The massacre last week in Toronto has spurred a public conversation about so-called “incels,” a subculture of self-described “involuntarily celibate” men. To say that misogyny is fairly endemic in this community is something of an understatement. In the case of Alek Minassian, it appears to have led to mass murder.
Over the weekend, as I read various pieces of commentary, I got pulled more deeply than I wanted to go into the intricacies of the subculture. A central concept is “sexual market value” — yes, I know — which is a metric by which incels express anger at women who they believe are as sexually unappealing as they are and yet nonetheless refuse to have sex with them. One proposed policy is to have the government assign each person a sexual market value (so no one can deny their actual value). People can only have sex with people of their own value. And for women, the more partners they have, the further their market value number falls. (A sort of big data of slut-shaming.) So basically, the more sexually active a woman becomes the greater obligation she incurs to have sex with the least sexually appealing men. The only way to up her “score” is through exercise. Basically in the incel social taxonomy a sexually active woman gets caught in this Black Mirror-type dystopia of alternating bouts of servicing sexually enraged losers and logging nonstop hours at the gym but never getting ahead of the curve. (It really is blue-sky policy formation in the form of nearly murderous sexualized rage.)
Needless to say, these are some pretty enraged and f’d up dudes, probably all the more so as they marinate in the rage of kindred spirits on forums like 4chan and Reddit. But the whole story took a bit of a different turn when I noticed that a tenured economist at George Mason University was basically endorsing at least the premises of this argument. I was reminded of this this afternoon when I saw this entirely separate article about how the Koch Brothers were apparently allowed to give hiring and evaluation input in the George Mason econ department in exchange for their donations to the University.
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