.Documentary filmmaker Sara Gardephe made the short film Shy Boys to explore the world of incels and their "love shy" cousins—men who are so afraid of rejection that they don't even approach women. It's reductive to interpret any individual as a representative of a group. And the combination of motives and problems that made Rodger a murderer is his alone. But if you've seen his video manifesto, it's difficult not to find this way of identifying disturbing. The world of incels is a world defined by alienation from women, where misogyny is seen as a form of self-defense. Shy Boys is a window into that world——and it looks a lot scarier now than it did when I first saw this film a year ago.
Inside the World of Incels[dirty alert]
Santa Barbara killer Elliot Rodger self-identified as an "incel"——short for "involuntary celibate". The word is mostly used by incels themselves, who generally see themselves as victims: "Imagine being the only kid on the playground without a new toy everyone takes for granted. You are allowed to see and touch the toy, but can never play with it or have your own...That's what it feels like to be an incel." Outsiders are more likely to use the term/type critically: "A self-described 'incel' is highly likely to blame their virginity on the other 6,999,999,999 people on the planet rather than consider that maybe the problem lies inward."