by Naama Kates
Tuesday, 19
April 2022
Reaction
10:36

Incel paranoia comes to Britain’s schools

'Deadly' misogyny is apparently surging in the classroom
by Naama Kates
NASUWT teachers’ union poll found that 70% of female teachers “had been victims of misogyny” in their schools

Exhale, everyone. The results from the NASUWT teachers’ union poll are finally in. 

And as the weekend’s headlines all suggest, they paint a very grim picture indeed. Deadly misogyny is “surging” in the classroom, leaving female teachers feeling “scared or intimidated just for showing up to work.” And the reason for all this, of course, is “the influence of the ‘incel’ subculture on teenage boys.”

According to The Guardian, this doubtlessly objective survey “confirms a culture of sexual harassment in classrooms amid influence of ‘incel’ movement.” The findings reveal that a whopping 70% of female teachers “had been victims of misogyny” in their schools. Just over half (58%) of this misogyny occurred at the hands of pupils, while 45% came from senior staff or fellow teachers. Examples of the offending behaviour range from the abhorrent (threats of rape) to the insignificant (“ignoring instructions”) or the profoundly ironic, in the case of one participant, who wrote of: ‘Children making comments about feminism being a terrible thing and explaining it as man hating, or even the wish to kill men.’

How do incels even figure into this equation? The implication that “incel culture” has any connection to the conduct in question remains utterly unsubstantiated. Each piece includes a decorative little morsel, maybe even Jake Davison’s glassy, bovine eyes to go with everybody’s favourite fact-resistant falsehoods about Plymouth. But the best they can do when it comes to the bad behaviour in question is the use of the word “simp.”

For the past year, schools have been trying to combat the rising threat of ‘incel extremism’. In August 2021, Education Scotland spearheaded their prevention initiative with a webinar, which sought to “train” teachers “to spot incel extremists.”

The programme itself, which may now roll out to the rest of the UK, involves peer mentoring that is based on the CURE Violence model. This model was developed to combat gang violence among inner city youth, and utilises the existing relationships between young people to create avenues from those most at-risk to mentors who could provide or direct them to appropriate support.

This has been an effective approach, but it just doesn’t translate in this context. The entire model is dependent on the strength of the peer relationships; one feature of inner city gangs is a directional respect between older and younger members, which has no equivalent for “incel extremists.”

The Scottish peer mentoring programme works by pairing each referral — in this case, the suspected incel extremist — with an older peer mentor, who will effectively guide them away from their current path by “challenging cultural norms” and discussing “gender-based violence” with them.

It’s a far cry from a heart-to-heart over a beer between two Pirus.

It’s almost as though nobody even thinks these things through. Never mind that ridiculous programme, common sense alone should dissuade anyone from implementing a game of “Spot the Incel: High School Edition” with educators who already see themselves as the victims of their pupils’ bad ideas, now “trained” to identify radicals. 

There is something odd about the fact that all of these stories are told from the perspective of the teachers. It suggests that none of these initiatives are really designed to meet the needs of the students, but rather the demands of a humourless, sanctimonious new orthodoxy where everyone is a victim of grooming, abuse, and indoctrination that can only be cured with grooming, abuse, or indoctrination. So please, teachers, break the cycle and stop catastrophising so much.

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Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 months ago

The teachers need to understand that when a student dislikes a teacher, quite often it is for personal reasons which have to do with that particular teacher and his or her interactions with that particular student. When that is not the case, it is often because the student dislikes school, or teachers in general, or authorities in general, and just wants to get a rise out of them. Or is terribly, terribly bored.
The students simply grab whatever abusive language is handy, expressions they believe has a good chance of hurting or offending the teacher involved and impressing their peers. (And if it doesn’t work, they are free to try different language until they find something that does.) It doesn’t mean that their hatred comes from ideological conviction learnt on the internet. Or at home. Or by watching tv, or playing video games. You cannot even be sure that the student means any of the things they say — they aren’t here for an intellectual debate about misogyny, but are instead playing the eternal game of ‘Pop Goes the Teacher!’
The great question here isn’t ‘what radical beliefs are the students getting outside of school?’ but instead ‘why aren’t the students treating the teachers with respect?’ I’d start with asking the students, not the teachers that one. Though asking the teachers ‘how do you maintain order in your classroom?’ is likely to be illuminating.

