The story below is rather confused about the direction of the causal arrow. Do people who are depressed become incels or do incels become depressed? I am inclined to suspect that many incels are not too different psychologically but become disturbed and dysfunctional as a result of their inability to attract women. If that is so, there is a clear need for counselling and life lessons that would improve their attractivesness to women.
I have put up previously (e.g. here) stories about how many women these days find great fault with most of the men they meet -- and the women remain unattached because of that. "The men are no good" is an often expressed complaint. So it seems clear that many men are doomed to remain lonely. Many really are rejected by women. So men who have no success with women at all could well develop the negative feelings that we see in incels.
A major issue is physical attractiveness. That can be rather nebulous. Different women find different men physically attractive. But one near-certainty is that women like a tall, well-built man. As long as he is also reasonsbly polite, women will go for him. So incels will almost always be deficient in that regard or have seriously unattractive personalities, chief of which is egotism.
But most men are not tall, well-built and socially adept so is there any hope for the many leftovers? There is. I am in my 80th year and consequently am rather decayed in looks but I am still capable of attracting and relating well with quality women -- and I do. And I enjoy my times with women greatly.
So what saves me from being a decrepit incel in my old age? It's not looks. Women will forgive much in a good-looking man but that is no help to me
But if looks can attract and engender forgivesness of imperfections, so can personality. At attractive personality is nearly as helpful as good looks. What constitutes an attractive personality can vary but my particular asset is uncrushable self-confidence. As long as the confidence does not stray into egotism, a confident man is almost an essential for many women. It even makes life easy for an old wreck like me
There is no magic formula for an attractive personality but a man who conveys confidence, politeness and considerateness will be unlucky indeed if he remains an incel
Incels are usually clingy wannabe momma's boys, according to one of the first studies into the hate group.
Involuntary celibates — who advocate violence and rape against women — have been responsible for a growing number of terror attacks in recent years.
They make up a dark and depraved online community of young heterosexual men who blame society in women for their lack of romantic success.
Now researchers from the University of Rome have found similar personality traits that band members together.
Incels score highly for anxiety and paranoia, which may explain why they are distrustful of women and jealous of other men who have successful romances.
They also had higher depression scores, which may also lead to self-hatred, and suicidal and violent tendencies.
The researchers found incel members had a 'fearful attachment style', which includes being clingy or emotionally absent.
Their hatred of women and misogyny stems from a fear of trusting others and getting hurt, which may have arisen due to emotional neglect or abuse as a child, according to the study.
The team hope their findings and the scale can be used by doctors to identify people at risk of becoming incels.
In September, a self-described incel in Southern California was charged for a series of attacks on women using pepper-spray.
Alex Minassian killed 10 people with a van in Toronto in 2018, claiming it was a 'rebellion' which would 'force' women to have sex with men like him.
Elliot Rodgers, who killed six people in a gun and knife attack in California in 2014, posted a video shortly before his attack in which he complained about being a virgin at aged 22 and how he had never kissed a girl.
He also published an 141-page document going through his deep-rooted hatred of women, in which he said he could not understand why women would not want to have sex with him.
Mr Rodgers was never formally diagnosed with a mental illness.
A total of 770 men aged between 18 and 69 were given a set of questionnaires online identifying incel traits, depression and anxiety levels, attachment style and paranoia symptoms.
Incel attacks in the US
May 2020 - Incel gunman shot and wounded three people at a mall in Arizona while livestreaming the attack on Snapchat
February 2020 - A machete attack in a Toronto massage parlor became the first incident of alleged incel violence to be prosecuted as an act of terrorism
November 2018 - A gunman who posed as customer at a Tallahassee yoga studio killed two women and wounded five others.
He said he wanted to 'blow off' a woman's head and expressed other disturbing and misogynistic views four years ago on his YouTube channel.
April 2018 - A man used a van to kill 10 pedestrians in Toronto. He told police he belonged to an online community of sexually frustrated men, some of whom have plotted attacks on people who have sex.
The incel trait scale, developed by Dr Scaptura and Dr Boyle in 2019, includes factors such as confused, sad, fearful, excluded, weak and insecure.
Men who scored highly on the scale were more likely to also display paranoia, anxiety and depression.
Paranoia is an unjustified mistrust of people and can include unwarranted jealously.
In the case of incels, they are mistrustful of women specifically and jealous of other men who are successful in romantic relationships.
Depression and anxiety also contribute to an incel mindset, as both can cause diminished self-esteem and isolation.
Incels believe they are unable to attract women and will often retreat to online forums to discuss their unhappiness and frustration.
The researchers found that men who had a fearful attachment style were also more likely to score highly on incel traits.
On the other hand, those who had a secure attachment style scored lower in the questionnaire of incel traits.
Attachment styles are ways people behave in relationships with others and are based on the bond individuals had with their parents or primary caregiver while growing up.
A secure attachment style is when people feel protected by their parents, leading them to feel comfortable in relationships with others later in their life.
But if a child's primary caregiver is neglecting or unpredictable, the child can become needy as they work harder to get the attention they feel they are lacking.
When they become adults, children with a disorganized attachment have low self-esteem and an intense fear of rejection and abandonment, which is consistent with an incel attitude.
Boys may grow up resentful of women due to a lack of healthy relationships developed in childhood.
A caregiver might have behaved in a frightening way, including abuse towards the child.
Or they may have been inconsistent and unpredictable in their interactions with their offspring — being highly loving at times and then neglectful at others.
Boys can be left feeling unlovable and mistrustful that people will support and accept them.
The researchers concluded that paranoia and depressive-anxious symptoms play a 'pivotal role' in the incel attitude, and suggested that fearful attachment styles can contribute to a misogynic attitude.
Children may grow up resenting women if they feel their primary caregiver did not give them the love they needed, and may also leave them with a negative self-view.
The study was published in the The Journal of Sexual Medicine.
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