Mon, 6 March 2023 at 6:50 pm GMT
The word “Incel” has always struck me as sounding ironically innocuous and temperate for such a disturbing, terrifying phenomenon. An incel, which stands for a combination of the words “involuntary” and “celibate”, is a heterosexual man who desperately wants to have sex with women but fails to do so, consequently heaping blame on women for their own inability to form sexual relationships.
A troubling report by the Secret Service released last year found men who label themselves “involuntary celibates” are a growing threat in America. The 26-page report, conducted by the National Threat Assessment Centre, examined a slew of instances where men linked to incel movements have killed women. Dozens of women in America and Canada’s lives have been claimed from deadly and disturbing attacks linked to the incel movement in recent years.
Unfortunately, the incel community is also thriving in the UK. And Laura Bates, a prominent feminist writer, is very well-acqauinated with incels due to spending a year buried in the so-called manopshere community. The 36-year-old, who has penned a book about her experiences called Men Who Hate Women, in which she “goes undercover to expose vast misogynist networks and communities”, taking a “deep dive into the worldwide extremism nobody talks about”.
But Bates has written about far more than the Incel community; setting up the well-known Everyday Sexism Project in 2012 when she was aged just 25. In doing so, Bates asked women to reveal their experiences of sexism, with the project now being a collection of hundreds of thousands of experiences of misogyny, abuse, harassment, and discrimination spanning across the world.
For all of the above reasons and more, I am thrilled to announce my Independent Women newsletter which is normally penned by me – Maya Oppenheim – the only Women’s Correspondent to exist in a UK news outlet – will be taken over Bates to mark International Women’s Day this week. Bates has written a powerful, moving newsletter about issues close to her heart.
The newsletter, which lands in your inbox every Thursday morning, whatever the weather, provides a succinct round-up of The Independent’s most razor-sharp opinion pieces and hardest-hitting news stories; exploring issues that shatter and ignite the lives of women in the UK and around the world.
Alongside personal anecdotes and analysis, I have used the newsletter to delve deeper into news stories, interviews, features and investigations of my own.
As ever, feedback or ideas for stories is always appreciated and you can contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org if you have anything you want to say.
Finally, thank you so much to those who have subscribed so far, and for those who are interested in doing so, you can sign up by clicking here. If you scroll to midway through the list, you will see the option to subscribe to Independent Women. That way, you can ensure Bates’ newsletter will arrive straight into your inbox this week.