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Media opportunity: Involuntary celibates suggest social media apps fuel the growth of their community: Dalhousie University study

Posted by Communications and Marketing on June 23, 2021 in News

Involuntary celibates, or ‘incels,’ identify themselves by their inability to establish sexual or romantic partnerships. They are predominantly heterosexual men who have created online communities that are characterized by misogyny, self-loathing and violence.

A group once unfamiliar to most, adherents say their ranks appear to be growing. In a new study by Dalhousie University researchers, incels suggest social media apps, like the dating site Tinder and Instagram, are fuelling a rise in the number of people who label themselves as incels.

Michael Halpin, an assistant professor in Dalhousie’s Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, and colleagues analyzed just over 9,000 comments on a popular incel forum for heterosexual men to better understand the community.

The research, published in Men & Masculinities, found that incels believe women are only interested in the most attractive men, which they refer to as ‘hypergamy.’ Incels argue in the forum that certain apps are making it easier for women to only have relationships with the most attractive men. As a result, they contend that more people are identifying as incels, as fewer men are able to have relationships in this new dating world.

Dr. Halpin is available to discuss the findings and how the apparent growth of incels could have major social ramifications, particularly in the wake of several fatal attacks, including one cited in the paper in which Alek Minassian praised an incel figure before driving a van onto a sidewalk in Toronto in 2018, killing 10 people.


Media contact:
Alison Auld
Senior Research Reporter
Communications, Marketing and Creative Services
Dalhousie University
Cell: 1-902-220-0491


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