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Reason for Warning: This article discusses sexual topics and other controversial themes like misogyny, violence, suicidal thoughts, victim mentality, and political extremism.

Incels, short for "Involuntary Celibates", refers to an online subculture of individuals who self-identify with the concept of being unable to form romantic or sexual relationships despite desiring them, a state they describe as "inceldom". Internet communities rooted in this subculture often discuss their negative experiences and problems with dating.

Many incels will attribute their dating status to various issues. Some think their physical appearance is at fault, while others believe women are the problem and only want "conventionally attractive men". Others may also face mental health challenges that impact their ability to form relationships, like emotional instability or depression, which may make them feel like they're unable to talk to women (called "mentalcels"), and also "disabledcels", who think women heavily prefer ablebodied men, and deprive them of sex because of their disability.


While fashion choices can vary greatly among individuals, some incels may lean towards a more casual and comfortable style, often prioritizing comfort over fashion trends. This can include wearing baggy or oversized clothing, such as hoodies, sweatpants, or graphic t-shirts, as they may prefer a relaxed and low-key look. Additionally, some incels may express a preference for more practical attire, avoiding overly fashionable or attention-seeking outfits.

A stereotypical outfit is nondescript, with jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, and glasses.


Incel forum

An example of an Incel forum.

A key part of the incel ideology is the Red/Blue/Blackpilled theory. These pills are used to define how the incel views the world around them.

The Redpill is a rejection of and opposition to the "bluepill" (however this is defined). This term derives from the movie The Matrix, where "taking the red pill" means accepting harsh reality. The rejection of the redpill in favor of the bluepill meant a deliberate denial of that harsh reality. Someone who holds a certain amount of redpill beliefs is called a redpiller. Incels have also created a third one (among dozens of other pills that aren't as popular, such as Pinkpill (for femcels), and Rapepill (self-explanatory), this third pill is the Blackpill, which is the acceptance that one has no hope with women, and should stop trying altogether.


Incels have developed certain slang and words within their own communities[1], which often revolves around their own views on dating and their perceived sense of being "rejected" by women. Compare the dog whistles of the Hyperborean aesthetic or the slang of the Larpercore, another hateful online subculture.

Recognizable words include:

  • Chad - A term describing the archetype of a man who is considered desirable, attractive and successful. The comparison between incels and "chads" has led to the creation of several internet memes, like "Virgin vs. Chad" or more recently "Gigachad".
  • Stacy - A term used to describe a stereotypically attractive and promiscuous woman, often seen as only interested in "Chads".
  • Becky - Women who are not as attractive as the "Stacy" stereotype and aim to date men who are below the "Chad" archetype.
  • Redpill/Bluepill - Terms originating from the Matrix movie series, with the "redpill" representing things they consider to be the "truth" (eg: thinking feminism has negatively impacted society) and the "bluepill" representing people they perceive as "unaware" of that.
  • Blackpill - A hopeless and nihilistic view on inceldom, consisting of acceptance that they have no hope with women and should stop trying to date altogether.
  • Pinkpill - Either used to describe Femcels or Incels who believe that as unattractive men they would be more attractive as transgender women[2].
  • Femcel - The female counterpart of an Incel. Many Incels believe Femcels are not real because inceldom is first and foremost defined by being "unable to find a romantic or sexual partner", and they think it's impossible for women to be in that situation. For more information, see Waif or Femcel Weeaboo.
  • Fakecel/Volcel/Truecel - Terms used to describe people who are perceived as "real" or "fake" incels. "Fakecels" or "Volcels" (short for "voluntarily celibate") in particular are people who claim to be Incels but are rejected by the community because they've had past successful dating experiences.
  • Looksmaxxing - The practice of trying to drastically improve one's personal appareance through many methods (of which many are pseudo-scientific), especially with the goal of attracting women.
  • Rope/Ropemaxxing - Slang for commiting suicide, particularly used by individuals who believe they are so ugly they have no hope left.
  • Femoid/Foidette - Derogatory terms used to refer to women. "Femoid" in particular is a combination of the words "female" and "humanoid", demonstrating their dehumanization of women.



Incelcore, also known as Epunk, is a microgenre of music that typically draws a lot of inspiration from Grunge, Indie, Garage Rock, and Punk music. The concept is quite similar to Riot Grrrl, except the feminist topics of the songs are flipped to become anti-feminist or misogynistic. It can be considered a loosely defined genre because what defines Incelcore are the topics and lyrics of the songs and not their sound.

Incelcore lyrics are often about social commentary and the current state of the society as seen from the worldview of Incels, while other songs are about self-hate or just being edgy for the sake of being edgy. Many songs do so by mocking women, such as in XO_Willow's controversial track titled Bianca Devins (referencing a girl who got murdered by a member of the Incel community).

This music scene reached its peak in 2019-2020, and many of the artists involved with it have already left composing music or have grown as both artists and persons. Many of these artists also adopted the term "Epunk" to distance themselves from Incelcore, with one of the most notable artists being "School Shooter", who changed his stage name to "NEGATIVE XP" and began using that label.


  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Ruined a Whole Generation of Women by Negative XP




Incels are primarily criticized for their dehumanizing views against women, whom they blame for their lack of romantic or sexual relationships. Some incels have been known to become violent, both verbally and physically, towards women or men who are sexually active or successful in romance. In severe cases, their hatred for women doesn't only manifest in the form of derogatory language (with terms such as "femoid" being popularly used by incel forums), but also with objectification or advocating for violence against them.

Another criticism of incels is their tendency to hold a victim mentality and blame society or external factors like their physical appareance for their inability to form relationships with women, leading to them having a lack of responsibility for their beliefs and actions. These ideas are considered harmful by psychologists since it can lead to incels not showing empathy to other people, focus only on negativity or self-pity, refuse to engage in self-improvement or becoming politically radicalized.

Despite Incels mainly hanging out on the internet, they quickly came to be one of the most controversial subcultures of all time due to how there have been numerous instances where their ideology has been linked to violent extremism and real-life crimes[3]. Although not all incels are extremists, their forums often serve as breeding grounds for political extremism and dangerous beliefs or ideologies (see also Larpercore, Fashwave or Hyperborean). Some of these incidents range from misogynistic harassment campaigns like Gamergate to the murders of women and terror offenses like hurting and killing several people such as the 2014 Isla Vista killings.