Last edited 2 months ago by Laura Creighton
Lindsay Snoman
Lindsay Snoman
2 months ago

It probably doesn’t help that many teachers are young and lack any real life experience.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
2 months ago

And teachers are encouraged to try to save the world instead of teaching mathematics or history or art or whatever

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 months ago

As feminism becomes the new orthodoxy, many children, particularly boys will rebel against it. Such is the way of the young.
What’s also missing from this piece is how the eduction system is driving out male teachers which may also explain why boys are switching off in class: https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/where-have-all-the-male-teachers-gone-

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
2 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

The same thought came immediately to my mind.

Further, if I am understanding the statistics correctly, in the USA men are now shunning not only the arts subjects (increasingly dominated by and designed for women), but are also beginning to give university in general a miss.

At US universities there are currently over 1.6 female students to every man. And I have seen a projection that it will soon be 2:1.

School. University. How will this play out for society in the long run?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 months ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

Disenfranchised men will look for new ways to achieve success with feminists demanding that they deserve to share in it.

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
2 months ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

Women with Arts degrees will run building sites.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
2 months ago

If teachers are so concerned about misogyny, perhaps they should stop telling girls that they are ‘transphobic’ if they don’t want boys in their lavatories and changing rooms.

Michael Richardson
Michael Richardson
2 months ago

Also that boys are destined for toxic masculinity and must apologise for historical stuff.

Peter B
Peter B
2 months ago

Meanwhile, out in the real world, ordinary people get on solving real problems. While paying taxes to subsidise the time and money being wasted on this nonsense.
I need a lot of persuading that the teaching unions are part of the solution and not part of the problem here.

AC Harper
AC Harper
2 months ago

My question with any such scheme is “What objective measures will be used to judge the success of this initiative?”
Without those objective measures we have no real idea of the impact of the initiatives other than the breathless assertions of those making a career of delivering them.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Indeed. One of the problems is that “criticism of teaching style” and other complaints about what a particular women is saying is often interpreted as misogyny if delivered by a male even if the man/boy concerned is similarly critical of other men and praises other women. Being prepared to be rude about a woman teacher is not automatically misogynistic however unpalatable. In former times such rudeness would receive short shrift or a thrashing from the headmaster but of course with the feminisation of teaching such penalties are not available.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jeremy Bray
chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

the odd caning never did me any harm AND I knew it resulted from breaking a very clear rule – so no hard feelings from me . Heck you had to get caned at least once to prove that you had a modicum of ‘personality’ !! Probably all these boys want is to be caned so as to have some kind of boundary to experience – rather like falling out of a , god forbid, tree! – when told not to climb so high…….we also had little ‘real’ bullying – because that would be face to face -and generally was looked at negatively if too nasty…..tho my wife says that the bullying of/by females at the time was nasty -probably because it was more verbal vs physical and therefore easier to get away with. However she belted someone and had no more problems – likewise my undersized son, likewise me a generation before – seems there might be a trend here – maybe even pertaining to Putin – shock – nothing really changes much after the playground – who would have thought !!!!!!!!

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 months ago

“Just over half (58%) of this misogyny occurred at the hands of pupils, while 45% came from senior staff or fellow teachers.”
58 + 45 > 100.

Naama Kates
Naama Kates
2 months ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

They were free to select as many as options as applied!

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 months ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Clearly misogyny knows no bounds!

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 months ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

So the pupils are well socialised by the teachers since they display only a slight degree of misogyny greater than the teachers do to their colleagues. The fact that there is such a small difference is fairly remarkable given that male teachers are presumably a pretty self-selecting group of the woke, unless the sexual harassment comes from fellow female teachers.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 months ago

Well trans activists can be quite violent towards women.

William Shaw
William Shaw
2 months ago

The original Guardian article is a poorly written contribution to the victimhood olympics. It’s total rubbish that conflates barely related anecdotes in an attempt to create a major issue.
It’s obvious from reading the article that the complaints identified by teachers have nothing whatsoever to do with Incels… the word was thrown into the mix because the writer didn’t have sufficient source material.
The original article wasn’t worth the time of day and for Unherd to use it to generate a derivative article does the author no credit.

miss pink
miss pink
2 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I agree. I couldn’t figure out whether the Unherd article was trolling or for real!

