This is really unpleasant what the New York Times is doing, giving oxygen to this Ross Douthat character with his May 2 opinion piece “The Redistribution of Sex” trying to normalize the incels. And no I’m not going to link to it.
Douthat is a convert to Catholicism, and is known for writing about religious topics. His current viewpoint seems to be summed up near the end of the piece, his only alternative to the incels’ “rape on demand” is the lost catholicism of the Holy Roman Empire, with its “virtues of monogamy and chastity and permanence and the special respect owed to the celibate.”
But never mind the false dichotomy, this has given him an opportunity to “explain what he was actually trying to say” on Twitter, and also to link to another creep who gets plenty of institutional protection, George Mason University economist Robin Hanson. A few days ago Slate published a piece “Is Robin Hanson America’s Creepiest Economist?” and Hanson responded on his blog with “Why Economics Is, And Should Be, Creepy”. Once again these exchanges are being used for professional advancement and to burnish some male resumes at the expense of the personal safety of women everywhere. Not surprisingly, the incels themselves, having regrouped over at incels.me after being closed down on Reddit have been pouring over Hanson’s blog, especially the parts that refer to violence, and linking to it.
But as they say, cream rises, and a few things worth reading have emerged.
From the NYT comments:
This is not about access to pornography or sex robots or sex workers. This is, once again, about power, control, resentment, and misogyny. Thought experiments such as this perpetuate the idea that women exist for the pleasure and edification of men. You would never guess that women are people, not some amorphous being or abstract concept. The Beckys and Stacys they talk about are gross caricatures. Do not make the mistake of symphathising, they do not think women are human and as such they should be controlled-like a commodity.
Many have the luxury of thought experiments because the reality has never and will never happen to them.
Hard to imagine these same “thought experiments” against Jews or blacks getting published.
I was familiar enough with incel culture before this happened in Toronto (call it a morbid curiosity), and let me underscore a point made by others, that needs to be loud and clear:
Incels HATE sex workers. With a passion. The idea they’re not getting it for free, and that women are making the monetized transaction for it direct, absolutely burns them and causes them to target SWs with their rage. And understandably, sex workers find men with this set of attitudes to be intolerable clients–violent, dangerous, disrespectful. They are all over Twitter talking about problems they have with men like this now./
Yep, the sex workers are definitely not happy, they’re getting lots of retweets.
Incels don’t want sex. They want to feel like they’re not losers. They fully believe that being able to “get sex” symbolizes that they’re winners.
This essay is irrelevant to the problem.
A “right to sex” that doesn’t require consent from both participating parties is called rape. And under the Taliban, which kidnapped Yazidi women and used them as sex slaves; Boko Haram; and the Japanese system of “comfort women,” to name but a few examples, we’ve seen exactly how governing systems that assume all men have a right to sex treat women.
So here are some voices that add light, rather than heat to the discussion:
- “Someone Please Tell the Times That Incels Are Terrorists: How a virulently misogynist subculture made its way into the paper of record“.
Again, [Douthat] never touches on the true nature of incels — the worship of murderers, the calls for mass rape and ‘female genocide’.
- “The Media Must Stop Taking ‘Incel’ Agitprop Seriously” (more than 1.3K recommendations)
The problem is not that they aren’t having enough sex; the problem is that they despise women, and will do so no matter how much sex they’re having.
- For something more highbrow, and maybe TLDR, “Does anyone have the right to sex?” by Amia Srinivasan in the prestigious London Review of Books.
They could have added that feminism, far from being [Elliot] Rodger’s enemy, may well be the primary force resisting the very system that made him feel – as a short, clumsy, effeminate, interracial boy – inadequate. His manifesto reveals that it was overwhelmingly boys, not girls, who bullied him: who pushed him into lockers, called him a loser, made fun of him for his virginity. But it was the girls who deprived him of sex, and the girls, therefore, who had to be destroyed.
The NYT went for the easy click bait, but only ended up with a lot to answer for. As one commenter tells Douthat: “Thanks for restating. Now it’s very clear that we didn’t misinterpret you at all. Someone with a poisonous and very dangerous set of ideas killed people, and your response was to immediately empathize with those ideas and write a column legitimizing them.”