Read the full article by Dan Savage at TheStranger.com

Incel is short for “involuntarily celibate”. The term rose to prominence because of its adoption by a subsection of the “manosphere”, a loose collection of movements united by misogyny that also includes some men’s rights activists, pick-up artists, and Mgtow/volcel—heterosexual men who refuse to have sex with women for political reasons. Men who identify as incel tend to congregate on a few forums, including the message board 4chan, the forum SlutHate and, until the community was banned from the site, the incel page on Reddit. They are united by the fact that women will not have sex with them, usually attributed to shallow obsessions with looks or superficial personality, and by their hatred of “Chads” and “Stacys”, the men and women who have sex.

Before I go any further (I’m going to qualify the shit out of this post knowing parts of it will be taken out of context anyway): I don’t think throwing sex workers at violent, deranged incels will solve the violent, deranged incel problem. Our culture has to change in enormous ways to solve this problem. First and most importantly, men have to stop being socialized to believe they’re entitled to women’s bodies. This leads some men to conclude they’ve been wronged when romantic and/or sexual success doesn’t come easily to them or at all.

Another cultural transformation that’s long overdue: adults who do sex work of their own free will shouldn’t be stigmatized (or treated like criminals) and adults who hire adults doing sex work of their own free will shouldn’t be stigmatized (or treated like criminals). The former cultural transformation will solve the “incel” problem; the latter will solve the problem of sexual deprivation, i.e. involuntary celibacy.

De-stigmatizing sex work won’t save us from incels or incels from themselves. (An incel attack is always a suicide mission; Sodini and Rodgers killed themselves, Minassian begged a cop to kill him.) But if we can manage to stop socializing men to believe they are entitled to women’s bodies and stop stigmatizing and punishing sex workers and sex buyers—if we can stop telling men who “have to” pay for sex that they’re losers or monsters or not real men and acknowledge instead that we’re all paying for it—male entitlement will be less likely to combine with sexual deprivation and explode in our faces.

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