Naama Kates
Naama Kates
2 months ago
Reply to  miss pink

of course it’s trolling! i figured starting it with the “Exhale” exhortation, and following with “doubtlessly objective survey” etc would set the tone properly. apparently not, LOL.
— the author

Last edited 2 months ago by Naama Kates
Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

The fact that teachers want action to be taken on the basis of this extraordinarily shoddy research is an indictment in itself of the standard of their leadership’s poor intellectual grasp.

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
2 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Typical Guardian. Long article yesterday about the unfairness of Black Americans as victims of gun violence. Not one statistic and not a single mention anywhere of who is doing the shooting.

Adam Wolstenholme
Adam Wolstenholme
2 months ago

Male teacher here. I’ve seen examples of sexist bullying by male pupils, but whenever it’s detected it’s treated robustly by staff. What I think the survey suggests is that some female teachers interpret any opposition or criticism from colleagues as evidence of ‘misogyny’, which is what you would do if you’d consumed leftie media for years.
Yes, pupils use gendered language against female staff, but also male staff (‘baldie’, ‘paedo’ etc). The last thing boys need is for their online support groups to be stigmatised and criminalised by teachers who don’t understand them, as I argue here …
Adam Wolstenholme: While men can’t find encouragement elsewhere, they are right to seek it in online (adamjwolstenholme.blogspot.com)

Adam Bartlett
Adam Bartlett
2 months ago

That’s a really insightful blog there Adam. To pick out on one point you made about self pitying men being widely despised, I think unfortunately that may have been true across history. You mention that mens issues often only get a fair hearing when they are aired by women – as a historical example of this, in ‘Hunger: A Modern History’ , James Vernon wrote that even back in the 19th century, it was generally only women campaigners (& reports of hungry women) which were able to rouse much compassion for the cause of UK hunger relief. Men unable to feed themselves were generally regarded with contempt (And this didn’t begin to change until about 1921 when x-soldiers who had proved themselves in WWI began to suffer once the recession began to bite.) This said, while I’d agree misandry , especially towards so called lower status men, is an increasing problem, it’s seems to me that increasing misogyny is too. It’s like we’re stuck in a Polanyi type double movement with two apparently contradictory trends happening at once. Extreme sorts of identity politics that essentially set women & men against each is likely one of the causes (as Naama says on her podcast). And as you hint at in your blog, the darker parts of the manosphere likely is too. Like you suggest, the manosphere has an outsized influence on young men as the mainstream has too much bought into certain white lies to drop needed truth bombs.

Lindsay Snoman
Lindsay Snoman
2 months ago
Reply to  Adam Bartlett

To be fair, self pitying women aren’t particularly popular either. No one looks at someone with the face like a slapped bum and thinks “wow! I want to spend time in their company!”. Of course the female counterpart isn’t ostracised to the same degree as the incel.

Adam Bartlett
Adam Bartlett
2 months ago
Reply to  Lindsay Snoman

True. Happiness and positive vibes are strongly socially contagious. Good thing many are good at projecting them even when they’re going through a rough patch.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 months ago
Reply to  Lindsay Snoman

You are right – but I’d add that there are many people who love to have a shared moan – and a subset of those dislike sharing space/breaks with happy people

Lindsay Snoman
Lindsay Snoman
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

It all good and well to have a private moan but when your trying to attract a prospective partner, it’s not attractive. Neither are cheesy chat up lines and desperation. I do appreciate that it’s harder for boys than girls to attract a mate as there are probably more shallow and materialistic girls than boys in society today.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 months ago
Reply to  Adam Bartlett

However – most people think the whole phenomenon is just plain silly – blokes with unattractive characteristics have ALWAYS had to work hard to appeal to attractive women – you know, tidy up, get an interesting job, learn to be more interesting per se , hobbies etc etc . the only difference now is that they can whinge together and feel some strength in their poor me attitude -and feel empowered to be nasty and get away with it…..same problem -no real boundaries on nasty/disrespective behaviour. In my day those boundaries were pretty solid – disrespect a female teacher and there were clear consequences – often at least getting moved to a take-no-shit male teacher ( ask me how i know this…). O that’s right – there are no take-no-shit male teachers left -they have all left because – you guessed it – they take no shit. Simple cause and effect/karma – there will be a lot more home schooling happening methinks….

Adam Bartlett
Adam Bartlett
2 months ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

Mostly agree. I’d add the ‘self improve to get the girls’ thing may be less true than it was a few decades back. Incel forums are awash with stories of physically unattractive men who strove for years to make a success of themselves with no effect in attracting women. You’re working hard point is still valid, it’s an incel / blackpoll fallacy to totally deny it, but there’s lots of evidence suggesting they’re not entirely wrong. 

