Earlier this week, embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, accused of multiple instances of sexual misconduct, claimed in defense that he was a virgin in high school “and beyond.” Despite the fact that virginity has nothing to do with the allegations, that his college roommate immediately called BS and that being a virgin is markedly not a sign of virtue, the story naturally caught the attention of the internet’s most infamous community of virgins.
Brett Kavanaugh is now an incel idol.
On online communities for the “involuntarily celibate,” young men gripe about how they can’t get laid. They blame feminism and Western culture for giving women agency to choose their own partners, and some advocate violence to level the playing field. Incels have scripture, a messiah, philosophies and an entire lexicon weaponized to explain why women won’t have sex with them.
Here’s quick incel vocab lesson you’ll need to navigate this article:
- Chad: Hard to define, but for the most part, a sexually active frat bro.
- Stacy: Basically, the women who date Chads, not incels. See this handy diagram for help:
- Normie: Anyone who’s not involuntarily celibate.
As detailed by anti-alt-right watchdog David Futrelle, the members of incel forum incel.me supported Kavanaugh because he and his virginity piss off non-incel liberal “normies,” who, they say, hate all virgins “more than rapists and murderers” (link NSFW).
But why is frat-bro Kavanaugh resonating so much with a group that claims to hate men like him?
“It’s really not surprising to see incels embrace a guy they — or at least most of them — think is a sexual predator (and who probably is one),” Futrelle tells MEL. “As jealous as incels are of ‘Chads,’ they believe rape and other forms of sexual assault are appropriate forms of ‘retribution’ against girls and women who they assume would never date the likes of them.”
Futrelle continues: “These incels realize that in high school Kavanaugh was precisely the sort of guy they’d denounce as a Chad, but the fact is that incels hate ‘Stacys’ far more.”
He’s not wrong, according to u/JustCopeBro, a regular contributor to Reddit’s community of incels, r/Braincels. He tells MEL that while the community doesn’t “give a shit” whether Kavanaugh was a virgin or not, “what we do give a shit about is the reaction the media and public gave toward him revealing himself to be virgin. There was ridicule and mocking, which goes to show society sees us as lesser, subhuman losers, which makes us mad.”
He adds, “I don’t know of the allegations against him were true. But it does make me think allegations against him only came about because he was ugly. If he was hot, the women will let him fuck them.”
The administrator of Incel.me agrees with u/JustCopeBro that the women shouldn’t be trusted:
“It really doesn’t mean much to me if he was a virgin in college, to be honest, because I don’t think that’s true,” the admin tells MEL. “It’s hard to be a frat boy and a virgin at the same time. At the same time I find it hard to trust the women that have came out. If these women are not willing to testify to anyone but the media, that makes me suspicious.”
Kavanaugh doesn’t seem to fit neatly into an incel bucket. On one hand, he’s a prototypical “Chad,” an athletic white guy in a powerful social order in an Ivy League school. But on the other hand, that doesn’t dissuade the incels from believing in Kavanaugh’s innocence.
Futrelle says misogyny is the likely answer: “So long as they have a chance to blame women in the end, incels are more than willing to ignore all sorts of contradictions in what they say and what they purportedly believe. … Some of them were glad to see a famous guy stand up and say he was a virgin when he was the same age as most incels are today — even if he’s making the claim for transparent political reasons.”
Maris Kreizman, a journalist who’s covered issues of sexual harassment, agrees it’s sexism and entitlement that draw incels to Kavanaugh. Incels “feel they have the right to treat women however it suits them,” she tells MEL. “They deny the basic humanity of women by using them merely as props in their quest to either have sex or establish power or impress their buddies. Women are not people to these men; they’re just a means to an end.”
She adds, “That Kavanaugh may or may not have been a virgin when he sexually assaulted a number of women matters not in the least in terms of the severity of the crimes.” What terrifies her, she says, “is that many men (and women too) seem to believe it’s a boy’s right to express his sexuality however he please, that his needs come first. The idea that sexual assault is simply a rite of passage for many young men just shows how much our country hates women. That a sexual abuser like Kavanaugh could then have the power to dictate what women can and can’t do with their own bodies is the most dire and tremendously misogynistic extension of this entitlement.”
“I suspect that most incels who are fans of Kavanaugh are fans not because they think he really was a virgin, but because they think he did indeed sexually assault the sort of girls they call Stacys,” Futrelle adds. “That is, popular girls who incels think need to be knocked down a peg or two, violently if necessary.”