Bianca Devins was 17-years-old when her life came to a tragic halt. She had been tracked down after a concert by a jealous wannabe-boyfriend, Brandon Andrew Clark, and nearly decapitated, the photos of her lifeless body posted to his Discord server and Instagram. Very few news outlets reporting on the story have accurately transcribed these details, instead calling Devins and Clark a couple. This misinformation has a significant impact because it draws attention away from the underlying connection this crime has to many, many others: Incels, and the toxic online culture of entitled, angry men.
The world first turned its attention to the phenomenon of involuntary celibacy after Elliot Roger murdered six people in Isla Vista, California in 2014. Roger had been bitter towards women, and, in a series of videos he uploaded to YouTube, promised to “slaughter every single spoiled, blond, stuck up s***.” His poorly written pseudo-manifesto, My Twisted World, provided early insights into the world of incels and their triggers. Since Roger, several more murders and mass-murders have been committed by men identifying with or motivated by the typical incel framework—Beierle in Tennessee, Minassian in Ontario, and Harper-Mercer in Oregon are just some to name a few.
And what is the incel framework? Lonely men without sexual prospects, or resentful of a lack of those they deem acceptable. Incels blame women for their inability to secure the relationship they desire, and their reflexivity on why is almost nonexistent. When an incel does happen to recognize a flaw which might play a factor in the reduction of his value to the women he desires (normally, an extremely attractive women), it is only evidence of the shallowness, cruelty, and evilness of the woman (and women as a whole) for having preferences which might not swoon to those flaws. Amending those flaws is even rarer than recognizing them, and often head-scratching in both the attempt and the self-pitying result. The Cut’s Alice Hines recently profiled incels who took drastic surgical measures to cosmetically alter their appearance with the intention of changing their dating prospects. Jaw implants, rhinoplasties, cheekbone revisions, and a slew of other surgeries intended to “masculinize” the face and transform it into what the incel believes women believe is the ideal man—a “Chad.”
But most incels refuse to amend their flaws, and instead spend their time cooking up half-cocked theories on such insane notions as “sexual Marxism”—state-enforced girlfriends —or “the complimentary heterosexual affections directive”—a tax on anything which allowed women to exercise sexual freedom (birth control, condoms, even smartphones), that would in turn fund a program for incels to access prostitutes.
The incel entitlement complex is as vast as it is both pathetic and infuriating. An entitlement so deep it has lent itself to the justification and dismissal of horrific acts of violence. Following the Toronto van attack, incel forums were populated with sympathizers calling for acid attacks and mass rape to fulfil Minassian’s call for an “incel uprising.”
It is not difficult to see how this entitlement—this childlike inability to accept any other outcome than what was desired—played a role in the murder of Bianca Devin. After only two months of online-only interaction, Brandon Andrew Clark had sent her dozens of messages both begging and demanding her affection and attention, ignoring her clear messages to leave her alone.
Clark’s desperation led to rage. Rage when Devin turned her attention elsewhere. And that entitlement, desperation, and rage was what compelled Brandon Clark to murder Bianca Devin.
Like with Minassian, the incel reactions to Clark’s horrific act were predictably disgusting. Starting last night, once news of the murder broke, Ian Miles Cheong of Human Affairs posted a detailed Twitter thread outlining Devins’ tepid, unwilling association with Clark.
Cheong includes some rebuttals and call-outs of Tweets from those sympathizing with Clark and/or blaming Devins as complicit in her own death. As horrific as that might be to most of us, Cheong’s sampling is only a small, small morsel of what exists out there from incel sympathizers.
On the “incels forum” which has represented itself as an official hub of inceldom since the r/incels reddit was banned, the news of Devins death was treated with unbelievable vindictiveness.
While this in and of itself is a sliver of those on the internet discussing Bianca Devin’s murder, the vast majority of those posting about honouring her memory, the fact remains that incels and their entitlement complexes are no longer a strictly online phenomenon. They are continuing to leach out of their forums, out of their discord servers, and out of their private chatrooms. And how could they not? Their entire shtick is based on actions to satisfy their hunger or rage, actions that are to be carried out in the real world. This defies their inherently pitiful, absurd existence and attitude, and it also challenges those who would dismiss them as a fringe of cyber-exclusive egotistical virgins.
For women, the situation is even more dire. The entitlement of some men online might not be readily apparent, and they might just turn out to be a landmine. I’ve experienced this first hand, as many women have:
I talked to this man for a week, five months ago.