to cope and we should be looking for useful and creative solutions.

11:47:48 From Jessica Stern to Everyone : I agree with Lisa McConnell.  It’s a community that people choose to join.  Not every man who is short or not in the top 5 percent of looks joins an incel community because he cannot find a partner

11:48:20 From ICSVE – Anne Speckhard to Everyone : then the question is, is the community good for those who join or does it enhance their anger or hate?

11:48:59 From H. Colleen Sinclair to Everyone : A lot of the instances described just now targeted women.  And the report online indicates that they primarily target women and sometimes couples.  And that they are driven by misogyny. Seems like a bias crime to me.

11:50:33 From Naama Kates to Everyone : You’re right Colleen, and I think those should be, rather than Terrorism. but the most well known cases up to know (Elliott Rodger, Alek Minassian, Chris Harper Mercer) just killed random people.

11:51:04 From Sally Siner to Everyone : Did they? 

11:51:22 From Sally Siner to Everyone : I thought they targeted women and maybe a few men got in the way?

11:51:33 From Emily Thompson to Everyone : Didn’t Elliot Roger start by targeting a sorority?

11:51:46 From Naama Kates to Everyone : not entirely, two of them did the attacks at their universities

11:51:52 From ICSVE – Anne Speckhard to Everyone : those who are shut out of “partnering” can feel deep angst seeing those who are in couples

11:52:15 From Kyle – Incel Researcher – MS Security Studies/CVE to Everyone : If they feel ostracized, then it is good but if one incel joined the community by knowing about it beforehand as a way to try convince others to his side, ideas, and so forth.

11:52:34 From Naama Kates to Everyone : He wrote that he planned to in his manifesto but did not end up doing so, he stabbed two roommates and then continued his shooting on the street.

11:53:00 From Naama Kates to Everyone : Sorry for the gruesome details everyone, I meant to send that in PM!

11:53:31 From Sally Siner to Everyone : Minassian definitely killed mostly women – we can’t pretend this isn’t the point with violent extremist incels.

11:53:38 From ICSVE – Anne Speckhard to Everyone : no problem Naama, most here are used to discussing attacks 🙂

11:53:40 From Emily Thompson to Everyone : I believe he went to the house, and they didn’t answer the door? so his intent was to target them first?

11:53:51 From Kyle – Incel Researcher – MS Security Studies/CVE to Everyone : His Roommates were Asian and that is one of the community agreed reasons of why the Incel Community agreed that Elliot Rodger is not an incel.

11:54:26 From Naama Kates to Everyone : Minassian couldn’t possibly have targeted women, it was a vehicle ramming attack. The incel uprising is about killing the “normies” too.

11:54:38 From Sara ben abdelouahab to Everyone : Elliot Rodger targeted women. He was very sexually frustrated.

11:54:40 From ICSVE – Anne Speckhard to Everyone : Hmm, some incels refer to Rodger’s act saying “Go Elliot!” as in cheering him on, or cheering for copycatting

11:54:43 From Madison Reid to Everyone : he killed only two men

11:55:13 From Sara ben abdelouahab to Everyone : he also discussed and expressed this in length in his published manifesto  entitled « my twists world », others were inspired by him…

11:55:17 From Madison Reid to Everyone : that’s just poor targeting given the weapon being a van, he admitted he was targeting women specifically

11:55:21 From William Costello to Everyone : How representative is the violence of the online incel community? Also how representative of incels (by circumstance rather than identity) is the online ‘shitposting’. 

11:55:21 From Naama Kates to Everyone : Well that would have been excellent planning if he made that happen through sheer will.

11:55:48 From Sally Siner to Everyone : Naama there have been many targeted attacks in the UK and beyond using vehicles as a weapon.

11:56:36 From Kyle – Incel Researcher – MS Security Studies/CVE to Everyone : Elliot Rodger murdered his asian roommates before marching onward to carry out his planned mass murder.

11:56:45 From Naama Kates to Everyone : I understand Sally and I’m not disagreeing it is a misogynistic group. just explaining why some of these attacks were not considered gendered violence.

