2022 is the year of the ‘femcel’ – what you need to know


‘Femcels’, the female equivalent of ‘incels,’ are having a pop culture moment. (Picture: Getty Images)

At this point, we all know about incels.

The online subculture, which is a shortening of the term ‘involuntarily celibate,’ refers to a demographic of typically straight men who claim that society has made them unable to attract a (usually female) sexual partner despite them wanting one.

Despite the concerning attitudes associated with the ‘incel’ movement, its links to violent crime and its status as an extremist group by The Southern Poverty Law Centre, the female-equivalent to ‘incel’, characterised as ‘femcel’, has soared in popularity this year.

Since we first reported on the ‘femcel’ movement in 2018, Google Trends shows that the term has gone beyond fringe Reddit groups and forums, rapidly spiking in popularity throughout 2021, and peaking in February this year.

Originally, femcels, congregated on subreddits like r/femcels and r/truefemcels.

Here, they would discuss issues such as their perceived unattractiveness, inability to find a partner and their distaste for ‘moids’ (superficial men who only treat women as sexual objects), ‘Stacys’ (conventionally attractive women) and ‘Beckys’ (plain-looking women who can still attract a partner).

This was until, throughout the past year, these spaces were banned for violating Reddit’s terms on hate speech — with many users accusing these forums of spreading transphobia, homophobia and alt-right conspiracy theories among other things.

Since then, the ‘femcel’ idelology seems to have undergone somewhat of a transformation since re-emerging online.

While the definition of ‘femcel’ has largely remained – with these women, in essence, believing that they are unable to get a sexual partner despite wanting one — its break into the mainstream has led to it becoming less of a ‘movement’ and more of a trend and aesthetic that dominates platforms like TikTok.

TikTok tags like ‘femcel’, ‘femcelcore’ and ‘femcelrights’ have amassed over 250 million views combined, with posters being a mixture of genuine and satirical femcels.

While some of these femcel posts still involve women self-identifying as femcels and talking about their experiences, the vast majority of posts focus on the femcel ‘aesthetic’, such as a messy, unappealing room, a lack of hygeine, being a fan of ‘female manipulator’ artists like Mitski, and reading Sylvia Plath.

As this rise of the slighty grimier manic pixie dream girl took over TikTok, ‘femcel rights’ accounts grew in popularity, with male TikTok users growing an audience by satirically characterising themselves as the femcel’s understanding boyfriend who doesn’t care about things like the femcel’s body odour or unwashed genitals.

That being said, femceldom in its original form hasn’t entirely been lost. Over 500 femcels who were active in the original subreddits have migrated to a new online forum called ThePinkPill (as well as Discord servers).

The site name takes its inspiration from the ‘pinkpill,’ which according to anti-hate organization the ADL, is ‘femcels’ realization that no matter how fully they embody the perceived ideals of femininity (being thin, submissive and fully made-up) they will never be attractive to men.’

As with the original Truefemcel subreddit, which has been recreated on this site, femcels here continue to discuss issues such as misogyny, male privelage, and how they often feel sidelined based on ‘lookism’ (facing discrimination on the basis of appearance).

However, not all femcels are enthusiastic about the way the movement has trended and, in turn, the increased media attention they are getting.

In a forum post, one user commented: ‘I’ve seen a lot of girls on TikTok calling themselves femcels or living the “femcel lifestyle’ but they’re just average or even high-tier Beckys going through a depressive episode or relationship problems.’

Another asked, ‘Why the f*** do journalists think hordes of femcels want to vomit up life stories to be psychoanalyzed for global entertainment?’

‘Listen up journalists, here’s the secret to why femcels are so maladjusted and neurotic: we’re ugly.’

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing [email protected].

Publisher

Total
0
Shares
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts