Most of us know what an incel is. With the religious use of social media in the modern era, we’ve all probably had the great misfortune of stumbling across one of these odd people a few times in our lives.
Stereotypically, incels are men who live in their bedrooms, play videogames all day, indulge in pornography, and, due to their lack of female interaction, hold unrealistic expectations for women. Often, many possess this inability to communicate with women from fear, repugnance, or sometimes, a developed disinterest in the entire gender.
Incels are rarely celibate by choice – the name is derived from "involuntary celibate" – and these are men who are immeasurably hopeless when it comes to love or any form of interaction with the opposite sex. And now as I have recently found, some women are working in a similarly perplexing subgroup of their own.
Female incels, or "femcels," as they are more widely known, couldn’t possibly hold more abhorrence towards the male gender, especially their incel subgroups. Instead of looking, or even considering positive alterations to themselves, a femcel will blame men for their lack of relationships and success in finding love; much like the incel, they hold little consciousness of their own motivations or shortfalls and could never even fathom a man they could love that wasn’t absolutely flawless – to the point of appearing alien.
“Sugar Baby” Culture
When thinking about what could possibly have led these women to indulge in such alien groups so easily, it didn’t take long for my mind to find its way to the "Sugar-Baby/Sugar-Daddy" trope we have seen build a little more in the past few years.
I have long been intrigued by the world of "sugar babies" and the way in which their relationships work. While I would in no way imply that the women living these (misleadingly) glamorous and expensive lifestyles are anything close to an "incel," I can most definitely say that those who dream of this way of life will never be satisfied with ordinary love – or love, point blank.
Sugar baby culture is often gloried by film and celebrity culture.
This culture is often gloried by film and celebrity culture; rich men, both real and in character, are often shown with a beautiful young lady as arm candy. I’d be lying if I said this didn’t look like an attractive lifestyle, but it’s important to remember it’s often just that. Though being swept off your feet by a rich man is pretty unlikely, YouTubers such as Anna Bey have cultivated an audience of young women with the sole purpose of teaching them the essential steps to having this lifestyle.
Over the years, "School of Affluence" by Anna Bey has managed to develop a strong following of almost 900k on YouTube and a more dedicated audience though her website. Though she can sometimes be found giving style advice on "looking" the part, Anna’s videos are often guiding young ladies on how to bag a wealthy beau. Some of her most popular videos "3 Simple Ways to Get Noticed by Rich Men," "Why Rich Handsome Men Marry Unattractive Women," and "6 Things Women Do That Turn RICH MEN OFF!" rake in over a million views. And I imagine that most of the women watching have a slim chance of bumping into a rich stranger and actually being able to proceed with her dating protocols. Often, overly hopeful women are left hopeless when these strategies fail them.
“Female Dating Strategy”
With Reddit offering such a boundless selection of odd subgroups, you’re bound to find one every so often that runs you right off track and completely knocks you off your feet. "Female Dating Strategy" (FDS) was that for myself and many others.
While a more accurate title might’ve been "How to Enjoy the Permanent Company of Your Cat, Flat…But Never Be a Placemat!" – FDS teaches women to ask for everything and give nothing. Unlike Anna Bey’s subgroup of females eager to bag a rich man with somewhat-developed social mobility, FDS offers women an echo chamber where they can want and demand these things, but never put in the work to acquire them.
Reddit groups offer women an echo chamber where they can want and demand these things, but never put in the work to acquire them.
If a woman wants a high value man, she must herself be a high value woman – like attracts like. FDS teaches women to accentuate an overly firm "take it or leave it" attitude which, sure, is fair enough in the grand scheme, but with over three billion women in the world – the "leave it" option will be an attractive escape for many who see the incoming headache of a difficult woman.
Now, I would usually try and avoid wasting so much energy on Reddit sub-groups, but FDS is undeniably popular. In fact, I’d say it was used biblically among the women of Reddit, with over 100k women involved in the group, ready to "level-up" – that is, if "levelling-up" is calling men "trash" and asking, "Where have all the good men gone?" with very few attempts to find one. No man is perfect, but no woman is either – and this double standard will hurt the dating scene.
I imagine there’s a strong echo-chamber effect within Reddit-Dating groups. Within the half hour of my life I’ll (unfortunately) never get back, I was quick to realize how quickly and easily someone could be sucked into one of these groups. The groups are filled with lonely and often bitter women with atrocious dating histories. To someone with little knowledge of actual men, I can imagine getting dragged into the "men are trash" mindset isn’t that difficult. Especially with so many currently trapped at home and unable to interact in the physical world.
Have Standards for Men Become Unreasonable?
I’ve often laughed at the "80/20" stereotype for men and women, but the longer I’m left to think about it, the more I wonder if there is some underlying truth to it all.
For those who don't know, the "80/20"rule is the idea that the top 80% of women only go after the top 20% of men, leaving the other 80% of men to compete over the bottom 20% of women. Personally, I dislike the idea of objectifying women (or men) in such a way that we still continue to put them into league-like categories, but recent studies show that the dating world has become a different game: women's expectations of the opposite sex are becoming higher and more unrealistic than men's. Some studies even back up the traditional "incel rule of thumb": that women find 80% of men unattractive.
The top 80% of women only go after the top 20% of men.
Other studies seem back up this claim well too. A recent socioeconomic study of Tinder dating showed “that the bottom 80% of men (in terms of attractiveness) are competing for the bottom 22% of women and the top 78% of women are competing for the top 20% of men.” This matches the Pareto Principal, a power-law probability distribution often used in description of social, scientific, and geophysical phenomena.
Either sex having unobtainable, unrealistic standards should be cause for concern because the question is then raised, where does the sudden uptick in such harsh criteria come from?
How Is the Internet Affecting Women?
COVID has done nobody any favors, and I can guarantee, both myself and the person reading this have probably spent more time online in the last year than in previous times, though this was an inescapable and natural consequence of the pandemic for many.
With women’s standards for men rising, I wondered whether social media usage was a potential factor, but the split in social media demographics was very much varied. Women spent more time on Instagram, while men dominated sites such as Twitter and Facebook more.
It's strange that men (who generally have a more visual attraction style) account for significantly less of the Instagram population (an app circulating around the visual), especially when considering their domination of most social media platforms.
As for time spent on social media, there isn’t much divide. In the modern era, time spent online is often done in bulk – and regularly. Since social media has been linked to a significant rise in mental health disorders in teens, it doesn’t seem unlikely that it may effect views on the opposite sex.
Social media has been linked to a significant rise in mental health disorders in teens.
With social media often damaging women and leaving them with unrealistic expectations for themselves, it’s hard to believe the same can't happen with their wider view. These online subgroups find one another in times of inner pain and are used as a source of comfort. With the world becoming a seemingly lonelier place, the internet can be a friendly escape.
Though, with this in mind, I don’t think allowing a victim mindset in this circumstance is a good idea either. Dwelling in a victimhood-like state is often how these "incels" end up in their dark situation. Either gender hating the other continues to remain a plague in a small minority, but with the wide use of the internet and loneliness of COVID-living, I hope that it doesn't continue to increase.
Over time we have seen women become pickier with men, and while I’d never encourage the lowering of basic standards, there's a double standard that lies between men and women – one that may divide us even further.
With female-incel cultures rising, I fear love is struggling against materialism and vanity. When trapped inside, or stuck in our own little bubble, it can be easy to forget that people are often as imperfect as we are. Neither gender is solely responsible for the failures of another, and it’s important we recognize where we act unfairly, or keep close watch on our fellow females who may be experiencing loneliness and taking it out on others. Sisterhood is all about watching out for these things – so it’s vital we continue to do so.