This is hard.
You all know I blog about feminism. This is important to me. And then something like the Elliot Rodger massacre happens and I want nothing to do with it. It feels like only last week that this other guy killed the girl who refused to go to prom with him, like I was only just getting over that one.
I could deal with it when I read the news. Sort of. I couldn’t watch his videos or read parts of his manifesto. And when the next day social media kicked in and my dashboard erupted in twitter screenshots of people who congratulated him, thanked him, drank to him… I think I stopped and left the computer and in a way, I’m still avoiding this issue.
It’s too much sometimes. And I get so, so tired. Do you guys feel that way sometimes? Like you try to talk about misogyny and how dangerous it is, and what we can do and nobody really listens? And then something horrible happens again and invariable it’s pushed away as the acts of a “lonely virgin” suffering from mental illness, and that’s it.
It hurts. I’m not personally affected, no, but it hurts. And I could have been. You could have been. Man or woman, straight or gay, whatever color your skin is. You could have been. Misogyny kills. And I’m so tired of it all, of all the things people will say to protect themselves from having to actually think about this, from having to actually make some changes in their lives.
These are some of those things:
“Oh in case feminists didn’t carefully pay attention to the news, you know who killed 4 MEN and 2 WOMEN. Which gender suffered more? That’s right.” (actual tumblr quote)
1. This is not a suffering competition. We don’t tally score. This is not a women against men crusade.
2. Misogyny kills men and women. It always has. It’s not a women’s issue, however much it is always portrayed that way. Men have many privileges over women, yes all men. Not just some. All of you. Read Charlie Glickman’s post if you want to learn more about that.
But the truth is that women aren’t the only victims of a patriarchical system. When men abuse women in the home, young boys suffer, just as much as girls. Boys suffer when they are told Boys don’t cry, or called sissies, pussies or any other term for “female” when they show emotion.
Teens are further disconnected from their emotions and compassion, through the media, their friends, their fathers, and yes, women as well, be it their mothers or anyone else.
Their sexuality is warped away from intimacy and tenderness and towards crude entitlement, to using women’s bodies as masturbatory tools, to seeing them as things for their pleasure without a clue as to what pleasure actually is.
And yeah, sometimes misogyny kills men, too. Like it happened in this massacre. But that doesn’t make it any less of a misogynist crime.
So yeah, men are victims, too. What else can we expect from living in a society with such seriously screwed up ideas of gender and what it should be?
He was just mentally ill. It has nothing to do with women. If he hadn’t felt entitled to them, it would have been over something else.
First of all: are you a psychiatrist? No. Then you’re talking out of your ass to cover this little uncomfortable feeling inside of you makes you avoid the actual issue here.
Yeah, it looks like he was suffering from a mental illness. That’s an important discussion (sad that it only ever comes up when white straight young men shoot people, but okay). To be fair, he was from an extremely privileged background, so getting help for that should have been about 100 times easier than for 99% of the population. I have a mental illness, I know lots of people with mental illness. It’s not card blanche. You go get help. You work on yourself. And that’s really hard.
Elliot Rodger may have felt this intense level of entitlement due to a mental illness. But he didn’t feel entitled to be on the cover of Rolling Stone and shot up their head offices, or to be on some football team.
No. He felt entitled to something that a vast mass cultural narrative taught him to feel entitled to: sex from hot women. Not love, not intimacy, not a happy relationship or the meeting of minds – no: blonde sorority chicks he never actually met, just “desired” for their looks.
This is not a coincidence. And it’s not all down to mental illness. Mental illness may have provided the trigger but misogyny is the soil, the plan, the gun. And every time someone denies this, we give it more power.
So can we just repeat together: women don’t owe men sex. Women are not free prostitutes who service men for a drink, a sleazy compliment or pick-up-line or anything else men have come up with to “get laid”. We are human beings. As much as you have preferences (as in, if you wouldn’t date a “fat chick”, or a “crazy one” or a “clingy one” or etc.) they do, too. They don’t owe you anything. Never. There’s no such thing as a “friendzone”. There is rejection, and it sucks, and both men and women experience it all the time. Learn to deal with that. And move on.
How are we still talking about this?