“I sexually identify as an Attack Helicopter”: Incels, trolls, and non-binary gender politics online

  • Khandis Blake
  • Megan Godwin
  • Stephen Whyte Queensland University of Technology
Keywords: attack helicopter; gender; trolling; incel; non-binary; masculinity

Abstract

Recent public debate on gender identification has provided new alternatives to the traditional binary divergent titles of “man and woman”. Some contributors to this discussion have proposed a more regressive position regarding gender equity and identity awareness, instead choosing to mock online discussion by relabeling their own gender as different forms of military hardware (“attack helicopters”). The describing characteristics of these individuals are unclear. Using a sample of respondents (N=20) to the 2016 Australian Sex Survey, we explore some key demographics of those identifying as inanimate objects of modern warfare, and those simply rejecting the possibility of non-binary alternatives. Our archetype analysis delineates participant characteristics into two subpopulations of “Incel” and “Troll”, and identifies key differences in their demographics, personality traits and online behaviours. On average, the study population presents as single Caucasian males, high school educated, with average to low incomes, and some degree of non-heterosexual attraction. While cyber aggression and trolling are well researched areas, further qualitative and quantitative research is warranted into new growing sub-populations such as Incels, and how they differ from other individuals and groups online.

Published
2020-08-10
How to Cite
Blake, K., Godwin, M., & Whyte, S. (2020). “I sexually identify as an Attack Helicopter”: Incels, trolls, and non-binary gender politics online . First Monday, 25(9). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v25i9.10601