A good friend brought this profile from The Daily Beast to my attention.
It’s long. It’s worth reading because, in forcing the reader to look at a person who identifies as “incel” and is an active participant the the incel online conversations, the reader is forced to also confront certain liberal assumptions.
This reader did, anyway. Incel is abominable. It’s a way of thinking which devalues women utterly, and heaps scorn on men who are outside the incel fold, and then those inside the fold heap scorn on themselves. It’s loathsome from top to bottom.
And also… the people who have this way of thinking are still people. I have, deep in this blog, some posts about the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, and somewhere in that material is probably a consideration of “the inherent worth and dignity of every person.”
And also… the core problem of incel is that it violates that idea. It is build up entirely on the idea that nobody is of worth or dignity, and only the incel is aware of this. The profile considers that the whole thing is deeply ironic and that the incel fold lets this color how they perceive everything. It also considers that the incel reaction is understandable in the face of interpersonal frustrations and abuse from mean people. The author, Mandy Stadtmiller, doesn’t let them off the hook for their odious views.
The point here is that I have a responsibility to engage with those willing to be engaged with. People. But I don’t have a responsibility to sympathize with their odious thoughts, and I don’t have to accept them being advocated in the public sphere.