Inside the Secret World of Incels
A never-before-seen look at the incel community, an online subculture to which multiple mass murders and hate crimes against women have been attributed.
This documentary offers a never-before-seen look at the incel community, an online subculture linked to multiple mass murders and hate crimes against women.
In 2014, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger shot and stabbed six of his fellow students to death in a premeditated attack at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His motive? In a chilling video Rodger said he was angry that he was still a virgin and in his words wanted to show himself as 'the true alpha male' by punishing women for not being attracted to him.
The legacy of Rodger's assault catapulted online incels into wider consciousness. Incels - short for 'involuntary celibates' - are a global community of sexually frustrated young men, who have found support amongst one another on the net. Some idolise Rodger, and chillingly, his murder spree seems to have helped inspire at least three further mass killings in North America, that have mainly targeted women.
At its extreme, incel ideology spreads violent misogyny, which blames women for depriving men of sex and relationships. Some forums have recorded up to 40,000 members and feature depraved ideas like state-sponsored rape and girlfriends.
Following eight months of unprecedented access to incels, this documentary is the deepest exploration yet of this notoriously closed community.
Told primarily through the personal stories of three men who identify as incels, the documentary explores how an online ideology can push young men into very disturbing behaviour. But the film also delves behind the sensationalist media headlines to unearth some of the reasons for incels' existence - many feel alienated and are enduring difficulties, like mental health issues, autism or traumatic upbringing.
For some, the online forums are a haven to joke, vent and find support in a world where they are struggling to find an identity and where gender relations are changing dramatically. The question is, where are the lines between this radical misogyny and violence?