11:56:48 From Placido (Dino) Silipigni to Everyone : very interesting and new for me. Unfortunately I have to go but look forward to watching the remaining part in the recording that will be available online.

11:57:49 From Sara ben abdelouahab to Everyone : He told the police his roommates weren’t supposed to be present ? or so I read. but his rampage mainly targeted women in my understanding. Still not representative of all in my op.

11:58:53 From Madison Reid to Everyone : his manifesto stated that his roommates were targeted because they knew his “shame” in never having a woman into the flat.

11:59:01 From Kyle – Incel Researcher – MS Security Studies/CVE to Everyone : Prior to his planned murder spree, on his manifesto he planned to kill both his step brother and step mother but couldn’t fathom the idea of murderring his father.

11:59:45 From William Costello to Everyone : When the most extreme examples of a community are used as representative we rightly call this prejudice but society, media in particular, do this all the time with incels.

12:00:04 From Sara ben abdelouahab to Everyone : Indeed kyle. He was very resentful, and in other words felt very « hurt » and betrayed.

12:00:17 From Kyle – Incel Researcher – MS Security Studies/CVE to Everyone : Not only just the media but the online Reddit community, r/IncelTears

12:00:31 From ICSVE – Anne Speckhard to Everyone : True William although we have seen this will all terrorism conflating that Muslims are dangerous for instance

12:01:37 From CD to Everyone : As I’m listening to this session, I can’t help but think whether this is normalizing/excusing/attempting to normalize violent and discriminatory behaviour.

Anne Speckhard after the event: Thank you CD for your comment.  We must keep in mind we can’t deal with violent and discriminatory behavior if we don’t take the care, compassion and time to try to understand it.  Doesn’t mean we sanction it, not at all.

12:02:05 From Sally Siner to Everyone : Question for Alexander – what percentage of people on the forum identify as women?

12:02:34 From William Costello to Everyone : consider the sheer numbers of incels (by identity and just by circumstance) and how much this has grown in the last 3 decades. 

12:02:38 From Kyle – Incel Researcher – MS Security Studies/CVE to Everyone : Several users on r/IncelTear have in fact broken many of Reddit’s terms of service & code of conduct rules and a few have been suspended over using CP (Child porn) by spamming incel subs with CP and using alt accounts to vote & comment manipulate

12:02:42 From Jillian Hunchak to Everyone : CD, I think this goes back to recognizing the difference between empathy/understanding and sympathy.

12:02:44 From Sara ben abdelouahab to Everyone : What is the forum please?

12:02:52 From ICSVE – Anne Speckhard to Everyone : incels.co

12:02:57 From William Costello to Everyone : I think people rightly rail against the Muslim community being defined by the actions of a tiny minority within their community. 

Anne Speckhard after the event:  Hmm not sure if you meant to write this, but that seems like a very Islamophobic comment?? Did you mean rightly or mightily??

12:03:11 From Naama Kates to Everyone : CD, I understand your feeling and frustration, but I guess our main point is that out of a very large group very few have been violent, so there’s more to understand about it than that, especially if we want to prevent the violence.

12:03:50 From Kyle – Incel Researcher – MS Security Studies/CVE to Everyone : Alex, you have a splinter group called Non-cucks United. An Incels.co splinter group

12:03:58 From CD to Everyone : Violence is not the only thing that’s harmful. There is intentional and unintentional harm that can be caused beyond and prior to acts of violence.

12:04:01 From Kyle – Incel Researcher – MS Security Studies/CVE to Everyone : I do have a snapshot of the forum.

12:04:29 From Luc Taperell to Everyone : What is the relationship between Autism Spectrum conditions and Incel ideology? Is there a correlation of people in this community who also have an ASD diagnosis or is this a misnomer?

12:04:42 From Naama Kates to Everyone : HUGE correlation Luc, great question

12:05:25 From Humera Khan to Everyone : What about echo chambers/bubbles that form around venting?

Anne Speckhard after the event: Thank you Humera.  This is an issue we are exploring in yet another deep dive into data from the forum.  Results coming soon!

