You don’t cure men’s anger by throwing them sacrificial women

How should we deal with the problem of incels? Well, we don’t fuck them, that’s for fucking sure. You don’t ‘solve’ the problem of violent misogyny by giving violent misogynists what they want. You don’t get men to stop hating women by ensuring they have intimate access to women. You do not solve the problem of incels by fucking them, because you can’t solve the problem of men’s anger by throwing them a sacrificial woman.

You’ve probably heard the news last week that an angry man murdered some people in Plymouth. I’m not telling you his name, but here are the names of the people whose deaths could have been avoided if we had tackled this violent misogynist earlier: Maxine Davison (his mother), Sophie Martyn (aged 3), Lee Martyn (43), Stephen Washington (59), and Kate Shephard (66). You may have heard that, before murdering these people and then taking his own life, the guy declared that he was doing it because he was an incel (meaning ‘involuntary celibate’, i.e. someone who wants to have sex but is not having it).

Naturally, whenever an incel does an appallingly violent thing, the question people ask most frequently is: how could this have been prevented? There are lots of things that could have been done. Perhaps we need to look into how this guy got a gun, and ensure similar people don’t have access to guns in future. Maybe we need to pay attention to the websites where young men get radicalised to despise women. Maybe we need to reallocate anti-terrorism resources to tackle the very real problem of misogynist extremism. Go read this excellent thread from Dr Petra Boynton for suggestions and a lot of backstory.

What we absolutely don’t do, though, is fuck incels to try and make them happy.

Fucking angry men does not cure their rage

A man who feels entitled to women is not going to suddenly, magically realise he isn’t entitled to them just because one has given him what he wants. In fact, there’s a really neat example of what happens right here on this site. In the comments to the last post I wrote about incels, a gentleman twat popped in to let me know that…

“I’m coming out: I was an incel, lost my virginity after I turned 30. So I kind of understand where all of this anger comes. … I felt I’m great guy: don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t gamble, don’t beat up women, have a decent amount of money in the bank – yet I had to accept that a childless, non-obese woman is out of my reach. I never had one for free. I made peace with myself, accepted my fate. Now I’m married and never ever have to ask a date from a woman – it still scares me to death to go out dating.

The problem is: this truth is really scary. It takes away hope. It’s a part of life that totally out of control. How would any talking about sex solve this problem? “My son, you’re introvert and small – forget women under 30 or under 80 kg – have a nice life!””

See? This guy is married, and he still hates women. He hates women so much that he thinks not beating us up is a personal quality for which he should be applauded! He hates women so much that he believes we cease to be of any value if we have children, are over 30 years of age or over 80 kg. See what he did there? A woman not only shagged him but married him and he has still clung on to his rage.

So. Fucking angry men will not cure them of their anger. More importantly, even if it did, we still shouldn’t do it.

Women are not here to swallow men’s anger

It is not women’s job to pacify men. It is not our job to swallow their rage. It is not our job to absorb their anger and help them feel better about themselves. We are people, and we want to live our lives. It’s quite hard to live our lives when we’re being used as an emotional punching bag for the nearest angry man.

If you’re struggling and you need support – you feel angry, for instance, or sad, or you have trauma that sits with you and you don’t know how to express it – then asking your friends (including women) for help is one of the best things you can do. I mean it: asking for help is brilliant and worthwhile. If you don’t have friends you feel comfortable talking to, seeking a professional counsellor or therapist is an excellent and healthy move.

But there is a world of difference between someone ‘asking for help’ and someone ‘expecting another human to be the solution to all their problems.’ The former is natural, the latter is cruel and entitled. You can tell the difference by whether your outburst is causing harm. Are you asking someone for help, as an equal, on the understanding that they are a person who also has feelings and needs? Great work! Are you pouring all your rage out at them, stabbing and hurting them with it, because you hurt and so you need them to hurt too? Stop.

There is a pervasive, pernicious idea in our society that women are here to help pacify angry men. That it is part of our role to soften, to gentle, to calm those who are boiling with rage and frustration.

As a consequence, there are many men who not only treat women like exercise equipment on which to work out their problems but who are genuinely convinced this is the way things are meant to work. I don’t think they overtly believe themselves to be misogynists, they just don’t understand that this isn’t how things should be. That a girlfriend/wife/mother isn’t just there to absorb their rage, swallow it down and process it for them so they can be calm until the next time it bubbles to the surface and gets spat out again in her face.

Women are human beings too, and it is utterly exhausting (and often frightening) to be the person on whom men we love work out their emotional problems.

Incels are the most extreme, violent end of this spectrum: many of them genuinely believe that if they had girlfriends then their anger would disappear, because they have internalised the idea that women will soften/soothe/gentle/pacify and make them happy. This is obviously not true, and it’s easy to recognise how untrue this is when it comes to dangerous misogynists who have been radicalised into extreme violence.

