One routine morning during my Canadian government lecture, the topic of discussion was women’s representation in politics. As the instructor covered the history of women’s suffrage in Canada, one student abruptly raised his hand, pushed up the bridge of his glasses, and made a repulsive comment: “You know, some women actually didn’t want the right to vote because it meant they would have the same responsibilities as men.”
There was literally no point or moral to his statement — no crumb of academic value to his words. The instructor ignored his comment but the student still looked smug and satisfied.
It’s not just in my political science classrooms where hints of misogyny can be found: U of T’s ‘incels’ — short for involuntary celibates — run rampant in online spaces. The U of T subreddit, for instance, is a hub of degeneracy and inceldom.
The following are a handful of posts that have headlined the subreddit: “how do you rizz a UofT girl”; “Need someone to go to bars with to hit on girls”; “I talked to a girl at UOFT”; “So many creepy guys at uoft”; “Hey females of U of T I have a question for you”; “Looking for a first-year to second-year undergraduate student girlfriend please dm me, it’s cuffing season!!!”; and “Would anyone be interested in an incel club at UofT [Serious].”
U of T’s incels are best characterized in a post by user u/manletuser titled “Is it normal to have never kissed a girl at age 19?” In this post, u/manletuser miserably vents how “there’s so many hot girls on campus but why the f*ck can I not get laid or even kissed FML.”
The incels at U of T are similar to u/manletuser. Incels are young men who can’t attract women sexually and thus harbour hostile views toward women. Typically, incels express extreme resentment toward those who are sexually active and blame their own lack of sexual activity on women. They love to complain about how women don’t like “nice guys” like them and instead only want tall, rich, and attractive men.
A large proportion of these people are fixated on becoming ‘sigma’ men — voluntary “loners” who don’t need external validation — so as to become desirable to women. Moreover, though they may not outwardly promote misogyny, incels are those that watch the entire two-minute TikTok clip about Andrew Tate or are secretly in agreement with misogynistic media content about women’s roles in society, abortion, and so on. Most critically, incels — including those at U of T — are allergic to a long list of items: an honest day’s work, a clean shower, deodorant, and all women.
At U of T, I’ve personally found that there is a culture of inceldom. Every week, there’s a post from some single U of T student asking girls to hang out or some misogynistic garbage.
Though they may not necessarily account for a large fraction of all men students, the fact that they constitute a visible slice of the U of T community is concerning. As it stands, I believe that U of T students shouldn’t be proud to be U of T students if these people allowed to run free. Something must be done to stomp out this culture.
The solution is simple: there must be a shift in the mindset of U of T about what’s acceptable and not acceptable. The current status quo is too tolerable of these incels. To them, it may feel like it’s okay to be misogynistic and vent about women. For example, the “harmless” jokes about women that all men U of T students have heard at least once from their friends are not harmless and the excess of problematic posts on Reddit only serve to fan the flames of inceldom. These factors validate the incels, cementing in their minds the idea that what they’re doing is acceptable and okay.
In simpler terms, there needs to be better moderation on online spaces like Reddit. Users shouldn’t even be able to search and find the aforementioned posts on the subreddit. Particularly, a recognition of the current frame of mind is critical.
If you silently agree and post Andrew Tate’s content, you are part of the problem. If you joke about how a girl should make you a sandwich, you are part of the problem. If you think it’s funny to comment something misogynistic or sexist on Reddit, you are part of the problem. If you see your friends acting like incels but decide to turn a blind eye, you are part of the problem — and you are indirectly at fault for allowing these incels to run free.
In my remaining time at U of T, I don’t want to head over to Robarts library and feel that someone sitting next to me pervertedly raves about women — who can aptly be described as a man who is a chauvinist pig. U of T students must address this chasm of inceldom and transform it into a greenhouse of sterility and modesty. Silently allowing these pigs to continue rolling around in their misogynistic filth is just as bad and vicious as giving them permission to do so.
James Jiang is a third-year political science specialist student at Trinity College.
Editor’s note: This article was edited to remove a term that some readers might consider offensive. The headline and sub-headline have also been changed for clarity.