The idea of involuntary celibacy – first adopted by a woman – was roundly ignored until it was co-opted by a violently misogynistic movement
Back in the 90s, Alana couldn’t get a date. Lonely and frustrated, the self-described late bloomer started an online support group for people like her, whom she termed “involuntary celibates”, or “incels”. Alana’s Involuntary Celibacy Project soon became a community for people of all genders and orientations who weren’t able to have sex or romantic relationships.
Her social life eventually improved and she ceded her site to someone else. She didn’t realise the group had evolved into a violently misogynistic movement until 2014, when she read about Elliot Rodger, who had killed six people in California and identified as an incel. A few years later, Alek Minassian, another incel, killed 10 people in Toronto in revenge for “not getting laid”.