Are Indian Men the Original Incels?

Social Commentary

Are Indian Men the Original Incels?

Illustration: Akshita Monga


arlier this year, an attack in Toronto brought an internet scourge into the mainstream. Alek Minassian, a 25-year-old Canadian man had driven his van on to a busy pavement and had mowed down several people, killing 10. Minassian had apparently left a Facebook note announcing that “the ‘incel’ rebellion has begun,” leaving many wondering if he had misspelled ISIS. But the attacker was in fact referring to “Incels”, an online community of “involuntary celibates”, who due to their self-proclaimed shitty personalities and less-than-ideal physical features, believe that they will remain virgins for life. This, they think, is fair reason to hate on every woman to have existed.

The attack had prompted a great deal of public hand-wringing, with several think pieces and explainer videos dedicated to understanding the phenomenon. But if I were to explain it in a nutshell, the “incel” is part of the larger “manosphere”, which classifies men into groups according to the well-known and totally scientific theory posited by The Matrix (1999). You can get ringside seats to this tamasha which is unfolding in the public square of the internet, Reddit.