Step Your Dick Up: Why incels deserve better advice

Men who can’t get sex are seen as losers

We hear a lot about double standards between female and male sexual behaviour. Women who have a lot of sex are often slut shamed, while men who have lots of sex are seen as ‘studs.’ What is often ignored however, is how true the exact inverse of this is. Men who cannot get sex are seen as losers and lampooned as members of the most derided group in society…incels.

  • What is the plight of an incel?
  • Why the advice given to incels is useless
  • Why we simultaneously hate incels for giving up and for trying to better themselves

Who are the incels?

This definition of incel is not one I would agree with entirely. It is however, the top definition on Urban Dictionary and highlights the way in which incels are seen in society

‘Be Yourself’ and ‘Just Lift Bro’

The first incel I ever encountered in real life spoke at the Messages for Men’ conference I attended in London in 2019. He overcame obvious crippling anxiety to speak and provide insight into his life. The most striking point for me was how he detailed a frustration at the tension between being told to simply, ‘be yourself’ and ‘just lift bro’ in order to improve himself by weightlifting.

Study on how couples meet 1940–2020

Why do we hate incels?

James Bloodworth’s insightful article, “Why Incels are the Losers in the age of Tinder, describes the way in which men and women uniquely hold disdain for incels.

It’s not all about looks you know

Every time I discuss incels with any semblance of sympathy, I am met with a chorus of, ‘‘boo hoo, woe is me, poor men, they’re not entitled to sex or women you know!”.

Lookism filters out to other facets of life

Keep trying: There’s someone out there for everyone

The next piece of advice given to incels is to ‘keep trying’ and that ‘there’s someone out there for everyone’.

The veil of ignorance

We are all vulnerable romantically and socially. We all face rejection and hurt in romance and relationship. Scorning incels is a projection of our own insecurities and fears. If it wasn’t for random luck, we too could be alone. Those of you who are willing to reflect and consider the ways in which we discriminate and have attractiveness privilege, I strongly suggest listening to Jay Shapiro’s podcast on ‘Lookism’ with Dr. Francesca Minerva. Shapiro takes the listener through the ‘veil of ignorance’ thought experiment in the context of attractiveness. The “veil of ignorance” is a method of determining the morality of issues. It asks a decision-maker to make a choice about a social or moral issue and assumes that they have enough information to know the consequences of their possible decisions for everyone but would not know, or would not take into account, which person they are. The thought experiment illuminates how unfair yet philosophically difficult the conundrum of lookism is.

The veil of ignorance thought experiment can be applied to create empathy to those less attractive/fortunate

Step your dick up

In discussions about this topic with friends, one of the cruellest and most galling pieces of ‘advice’ that I have heard put to incels is that they should ‘step their dick up’, i.e. improve themselves to a standard at which women will consider them.

Develop yourself…but not like that

There happens to be a whole ‘industry’ devoted towards helping men develop themselves to be more successful with women. However, the ‘pick up artist’ industry, which coaches men how to ‘game the system’, is sneered at as superficial and sinister. Pick up artists are dismissed as teaching men how to ‘trick’ women into considering them. I find this criticism quite demeaning to women in that it suggests they are not discerning enough to know when they are being ‘tricked’ . Most women are of course robust enough to see through many pick-up artist techniques. They are considered trite and cheesy in the modern dating arena.

Irish man in Birmingham. Battle of Ideas: Birmingham Salon Debates member

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