Joanna Schroeder isn’t surprised by the horrific, devastating mass murder just outside the campus of UCSB last night.
No, I’m not shocked by the mass murder that happened last night in Santa Barbara. I’m horrified, distraught, devastated and depressed, but I’m not surprised.
Why not? Because it’s something many of us who are aware of the anti-woman hatred of certain (scarily popular) online groups have felt building for years. It’s something many of us were afraid of since we were little kids, well before these online groups brought attention to it: The anger of a man rejected. The anger of a man who hates women.
In seventh grade, I was sitting on the grass with some girl friends during a track meet, stretching for the next race. A bunch of boys were being loud and trying to get our attention, but we were ignoring them. I’d just broken up with one of them—a tall, seemingly sweet, sensitive boy I’ll call Chris—the day before. My relationship with Chris was standard for my seventh grade experience: We talked on the phone and had shared one slow dance in the cafeteria during a school mixer.
That’s when a large branch, thrown by Chris, hit me in the face and cracked my nose. It bled and swelled, but everybody laughed. I even tried to laugh it off, even though I was scared, hurting and upset. I was too scared not to pretend to think it was funny. Chris claimed to have been joking, wanting us to look over at him, and hadn’t meant to hit me. I still have a bump on my nose almost 25 years later, and he didn’t get in any trouble.
I’m not saying my cracked nose is a huge tragedy, but it was the beginning of a lifetime of not wanting to upset men. I’m sure there are a lot of stories from men about women doing the same types of things, as people of any gender can be irrational when they have broken hearts. But after the murder of young, promising Maren Sanchez in her school’s hallway by a kid everyone considered “a good guy”, and now this horrific ending of at least 6 hopeful young lives—allegedly by a young man who seems to have grown up in privilege and comfort, we have to look at what is NOT surprising about these deaths.
Ask any woman who writes online, particularly if she’s writing about feminism, if she’s ever received a death or rape threat. I know I have. Too many to count. Ask them if they’ve been called sluts, bitches or whores from men they’ve never interacted with before (the young man’s confessional said he wanted to kill all the blonde sluts). Ask them if they’ve ever been afraid for their safety or the safety of their families.
See, that’s why I’m not surprised by this young man’s choice to murder these young people. Because I, myself, have been afraid of men who have said these exact same things as this young man did—that they have been rejected by women, that women should pay for what has been done to them, that women only like one type of guy.
Ariel Chesler brilliantly wrote about the ways in which women have to pay for men’s anger, after the awful death of Maren Sanchez:
At the same time, the process of becoming a man for many boys requires them to place themselves into a “man box.” As bell hooks explained in her book The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love, patriarchal culture influences parents to devalue the emotional development of boys and teaches boys that “real men” do not feel or do not express feelings. In essence, patriarchal rules deny the full humanity of boys and prevents them from acknowledging and addressing their emotions and precludes them from learning and practicing empathy.
There is one emotion left to boys that is not “girly” — rage. And, as hooks notes, boys are taught to act out this one emotion through acts of physical aggression, which gets them attention. It is easy to understand why one would express anger when one is not permitted to express any other emotion. Coupled with the mass media’s glorification of violence and social acceptance of violence by boys, it is not a mystery why boys are so violent. In hooks’s words:
“Even though masses of American boys will not commit violent crimes resulting in murder, the truth that no one wants to name is that all boys are being raised to be killers even if they learn to hide the killer within and act as benevolent young patriarchs.”
In many cases, boys also learn violence directly from their fathers or older male relatives, or may experience a lack of emotional connection to their fathers. And, when boys later approach their sexuality and are subjected to pervasive messages telling them to objectify girls and to be the sexual aggressor, we have an explosive cocktail of entitlement, rage, objectification, lack of empathy, and lack of self-control.
Many are wondering why this shooter would (allegedly) choose to do this. Well, we don’t have to wonder. He told us. He told us he’s mad that he was rejected by women for so many years. He told us that he is angry that certain men get the women he thinks he’s entitled to.
