The Dingy Forum of Online Predators

When I first, stumbled upon the word ‘Incels’, was on reading an article that discussed on how not to reason with Terfs and Incels, I got curious to know what it meant and I already knew that the word did not carry a positive connotation. After going through some articles and digital forums which forbade womxn from access to the community, I found out it meant Involuntarily Celibate, a website which was originally created two decades ago for single people ( mostly men) that became a grotesque parody of people who are unable to attain a relationship with the opposite sex despite their efforts and take out their frustrations online with the deep seething prejudices of slandering womxn because they would deny them sex, something they believe they have a right to and so turn these online spaces into forums full of malice and misogyny and potentially inculcate a culture inherently that works in a logical extreme of fundamentally rejecting a womxn’s sexual emancipation by labelling them as cruel, shallow creatures, whose premise to reject these men of sex are money, status, good looks, and income.

They claim to be frustrated because womxn don’t choose them. These online forums are not merely an alienated or isolated subculture that exists on the internet, disconnected from the mainstream users. No, these are the dark reflection of a set of social values and opinions held if not commonly, but dominantly about womxn. This culture of intersection between ancient patriarchal endorsed misogyny and new age held technologies which help to assimilate an avenue and agency of reducing responsibility while insinuating and imprinting problematic opinions online.

These online forums are flooded with people who pollute posts with womxn bashing and blaming them for their pent up sexless lives. Many online forums have been busted recently for nurturing a community of predators who have been exploiting and slandering womxn and minors as sexual objects for their own selfish agendas. The infamous ‘nth rooms’ exposed in South Korea are chat rooms on the Telegram messaging app which were used by members to illegally produce and trade sexually dehumanising footage of womxn. Victims, many of them were underage minors were often coerced by Telegram users into abusing their own bodies. Perpetrators have reportedly turned real-life assaults into online content to be further exploited for harm or blackmail during the time period of 2018-2020.

Recently, a private group on Instagram got exposed that was filled with misogynistic slander against womxn by sharing their pictures (public and private) and overtly sexualised and dehumanised them and incorporating the relevant usage of rape culture in their slander and their jokes. These users were mostly recorded from the age of 16-19 and so the attention to the case trailed a further instigating outrage over the online community that became a trajectory for slander of anti- CAA activist who was arrested under the UAPA (Unlawful Activities [Preventive] Act, Safoora Zargar. She was three months pregnant and thrown into prison, with an online community of RW trollers decided it was their entitlement to character assassinate her. Yes. The same country whose inhabitants (mostly benefiters of patriarchy) deem appropriate that womxn play a pivotal role of actually carrying the honour in honour culture and then are conveniently stripped of the honour of being called a human being with the right to dignity.

The online Incels community was originally started by a womxn for single people talk about their dealings with approaching people for relationships but, things took a rather steep change with the forum mainly populating with Incels that have an agenda with a chunk of misogyny but it also has a further sub-category of womxn Incels who identify as ‘Femcels’ too, who also occupy a space in the online community. Both the communities are a dangerous, toxic, and potentially threatening place for people on the internet and beyond that too.

There is this one thing that we are sure of that, harassment of any sort should be called out and understood and analysed with keeping the fact in mind, how much is it perpetuated within the society, we reside in and who actually are the individuals who capitalise and benefit from those systematic prejudices mostly. There are always instances that should be fleshed out from different forums but advocating for one cause should definitely not be highlighted as a reaction to another cause which evidently dilutes the relevance it catches with doctrines of awareness, these advocacies cannot be intermingled because they exist in close parallel lines. Do not try to invalidate someone’s trauma with somebody else’s trauma, both of them are indispensable and cannot be measured to justify each other as a reaction.

Nobody ever knows their privilege or their pain from the beginning, they only start of realising it comes with interacting and empathising with people different from them. Change is the only constant procedure we can adopt and we need to start somewhere from unlearning and learning things ingrained and intrinsic within us which pains us or others otherwise. There are these dingy alleys within the internet which are closed because of, and open to online predators waiting to have power over people they cannot harm otherwise, with cruel intentions and motives full of malice, start calling out such people in your circles outside them and make it harder for them to lurk.