12:05:27 From Naama Kates to Everyone : ~20% of the community reports a formal diagnosis of ASD, which is staggering, and many more believe they are undiagnosed on the spectrum

12:05:32 From CD to Everyone : Yes Jillian, but I do wonder why this group receives empathy and sympathy when others do not. For example, look at how BLM is regarded in society without killing people and incel in comparison.

12:06:00 From Dr. Lisa McConnell to Everyone : Incels feel powerless -there may be many elements of life in which they have no control. It seems they are looking for acceptance, a place for expressing frustration, etc. What might result (especially if one is seeking a solution, such as finding a partner) if a change of question about the presenting problem was offered? If the focus and narrative associated with the stated problem are the real problem – does the forum offer critical thinking or alternatives to the views/understandings/prevailing narratives?

Anne Speckhard after the event: Great question Lisa, something we are exploring in a newer data set just collected.

12:06:14 From Naama Kates to Everyone : CD, I don’t believe they generally receive empathy from society!

12:06:17 From Sara ben abdelouahab to Everyone : Would you say that the incel community shares exclusive similarities to other extremist movements to recruit; attract and radicalize further adherents?

Anne Speckhard after the event: Keep in mind please that as Mike King pointed out that incel is an involuntary designation, one that many would gladly shed if they felt able to, so they don’t join this designation, although they do join forums and it seems some at least engage in groupthink.

12:06:27 From William Costello to Everyone : The term incel is becoming bastardised in online discourse. It serves as a mere insult in some circles. 

12:07:18 From Kyle – Incel Researcher – MS Security Studies/CVE to Everyone : I agree William. IncelTear have done that damage and still do unfortu

12:07:21 From Naama Kates to Everyone : Sara I don’t believe they recruit at all. I believe some of the content radicalizes. There are some nefarious actors who recruit FROM incel spaces into other fringe groups.

12:07:49 From Kyle – Incel Researcher – MS Security Studies/CVE to Everyone : Nefarious actors: Nathan Daniel Larson

12:07:49 From Jillian Hunchak to Everyone : CD I understand your point, but I don’t think that’s a fair comparison – those are vastly different groups. However, whenever we’re faced with an ideology that causes controversy we need to work to understand it. That’s not the same as condoning it. 

12:08:00 From William Costello to Everyone : My article centres around the ways in which much of the dating advice to incels is insufficient and in many cases demeaning. https://williamcostello.medium.com/step-your-dick-up-why-incels-deserve-better-advice-307879d7c97b

Anne Speckhard after the event: Thank you William, that’s an important point.  Incels who have gone to psychologists are often angry over the failure in their minds of their helpers to understand the psychosocial realities they face, things that they have personally little control over, like living in a lookist society and where a lot of dating begins with online apps. 

12:08:26 From Naama Kates to Everyone : Well put Jillian, thank you.

12:08:50 From Victoria to Everyone : Is there any culture (or threads in the forum) about discourses of self-improvement? Is there any encouragement of self-reflection as to what they can realistically do to improve themselves?

Anne Speckhard after the event: Alex didn’t have time to address this but he’s started another forum on self improvement although it focuses on getting in shape and potentially turning to surgical fixes, so appearance based.

12:08:52 From L Blanc to Everyone : Is Incel mainly  a Western phenomena?

12:09:49 From Sara ben abdelouahab to Everyone : I did a bit of research and it included repeated discourses  of manhood, the one, anti-feminism, and misogyny , return to traditional values… etc. can this be considered representative of the incel movement disregarding violent or non-violent tendencies of these individuals. 

12:10:15 From Naama Kates to Everyone : L Blanc, yes, overwhelmingly

12:11:03 From William Costello to Everyone : That’s interesting Victoria. However, much of male self improvement gets labelled as misogynistic, especially if it is with the specific goal of attracting women. Even Barack Obama got criticism for saying he read specific books to try to attract women.  

12:11:04 From Molly Ornati to Everyone : My son is an Incel and expresses very conservative values that he didn’t learn at home.  He talks about hierarchy, that women are in control, anti-abortion, etc.  All of this has made him less interested in meeting someone and made him more isolated. How can I connect with him and stop his growing isolation?