People want to point to mental illness, and perhaps that’s a part of it, I’m not a mental health professional and I didn’t know this guy. But I can tell you that there are millions of young men with mental health issues who would never harm another human being. Most of those men probably would have done anything to protect Maren Sanchez or the young people in Santa Barbara last night. Only a very small percentage of people will ever go on a shooting rampage, but statistically they are inclined to be like this guy: young, male, angry, and middle- to upper-middle class.
One insightful male friend pointed out to me today that men are taught to value themselves by the “hotness” or outward value of the women who give them attention. If that’s the way you measure your worth, you can imagine the rage that builds when women won’t give you that attention when you feel you deserve it.
But ultimately, this murderer wouldn’t have targeted these young women had he not hated women and felt they had robbed him of something he was entitled to. I can’t say for sure that he wouldn’t have done it without the nurturing of his hatred by the online groups he is reported to have associated with, but one can’t help but wonder.
Ultimately, one thing we can’t ignore about this story and others like it is that teaching boys they’re entitled to women’s bodies and attention will lead not only to frustration and rage on the boys’ part, but also a dangerous world. Not just in cases like Maren Sanchez or the lives lost in Santa Barbara, but in all the harassment women experience online and off as a result of the resulting rage.
So, no, I’m not surprised this happened. I’m not surprised because I’ve been battered and terrified by men who were only a fraction as angry as this man. I’m not surprised by it because I see the women I love and admire battered and terrified by men who choose to take this frustration out on them with frightening regularity.
Of course, I’m even less surprised by all of the wonderful men who have stood up for me and other women, like the ones who are speaking up right now against this crime. The ones who’ve nurtured me, who’ve been my friend, who’ve been my partner and my lover, who haven’t gotten angry when I broke up with them but were respectful and kind and not like that one angry boy in seventh grade. I’m not surprised by men like Ariel Chesler or any of the incredible guys who stand up against the abuse of women and work toward a world that is better for people of any gender. I’m not surprised by all of the men who are good, kind, loving, and supportive because that’s how almost all the men I know are.
But I don’t want to write this story, and I don’t want to publish it. I don’t want to have the hate rain down around me. I don’t want to be called a slut again, or be told I should be raped, or that my kids will pay for what I’ve said. I don’t want someone to tweet at me and tell me (again) that my husband should punch me in the mouth. But that’s what happens too often when women write articles like this. But I’m going to publish it anyway. And I only hope that if you dare to try it with me this time, that you will feel ashamed and embarrassed, and that you will be called out on it by other men who want to prove that you are not what all men are like.
If we can all work together on these issues, all the good people, that is how we will solve it. But we cannot continue to believe that these killings are rare or happening because one person made a horrible choice. The murders, threats and abuse are happening because of bigger systemic reasons and we must all get to work on solving them.
*Author’s note: We will be deleting any defenses of the groups this mass-murderer may have been associated with. If you continue to comment in this manner, you will be swiftly and permanently banned.
Photo: geceres / flickr
Here’s a response to this piece.
Im curious about something. If we expect women to be on the same level as men in our society why would it matter if this nutjob targeted women specifically? I wonder if his words were explicitly only about targeting men would people be just as “concerned” as they seem to be in regards to it being about women? I think the issue becomes about how we feel who is more vulnerable. Lets hope we’re all able to get that mindframe out of our collective systems when people come in for their job interviews, especially if its for firefighting, policing, lumberjacking………….
