More deep concern

From the Daily Beast this time. Emily Shire writes that #YesAllWomen is a good thing BUT it is not a perfect thing. Worryworry.

#YesAllWomen has led to an outpouring of simultaneously enlightening and disturbing examples of common-day occurrences of female harassment in theworkplace and world of dating. These, in turn, have inspired a number of men to tweet out their support and recognition of the dangers and double standards that misogyny has wrought.

However, #YesAllWomen also transformed a highly disturbed, socially isolated college student into a figure somehow worthy of legitimate discourse about the serious issues of misogyny. While it is inspiring to see positive conscious-raising tweets about the female experience come out of a national tragedy, there is also something dangerous about taking a deranged 22-year-old at his words. We don’t know what exactly drove Rodger to violence, and we can’t conclude that misogyny over mental illness or social rejection was the root cause.

Well we don’t know for certain, no, because we never do. Maybe what he said and put on video was all a smokescreen. We don’t know. But we do know what he did say and did put out there on video. We can conclude that he told us that misogyny was his inspiration. We can’t conclude that was the “root cause,” no, because it would take technology that doesn’t exist to know that. But that doesn’t mean the whole thing is a big blank; it doesn’t mean the black box is still on the ocean floor.

Obviously it’s not that misogyny leads directly to shooting sprees in all cases without exception. Obviously shooting sprees are extremely rare. Obviously there are vastly more misogynists than there are spree shooters.

But when someone announces his hatred of women and his plan to shoot as many as he can, we are allowed to connect his shooting spree to his misogyny. That’s not making a big unjustified leap.


  1. says

    This reminds me of every jerk who claims to be for feminism, as long as they don’t have to do or change anything in their lives or the larger culture. In this case, it seems that the point is that sure misogyny is bad in the abstract… but let’s avoid accidentally treating it as a concrete thing that causes non-hypothetical people to commit acts of violence against other physical human beings. We need to keep things as academic, and as ineffectual, as possible.

  2. says

    What is dangerous about taking him at his word? Seems like the danger here was NOT taking him at his word. I would venture to say that the default reaction with someone who has a pattern of racist and misogynistic speech (recorded, no less!) and threatens to murder the subjects of his hate, should be to believe him.

  3. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    Oh my non-existent-gods forbid we ever CONCLUDE anything about…well…ANYTHING!! That would be all kinds of horrible because…well…I don’t know but I’m sure it’s bad.

  4. Sercee says

    I don’t see what point she’s trying to make. Is she trying to say that because “we can never truly know why” it must negate the real, every day experiences so many women have? If we find out somehow that actually it wasn’t misogyny and Rodgers did it for a completely different reason does that mean that #YesAllWomen was a waste of time? It was a horrible thing that happened, but the fact this conversation is finally happening is not something to complain about.

  5. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Seven of Mine:

    Don’t be so hasty. It’s possible that concluding something based on something might be sometimes justifiable. Although conclusions are generally bad – like misogyny – I wouldn’t want to, y’know, rule out the idea that conclusions and/or misogyny can sometimes be a positive.

  6. Kevin Kehres says

    @3. I don’t think we should jump to your conclusion that concluding anything is bad. That would be concluding something about concluding and clearly that would be a conclusion. Which would be bad. Or not.

  7. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    *le gasp*

    That was awfully close to a conclusion, wasn’t it? Or was it?

    Which way is the fainting couch?

  8. Jackie the wacky says

    Well, when women aren’t being told to shut up about feminism, they are being told that they are doing it wrong / not well enough to be taken seriously.

    …but I’m sure we aren’t to call that misogyny.

  9. DL says

    This argument (WE CAN’T REALLY KNOW!!1!) is just so insane, because we have no problem judging motive for any OTHER act of hate crime. No one says, “We just don’t know why that Neo-Nazi skinhead set fire to that black church. PROBABLY THE MEDIA”. We can make a pretty damn good educated guess as to why.

    It reminds me of David Cross’ bit about bin Laden. “You know why I think that? BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT HE FUCKING SAID”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *