Everything You Need to Know About Incels | William Costello 159 | Summary and Q&A

September 8, 2022
Mikhaila Peterson
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Everything You Need to Know About Incels | William Costello 159


In this podcast episode, the host interviews William Costello, a psychology expert, to explore the psychology of incels, the involuntary celibates, and challenge the misconceptions surrounding them.

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Key Insights

  • πŸ€” Higher-educated women are more likely to experience intimate partner violence, which could be an unintended consequence of their higher status and exposure to other high-status men.
  • πŸŽ™οΈ The podcast episode discusses incels and their psychology, aiming to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about them.
  • πŸ” Better Fed Beef is a brand that offers high-quality beef from cattle raised by local farming partners, providing a tender and affordable alternative to American Wagyu.
  • πŸ‘₯ William Costello specializes in the psychology of incels and is part of Dr. David Buss's evolutionary psychology lab at the University of Texas at Austin.
  • πŸŽ™οΈ Incel refers to involuntary celibate, an online subculture primarily consisting of men who feel incapable of forming sexual or romantic relationships.
  • 🀝 Incels often have lower levels of well-being, higher rates of depression, anxiety, and loneliness, and a tendency for interpersonal victimhood.
  • πŸ” The incel community is smaller than perceived, but its online presence may give the impression of a larger group.
  • 🌍 Monogamy is socially enforced and has cultural benefits of reducing crime and promoting societal cohesion. The decline of hypergamy and the increase in female infidelity are also observed phenomena.


and another really dark uh finding is uh that a recent study of 21 000 women in 27 european countries found uh consistently that women who were higher educated are earning more than their partners were much more likely to report all types of intimate partner violence and from an evolutionary psychology perspective yeah it's not not good right you k... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What are some factors contributing to the decline of hypergamy and the increase in rates of infidelity among women?

The decline of hypergamy is likely a consequence of women's increasing socio-economic success, which has led to a shift in mate preferences. As more women achieve higher education and higher earnings, they have more choices in the mating market. This, in turn, may lead to a willingness to settle for partners who may not have traditionally met their desired criteria for mate selection. Additionally, the higher rates of female infidelity could be attributed to the increased opportunities for women to engage in extramarital relationships due to greater independence and social acceptance. However, it's essential to recognize that these trends are multifactorial and influenced by a range of socio-cultural factors.

Q: How does the concept of socially enforced monogamy impact the incel phenomenon?

Socially enforced monogamy refers to the cultural norm that promotes monogamous relationships as the ideal model. In the context of incels, it suggests that a more equitable distribution of romantic partners might alleviate some of the issues faced by these individuals. By reducing the surplus population of unpartnered men, socially enforced monogamy can potentially decrease feelings of frustration and social exclusion among incels. However, it's important to note that this concept should not be misused to justify controlling or manipulative behavior but rather seen as a means to create more balanced and fulfilling relationships for individuals on both sides of the spectrum.

Q: Are there any positive aspects to the incel community, and is there a potential for change within this subculture?

While the incel community is often associated with negative behaviors and attitudes, it's important to recognize that within this subculture, individuals may also seek camaraderie and support. Some incels may benefit from engaging with a more ethical approach to self-improvement and personal growth, similar to what ethical pickup artists emphasize. By focusing on developing confidence, social skills, emotional intelligence, and other positive traits, individuals within the incel community may have an opportunity for personal transformation and finding healthier, more fulfilling relationships. However, it is vital to address the toxic elements present within the community and promote positive change while avoiding harmful ideologies and beliefs.

Q: How has the rise of online dating and social media impacted the incel community and modern dating dynamics?

Online dating and social media have both positive and negative implications for the incel community and modern dating dynamics. On one hand, these platforms provide opportunities for individuals to connect with potential partners, expanding their dating pool and increasing accessibility. However, they also intensify the competition for attention, leading to increased feelings of inadequacy among incels. Moreover, the curated nature of online profiles may contribute to unrealistic standards and superficial judgments, exacerbating the challenges faced by individuals struggling with dating and relationships. It's important to encourage healthy perspectives and promote genuine connections rather than perpetuating harmful narratives in the digital realm.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Incels are an online subculture primarily consisting of men who identify as being unable to form sexual or romantic relationships and base their identity around it.

  • Studies have shown that incels have lower levels of well-being, higher rates of depression and anxiety, and a tendency for interpersonal victimhood, leading to an external locus of control.

  • The incel community is predominantly comprised of men who feel disenfranchised and struggle with low socioeconomic status and educational attainment.

  • There is a misconception that incels are overwhelmingly white and far-right, but research shows that the community is diverse in terms of ethnicity and political beliefs.

  • The decline of hypergamy (marrying up) is a potential consequence of women's increasing socio-economic success, which has resulted in a shift in mate preferences and an increase in rates of female infidelity.

  • Understanding the psychology of incels requires a nuanced approach that acknowledges their struggles while also encouraging personal growth and self-improvement.

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