Now here is a truly interesting explanation for that ghastly killing attack in Toronto, where a guy deliberately drove a van through the crowds. We’ve a quite serious suggestion – in The Guardian no less – that this is the result of sexual liberty. Sexual libertinism even – for the way that this works out in humans is that some possibly significant group of men lose out.
Please do note that I’ve no idea whether this is actually true or not and also that it’s not an excuse for the horrendous crime of multiple murder. I’m not even going to try to use it as a warning of anything. It is though an interesting explication:
Shortly before a rented van ploughed into a crowd of pedestrians in Toronto, killing 10 and wounding 14 others, a short and cryptic message was posted on the Facebook account of Alek Minassian, the man accused of carrying out the attack.
The post referred to another mass killer – Elliot Rodger, who – and said that the “incel rebellion has already begun. We will overthrow all the Chads and the Stacys”.
Minassian’s Facebook account has since been deleted and police have yet to suggest a motive for the attack, but the post appeared to connect the alleged killer with the so-called “incel” movement, which has made collective sexual frustration the basis for a deeply misogynistic online subculture.
Incel stands for “involuntary celibate”, and the people who identify with the label are almost exclusively male. On incels.me, the subculture’s leading online forum, an incel is described as someone who “can’t have sex despite wanting to”, and is thus also denied the pleasures of relationships. (In incel lingo, sexually successful men are known as “Chads”, and attractive women are called “Stacys”).
Self-identified incels have used the internet to find anonymous support and develop an ideology whose central belief is that the modern world is unfairly stacked against awkward or unattractive heterosexual men.
Incel websites argue that society is set up so that some men have numerous sexual partners, others have none and women get to take their pick in what is often described as a “sexual marketplace”.
There are parts of this which are obviously true. Gary Becker’s Nobel came for in part exploring aspects of human sexuality as if it were a market. No, this doesn’t mean that everyone’s just paying for what they get, that love, or even just base sexual attraction, doesn’t exist. Only that it’s possible to model sex using some to many of the tools we use to analyse other markets containing humans.
It’s also worth noting that whatever we think of this in this specific circumstance it’s not a concern limited to some corner of the internet. We can find entirely respectable publications pondering the male/female mismatch in such places as India and China. From memory, the Economist (note, bene, from memory) has worried about the idea that 100 million young Chinese men will not find wives and who are they going to go off to conquer and rapine as a result (I may have exaggerated their concern)? Similar concerns have been voiced about multiple polygynous marriages in certain Arabic countries.
There is that little story, there’s a little girl for every boy, for every girl there’s a little boy. And in a system of monogamy this does indeed happen. It’s one of the reasons why human birth rates are skewed by gender. Boys are, in general health, the weaker sex (given the strains of childbirth, probably a useful thing if not in fact the cause) and thus more of them die before sexual maturity. Gender at birth is thus skewed – again, from memory, something like 105 boys to 100 girls. That’s what is needed to end up with 100 to 100 at sexual maturity of, say, 15 or 16. Yes, that young, because we’re talking about evolution, not the modern invention of extended childhoods.
This doesn’t happen because “evolution wants” us to have a society in which everyone gets someone to shag. It’s that significant departures from that will lead to a preferential production of one gender or the other gaining, for those parents, an advantage in passing on genes. So, the system ends up in balance at that age when kiddies start to be produced in that next generation.
In a non-monogamous society – and this is true of any form of non-monogamy, virgin ’till marriage and that’s that or today’s sexual liberty – some of the men are going to get more than just one of the women. That’s what “alpha” male means and they most certainly exist. They exist in polygamous societies, they exist in our own which isn’t really all that concerned with the marriage part at all any more. But one or more males gaining more than one female means some men do without.
Which is exactly the complaint being made. Again, I’ve no idea whether this is the cause of the Toronto tragedy and wouldn’t even suggest that we should change our ways even if it is.
Yet it is still true. Any system of human non-monogamy will lead to the losers – losers in who is getting sex that is – being some portion of the male population. Because that’s just how human sexuality works. Women choose who they will have sex with and that choice will be, often enough to leave that drought for some men, to have a portion of one male than all of another.
No, don’t complain about it, this is just us. Or at least enough of us to make it so.