Content note: misogyny, violence against women, murder
I have a deadline coming up, and won’t be able to write about the Elliot Rodger mass murder for a couple/ few days. Many people have been writing excellent things about it. Here are links to just a few, with brief excerpts from each.
Laurie Penny, New Statesman, Let’s call the Isla Vista killings what they were: misogynist extremism (this one is an absolute must-read):
Why can we not speak about misogynist extremism – why can we not speak about misogyny at all – even when the language used by Elliot Rodger is everywhere online?
We are told, repeatedly, to ignore it. It’s not real. It’s just “crazy”, lonely guys who we should feel sorry for. But as a mental health activist, I have no time for the language of emotional distress being used to excuse an atrocity, and as a compassionate person I am sick of being told to empathise with the perpetrators of violence any time I try to talk about the victims and survivors. That’s what women are supposed to do. We’re supposed to be infinitely compassionate. We’re supposed to feel sorry for these poor, confused, vengeful individuals. Sometimes we’re allowed to talk about our fear, as long as we don’t get angry. Most of all, we mustn’t get angry.
We have allowed ourselves to believe, for a long time, that the misogynist subcultures flourishing on- and offline in the past half-decade, the vengeful sexism seeding in resentment in a time of rage and austerity, is best ignored. We have allowed ourselves to believe that those fetid currents aren’t really real, that they don’t matter, that they have no relation to “real-world” violence. But if the Isla Vista massacre is the first confirmed incident of an incident of gross and bloody violence directly linked to the culture of ‘Men’s Rights’ activism and Pickup Artist (PUA) ideology, an ideology that preys on lost, angry men, then it cannot be ignored or dismissed any more.
Miri, Brute Reason, Masculinity, Violence, and Bandaid Solutions:
Before you call Rodger “crazy”: it is not actually “crazy” to believe stuff that’s been shoved down your throat from birth.
David Futrelle, We Hunted the Mammoth (formerly Manboobz), Why Elliot Rodger’s misogyny matters:
When a white supremacist murders blacks or Jews, no one doubts that his murders are driven by his hateful, bigoted ideology. When homophobes attack a gay youth, we rightly label this a hate crime.
But when a man filled to overflowing with hatred of women acts upon this hatred and launches a killing spree targeting women, many people find it hard to accept that his violence has anything to do with his misogyny.
(Futrelle also has a transcript of Rodger’s final video, for those (like me) who can’t bear to watch it.)
Ophelia Benson, Butterflies and Wheels, Grandstanding?:
Am I “grandstanding” for instance when I pay a lot of attention – public, blog post and social media attention – to the kidnapping and enslavement of schoolgirls in Nigeria by a violently misogynist group of Islamists? Is that “grandstanding”? Is it grandstanding to make a connection between Boko Haram’s misogynist theocratic views and its actions?
And what is “extremely selfish” about making a connection between misogyny and violence? What is even a little bit selfish about that? I don’t see it; I can’t see it.
Martin Robbins, guest blogging on Butterflies and Wheels, What elephant in what room?:
A man who was part of a community of extremists who hate women, wrote a manifesto about his hate for women, then went to a female sorority house to kill women.
But it definitely wasn’t about his hatred of women. Oh no sir, it was because of his Asperger’s, or some undefined mental illness. It clearly had nothing to do with his hatred of women because he killed men too, on his way to the female sorority house. More men than women in fact if you count them up. And even if it was related to misogyny, we probably shouldn’t talk about it because hey, if we air these sort of views publicly the terrorists win.
The Belle Jar, Elliot Rodger And Men Who Hate Women:
This is what the Men’s Rights Movement teaches its members. Especially vulnerable, lonely young men who have a hard time relating to women. It teaches them that women, and especially feminist women, are to blame for their unhappiness. It teaches them that women lie, and that women are naturally predisposed to cheat, trick and manipulate. It teaches them that men as a social class are dominant over women and that they are entitled to women’s bodies. It teaches them that women who won’t give them what they want deserve some kind of punishment.
We need to talk about this. The media, especially, needs to address this. We live in a culture that constantly devalues women in a million little different ways, and that culture has evolved to include a vast online community of men who take that devaluation to its natural conclusion: brutal, violent hatred of women. And I don’t mean that all these men have been physically violent towards women, but rather that they use violent, degrading, dehumanizing language when discussing women. Whose bodies, just as a reminder, they feel completely entitled to.
PZ Myers, Pharyngula, Well, that explains everything:
The real culprit in all of this is a culture of thriving misogyny, in which women are dehumanized and regarded as grudging dispensers of sex candy, who must be punished if they don’t do their job of servicing men. Elliot Rodger was a spoiled, entitled kid who had his brain poisoned with this attitude. First he learned that women are disposable, then he learned that they were evil for not having sex with him, and then he rationally put together two delusions and acted on them.
And it’s not just MRAs and PUAs that spread that poison. Every politician and media blowhard who bargains away women’s rights, who dismisses efforts to correct economic inequities, or patronizingly decides that they must manage women’s lives for them, is polluting the atmosphere further.
Courtney Caldwell, Skepchick, “Alpha Male” Elliot Rodgers’ Retribution:
Society tells men that if they’re “Nice Guys,” they are entitled to women’s bodies and time. So you can’t be surprised when some men take that as an edict to take what is theirs by violence. You certainly can’t be surprised that men like Elliot Rodger think violence is justified, when Men’s Rights leaders like Paul Elam tell their readers to beat up women:
“I don’t mean subdue them, or deliver an open handed pop on the face to get them to settle down. I mean literally to grab them by the hair and smack their face against the wall till the smugness of beating on someone because you know they won’t fight back drains from their nose with a few million red corpuscles. And then make them clean up the mess.”
It seems lately that no one can have a conversation about misogyny and the problems women (#YesAllWomen) face without someone interrupting with “Not all men!” This is apparently even true on a day when a young man with a long and painfully well-documented history of misogyny predictably turns violent and kills at least six people.
Josh Glasstetter, Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch blog, Shooting Suspect Elliot Rodger’s Misogynistic Posts Point to Motive:
A review of Rodger’s online writing suggests an ideology behind his lust for revenge.