An “ex-incel” has shed light on the dark world of the involuntarily celibate and their cryptic online language.
A 23-year-old from Chicago uncovered incel ideology, which in its simplest form refers to people who can’t find a love or sex partner even though they want one.
More recently, however, incels have become more prominent as violent extremists, the term becoming famous after a string of mass killings, including the 2014 killings on Isla Vista by Elliot Rodger and the 2021 British gun attack in Plymouth.
Plymouth gunman Jake Davison, 23, killed five people, including his mother and an infant, before turning the gun on himself.
Plymouth gunman Jake Davison (pictured) opened fire on strangers, killing five people before turning the gun on himself
THE INCEL CODES
Extremely muscular man
Conventionally attractive man
Conventionally attractive woman
Physically modest woman
A fatalistic notion that an incel cannot improve their own situation and should accept their fate of unattractiveness, lack of wealth, or social status
Refers to waking up from your “normal” life of ignorance and seeing the world as it really is
A person who lives a conventional life and is unaware of the “oppression” of men by women
Uncertainty about conventional attitudes, but rejection of a particularly gender-specific value system
Use income, possessions, exercise, or cosmetic surgery to maximize attractiveness
Inspired by US mass murderer Elliot Rodger, that means a killing spree
Translated to Lie Down And Rot, indicating that there is no hope in life
An inquiry into victims of his attack only began this Tuesday, raising concerns about why the British man was legally allowed to own a firearm under a sporting licence.
Elliot Rodger also killed six people and injured fourteen near the University of California campus before shooting himself.
He committed these crimes after believing he had been “denied” sex and love.
Even so, Chicago’s Riley Drapp emphasized that not all incels have violent tendencies and are often drawn to toxic online communities in their loneliest moments.
The 23-year-old called for young men struggling with their sexual identity to need more support to keep them away from extremism.
He said: “I think the incels featured in the news are the one percent – that’s a whole different breed. Most incels are the ones with sexual struggles.
“I was at a really dark time in my life. I dropped out of college, I didn’t have a job, and I wasn’t doing well financially.
“I was about to turn 21 and then the pandemic happened, so I couldn’t go to a bar or anything, so that was kind of sad.
“I didn’t really have many friends. I just felt like my life was going nowhere.
“All I would do all day is stay online on social media forever, maybe play a game or two here or there, but I realized it really wasn’t helping.”
Riley found a dark part of the internet that he claimed was run largely by 18-25 year olds with a “distorted perception” of life.
For over a year he viewed life through the lens of various terminologies and theories.
The community is home to a range of “pill” ideologies in colors such as black, blue, red, and purple.
Riley related most to the beliefs of the black pill, which he accepted as making his fate feel unattractive and sad.
Incels also uses a number of terms to describe different types of people.
The word “Chad” is used to represent a conventionally attractive and successful man, while “Stacy” represents a conventionally attractive woman.
The idea of ”Looksmax” also relates to using income, possessions, exercise or cosmetic surgery to maximize attractiveness.
Some incels have taken the idea to another level by hitting themselves in the face with hammers to become more attractive.
At one point, Riley became addicted to much of the vocabulary used by incels.
He said: “One time my parents had a neighborhood party and there was this one kid and he looked about 6ft 2 and had his girlfriend there. He had a bit of muscle and I was like, ‘Oh, this guy looks like a gigachad’.
“I wanted to get those incel terms out of my head — all of Chad, all of the red pill, all of the black pill — all of those really toxic terms just out of my head.”
Killer: Elliot Rodger told friends he was contemplating raping women, family friends said
One of the most extreme phrases used by some is “going ER,” which refers to going on a killing spree on behalf of mass murderer Elliot Rodger.
“LDAR” also means “lie down and rot,” which some incels use to express that there is no hope in life.
Though Riley stressed that he didn’t agree with the community’s more extreme views, he did admit to having been jealous of women at one point.
He continued, “I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been at the extreme point, rather just at a point of jealousy and a real rock bottom in my life. I would not wish ill will on anyone. I don’t think I hated women and didn’t feel hostility.”
The word gigachad refers to an extremely attractive, muscular, and successful male, while a chad is a conventionally attractive male (file image).
Traditionally attractive women are referred to as “Stacys” while those perceived to be physically plainer are referred to as “Beckys” (file image)
Riley was motivated to leave the incel community for good after learning more about the #MeToo movement a few years ago.
A lengthy list published online claimed that more than a hundred players had engaged in sexual misconduct in an internet Super Smash Bro community – some of whom Riley had previously spoken to.
Nintendo said it was “deeply disturbed” by the allegations and issued a statement to IGM.
The company said it “condemns all acts of violence, harassment and exploitation against anyone and we stand by the victims.”
“I never really saw it coming – it was unsettling. I was like, “Oh god, I don’t want to be with these people,” Riley said.
The incel community is home to a number of “pill” ideologies followed by incels in colors such as black, blue, red, and purple (file image).
One of the more extreme expressions used by some community members is “LDAR” which translates to “Lie Down and Rot” which some incels use to indicate that there is no hope in life (file image).
Since then, the 23-year-old has been drawn to advisory forums like “Incel Exit” on Reddit, which have allowed him to speak to other incels trying to break out of the extremist community.
He continued, “I found Incel Exit, which is more of a guide for people looking to exit this very toxic community.
“Luckily I lived with a very supportive family – I am very grateful for that. I sent them a little bit about this stuff and they said, “Yeah, that’s kind of disturbing, you probably shouldn’t be looking at that.”
Riley has now also managed to get a job as a construction kit for an electrical company.
He added, “Now I’m trying to eat a little healthier and take care of myself a little better.”
Mass murderer Elliot Rodger inspired some of the language now used by some members of the incel community. The phrase “going ER” referring to conducting a killing spree on behalf of Rodger (file image)
But Riley thinks some kind of charity support could help other young men who fall into the traps of the incel community.
He said: “The thing about a lot of incels is they need some kind of leadership. The reason they have these feelings is for a reason that they don’t have things in life totally perfect.
“Things on the internet make people think that’s how reality really works, but it doesn’t – they’re really extreme ways of feeling things.
“Maybe they have no one else to look up to. You have to understand that there can always be something that is causing this. Many of them do not know where to go.”
The idea of ”Looksmax” also refers to the use of income, possessions, exercise or cosmetic surgery to maximize attractiveness (file image).
Some incels have taken “looksmax” to another level, with some hitting themselves in the face with hammers to look more attractive
Researchers at the University of Rome have found that being depressed, paranoid and anxious make men more likely to become incel
While Riley lives in the US, incel culture also persists in the UK, where there have been calls for it to be made part of the school curriculum to combat misogyny.
In early 2022, incel websites grew from 114,420 monthly visits to 638,505, with many calling the Plymouth gunman a hero.
The first incel investigation conducted by the British anti-terrorist police also took place two years earlier.
Leeds secondary school teacher Kathryn Downs previously said: “A study in October 2021 suggested there was a 6.3 per cent chance of seeing a video within five ‘hops’ of a non-Incel related YouTube video from YouTube Incel reference to be suggested.
“This clearly shows the dangers of not supporting and enhancing the mental well-being of boys in schools.
“Linguistic and stereotypical attitudes such as ‘cry like a girl’ or ‘fight like a boy’ mean that both boys and girls still find it difficult to express their own difficulties with their mental well-being, or feel they are suffering in silence must.”