Anne Speckhard after the event: Molly I’m sorry you are facing this. You can reach out to Naama or any of us at ICSVE, via [email protected] and we are ready to help if we can.

12:11:42 From CD to Everyone : This session can cause unintentional harm. Some of what is being shared isn’t informed by facts or evidence and giving a platform to embolden that rhetoric is not helpful. Will there be an evaluation circulated afterward to provide more details?

Anne Speckhard after the event: We have put evidenced based research on our website and in the chat so there are many facts being discussed, but to understand the rhetoric we need to be able to name and discuss it!

12:12:02 From L Blanc to Everyone : Thank you Naama – the reason I asked is because different cultures have different concepts of physical attractiveness

12:12:27 From Dr. Lisa McConnell to Everyone : Sure. Does the website offer a space for dialogue?

12:12:40 From CD to Everyone : Of course, Jillian, but how we talk about it matters too.

12:13:16 From Jillian Hunchak to Everyone : Of course, I agree 

12:13:35 From Dr. Lisa McConnell to Everyone : Exactly.

12:14:12 From ICSVE – Anne Speckhard to Everyone : CD we have two papers on incels on our website that are carefully thought out and more coming up.

12:14:13 From L Blanc to Everyone : Against which concept do Incels measure themselves?

12:14:40 From Vanja Zdjelar to Everyone : In previous membership surveys that were posted on incels.co I’ve noticed a very large group of teenage/youth men. Particularly men between 

15-22. To what extent is rejection in these years maybe a normal experience of being a youth that would change over time? – this is open to anyone to answer.

12:14:46 From William Costello to Everyone : Very black and white thinking. If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything you see is a nail. Many incels see everything as worldview affirming, in my experience. Similarly to how many feminists see everything as evidence of a patriarchy. 

12:14:52 From Vanja Zdjelar to Everyone : Oh it seems like this is being answered right now!

12:15:20 From Dr. Lisa McConnell to Everyone : I like that – suggesting ideas for coping would be amazing – and very helpful, I would think.

12:16:07 From Dr. Lisa McConnell to Everyone : EXACTLY

12:16:07 From Sally Siner to Everyone : Insulting to compare feminism to incel ideology to me.

Anne Speckhard after the event: Yes we need to ask in that case if patriarchy is real, which most would agree it is, and if the obstacles incels face are real or simply perceived.

12:16:23 From Kyle – Incel Researcher – MS Security Studies/CVE to Everyone : They measure themselves by the attractiveness scale with an black & white thinking. For example, if you’re 5’ 3” with glasses, and have Autism you’re therefor incel automatically

12:17:07 From Victoria to Everyone : I work on CVE for Islamist radicalization and there’s recently been a recognition of the importance of family support in deradicalization processes. What can families do to help their loved ones who are angry about their incel self-identification?

12:17:36 From Khawla’s iPhone to Everyone : I never heard about incel in Arab countries

Anne Speckhard after the event: In talking with Alex for a long time pre-event he pointed out to me that incels feel that with the breakdown of traditional society and feminism that males are finding it harder to find romantic partners.  I would think then that in traditional societies where marriages are arranged and sexual promiscuity is not openly allowed prior to marriage and marriages are not delayed for decades after coming into puberty we may see far less frustration of this type. However I can say I’ve talked to Jordanians who were very frustrated with not being able to get married due to economic reasons, and heard from ISIS members that Tunisians were often attracted to ISIS for that very reason–believing they could finally marry with the help of ISIS!

12:17:42 From Dr. Lisa McConnell to Everyone : I think simply creating that moment of question – cognitive dissonance – enables change. One you have the idea, it’s in there somewhere. It may take time to reach full development, but the value in suggesting another perspective, idea, understanding, etc., causes a broad ripple effect.

12:18:39 From Michael Haines to Everyone : well said Jesse

12:18:42 From Naama Kates to Everyone : Yes, Lisa, exactly. And I think this is a population that can be open to that. That’s why we start with empathy and an open mind.

12:19:17 From Kyle – Incel Researcher – MS Security Studies/CVE to Everyone : Or another if you’re 6’ 3” with glasses and have autism, you’re “chad” because of height. Incels have that way of beliefs and get upset whenever they see someone who they believe (assume) to be incel holding hands with a young woman.

