Swallowing the Black Pill: Involuntary Celibates’ (Incels) Anti Feminism within Digital Society
Involuntary celibates (incels) are part of the online ‘manosphere’ and have been widely discussed in contemporary media in recent years due to their involvement in several offline mass murders. This article presents empirical data that specifically map aspects of the incel worldview: the ‘black pill’. Analysis of online discussion forums demonstrates how incels believe society is ordered through a hetero-patriarchal racial hierarchy and justify their sexlessness through beliefs rooted in biological determinism and victimisation by women and feminism. It is argued that the black pill is a disciplinary device that aids in building a digital counter-public that engenders a collective incel identity. Further, the article argues that the black pill produces a form of ‘stochastic terrorism’ in which users interpret its spectrum of beliefs to enact harms from online gender-based hate speech through terrorist violence in the offline world. As a point of departure, the article argues that incel counter-publics transcend the false distinctions between online and offline; both ‘worlds’ contribute to the (re)production of incel anti-feminism and misogyny.
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