‘Women get away with the consequences of their actions with a pussy pass’: incel’s justifications for misogyny

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Incels (involuntary celibates) have been the subject of increased media, security and academic attention due to their association with mass murder and violent attacks. However, they have largely been othered as an extreme online subculture with novel misogynistic values distinct from wider society. Although the hatred of women espoused by incels appears highly exaggerated, dismissing their beliefs as idiosyncratic overlooks how they are provided credence by more acceptable and normalised forms of misogyny and anti-progressive heteropatriarchy support. This chapter reports on a study which employed an ethnographic approach involving non-participant observation and thematic analysis of publicly available incel discussions, videos and comments on social media platforms, and interviews with self-identified incels, to understand the influence and philosophy of incels from a criminological gendered perspective. Insight is provided into their justifications for hating women structured around three key interrelated ontological themes: misandry (adopting the victim status), rejection (sex and intimacy) and women as naturally inferior/corrupt, which have wider societal influences and implications. The chapter argues that incels, their ideology, opinions of and towards women, are not only symptomatic of wider normalised societal misogyny, but reinforced by it.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Gendered Violence and Technology
EditorsAnastasia Powell, Asher Flynn, Lisa Sugiura
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9783030837334
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2021


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