Incels: You Have the Right to Keep Trying. Let’s Not Push Beyond That

Incels: You Have the Right to Keep Trying. Let’s Not Push Beyond That

– Calico Rudasill,

The first time I heard the term “incel” was a loooong time after the term was first used. And like a lot of other people, I had no idea the term was first coined by a Canadian lesbian – and I think those of us who were surprised to hear that fact can be excused for our shock, because in the years since a young woman going by the name “Alana” launched “Alana’s Involuntary Celibacy Project”, the term has been comprehensively hijacked by a community of hapless (and occasionally quite violent) losers.

Yes, I called incels losers – and no, I don’t feel at all bad about doing so. 

Look, if you want to go around feeling sorry for a bunch of entitled, self-pitying whiners who think it’s someone else’s fault they can’t relate to or effectively speak with women, let alone attract any as potential sexual partners, knock yourself out. Just don’t expect me to join you, ever, in sharing that sympathy. 

Seriously, fuck those guys – metaphorically only, I mean.

A “Right to Sex”?

I didn’t really set out to write about incels today, though; I set out to talk about the concept of a “right to sex”, an idea that has been getting some attention lately following some comments by former sex worker, political activist and erstwhile Congressional candidate Alexandra Hunt.

Sharing data suggesting that “young men aren’t having sex” (or more accurately, data showing a little under a third of men under 30 reported that they haven’t had sex within the last year) Hunt asserted that “we should be moving toward a right to sex.”

“People should be able to have sex when they feel they want to, and we need to develop services that meet people’s needs without attaching the baggage of shame or criminalization,” Hunt added.

Now, to be clear, what Hunt is suggesting here isn’t that people should be able to have sex “when they feel they want to”, irrespective of whether the person with whom they want to have sex shares their desire. What Hunt’s advocating for (I think) is legal access to sex workers – who would still be empowered to decline to have sex with any individual client that might come along seeking to assert her/their/his ‘right’ to sex, presumably.

Even framed this way, though, I think the idea is a nonstarter.

Get Ready for the Class Action Case Sad Sack Guys v. Every Woman Alive

Among the many problems with the idea of a right to sex is that it would immediately create a potentially problematic “protected class”, from a legal perspective. For example, under employment law and other areas in which people file lawsuits claiming they’ve been discriminated against, people are protected from such discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex or disability.

But if the protected class is everyone…. Well, to be honest, I have no earthly idea what a court would do with that notion, or if that arrangement would mean that plaintiffs filing lawsuits alleging a violation of their right to sex would just be able to skip the step in which they demonstrate they’re part of a protected class.

On the other hand, it might be good fun to watch Congress try to reason its way through defining and limiting the protected class when it comes to a right to sex, along with weighing all the other considerations that would come with such a debate. 

Would there be additional rights pertaining to specific sex acts, laid out in numbered paragraphs and verbiage like “members of the protected class have a right to sex acts which include, but are not limited to, blowjobs, hand jobs…”? For that matter, would there be a vigorous sub-debate about important questions like whether it makes sense that Microsoft Word readily accepts “blowjob” as correctly spelled, but underlines ‘hand job’ in red squiggles if you try to render it as ‘handjob’?

Speaking of Interpretation…

Regardless of what Hunt and other advocates for the idea mean by a “right to sex”, or what Congress would make of it if this notion ever gained traction with our elected representatives, what a lot of incels seem to think it means is that the precise people with whom they’d like to have sex should be obligated to have sex with them, under threat of law.

Obviously, as it is currently comprised, Congress is never going to pass a law like the one a lot of incels would like to see imposed on all their would-be partners. But what if Congress were to go through some crazy, Twilight Zone-like transformation, following which it did pass a law of that sort?

On this point, I can be very clear and entirely definitive. Even if Congress were to pass a law enumerating a right to sex, and even if that law specifically said I had to provide sex to my old college classmate Hugo – an exceptionally creepy guy who literally followed me home from class on three separate occasions in the early 90s, trying to get me to listen to reason and acknowledge that he was the one for me, not that jerk I was dating at the time – persuading me to have sex with a man like Hugo is something that’s simply beyond the capabilities of law.

No amount of prison time I would have to face, no monetary fine, not even the threat of imminent death could persuade me to touch any part of a man like Hugo in a sexual way.

Thankfully, I’ll never be confronted with that sort of life-or-death choice, because we’re not in the Twilight Zone, Congress isn’t considering establishing a right to sex and the last time I checked, Hugo had moved to Wisconsin, rather than the house next door.

Hmm. Now that I think about it, maybe I should double-check that last comforting fact right now, just in case. On a related note, does anyone know if Walgreens sells incel-specific tasers?

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