But it’s true in our everyday lives as well, whether it’s your mate who punches walls who you think might ‘calm down’ if only he could get laid, or the guy who throws a shitfit every six months and tells his girlfriend she’s worthless because he has all this anger and doesn’t know where to put it. The man whose wife has to calm him down and pick up shattered bits of crockery from the kitchen floor, who then turns to her and says ‘I’m so sorry babe, thank you, I feel much better now’ while she’s still reeling.

You don’t need to be physically violent in order for your actions to be harmful. You also don’t need to be a man: women do this too, and it’s not OK when they do it either. But we don’t usually excuse women who do this, or try to claim that she wouldn’t have needed to if only men had been nicer – shagged her when she wanted, to calm her down, for instance. We don’t usually draw cartoons of angry women being placated by men in a way that implies it’s a man’s job not just to support or help but to actively gentle and pacify. That it’s men’s job to make women less angry, and therefore their fault if we hurt them.

In everyday life, as with incels, it is not our job to pacify angry men. Not our job to absorb that anger, or swallow down their rage.

It is not true that the love of a good woman will ‘fix’ a broken man, more likely it will simply break her. With incels, with everybody. You don’t cure angry men by throwing them sacrificial women.



  • IncelGuy says:

    First of all, I totally agree that throwing sacrificial women on men won’t cure
    their anger. However, as you quoted my comment, let me try show a different

    When I was a kid, I thought I have a few “task” to do in my life: finish school
    with good grades, get a job, get a girl, start a family. At that time I had
    only experience with school out of these, where my grades depended only on me,
    so I thought that the rest of the stuff also depends only on me. It was utterly
    stupid to think that if I “do my homework”, I can get the girl I liked. I’m
    ashamed that I was that stupid. I was that stupid that didn’t realize that that
    girl might also have something to do with this. I think this is what looks like
    “men think they are entitled to women”.

    About me hating women: I’m sorry, but you’re wrong on this point. I might feel
    sorry for some of them, gloat over some of them, adore others – even be scared
    of some of them, but I don’t hate them. However, sometimes I do feel bitter.
    Consider my wife’s ex: he was an unreliable, unfaithful, broke asshole. Yet my
    wife (who is a highly intelligent women) wasted (her words, not mine) years of
    her life on him, because he was tall, broad-shouldered, handsome,
    hypermasculine guy who could fuck her all night. And my wife wasn’t the only
    highly intelligent woman who fell for him (see the unfaithful part). I was
    taught men should be reliable, faithful, honest – yet there’s a guy who’s the
    exact opposite and still gets women. This is something I feel bitter about.
    But then I realize I really shouldn’t care about other people’s choices in
    their lives or judge them – after all, I used to be also really stupid.

    • Girl on the net says:

      “About me hating women: I’m sorry, but you’re wrong on this point”

      You specifically said you’d never had a childless, non-obese woman ‘for free’. You talked about us like we were products to select off shelves. You implied that if we don’t meet highly-specific, extremely judgmental criteria (i.e. slim, childless, etc) we were worthless to you. You spoke about your wife as if she had no value whatsoever, but then dragged her into this comment only to make a point about how bitter you feel about her ex. That’s two comments you’ve made now, in both of which you have mentioned your wife, and in both you have only mentioned her in order to give us the impression that she is worthless to you and you look down on her. Additional point: do women *really* only like her ex because he’s ‘handsome’ and can ‘fuck all night’? Or does he, maybe, treat women like they’re people and not products? I don’t know, of course, because I’ve never met him, but I do know that the way you speak about women gives me extreme pause for thought, and while reliability and faithfulness are certainly important in a partner, they’re not more important than the baseline criteria of ‘treats me like a human being.’ I would rather shag a philandering liar than someone who does not recognise my personhood.

  • Callum says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for writing this. The article walks a good balance between extending empathy and drawing very firm lines in the sand.

  • Phillip says:

    Some things can never be expunged from the soul no matter how many good intentions and expensive therapists are involved.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Ah yeah this is a good point – someone on twitter pointed out the other day that maybe ‘get therapy’ isn’t a great thing to keep saying about incels, because for many they have been deeply radicalised and that’s quite a large problem to expect your average therapist to solve. There are far broader and deeper solutions required to the problem of radical misogyny in general, I think!

  • PLJ says:

    To me the first step is that violence against women be classed as a hate crime, with consequences at the level of terrorism–ankle bracelets, prison, etc. Second, hate speech be criminalised (UK already on the way, the US not at all).

    I know there was some crazy-ass suggestion that incels should have sex and that would cure them, but there are fringe crazy groups all over the place. Modern society is just messed up, and it seems to be getting worse…

    A time of despair? Perhaps.

  • Mike Hock says:

    Late blooming man here. Fully agree that people do not exist to swallow other people’s rage (regardless of sex/gender) BUT frustration is a very natural emotion, frustration at being turned down, frustration at having consent withdrawn at the last minute, frustration that you cannot have what others have, no matter how much you conform to what society commands.

    Now in the same way frustration with a customer is not an excuse to headbut them (although with some of the things I’ve seen in retail recently, that may be morally justified), being frustrated with a potential love/lust interest is not an excuse to push past consent. But at the same time, it is OK to be frustrated. It’s a natural emotion, and of itself, harmless.

