Remember a few months ago when every regular human being that used the internet rejoiced as Reddit banned a bunch of awful incel subreddits? What a glorious day that was. The main subreddit that went down was r/Braincels, a popular hangout for misogynists, racists and their mates – just a really great part of the internet.
There were a number of other incel subreddits that got banned as well. They included r/misogyny, r/incelistan, and r/whiteliberation. Yep. Funnily enough, this latest crackdown came right around the time that the US Military was warning of incel violence at cinemas playing Joker.
Unfortunately, just like a family of cockroaches behind the fridge that you can’t quite get rid of, the incels are back. There was an r/Incels subreddit taken down in 2017, and as much as we all wished that was the end of them then, it definitely wasn’t.
The new iterations involve boards like r/CommunityCels, r/TruestCel, and r/ProudMaleFeminists. Some are only a few weeks old, so who knows how many others have been popping up recently.
Banning things rarely works. Drugs, books, porn, it doesn’t matter, people will find ways around rules if they’re determined enough. Banning the forums that incels like to hang out on has clearly only inconvenienced them a little bit – we’ve got two examples of them reconvening now.
We need to address the cause and not the symptom in this case. Look, I know how much easier it is to say than do, but we really can’t ignore these people any more. Incels have killed people because of how much they hate women, it’s as simple and as terrifying as that.
We’ll never be able to simply get rid of a particular community online – the depths of the internet have gone way past that point. What we can address is the underlying issues that manifest as misogyny and eventually violence from the people who lurk in these forums.
Being lonely and frustrated are the main feelings that come up over and over again. Loneliness and frustration are infinitely easier emotions to work with than rage and violent urges, as long as they’re dealt with early on.
In the meantime, staying as vigilant as we can about the inevitable return of these forums is the best we can do.