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. I was told instead that I should focus on enjoying life without a sexual relationship, that my sexual satisfaction or lack thereof was not the single most important fact of my existence, and that even good, fulfilling relationships were inevitably also complicated and painful.
When we teach boys (explicitly and implicitly) that they are incomplete or inadequate unless they have access to a woman’s genitals, that sexual relationships can be had by following certain manipulative rules, and that compliance with gender norms is required for satisfying sexual relationships, we teach children to become rapists and murderers. This is not to excuse men who perpetrate violence of the Isla Vista sort, but it is worth examining where such perpetrators come from.
Our collective failure to notice or address the prevalence of extremist misogynist ideology in mainstream culture creates more such men from today’s boys. Every time we hear and do not confront a child or youth repeating misogynist “humor”, and every time we avoid discussion of pick-up-artist ideas in our conversations about gender-related violence, we are each complicit in tomorrow’s Isla Vistas.