The way Peterson tells it—and as is supported by his digital footprint of videos, podcasts and comments—for him and many others, to be an incel is to seek the camaraderie of a group of male peers who provide an outlet where, for once, they can honestly talk about the increasing fragmentation, disconnection, alienation and ostracization they feel in an always-online world in which, as far as they can see, they are not welcome or wanted.

Peterson compared the mischaracterization of incels to the xenophobic broad brush that takes a minority of radicalized Islamic suicide-bombers and uses it to condemn the vast majority of Muslims. Instead, he said, there is an acceptance that there is a vile minority who distorts the vision of the community—but that it is not his vision for the group.

Like many in the incel community, Peterson essentially grew up without a strong father figure.