The alleged Toronto van attacker shines light on ugly subculture.
25 Apr, 2018FORTUNE.COM
Before he allegedly drove a van into a Toronto crowd, killing 10 people and injuring more than a dozen others, Alek Minassian made a Facebook post announcing (among other things) that “The Incel Rebellion has already begun.”
It used a term that had many people scratching their heads. What was incel? And why would it incite such an act?
Incel is an abbreviation for involuntarily celibate, a community that is almost exclusively male and frustrated with its lack of sexual experience and/or activity. It’s a group that quickly veers towards misogyny, with anger focused on women as a gender. And, in some cases, that frustration and anger turn to violence, aimed at “normies” (people who have sex).
In the now-deleted post, (which the social media service confirmed to a Toronto reporter was authentic), Minassian wrote:
Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161. The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We Will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger.
That’s a lot of unfamiliar terms. Here’s a short breakdown of what he was talking about.
4chan – A notorious message-board website that started as an image-sharing hub, but quickly devolved to a haven for online trolls.
00010 – the trade number for the Canadian infantry. Minassian briefly served in the armed forces last year.
Chads and Stacys – Terms used for attractive men and women who have normal sex lives.
Elliott Rodger – In 2014, he killed six people and injured more than a dozen near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus in Isla Vista, Calif. before killing himself. He had a self-professed hatred for women and was frustrated by his own virginity. He is looked upon by the extreme corners of the incel community as a hero. The incel world has created several memes featuring him. In a video filmed before his rampage, Rodger complained about still being a virgin at 22, and described himself as a "supreme gentleman."
On top of its hatred for women, the incel community also uses plenty of racist language as well. And like many alt-right groups, it’s getting bolder. Following news that Minassian was allegedly part of the group, his hero status rose. And one user put out a call for other violent acts, ranging from acid attacks to mass rape.
Incel, while it’s a group most people aren’t familiar with, isn’t new. A Reddit group catering to the community had 40,000 users before it was banned in 2017.