Behold the false dichotomy

JT Eberhard sees a mistake and comes to the rescue:

Elliot Rodger was mentally ill. That conversation needs to take place.

Huh. One, how does JT know that? Two, that conversation already is taking place, to put it mildly.

Ok so let’s read beyond the title.

There is a debate going on as to whether or not Elliot Rodger, the man who recently went on a killing spree in California, was mentally ill or if he was sane and driven by sexism.

No. That’s not the debate that’s going on. Hardly anyone is framing it as “either mentally ill or misogynist.” Also, the issue is not “driven by sexism” but “driven by misogyny” – intense, enraged hatred of women. What we see in Elliot Rodger along with far too many other men is beyond mere everyday sexism, which seems almost cozy in comparison, but inflamed rabid loathing of women as women.

When this all went down, it struck me that Elliot Rodger was probably suffering from some form of mental illness.

Whoa, how shrewd and percipient! Except that it struck everyone else in the population too, including people who know better than to take such snap judgments seriously. It’s not really worth mentioning that one’s first thought on hearing the news was “wo that dude was cray.” It’s certainly not worth treating it as a wise insight that should be followed up on.

Then JT tells us of his good fortune in having a friend who has a friend who wrote an article in Time minimizing the role of misogyny. Yes indeed, what a piece of luck. This two-degrees-of-separation friend is one Chris Ferguson – probably no relation to my friend Craig Ferguson, who is my friend because I watch his Late Late Show occasionally. Chris Ferguson hits the right patronizingly dismissive note:

Misogyny, in all forms, remains a significant problem for society. Women still don’t enjoy pay equity with men, and are underrepresented in core positions of power in business and politics. Violence toward women has thankfully dropped over the previous two decades, but remains intolerably high. The last election cycle brought us odd comments about “legitimate rape” and fights over women’s rights to contraception medical coverage. It’s not difficult to understand why women would perceive the deck being culturally stacked against them. That misogyny can, and certain does, spill over into violence in the case of (one hopes) a small percentage of men whose anger toward women is beyond control.

Linking cultural misogyny to a specific mass shooting is more difficult, however.

And so on. Take-away: don’t worry about it, laydeez. JT echoes the take-away.

Like Jaclyn said, this does not mean that sexism is not bad and that it should not be discussed.  Anybody saying that is wrong.  But by treating Rodger as sane so we can attribute the fullness of his rampage to our ideological enemies, we are missing the chance to get at the root cause of the mass murder (according to the psychological experts on mass murder).

Ahh yes, “our ideological enemies”; that’s what this is about. It’s about the same old shit – stop “dividing” the atheist “movement” laydeez, with your complaints about misogyny and harassment. Think of The Cause and shut up about it. We are all in this together and your concerns about misogyny and harassment don’t matter.

Nope.

The land of denial

I finally did as I have seen many people urge everyone to do, and took a look at When Women Refuse on tumblr. It’s not fun or placid reading. Be warned.

Arthur Morgan III gets a life sentence for killing his 2-year-old daughter

Arthur Morgan III killed his 2-year-old daughter by throwing her into a creek while strapped into a car seat weighed down with a tire jack. He did it to get back at his ex for breaking off her relationship with him.

“It was because he wanted Imani and he couldn’t have her,” prosecutor Marc LeMieux said. “So he took away the one precious thing in her life.”

[Read more…]

Guest post by Antonia Bookbinder on the normalization of misogynist ideology

I recall being a twenty-something woman and being tremendously attracted to one or another sexy, smart man. These men almost always friend-zoned me for being butch and sarcastic, saying how great it was to be friends with me because I wasn’t “really a girl” and whining about their far more conventionally feminine girlfriends. It hurt, a lot, and I eventually learned to avoid that particular sort of male “friend”. Somehow, though, I never ranted about how all men were evil or depraved or contemplated purchasing firearms to massacre popular students. This is mostly because I was never told that I had an inalienable right to male bodies. [Read more…]

Meow mix

Did you notice the shout-out to cat lovers in the ManBoobz post? I’ll replay it for you in case you didn’t.

Men’s Rights blogger The Native Canadian put it this way:

PTSD from being a feminist on the internet? Yeah I bet she wakes up screaming at night because of all the mean words! Must be hard going day to day with flash backs of your friends being called “femnazi’s” right in front of you! How ever do you handle life? Fucking disgraceful b****. Let’s see her tell that to someone who really knows what living with PTSD is like. …

I’m sorry but I am totally shocked, I don’t know what else to say, other than, is there nothing sacred to these cat lovers?

