Elliot Rodger, the sexless, mentally ill, psychopath who went on a rampage, killing six before taking his own life, has once again brought, gun control, mental illness awareness and misogyny to the forefront of our media. Any time a tragic even like this happens, people begin to use their 20/20 hindsight to tell us why this happened and what we easily could do now to prevent it. “Teach men not to rape” “Stricter gun regulations” “Better mental health services and awareness”. Various blogs and articles about these topics tell us which of them need to be addressed now and will definitely prevent future tragedies such as this.
Let’s be very clear about something though. None of the people, myself included, are so damaged as to go on such a shooting spree. None of us actually know what drives these individuals. In the case of Elliot Roger he left a large manifesto and Youtube videos outlining his motives, but to say that had he grown up in a world free of misogyny he would not have committed this horrendous act is absolutely preposterous. You’re telling me that someone crazy enough to write a hundred some odd page manifesto detailing his hatred for women and the current societal structure, to write and believe, ““Tomorrow is the day of retribution. The day in which I will have my revenge against humanity, against all of you.”, would have been fine if he had just grown up in a world without misogyny?
I’m not condoning misogyny or saying that it is not something that needs to be addressed, I simply find this rhetoric overplayed and increasingly annoying as a non-rapist, respectful male. I linked these two articles because I think they highlight the uselessness of this badgering talk. An article insinuated that Seth Rogen’s movie neighbors could have caused many people to feel “as Rodger did, unjustly shut out of college life that should be full of “sex and fun and pleasure.” Seth Rogen responded via twitter saying, “how dare you imply that me getting girls in movies caused a lunatic to go on a rampage.” I would be equally angry and probably say something similar but with more curse words.
The blog I linked above focuses on the language he uses however: “For the love of Judd Apatow movies, GIRLS ARE NOT A THING YOU GET. They’re not a goody bag at the end of the frat party. It honestly feels like Rogen could not miss the point more if he were participating in some kind of point-missing contest.” Yes. We fucking know this. Rogen knows this. I know this. Everyone knows this. Getting girls is a colloquial expression. It has no more underlying meaning than that. Normal people who use this phrase do not believe women are objects and not human beings.
The second article is one from the New Yorker about an empowering hashtag #YesAllWomen, which definitely has some merit to it.
“#YesAllWomen because ‘I have a boyfriend’ is more effective than ‘I’m not interested’—men respect other men more than my right to say no”
“Because in about 30 states, rapists whose victims choose to keep the baby can get parental rights, like weekend visitation. WTF #YesAllWomen”
“#yesallwomen because apparently the clothes I wear is a more valid form of consent than the words I say”
The first one resonates the most with me. When I go out with my girlfriend, often times she will be hit on and and tries to be nice about letting guys down. She doesn’t tell them she has a boyfriend because that shouldn’t be the reason she has to use to make them go away and so they don’t leave for quite some time or until I step in.
The problem I have is why the author says we need #YesAllWomen: “#YesAllWomen offers a counter-testimony, demonstrating that Rodger’s hate of women grew out of attitudes that are all around us.” Rodgers hatred of women grew because he was fucking batshit crazy and if it wasn’t that it was going to be something else. “Rodger’s fantasies are so patently strange and so extreme that they’re easy to dismiss as simply crazy. But, reading his manifesto, you can make out, through the distortions of his raging mind, the outlines of mainstream American cultural values: Beauty and strength are rewarded. Women are prizes to be won, reflections of a man’s social capital. “
Yes, if I analyze the rantings of any crazy person I’m sure I can pick out whatever the fuck symbolism I want to, because its crazy talk and doesn’t really make sense anyway. Don’t try and tell me that there is this “pervasive, undercurrent of constant misogyny” that lead this individual to enact revenge. He said he wanted to sit in a very high tower and watch all the women die in a concentration camp, except for a few which would be artificially inseminated in a lab. Because when I think objectification of women, that’s the first thing that comes to mind.
For me, all these articles ever do is make me feel alienated for being a man. Because of my penis I’m lumped in with rapists, perverts and that homeless guy in the subway who jerks off at groups of attractive girls. These anecdotal instances are always cited as a means of showing how awful “rape culture” is. Do you really, honestly think that having a somehow less rapey culture would prevent any of these crazies from doing what they do? The answer is no, because no sane person waits in a dark alley way or along an empty street to try and rape a girl. No sane man is thinking, “Ooo attractive girls in the subway? Better rub one out right fucking now in their faces.”
The final point I want to address is this constant talk about women being afraid going out at night and what not and how its rape cultures fault. I don’t go into shitty parts of the city at night just because I’m a dude. I stay the fuck away because I know I could get mugged. You don’t go walking down the Fens in the middle of the night unless you’re asking for trouble. Rape culture isn’t going to change that. The second piece of this is the 99% of rapists are male statistic. Men are stronger than women. That’s what we call a sexual dimorphism. How many 6’2″ 215lb women do you know walking around? Not many? Shocker. Men are stronger than women. No amount of social media push for equality is going to change that. I find it offensive that I, as a male, should have to proclaim to all women with earshot, “Hey I know I’m bigger than you, so I’m letting you know I’m right here and I’m totally not even going to rape you.” If I don’t do this I’m somehow perpetuating gender inequalities and rape culture.
I feel a need a positive closing statement lest the internet lambaste me. I think misogyny is a problem that can be addressed and could have a healthy dialogue. I think most of the talk out there, however, is overblown, alienates normal men, and prevents real dialogues from taking place. I think any talk about “rape culture” being a driving reason for any of the mass shootings is preposterous and needs to stop.
P.S. I’m still not a rapist. #YesReally