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Misogynist Killer Post Compilation

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.”

Emma Cueto, Bustle, After Elliot Rodger, #YesAllWomen Trends on Twitter as a Response to the “Not All Men” Fools:

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.

Comments

  1. Pteryxx says

    Thanks for this roundup. A couple more that are harsh but worth knowing about:

    Dr. Jill McDevitt, The Sexologist: Slut-shamed to death for saying yes to sex, murdered for saying no

    If some men believe the death penalty should be the punishment women, and women alone, receive for saying yes to sex, they must believe that sex is the worst of crimes, and we should therefore say no to sex. But saying no to sex resulted in women’s deaths this week too. The double standard isn’t just damned if you do, damned if you don’t anymore. It’s dead if you do, dead if you don’t.

    Andrew Ti at Yo, Is This Racist: To You Internet Misogynists

    But this UC Santa Barbara killer brings up a way that this type of shit can affect people. Because, when you co-opt the rhetoric of revolution and struggle, it’s more than just “trolling” or some bullshit to make, you know, actual decent people angry. It’s language that can make a disturbed person think that defending bigotry is a legitimate struggle, that, in Rodger’s case, that owning and subjugating women is a cause worth killing and dying for.

  2. johnthedrunkard says

    Well…
    ‘Before you call Rodger “crazy”: it is not actually “crazy” to believe stuff that’s been shoved down your throat from birth.’

    But if you have a generation that’s been stuffed with ‘crazy’ from before puberty, it isn’t over the top to say that the situation is ‘crazy.’ I think it’s safe to say that Boko Haram is ‘crazy’ too.

    Every human being possesses their own sexuality. It isn’t an ‘entitlement’ to be thwarted or accepted. The relentless reduction of sex to conquest and/or commodity exchange is what robs everyone of their right to their own sexual self.

    If anyone hasn’t seen any, do look at the kind of advice young men are being sold. You will want to shower with bleach afterwards. Bronze-age patriarchical horseshit meets evo-psych pseudoscience meets NLP meets libertarianism meets porn.

    And we have generations dumb (or crazy) enough to believe this crap!

  3. Callinectes says

    I’m a lonely, angry young men with mental health issues and powerful social inhibitions, and I’ve been the target of MRA and PUA… I don’t know, recruitment? But you know what? I fucking well know better.

    I do wonder sometimes, because I’ve learned so much from this place about the experiences of people who are different from me, and if I’d never come here and my influences were different, I might have turned out like one of these bastards.

  4. says

    I think what is clear is that Elliot Rodgers was a severely disturbed individual and should have been institutionalized. I can’t speculate on the specifics of his family relations or psychiatric care, but based on comments made by both his parents and his aunt, his problems were longstanding.

    Of COURSE I feel pain for the victims and their families. But I also cannot imagine the pain of a parent knowing your child is disturbed and not knowing what you can do to make things better.

  5. smhll says

    Arthur Chu has a good column about this tragedy on the Daily Beast. (Titled I think, Your Princess Is In Another Castle.)

    He writes in the first person as a male nerd yet draws all the same conclusion that I’m seeing in the explicitly feminist blogosphere. But with pop culture references of male entitlement to prop up his point. So if one is looking for a piece to recommend to men you know who sometimes sound feminist-phobic, that piece might work. (It starts with a Nintendo screenshot and some references to Big Bang Theory, and it’s actually better than I’m making it sound.)

    (Whether feminist-phobic women would find the piece persuasive, I don’t know.)

  6. elspeth says

    I think discounting E.R.’s mental health issues would be as incomplete as discounting his exposure to the misogynistic manosphere. I don’t actually think a culture of misogyny started the problem, though I could be wrong; but it certainly validated and focused his obsessions. If your own rhetoric, the everyday sort and not even “just a few extremists,” is indistinguishable from the rantings of a madman…

  7. says

    elspeth @ 9: I completely agree with you. I’ve been trying to make that point elsewhere, and not so well. Based on comments from his own family, I bet if you looked backward into his past, you would start to see the beginnings of a very disturbed and psychopathic person starting to emerge. His kind of paranoia and instability can manifest in multiple ways. This is the way that it went for him.

  8. Pierce R. Butler says

    … the misogynist subcultures flourishing on- and offline in the past half-decade…

    What changed five years ago?

Trackbacks

  1. […] I’m working on my own post about Elliot Rodger, misogyny, and misogyny denialism. In the meantime, here is a roundup of some more of the best stuff I’ve read about it. I’m finding it really helpful to read what other people are writing about this: it’s clarifying my own thoughts, and it’s making me feel less alone. (My previous roundup is here.) […]

  2. […] Misogyny is the issue here, not mental illness. But it’s not just present on the forums Rodger haunted; as PZ Myers puts it, “[I]t’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.” […]

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