When we look at why he may have lashed out at women, one of the things we ignore is the empathy double standard. Even in discussions on this site ostensibly for men, when a woman complains about men being shallow and only going after the pretty ones, she’s never met with no one owes you a relationship. If you want guys to notice you, you better work on yourself. Any man who would venture such a thought would be labelled a jerk. Even this concept of maybe you should ask sometimes gets shot down. When men complain that women don’t… Read more »
OP: This rant is so off-topic, I’m posting it, but please don’t post any more like this in the future here. Why is it off-topic? Tell me. I supplied a link with facts and somehow it’s off topic? Countering the hysteria towards an entire gender is off-topic? OP: I don’t see why it’s worth it to you to risk being banned, I really do not. I’m not the one who wrote the disclaimer in the first place. You did. I’m simply voicing my disapproval and you already know the reasons why provided you actually read them. And I stand by… Read more »
Eagle, stop commenting on this thread.
All right. If it’ll make you feel better, this will be my final comment in the thread. I’ll do you one even better: Anytime you write an article with a commentary thread to go with it, I won’t comment in it period. How does that sound? But know this: I never insulted you, called you derogatory names, or engaged in the rhetoric you despise from extremist MRAs. I provided a link to facts about this story, voiced my disapproval of not only the one-sided hysteria that’s fomenting and prospering out there in mainstream media but how you address contrary opinions… Read more »
EDIT: Sorry, it should read “If you want YOUR own space”. Darn it.
I think calling it “hysteria” is an insult, actually.
Thank you for taking the time to share this side. This is an issue I have been working on from the other side, being a man. I am aware of the anger, or perhaps hurt is a better word, it just gets expressed the wrong way. I know that as men we have something nobel in us that demands to serve and protect. Agression sometimes need to be a part of that. the key being agression should create safety and lead to peace. I know for me, how I treat others depends on how I percieve that I am treated.… Read more »
Thanks Andrew. I really appreciated this comment.
Thank you for sharing your opinion, Joanna. I agree there are societal causes that led to this tragedy. I disagree that men evaluate themselves based on “hotness,” as well as acceptance by or interest from women. However, I do think there is a higher probability that those with less perceived self-worth increasingly base their worth on the valuation others seem to place upon them, regardless of sex. I would also like to kindly point out that I find sexism, in any form, distasteful; and, as we continue to classify people based on parameters with which we can easily categorize them,… Read more »
Hi Joanna As one of the editors on GMP this recent research about the causes of suicide in young men may be of interest to you. It is about loneliness in childhood and youth. And I wonder if we could see this last shooting as an example of what they in Finland call extended suicide( utvidet selvmord). A person decides to commit suicide but wants to take others with him. It is often family, but can also be strangers like here. Referanse: Yerko Rojas, Childhood Social Exclusion and Suicidal Behavior in Adolescence and Young Adulthood, doktorgradsavhandling, Stockholms Universitet, mai 2014… Read more »
“One insightful male friend pointed out to me today that men are taught to value themselves by the “hotness” or outward value of the women who give them attention.” It’s not so much that men “value” themselves based upon the physical attractiveness of their partner and/or the number of sexual partners they’ve had, it’s something a little more primal: their place in the heed. “Success with women” (defined most superficially) is both the cause of and reward of high social status within male group dynamics. A man who “can’t get laid” is the lowest of the low; he might as… Read more »
Millions of guys deal with not being able to get laid every single year without becoming mass murderers or lashing out in the ways that SO MANY men online do. Many, many, many men don’t get laid and then eventually do and live happy lives and never hate women for it. But that story isn’t told in these horrifying online groups. The story of “Hey, I had a hard time finding a woman who wanted to have sex with me, and then I worked on my own self and focused on my own happiness and eventually I found a consensual… Read more »
Couldn’t agree more, Joannna, and the Internet has allowed an amplification of this hate, and a way for these types of men to find each other and bond over amplifying this message…which of course contributes to men thinking it is much more pervasive than it is. On another note, I know a lot of women who have had a hard time finding men and feel it is because the men always go for the “hot” women and won’t “settle” for average-looking or below-average-looking women, even when the men themselves are not gorgeous. So it goes both ways. But somehow, we… Read more »