You’re probably right about home schooling. There’s a related article on the Guardian right now called “I moved to an all-girls college to escape my school’s rape culture – finally I can study in safety”. Narratives like that suggest aggressive sexism has got maybe 100x worse than when I was at school back in the 70s & 80s (allbeit not in all schools as per Adam W’s post, but Ive heard enough reports from more reliable sources to be sure its not a complete invention). An interesting paradox considering the feminist takeover of education this past 3 decades. Traditionalist benefited from thousands of years experience in how to channel young men’s sexual energy – perhaps they were onto something after all. Alternatively, maybe it’s the internet that’s entirely responsible for both trends (including the change in the dating market where it much harder for men not in the top ~ 20% to get dates.) Though as a techno-optimist I don’t like to believe that.

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
2 months ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

You are right about the ‘take no shit’ male teachers. I like to think I was one. Rarely had to raise my voice. All a persona but useful with ‘the lads’. Towards the last decade of my 40 year career noticed ‘that type’ disappearing- early retirement; wanted to focus on teaching their subject in their own way and weren’t interested in the other nonsense.

Felice Camino
Felice Camino
2 months ago

About a decade or so ago, I read about the problems that women teachers in Germany were having trying to keep order in classrooms with a high percentage of Turkish children. Having lived in the middle east for some time, I quite understood the problem.
So now I’m wondering if this reported misogyny in UK schools has similar origins.

Laura Kelly
Laura Kelly
2 months ago
Reply to  Felice Camino

I’m gonna have to defend Turkish children here. I’ve spent considerable time in Turkey and their kids are a delight. They may mob you in the street, but what they want is to practice their English and maybe score a pencil or two. Also, Turkey is the Near East and not an Arab culture, and is way less misogynistic. I imagine their issues in Germany stem from local social problems, not traditional Turkish culture.

R S Foster
R S Foster
2 months ago
Reply to  Felice Camino

…very probably, but it would be wholly unacceptable to call-out religiously mandated misogyny, practiced mostly by people originally from outwith these Islands. Although I personally can’t think of anything more “Incel” than a culture where young men can be confident that however appalling their conduct…their family will secure them a teenage bride that they can go on to brutalise to their hearts content…and in some cases, barely teenage and in quadriplicate..!

Lindsay Snoman
Lindsay Snoman
2 months ago

Ahh the halcyon school days, when a girl that didn’t give it up was declared fridgid, if she did give it up she was a [email protected], you’d think that would make you want to be unattractive to the boys but it didn’t. I don’t recall respect being something any of us really experienced either from our peers, certainly not from the faculty and I can’t remember having a huge amount of respect for them in return. This was the 80’s/90’s and I don’t think much has changed. Experienced teachers would know this but I believe most of the older ones are being bullied out of the profession.

Bennie History
Bennie History
2 months ago

As a male educator myself, this rise in classroom ignorance from students that female educators seem to be reporting as misogyny is actually a microcosm of the breakdown of respect among youth across Western society.
I’ve seen it myself in my limited years as a new educator. Children nowadays aren’t held accountable by parents and there’s an increasingly negative perspective to educators.
This trend had already been increasing, but surged after the COVID pandemic wrecked whatever little faith families had in the education system. This sudden shift of just do the bare minimum and we’ll pass you on through the system hurts families and school faculty alike. We no longer have expectations or standards for behavior in the education system.
I know I may be viewing this from an American standpoint, but I think this point resonates with other European educators that school systems across the board are increasingly incapable of creating a workable system that boosts students and educators to their full potential. And what exactly the factors that are creating this issue at least to me are still unknown.

R S Foster
R S Foster
2 months ago

…so sad, lonely boys who struggle to make appropriate relationships with girls of their own age are now going to be labelled as “potential terrorists”?…give me strength!

Emre Emre
Emre Emre
2 months ago

The big danger here is that this kind of labelling can have an effect of being self-fulfilling. Merely calling someone an extremist may mean later they find it easier to actually become one. In the age of policing where police can barely handle criminality as it is I don’t want to think of what happens to society if a significant percentage are essentially educated to think themselves as extremists.
Really this makes me wonder where are the adults to tamper this kind of misguided thinking to say no? It reminds me of that saying that war is too important to be left to the control of soldiers.
Perhaps we’re coming to a point where society will decide education is too important to be left to the control of teachers. They apparently don’t understand their role in serving the society they live in but rather see it as changing the society without fully understanding how it actually works.