Commenters were surprised by that, but I wasn’t. We’ve seen the “women / feminists = cat people” trope before. [Read more…]

“We meant you no harm”

The CBC reports a student union leader at the University of Ottawa, Anne-Marie Roy, was anonymously sent screenshots of a Facebook conversation about her among five male students who are also student leaders. It was an unpleasant conversation from her point of view.

The online conversation — a copy of which was obtained by The Canadian Press — included references to sexual activities some of the five individuals wrote they would like to engage in with Roy, including oral and anal sex, as well as suggestions that she suffered from sexually transmitted diseases.

“Someone punish her with their shaft,” wrote one of the individuals at one point. [Read more…]

More angry at women, more hyper-masculine in their beliefs and attitudes

A study by David Lisak of U Mass Boston, Understanding the Predatory Nature of Sexual Violence [pdf]. A significant point:

There is also a set of newer myths about rape, myths that have been
spawned by the new generation of victimization studies that have emerged since
the 1980’s. These studies documented that rape was both far more prevalent than
traditional crime surveys indicated, and that most rape victims did not report
their victimization. These studies also clearly revealed that most rapes are not
committed by strangers in ski masks, but rather by “acquaintances” or “nonstrangers.”

These realizations led to the general adoption of new language and new
categories of rape. Terms such as “acquaintance rape” and “date rape” emerged
and took hold. Unfortunately, these new terms have created a new mythology
about rape. The term “date rape,” which has become woven into the fabric of
public discourse about sexual violence, carries with it the connotation of “rape
lite.” Victims of date rape are typically viewed as less harmed than victims of stranger rape; and “date rapists” are typically viewed as less serious offenders, and frankly less culpable than stranger rapists. Date rape is often viewed more in
traditionally civil than in traditionally criminal terms: as an unfortunate
encounter in which the two parties share culpability because of too much alcohol
and too little clear communication.

One of the consequences of this new mythology of date rape is that there
has been very little, if any, cross-communication between the study of date rape –
a literature typically based in, and focused on college campuses – and the longestablished literature on sex offenders and sexual predators. In fact, in the author’s personal experience, there is typically considerable resistance within
civilian universities to the use of the term “sex offender” when referring to the
students who perpetrate acts of sexual violence on campuses. This resistance is
one of the legacies of the term, “date rape,” and it has served to obscure one of the
unpleasant facts about sexual violence in the college environment: that just as in the larger community, the majority of this violence is committed by predatory individuals who tend to be serial and multi-faceted offenders.

That’s a disturbing fact. I think I’d thought of it in just the mistaken way Lisak points out: as different from stranger rape, and thus more opportunistic than something done by predatory individuals. The latter version is an unpleasant thought.

And then there’s the motivation…’

Many of the motivational factors that were identified in incarcerated
rapists have been shown to apply equally to undetected rapists. When compared
to men who do not rape, these undetected rapists are measurably more angry at
women, more motivated by the need to dominate and control women, more impulsive and disinhibited in their behavior, more hyper-masculine in their beliefs and attitudes, less empathic and more antisocial.

I recognize the type.

Outrage that uppity girls

Ally Fogg reviews Michael Kimmel’s new book at Comment is Free.

When one looks at the horrific abuse meted out to feminist campaigners such as Caroline Criado-Perez for having the temerity to ask that a woman should feature on British banknotes, to Laura Bates for fighting back against street harassment and everyday sexism, or to Anita Sarkeesian for highlighting sexist tropes in video games, it is hard to see it as anything but aggrieved entitlement. The hate campaigns seem firmly rooted in outrage that uppity girls should be intruding upon men’s inalienable right to behave how they like, harass who they want, control culture as they wish and shape society in their own image. [Read more…]

Your garden variety sexist communications

Caroline Criado-Perez gave a talk at the Women’s Aid conference; she talked about cyber harassment.

I’d like to start off by giving you a bit of background into what led up to the harassment I received for over two weeks in July and August, because I think it’s important to see how little it takes to provoke this kind of abuse – it’s important to face up to how much of a problem we still have with widespread misogyny against any woman who dares to use her voice in public. [Read more…]

In a strange, pathetic little niche

One of the sectors of The Culture where under-representation of women (in all senses) is an issue, along with rage at efforts to rectify the under-representation, is gaming. Ernest Adams addresses the issue at Gamasutra.

The topic of institutionalized misogyny in game culture is finally getting the attention it deserves, and the situation is grim. Once again we embarrassed ourselves at the Electronic Entertainment Expo with a parade of booth babes and an Xbox One launch that featured a rape joke and not a single female protagonist among its launch titles. Try pointing this out to many industry executives and you’ll get a collective shrug. Try pointing it out in online gamer spaces and you get howls of outrage and a torrent of vile abuse from a small number of very angry men. [Read more…]