But somehow, we don’t hear about that female experience, and those women are not going postal. What do you mean “we don’t hear about that female experience”? We are bombarded with articles about how some women feel “invisible” and unappreciated and how it is some great societal injustice that they are no longer considered attractive because they have reached a certain age. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2009427/A-woman-invisible-46-Thats-age-chivalry-dies-grey-hairs-arrive.html http://swns.com/news/women-feeling-invisible-men-when-turn-51-46266/ As for women going postal over not having relationships, that is thankfully rare, for now. But it is not unheard of. Christine Chubbuck was depressed because she never had relationship and was still a virgin at… Read more »
“But somehow, we don’t hear about that female experience, and those women are not going postal.” There are some mummy blogs n sites I believe which have quite a bit of bitter negative reinforcement between bitter women, hell a regular commenter on this site has shown that attitude before. Much rarer that women go postal over it from what I know though. The best thing for people like this is to meet GOOD women (or men for your example) to undo the damage. I was on that path in my late teens after some bad bullying but good female friends… Read more »
You’ll truly never get laid because women will know you hate them. This is something that is often repeated on this site and feminist-oriented sites, that a man’s misogyny is detectable and discernable by women and therefore makes the man unattractive and repellent to women. It is a convenient mantra that appeals to some sense of just desserts. If you hate women, then you will never get (heterosexual) sex! Except that it may not be true. Philip Markoff had an attractive and devote fiancé who cared about him, while he was simultaneously robbing, assaulting, and murdering women he found on… Read more »
That’s probably true.
I think the distinction is that some are obviously scary to women, and some hide their scariness under the guise of charm. That distinction is huge, and thanks for making it.
One would think that incarcerated men who have raped and murdered multiple women would be “obviously scary” to most women. Yet some women still initiate communication and send unsolicited love letters and marriage proposals to such men. Maybe the inmates subsequently “turn on the charm” but it seems that the “guise of charm” is not always necessary for misogynist men to lure or attract certain people. And anyway, I wonder if they have ever tracked down women that supposedly rejected or rebuffed these kinds of spree killers. Have they found a women approached by Elliot Rodger or George Sodini who… Read more »
The only one so far doesn’t seem to remember him from what I heard. My guess is his autism or aspergers? made it difficult to read body language which made it very difficult to date.
I think the word “misogynist” might even be the wrong word here, it’s too politicized. He hated women and saw them as nothing more than objects to make himself feel worthy. I’ve certainly been approached by guys that only saw me that way and it’s uncomfortable as hell. Were any murderers? Of course not (I don’t think?), but you know when someone doesn’t see you, and only wants you as a body or as a show of status. Sometimes you call that guy a jerk or an asshole, sometimes you call him “scary”. It probably all depends upon his social… Read more »
I think the word “misogynist” might even be the wrong word here, it’s too politicized. Sorry. I assumed that “misogynist” was an acceptable synonym for a person who hates women. I’ve certainly been approached by guys that only saw me that way and it’s uncomfortable as hell. Indeed. But perhaps they were just the ones who did not or could not hide their unfavorable attitude and disposition. For all you, you may have encountered scores of other guys who feel the same way but are just more adept at concealing that viewpoint and misleading you. It probably all depends upon… Read more »
Oh I never said it would always be detectable, but I think in this case it was.
Certainly there are probably MORE men who hate women who are also charming and manipulative.
Of course, the vast vast vast majority of guys don’t hate women even remotely.
Regarding the female classmate that Rodger recounted in his manifesto, I do not recall hearing that Rodger ever attempted to approach or solicit that person romantically. Rodger admitted that he was attracted to that person, but I have not heard any account of him actually approaching her and getting rejected. I could be wrong or something may have been omitted. I have not read the full manifesto. But all I have heard so far is that Rodger accused that female student of bullying him and encouraging others to bully him in middle school.
Really? I thought hatred of women was some common and pervasive thing in which all or most men were complicit to one degree or another. At least, that is what more than a few feminists tell us.
