Wednesday 16 January 2019

Millennial Diary

Suspect Alek Minassian
Suspect Alek Minassian

Ciara O'Connor

'The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!" This is what 25-year-old Alek Minassian posted on Facebook, minutes before deliberately mounting a Toronto kerb in a van, murdering 10 pedestrians - mostly women.

The message would have been mystifying for most of us, written as it is in the language of the essentially alt-right 'manosphere' - where men who can't get laid are 'incels' (involuntary celibates), and the enemies are 'Chads', conventionally attractive men who have sex, and 'Stacys', the abhorred sluts who sleep with Chads and reject incels.

Alek Minassian murdered 10 people, having been radicalised in an online echo chamber which sees violence as the only possible response to a world where 'femoids' won't have sex with them - sex which they view as their natural right. The online groups for incels play out violent rape and murder fantasies online, trade their favourite videos of abuse of women, and encourage each other to go 'ER'

ER is Elliot Rodger: the 'saint' cited by Minassian who shot dead six people in the University of California in 2014. In a video recorded before the attack, Rodger called it 'retribution' for the women who rejected him and for 'all you men for living a better life than me'. He issued a 100+ page 'manifesto' which transformed his history of sexual frustration into an ideological crusade against everyone who manages to have sex. In these corners of the internet, Rodger is worshipped.

The logic is that men made suicidal by their virginity might as well murder to further the cause, because the police will shoot them afterwards anyway; "The end result is the same."

The manosphere has adopted a bizarre pseudo-intellectual vocabulary to talk about their base misogynistic ideas. They have created a new language of 'normies', 'Stacys', 'sexual market value', making up words for concepts that don't exist - attempting to lend credence to their belief that they have access to some deeper truth about society that the rest of us haven't woken up to yet.

It's a rhetoric rooted in victimhood. "For every person who died at the hands of Alek Minassian/ER, there are 1,000 incels who have killed themselves alone." They genuinely believe that white, single men are the most oppressed group in western society. They absolutely refuse to take responsibility for their lives and actions, as one man writes: "Society treats single men like trash and it needs to stop. The people in power, women, can change this but they refuse to. Blood is on their hands."

They claim to "present evidence, well-thought arguments and scientific studies (sic)," and really think they are cleverer than everyone else. "The real issue is that with the advancement of makeup, healthy at any size bulls**t, feminism and through social engineering, a lot of women have become detached from reality. The reason these incels aren't getting laid is because women with a sexual market value equal to theirs use makeup to go from a 3/10-7/10 (false marketing, in my opinion, and should be a punishable offence) to f**k with men above their league."

Unfortunately, it's exceptionally easy to make fun of them. Their theories are so ridiculous that it's impossible to engage with them seriously. Many believe the state should step in to avoid further tragedy: "Women with more than nine sexual partners and single moms should be forced by the state to date and have sex with incels."

Before last Monday, the manosphere was an internet in-joke. 'Toxic masculinity' was a punchline about snowflakes and their mad identity politics. We knew there were dark caves of the internet where ludicrous conspiracy theories were being bandied around by frustrated misogynist nerds, but by and large it wasn't taken seriously.

The bloody actions of Alek Minassian has thrown a very public spotlight on the disturbing rhetoric of contemporary misogyny. Young men are being radicalised online to carry out suicide terrorist attacks.

Millennials love meeting hate with lolz and trying to weaponise humour. But the last few years should have taught us that it just doesn't work. Bafflingly, Trump continues in the face of our very clever memes.

We've got to find a way to take violent alt-right misogyny seriously as a public threat, without feeding these sad little men and their fantasies.

*****

For us 'normies', life is no picnic either. You see, when you have sex with people, often you eventually marry one of them, for which you must have a wedding, for which you must have a stag or hen night.

'Night' is, of course, a misnomer because usually they are sprawling affairs, sucking up the entire weeks and weekends of those you purport to love most.

It recently emerged that 60pc of people dread attending a stag or hen do.

Traditional stags and hens are the apex of millennial neuroses. Obviously, they are deeply heteronormative, rely heavily on gender essentialism, and give few opportunities to name drop terms from feminist theory.

Apparently, 46pc of people particularly dread the drinking part of the ritual - millennials hate being told what to do. The social expectation and pressure to get trolleyed is, therefore, particularly irksome.

We're a fundamentally anti-social generation who like nothing more than staying in and insta-storying our pyjama bottoms and cup of tea.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder whether 60pc of us need a good slap and a pint of warm Prosecco. Say yes, with joy in your heart, to the next stag or hen invitation you receive - it's the exposure therapy our generation needs to keep us halfway human.

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