ISD’s Head of Communications & Editorial, Tim Squirrell, features in Salon commenting on a recent study on incels that surveyed 349 predominantly heterosexual and single men experiencing unwanted celibacy, but not necessarily identifying with the movement or the term. While some researchers said they were satisfied with the methodology, Tim outlines “misgivings” about the study for recruiting the sample pool.
“Incel subculture has a substantial tradition of trolling and attempted media manipulation, and there is substantial mistrust of both journalists and researchers in incel spaces,” Tim explained. “As such, I would be concerned about the validity of this sampling method, and therefore any conclusion drawn from the study.”
Although he did say the main conclusion has some merit, that being ‘the failure to satisfy a fundamental motive of human existence, namely the motive to acquire a romantic or sexual partner, contributes to individuals’ support for multiple forms of sexist and misogynistic views’, he points out that those are the survey respondents “expressed views” and not necessarily the views they hold privately.
While most incels won’t engage in violence, he says, when the community comes together, they inflame their pre-existing misogyny, are likely to worsen the personal problems they wish they could fix, and are more likely to mistreat others.
“The misogyny that infects incel spaces is severe and violent, and people who have been steeped in those narratives are highly unlikely to be able to treat significant others with the respect and dignity needed to sustain a healthy relationship,” Tim told Salon. “Our concern should be oriented less towards rare but horrific instances of high profile violence, and more towards the interpersonal behaviors of people who have been immersed in subcultures where extreme ideologies are ubiquitous.”