Why can’t everybody be like Studio Ghibli and have interesting compelling female protagonists?
Hmmmm… How to put this. In conservative Arab/Muslim countries where women are expected to wear things like burkas and be in the company of a male relative, they are hounded by all men around on the street when they are not, like western women who go out wearing a bikini top or such. I wonder if we need to replace the memes that if a woman is walking around by herself, or at night, in various states of undress that she be treated with “disapproval” (which is what we’re really talking about, right?) with some other script, some other set of memes. Just saying that men are all jerks and they should all just “be nice” is unsatisfying. For various principles of the theory of macromemetics which I won’t get into that probably won’t work and would probably land us in in worse stead anyway. You’re kind of right—it is about power. The power that comes with knowing that one’s behavior cannot be attacked. A meme cannot be deleted directly—it must be replaced by something more appealing. If we say that back in the day women were expected to not go out unescorted or in a state of undress or after dark, then it follows that there was a system of memes (memeplex) that enforced that, which typically takes the form of creating an environment where normally antisocial behaviors (cat-calling a woman, staring at her, making untoward gestures, and even worse) become “acceptable.” And this sort of “enabling of bullying opportunities” looks like power, or as you say “they know they can get away with it.” While it’s maybe not wrong to blame and shame men as a group, the solution may lie elsewhere. If we’re looking at a vestigial or fossilized system for keeping women “in line” in a Victorian or sharia Muslim sense, which seems an interesting theory, we can’t just leave it there; we have to extirpate it by replacing it with something else. And that is an exercise in memetic engineering.
I, too, see a lot of conflation, a lot in the comments. There is this category, “incel,” and there’s not perfect agreement on the name or what it means, and it has some vague cloud of properties, and some people with some of these properties, like all basement-dwellers are guaranteed to become school shooters sooner or later, while those who may or may not basement-dwell but have crappy cars all play D&D and look at web porn and then there are others who don’t shave and have Silly Walks may or may not. It all seems pretty loosey-goosey as a category, not something to be generalized on.
BUT the point of the article was that “feminists” (again, fuzzy category) have a problem with incels. So it doesn’t matter who incels are, what defines an incel, but the this (probably fairly artificially and uselessly broad) category exists as a kind of effigy that people take swings at. This swings CAN be counted, in terms of posts on social media. This is called “textual analysis” I believe (eg, Chomsky “Manufacturing Consent”).
So, as the article points out, self-described feminists ARE targeting “incels” as THEY define them, NOT in the sense that they actually EXIST.
We don’t, for example, have data on every male over age sixteen who hasn’t had sex in the past two years regarding how many nights per week he sleeps in his parents’ basement or how many times he played D&D last week, or how many video games he owns.
So again, we CAN get reliable information about how and how much self/described “feminists” are attacking people they consider to be “incels”. We can also get self described “incels” and how much they post opinions about women, by that same token. But we CAN’T get information, based on the criteria presented (porn-watching, not having non-sex with nobody, D&D, basementiness, and so on) about who fits this category, and why, and so on. The point is that it’s a kind of effigy or strawman, much like “feminist”, “militant feminist,” or“feminazi”. My perhaps inaccurate image is that “feminazis” join forces (in hug boxes and echo chambers I suppose) while incels get together in their parents’ basements to play D&D and video game 🎮 and go back to their respective basements and look at porn, but not so much wind each other up about whatever it is their viewpoints are.
A final note. I liked what the article said about how the wooing of women is a skill, and many of not most men worry about it. I’m reminded how a female member of my critique group wondered at my use of marshall metaphors (“going into battle,” “ a suicide mission,” etc.) and said that women don’t think about encounters with that kind of apprehension. She may have been more towards the self-confident side of the female spectrum, but the point stands.
There may be a class of incel who is like what the Department of Labor terms “a discouraged worker.” If somebody popped ‘round with a great job, sorted out the transportation and work apparel and possibly new place to live, they’d be right into it. It’s not obvious how to pursue women. In China there are 5 women to every 6 men, so a hundred million guys are NEVER getting a date. I think most non-gay men harbor the wishto be with a woman and would welcome the chance, though it seem remote. If a djinn 🧞♂️ showed up, they’d ask for access to women. I don’t know what these “feminazi” types would ask their own djinn 🧞♀️ for, and maybe that’s an interesting difference.