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The Link Between 'Incels', 'NeoNazis' and Extreme Misogyny

Updated: Feb 22

The rise of white supremecist literature has coincided with an increase in the number of self-proclaimed 'incels'. This term is used to describe a subculture of men who are unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one and often promote misogyny, racism and violence against women.

The online world has given rise to several subcultures that promote misogyny, racism, sexism, and other forms of hate. In recent years, economic dissatisfaction in white majority middle America and the rise of African immigrant fleeing economic destitution in their home country has led to a rise in extremist online subcultures in the western world.

Two such movements are the "neonazi" and "incel" groups. While on the outset, these two groups seem different they share many commonalities and often have overlapping membership. Consistent in both, however, is the promotion of hate and violence against marginalized groups, particularly women and people of color.

While the "neonazi" and "incel" movements may seem distinct, there is significant overlap between the two groups. Both groups tend to be majority white cis-heterosexual males. Many sources describe incels as predominantly white. Sociologist Ross Haenfler was quoted in The Washington Post describing them as primarily white. Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center echoed this to NBC News, saying they are "young, frustrated white males in their late teens into their early twenties who are having a hard time adjusting to adulthood".

While 'neonazi' groups focus primarily on race and 'incel' groups on misogyny, both promote hate and violence towards women and minorities, with white men seen as the ultimate victim of societal change.

These movements has gained a following on online forums such as Reddit, 4chan, Telegram and and participants are often members of both communities. Members of both, often hold misogynistic and hateful views towards women, whom they blame for their perceived lack of success in romantic relationships.

The "neonazi" and "incel" movements have been noted to be not mutually exclusive. Extreme hatred towards women is often expressed in violent and dehumanizing terms, with some members of the "incel" movement advocating for rape and violence against women. For example, in 2014, a self-identified "incel" named Elliot Rodger killed six people and injured 14 others in a shooting spree in Isla Vista, California, before taking his own life (The Washington Post).

After an analysis of his social media activity it was discovered that he espoused extreme views particularly towards Asian men in relationships with white women. During his shooting spree he intentionally targeted AMWF (Asian male-White Female) couples on the basis of their race and regularly espoused white nationalist views on social media

"...During [Elliot Rodgers] shooting spree he intentionally targeted AMWF (Asian male-White Female) couples on the basis of their race and regularly espoused white nationalist views..."

Above: Infamous mass murderer Elliot Rodger

Similarly, the 2018 Toronto van attack was carried out by Alek Minassian, who identified as an "incel." Minassian drove a van into a crowd of people, killing 10 and injuring 16. In a Facebook post before the attack, Minassian praised Elliot Rodger (CBC News).

It is important that individuals from both subcultures be strictly monitored for potentially violent activity. For the first time, 'incels' have even been included in the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Terrorist watch" because of its noted similarities with white nationalist movements. At the time of publishing for this article, approximately 1000 people have lost their lives to crimes committed by these two groups. Below are some of the faces of those who lives were cut short by their hatred.

Above, listed from left to right and top to bottom are the victims of the Isla Vista Massacre: Katherine Cooper, Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, Veronika Weiss, George Chen, Cheng Yuan Hong and Weihan Wang


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