Anne Speckhard after the event: I’d point out here that incels have a specific vocabulary in which a Chad is defined broadly as an attractive man who gets alot of women. He’s resented of course by this group.

12:19:55 From William Costello to Everyone : Excellent points Jesse. 

12:19:58 From L Blanc to Everyone : So, fundamentally, it’s a perception of being unattractive, not actual…

12:20:10 From Kyle – Incel Researcher – MS Security Studies/CVE to Everyone : So they’ll rationalize that one “incel” is being used or have become “Beta-buxxed”.

12:20:16 From Naama Kates to Everyone : beautifully said, Jesse

12:20:35 From Humera Khan to Everyone : thank you Jesse

12:21:02 From Sara ben abdelouahab to Everyone : Very well spoken Jesse Thank you for sharing.

12:21:21 From Jessica Stern to Everyone : I want to join the chorus appreciating Jesse’s comments on cognitive bias

12:22:59 From Kyle – Incel Researcher – MS Security Studies/CVE to Everyone : Thank you, Jesse. Very well said.

12:23:29 From William Costello to Everyone : Would love to stay in touch with many of you on Twitter and continue the discussion. My MSc dissertation will be on the topic of incels and I have a number of articles/podcasts that explore many of the questions that have come up in the chat. 

12:23:36 From William Costello to Everyone : @CostelloWilliam is me

12:23:53 From Alexander Ash to Everyone : Thank you everyone for being here.

12:23:53 From Khawla’s iPhone to Everyone : Thank you so much for this great event that gives me a good understanding about incels

12:24:07 From Molly Ornati to Everyone : Thank you all so much.

12:24:08 From ICSVE – Anne Speckhard to Everyone : William we look forward to that

12:24:20 From William Costello to Everyone : Here is a link to my article that will form the basis of my dissertation. https://williamcostello.medium.com/step-your-dick-up-why-incels-deserve-better-advice-307879d7c97b

12:24:34 From Sara ben abdelouahab to Everyone : Thank you!  This has Expanded my limited understanding of incels

12:24:47 From William Costello to Everyone : and here are some links to podcasts/presentations on the topic. https://linktr.ee/CostelloWilliam

12:25:12 From William Costello to Everyone : Thanks Alex. Cogent as always. 

12:25:29 From Michael Haines to Everyone : Thanks to all our speakers I learned a lot today

12:25:31 From L Blanc to Everyone : TV, MOVIES AND ADVERTS shape perception self..

12:26:39 From Figen Murray to Everyone : so important to be open minded. I knew nothing about Incel community and will definitely listen to podcast.

12:26:51 From Michael Haines to Everyone : same here

12:27:03 From Figen Murray to Everyone : brilliant session again. thank you to all the speakers.

12:27:24 From Jillian Hunchak to Everyone : Thank you very much to all the speakers, this was hugely informative! 

12:27:32 From OMAR SHARIFF to Everyone : thank you all – Anne, Molly

12:27:55 From Michael Haines to Everyone : well said again Jesse

12:27:56 From Farzana Islam to Everyone : Very interesting discussion. Thanks Anne for organising – and Jesse and Alexander

12:28:00 From iPhone to Everyone : thanks

12:28:02 From H Clayden to Everyone : Thank you to all the speakers 🙂 Naama, your podcast is fascinating and being listened to here in New Zealand 🙂

12:28:04 From L Blanc to Everyone : Excellente

12:28:17 From David Lanigan to Everyone : Thank you to all speakers.

12:28:19 From haisam to Everyone : Well said, thanks to all for a great session as well Anne !

12:28:33 From Ann-Kathrin Thießen (sie/she) to Everyone : Thank you so much for this. Again, very informative! Best from Germany

12:28:34 From William Costello to Everyone : I will read and likely cite your papers 🙂

Anne Speckhard after the event:  Thanks to our very informative speakers for sharing, particularly Alex for coming out in public to discuss the forum and to everyone for attending and taking part in the lively chat discussion throughout 🙂  See you all next time!

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