Do you actually read these forums regularly or something? or do you only get linked to the bad parts of them by other sites or people? Genuinely curious as to why you can state “But that story isn’t told in these horrifying online groups.” To give an example, I regularly get told of feminism doing lots for men but don’t see it (I do believe it is there though), but get linked to lots of bad feminists and see a lot of discussion on negativity. I think it’s partly that bad news gets more attention than good news. So I… Read more »
No, that’s not PUA. PUA are tips and tricks for landing a “target”.
What I”m talking about is having a good life and realizing that women aren’t “targets” but rather people you form an authentic relationship with, and don’t require tricking.
I’m DONE discussing these sites, Archy.
The problem isn’t that men feel entitled to women’s bodies. Legalizing prostitution would fix that. It’s the idea that your worth is measured by your ability to attract women. It’s further measured by your ability to attract women other men would find attractive (the hot ones). He (probably) thought his wealth should have been enough, but couldn’t even get a kiss. How much of a loser would you have to be to drive a BMW and not have a girlfriend? That generates a lot of shame. That generates a lot of rage. Yet virgin shaming of men will remain an… Read more »
“Legalizing prostitution would fix that. It’s the idea that your worth is measured by your ability to attract women.”
So if prostitution were legalized, they would still suffer – because you don’t have to attract prostitutes, they just sell sexual services to mostly anyone willing to pay. That is not the same at all as getting a woman to want and desire you, really attracting them. Not enough for the ego. And people can still get prostitutes anyway.
What a weird logic this John Anderson presents in many situations. His problem was personal, he was a psychopath.
Your entry was a thoughtful piece on a tragic situation, and was worth reading. Though I didn’t agree with everything you wrote, it, along with the @YesAllWomen series of tweets at twitter.com, and other news articles I read, did give me a lot to think about. It made me think of a line William Shakespeare wrote, in “The Winters Tale,” on adolescence, that went like this: “I would there were no age between ten and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing,… Read more »
Thank you, Tembo.
I find the Ariel Chesler quotation problematic. What I see on both sides of this is an attempt to rationalize rage. Elliot Rodger tried to rationalize his rage using a familiar misogynist set of ideas, through his actions revealing the profoundly poisonous and vicious character of dynamics and scripts that we encounter day to day in more muted forms. For Rodger, women were the cause of his righteous rage. Ariel Chesler and bell hooks, however, are trying to rationalize the rage of a severely mentally disturbed man by suggesting that it is the production of patriarchy. Rodger’s rationalization for his… Read more »
Ugh, sorry about the unclosed link. :-/
This is the best article on the Elliot Rodger case I have come across so far. He was repeatedly confronted about his thinking on bodybuilder forums and on PUAhate:
Yes, I read some of the quotes about how he was confronted and felt VERY grateful to those men who did that. I don’t know that it helped, but it helped me to know it happened.
I think it should show that even amongst people who may hold some misogynist views ( I dunno if the ones that called him out ever showed misogyny in their entire history) can be completely against outright extreme misogyny. One can be angry at women “for being bitches” if they had been treated like shit by a lot of women, generalize against them and be pretty sexist but still just an asshole but be completely horrified and totally against killing women. There are varying degrees of hate.
But ultimately, this murderer wouldn’t have targeted these young women had he not hated women and felt they had robbed him of something he was entitled to From what I can gather at CNN.com two women were murdered and four men. Twice as many men as women, in other words. But still we frame it as an act of aggression purely against women. If this murderer had not targeted these young women he would still have killed four men. But then the whole tragic affair would have been hardly worth a mention, just like the boys killed by Boko Haram… Read more »
I think he shot more women than men, but the point still stands – this is being framed as violence against women and the evident hate he displayed towards men in that video (as strong as his hatred for women by all accounts) is being downplayed.