Last edited 2 months ago by Emre Emre
Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 months ago

“Each piece includes a decorative little morsel, maybe even Jake Davison’s glassy, bovine eyes to go with everyone’s favourite fact-resistant falsehoods about Plymouth”
I don’t know who Jake Davison is, and have absolutely no idea what this sentence means. Can anyone explain?

Lindsay Snoman
Lindsay Snoman
2 months ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

The bloke that went on a shooting rampage in Plymouth last year, shot his mum, his neighbour some bloke walking down the street with a child and then turned the gun on himself. At some point in his life, he had posted on incel subreddits although he is also supposed to have moved away from the culture but why worry about that when we can use it as a stick to beat sad, lonely and frustrated men. Nothing to do with an abusive mother and lack of father figure!

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
2 months ago

Thank you.

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
2 months ago

Was a teacher for a long time until fairly recently. My two penn’ orth. The internet has coarsened our kids terribly. Teens of both genders reinforce each others’ behaviour. The internet has turbocharged this. They carry their bullies and teen insecurities with them in their pocket. It’s not much fun. Glad I taught mostly pre internet. Apart from skewed emotional development, attention spans have declined remarkably along with creativity and originality without tech props. Asking a teen to read longer paper printed texts began, in my last decade at work, to feel like pulling teeth. Crass sexist behaviour, which does need dealing with is part of a much larger problem. Very many teens grow out of it but that needs good parenting. Too many boys in particular aren’t getting this from single parent mothers who can’t be that male figure however much they try though it depends on the male.

Adam Bartlett
Adam Bartlett
2 months ago

Excellent article as ever from Naama, though in some ways it’s good to see emphases on the teacher’s PoV. Teaching is the most stressful profession in the UK according to the various studies, and was even before Covid. In part due to the pressure from various objective measures focussing on exam performance, safeguarding, transparency & accountability to parents, etc etc  – but no on the teachers themselves. Which all add up to a massive increase in workload over the past few decades , for which there has been no corresponding increase in resource. In this light, it’s no surprise if some teachers are picking up false beliefs about incels, especially with all the misinformation flooding the media & much of academia. Hopefully, it will only take a few years for educators to come to see their diagnoses is faulty, and perhaps even turn to Naama Kates podcast for a more realistic understanding of the Incel phenomena. 

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 months ago

And yet the utter misogyny of asserting that men can define themselves at will as women not only goes unremarked buy is also ideologically encouraged!

Jean Calder
Jean Calder
2 months ago

Most people who have daughters will known that misogyny is a real problem in schools and sexual harassment and sexist bullying is rife. It has gone on for years and teachers have done nothing to stop it. Often they have colluded with it. Sometimes they have perpetrated it. Now that girls have started to speak out about it, the teachers’ focus is, depressingly, but predictably, their own safety, not that of their students. So called Incel websites may provide some new insults to hurl at girls and boys who support them, but to focus on these is a red herring. The attitudes of contempt for girls and women which give rise to insults, threats and assaults are of long standing. It will take better teachers and root and branch reform of teaching methods to stop this.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 months ago
Reply to  Jean Calder

Let’s hope these better teachers don’t resort to misandry like many of the current crop seem to …

TERRY JESSOP
TERRY JESSOP
2 months ago

disrespect a female teacher and there were clear consequences – often at least getting moved to a take-no-shit male teacher . . . O that’s right – there are no take-no-shit male teachers left -they have all left because – you guessed it – they take no shit”.
Excellent comment!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 months ago

Incel? Never heard of it? What is it?

William Shaw
William Shaw
2 months ago

Someone having trouble finding a sexual partner.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 months ago

INvoluntarily CELibate. Blokes complaining that that they want sex but aren’t getting any. Which wouldn’t have got people worked up except for a few cases where somebody goes on a murderous rampage, and claims that it was sexual frustration which drove them to it. see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto_van_attack for an example.

Max Price
Max Price
2 months ago

Well it’s not like they can just come out and call it reeducation class.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
2 months ago

The solution is simple: ban males from schools.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
2 months ago

Perhaps we should get rid of the age of consent, which tries to force all under 16s to be celibate.