In recent times, a new subculture has emerged on the Internet whose behaviors have raised blisters among ordinary users. We talk about 'inceldom', a community made up of 'incels', an acronym for involuntary celibacy (involuntary celibacy, in English). This term refers to people who, despite their desire to find a romantic or sexual partner, declare themselves incapable of obtaining one. But what draws attention about this small group is that a part of its members is dedicated to proclaiming misogynistic slogans with a markedly violent tone, towards women and society in general.
The behavior of 'incels' has aroused the curiosity of some researchers concerned about the threat they pose to women. The specialized journal Psychology of Man and Masculinity has recently published a study called Beyond Violent Extremism: A 3N Perspective of Inceldom in which they have tried to discern the different motivations that lead these people to choose celibacy. The research aims to serve as a guide to detect possible disorders and psychologically support people in this community depending on the type of 'incel' to which they are linked.
The researchers started from the hypotheses that not all 'incels' are violent and that the causes of those who are violent had not been sufficiently delved into. To do this, they used the 3N model - need, narrative and network, for its acronym in English - of radicalization among 272 people who call themselves 'incels' and participate in online forums, which allowed them to verify their motivations, influences and support for the decision to embrace celibacy, with quantitative data. Based on the participants' responses, the researchers identified 3 distinct groups within the 'inceldom' community.
Of those surveyed, 54 were classified as 'externalizers', with a high level of violent thoughts that direct towards feminism or gender equality, as elements to blame for their situation. Another 113 fell into the 'hopeful' group, those who remain open to seeking help to develop social skills and change their situation. Finally, the study identified 90 people as 'internalizers', those who declare that they themselves are to blame for their situation.
The authors of the study agree that there is a minority, around 20% of the celibates surveyed, who relate their misogynistic and violent proclamations with an ideological aspect. While, they consider, these individuals should undergo psychological intervention to counteract their radicalization, there is also a majority among self-proclaimed 'incels' who demonstrate self-harming behaviors and worrying symptoms of anxiety and depression.
It is important to remember that this study is based on the subjective responses of a group of individuals, enveloped in the cynicism and hatred that characterizes their activity on networks. For this reason, the researchers agree that it would be interesting to repeat the study, but using psychometrically validated measures, with the aim of detecting specific psychopathologies and providing them with accessible mental health care.