    But without checks and management, frustration can lead to anger, resentment and rage (and the dark side). These are still natural emotions, but much more dangerous ones.

    What I’m trying to say is that noone should get to police the internal emotions of someone. If I’m frustrated with my wife because the bedroom has been cold for a month, I’m allowed to be. In the same way my wife can be frustrated if I’ve skipped a date night. However, that’s not an excuse to just TAKE from or HARM the source of that frustration.

    It is, however, a chance to talk about it openly and if frustration can be nullified in a safe and morally (I’m going to ignore legally here) sound way, then I can’t see the harm.

    We shouldn’t give angry incels someone to sleep with because they’re angry from sexual (or intimacy) frustration, but should we judge them if they hire a sex worker (providing they stay on the acceptable side of morality) to alleviate that frustration? If the answer is ‘no’, how harshly could we view a prescription of hiring one?

    (When I say sex worker, I mean those who willfully entered and remain in the industry without coersion)

    • Girl on the net says:

      Hmmmmm… OK so there are a few interesting things in here.

      1. “Fully agree that people do not exist to swallow other people’s rage (regardless of sex/gender) BUT frustration is a very natural emotion” Frustration is definitely a natural emotion! I would never kick off at someone for simply feeling frustrated, but what we’re talking about here are the ways in which frustration is expressed. I think you get to this later in your comment, but fwiw I agree with you on this, I just don’t understand why it’s relevant to say ‘frustration is natural!’ because yeah, of course it is, what I’m taking issue with is the way in which some people use that frustration as an excuse to harm people.

      2. “frustration at having consent withdrawn at the last minute, frustration that you cannot have what others have, no matter how much you conform to what society commands” This is interesting too. It’s like you genuinely believe that the problem for incels (and people who hate women in similar ways) is exactly what they’ve stated: that they do well and act brilliantly and yet these women continue to frustrate them. Of COURSE they’re frustrated! Tut. People keep… ‘withdrawing consent at the last minute’ and refusing to give them what they want even though they have ‘conformed to what society commands.’ I don’t think this is the case. Firstly, people are absolutely entitled to withdraw consent at any time, and so while frustration may be understandable, a reasonable person would recognise that blaming the other person for that frustration is *not*. And I don’t think incels are somehow being punished despite being great guys who do what they should – the point of this post is to explain that what they are doing is expecting women to cure/solve their problems, and effectively treating women like we are there purely to soothe their needs. So. Yeah. This is a tricky one to unpick because I think broadly you get the point that this frustration shouldn’t be taken out on women, but you don’t seem to understand that this frustration comes from a place which fails to fundamentally respect the fact that women have a right to live their lives entirely separate to the person who is frustrated.

      3. Your point about sex workers. Sigh. You’re approaching this question from the point of view of a ‘frustrated’ man who wants to hire a sex worker, and your use of ‘prescription’ is extremely troubling. Women aren’t drugs to be prescribed to people – we’re human beings. I would not judge anyone who visited a sex worker, as long as they are doing so ethically (i.e. respecting the rights of the person who is providing them with a service). But, again, incels do not respect women. They hate us with violence and passion – why should a sex worker be given the responsibility to ‘fix/help/cure/soothe’ someone who is dangerous to her? Come at this from the point of view of someone providing a service who just wants to get on with her job – if someone were sent to you on the (mistaken) belief that you could somehow fuck their pain entirely away, but the person who actually turned up at your door held rage for who and what you are, plus a sense of entitlement to your body, would you feel safe picking up that contract?

      Tl;dr – no one is policing people’s emotions here, we’re talking about healthy (and unhealthy) ways to express them. Women aren’t here to soak up the unhealthy effects of frustration, because those effects harm us. Women, including sex workers, deserve to be able to go through the world safely.

  • Purple Rain says:


    Not sure if your username is tongue in cheek, but hey.

    Sure, an incel could go to a willing sex worker. But if one of the points of the incel “philosophy” is anger at women having sex with some men, but not with them, how would this help? The fury at women “withholding” (bleurgh) sex which they freely “give” (double bleurgh) to other men wouldn’t be appeased.

  • Viiictorious says:

    Hello GOTN,

    This is my first comment here- I’ve been reading you for a while, on and off, since a partner sent me one of your erotic stories. I liked that, but it turns out I also really like your politics, and how well you explain issues like this one.

    I’m not a big commenter on anything (and I feel horrendously awkward doing so, sorry!) but I notice you tend to get fewer comments on these unless they’re people disagreeing with you so I just wanted to say I think you’ve explained and summed what’s missing in a lot of the newspaper coverage of incels really, really well.

    Thank you for writing ☺️

    • Girl on the net says:

      Hey, thank you so much! I really appreciate you saying so, and I’m so delighted you like my work! You’re right that these political ones tend to get more disagreement, so it’s nice to get some agreement too – I appreciate it!

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