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Media opportunity: Dalhousie University researchers review millions of comments on boards used by involuntary celibates, finding nearly all contain misogynistic language

Posted by Communications and Marketing on July 5, 2023 in News

Researchers probing the online communications of the involuntary celibate community have found nearly all participants use misogynistic language and that women of colour are subjected to both racist and sexist comments.

Michael Halpin and Finlay Maguire of Dalhousie University analyzed almost 3.7 million comments on a discussion board popular with involuntary celibates or incels over 42 months and found that nearly all active participants used misogynistic terms. Incels are a subculture made up primarily of young men who feel unable to secure romantic or sexual relationships with women.

The researchers collected posts from November 2017 to April 2021, finding that women of color get twice the abuse online from incels as white women and that participants’ use of misogynistic terms does not increase or decrease with post frequency. This suggests they do not become misogynistic after spending time on the site, but arrive with those ideas in place.

Their research, published in New Media and Society, found that the most common term was 'foid,' which is short for female android and was used more than 250,000 times to dehumanize women and imply that they are unthinking, uncaring machines.

Dr. Halpin, an assistant professor in Dal's Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, is available to discuss the findings and what interventions may work best to address incel misogyny, which has been linked to several violent incidents in Canada and the U.S.


Media contact:

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


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