Alek Minassian, the van driver accused of killing 10 people in Toronto on Monday, left a post on Facebook shortly before beginning his rampage. According to Canadian authorities, the 25-year-old spoke of an "incel rebellion" and praised Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old shooter who killed six people in California in 2014 and was a self-described "incel".
On Tuesday, Minassian was charged with 10 counts of murder and 13 counts of attempted murder; the majority of his victims were women. "The Incel Rebellion has already begun!" Minassian wrote. "We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!"
If you haven't heard the term before, here's everything you need to know about incel groups.
What does incel mean?
The term is a portmanteau of the words "involuntary celibate" and is used by an online community of misogynists to describe themselves. An "incel" is someone who can't have sex, date or build relationships with women, despite wanting to, and blames women for denying them their "right" to sex.
The term was widely used in a now-banned Reddit group where men, including Elliot Rodger, would leave misogynistic posts. Despite the original 40k-strong subreddit community being banned in November for hateful and violent speech, incels are still rife on the internet, including on 4chan, the anonymous message board responsible for leaking celebrities' private photos in 2014.
The word "incel" was, however, originally created more than two decades ago by a Canadian woman named Alana, who intended it to refer to a community of lonely people unable to find sexual partners. She has since said the term has been hijacked "as a weapon of war" by men.
What do incels believe?
Self-described incels see themselves as victims wronged by women, who they accuse of denying them sexual intercourse, and as lacking influence in the dating market. The most extreme incels support rape and other modes of violence against women.
The community grew out of the pickup artist (PUA) movement, which advocates manipulative strategies to pick up women, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center in the US, which tracks hate speech. However, many incels reject the link to PUAs as they claim the latter is too humanising of women, the New York Times reports.
Incels also share ideological similarities with the Men's Rights Movement, a group of men who believe that feminism and other social justice movements have led to the oppression of men, although incels focus solely on sex.
What is an "incel rebellion"?
Minassian warned of an "incel rebellion" on Facebook. The term refers to an uprising of incels that would result in the overthrowing of oppressive feminism, reports the NYT.
Who are "Chads and Stacys"?
Minassian wrote of "overthrow[ing] all the Chads and Stacys" in his Facebook post. Among the incel community, "Chads" is used to refer to men who are successful with women, while "Stacys" refers to the women who reject incels.
Other terms used by incels (on forums such as incels.me) include "truecel", referring to someone who has never had sex or been in a relationship, despite trying; "mentalcel", someone whose mental health or insecurities has contributed to their inability to have sex or a relationship; "volcel", someone who is voluntarily abstinent for whatever reason; and "fakecel", someone who falsely claims to be an incel but has had sex or been in a relationship.
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