Elliot Rodger’s Actions Expose Cultural Misogyny27 May, 2014
TW: ELLIOT RODGER, VIOLENCE, MISOGYNY, RAPE, ABUSE
There are a lot of conversations centring on Elliot Rodger (background on the mass murders, trigger warnings apply). The most disturbing trend, within these discussions, is the self-preserving attitude of the misogynistic, white, male media. If a black man committed this crime, there would be outcry for his immediate arrest and trial. If a Muslim committed this crime, there would accusations of terrorism. If woman committed this crime against men, there would be discussions of militant feminism. But a cis, white, man committed it and, as a result, there has been a clamouring by the media to find some excuse that shifts the blame off misogynistic white, male culture.
The two most readily used excuses for his behaviour are: untreated mental illness and lax gun control laws. Note how both shift the problem off of who he is and on to a failure by others to prevent it. He cannot be allowed to have personal culpability in public discussion because it would implicate the very people who shape and control the majority of mass media. He must be distanced from men lest he call the attitudes and behaviours of misogynist male culture into question. Further, the use of Aspergers syndrome as an excuse stigmatises those on the Autism spectrum and paints them as violent and dangerous. In fact, non-nuerotypical individuals are more often victims of violent crimes and not the perpetrators. The shifting of blame onto gun regulations ties the issue up in discussions that have been argued and re-argued for decades without movement toward solution; it removes the issues of culpability and motive, both of which would point back to trends in male, particularly white, cis male, culture. These men want to shift our attention from the culture they perpetuate because, through its toxicity to others, it creates benefits for them, specifically a culture of fear where women cannot say no. Men’s Rights Activists and male entitlement has created a violent, abusive, and self-destructive culture, which Rodger serves as a prime example of.
Rodger’s motives were clearly outlined in his online activities, behaviours, targeted victims, and manifesto. He was a contributing member to the online forum PAUhate, a site dedicated to misogynistic views and promotion of violence against women for perceived slights on the participants’ masculine pride (such as a woman not wanting to engage in sex with a man). Rodgers subscribed to YouTube channels that promoted MRA thinking and advocated violence against women (such as The Player Supreme Show, RSDfreetour, McHenry Cruiser, and Squatting Casanova). He spoke about and engaged in violent rhetoric against women and asserted his rights as a male to have sexual access to women of his choosing and the violent consequences for denying those rights. He posted videos online threatening women and had the police sent to visit him. He saw multiple therapists, claimed none helped him, refused to take the medication prescribed for him (Resperidal), and claimed his true support was the “manosphere.” (More here) The victims he targeted were all women who fit the physical type he most desired and of them Rodger said, “… I will enter the hottest sorority house of UCSB, and I will slaughter every single spoiled stuck up blonde slut I see inside there.” Finally, Rodger wrote a 137 page manifesto (trigger warnings apply); in it he detailed his entitlement to sex, blamed women for not providing him with sex, promised retribution on those women, and engaged in violent rhetoric against women in general.
In the face of these facts the men giving commentary have changed their argument to this being an extreme case and not representative of the whole. But there have been a horrifying number of such cases in recent history. Maren Sanchez was stabbed multiple times about the face, neck, and chest by Christopher Plaskon after she said no to his invitation to prom. Of course, saying yes to these men is not any safer for women. Burnadine Kinsey was stabbed to death by Benjiman Esquivel after having sex with him; Esquivel then wrapped her body in a sheet and dumped her in the bottom of his closet like a sack of dirty laundry. There are multiple accounts of women being abused and raped by men, most often by men they know. Even when things do not end with violence, women are subjected to harassment and ridiculous attacks. For example, Marie Lacombe from Melbourne, Australia was sent an invoice for $185,000 by Bruce Dusting, after she rejected his marriage proposal and despite the fact they were not in a romantic relationship with each other; Dusting’s actions show a premeditation to punish her should he be refused. Even those men who do not actively engage in these extreme misogynistic behaviours benefit passively from the culture perpetuated by these acts. Men benefit because women wanting to preserve their safety and lives are too afraid to say no. Men benefit from the culture of victim blaming that mourns the end of a Steubenville, high school football player’s athletic career, but not the victim of multiple, violent rapes. And men further benefit from a culture that allows them to proliferate their misogyny online without consequences.
There is an overwhelming and undeniable amount of misogyny punishing and subjugating women to the desires of men. It is a prevalent issue, but few are discussing it except women. We are now using social media to speak out against the rampant misogyny perpetuated by male dominated culture. With writers, activists, and even twitter hashtags (such as, #shoutingback and #yesallwomen) women are making their voice count. It’s time for the men to listen.
Men take to social media to defend Elliot Rodgers.