I don’t think we should be going down this path. We’ll find that some are going to try and leverage this event as evidence of something or other that concerns them – whether it is Nice Guys, Male violence/disposability, harassment of women, disrespect for blondes, hating on the popular jocks, and so on – it is already in full swing on the web. And I feel that this very dynamic is a fractal representation of the neurosis this young man held – the delusional self importance of one’s own ideas, regardless of the relevance. The particular delusion this man latched… Read more »
Thank you, elissa, for a most insightful comment. I see lots of people who meet the terrible news with a preconceived diagnosis and look for evidence that supports it, rather than examining the facts first. When ER doctors do that, patients often die. How can we hope to fix things if we don’t understand the problem? Just one example, please Joanna, reexamine why you see “entitlement” everywhere. In my experience, it’s not the reason why rejected men get so angry, so trying to address entitlement will totally miss the mark and prevent understanding and real communication. And without those, the… Read more »
The reason he was mad at the men, according to himself, was because they got girls and he didn’t.
See how girls are at the center of it?
He still targeted men, Joanna. It wasn’t all about only women.
He targeted men BECAUSE he was mad at women, Eagle. It’s not hard to figure out.
He targeted men because a specific type enraged him; the “Alpha Male”. It wasn’t solely due to hatred of women. Look, I’m as outraged as anyone on this site that this tragedy happened but can we please not ignore the facts? http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/elliot-rodgers-killing-spree-what-happened/2014/05/24/207778ec-e3b2-11e3-810f-764fe508b82d_story.html The article states that he stabbed and killed three male roommates in the beginning. There is also another male victim counted among the dead: Christopher Martinez. So far, that makes four men and two women deceased. Doesn’t count the number of innocent pedestrians he fired upon and critically wounded in his drive-by, which includes law officers. Now before… Read more »
Eagle, I’m not going to argue with you. This rant is so off-topic, I’m posting it, but please don’t post any more like this in the future here. I don’t see why it’s worth it to you to risk being banned, I really do not. Beyond that, I’m not the one who said that about raising boys to be killers, bell hooks did, and Ariel Chesler quoted it. I don’t disagree with it, but as I already elaborated, I don’t think hooks meant for it to be interpreted as EACH boy is being raised to be killers, but that our… Read more »
“He targeted men BECAUSE he was mad at women, Eagle. It’s not hard to figure out.” No, he targetted men because they had success with women and access to something he wanted. He fantasized about killing EVERY SINGLE MALE, he had an extremely misandrist view, and an extremely misogynist view – He was purely a misanthrope. The forbes article goes into how jealous and hateful he was of people who had sexual relationships, including MEN. He anger wasn’t solely at women, it was at men too. Too many are making out like he only hated women and it was all… Read more »
Nobody is framing it as only violence against women. Show me a link. In particular, show me where *I* said it.
But his hatred for men was because of women’s rejection of him.
I don’t know why this is so hard for people to see. The violence was against men and women. BECAUSE OF women hurting him and his feeling that HE had a right to them that other men did not.
Yes, I know, but you are just confirming what I wrote. Men were killed, but they don’t matter, it was not about them, they were just in the way, no hard feelings, nothing to see here. Now they get in the way of the narrative, and thus they are gotten out of the way again. First by murder, now by erasure and sophism. Only their families and friends and loved ones grieve all the same. And they bled the same red blood when they were shot or stabbed. You know what’s the word for people who can be murdered and… Read more »
In case I was not clear, I don’t worry for a second over what that wackjob was thinking and whether he thought his male victims were disposable or not. My issue is with the fact that the commentors (including you), who are quite sane and rational, consider them disposable and not worth mentioning as well.
I’m going to let this comment stand even though you are manipulating my words and implying things I never said, nor do I believe in.
I’m going to ask you kindly to stop commenting on this thread. If you can’t restrain yourself, I will block you from commenting on the entire site.
It could have been a hundred men killed and this article would still have been written verbatim.
I just want to say I admire everything you’ve said here, and couldn’t agree anymore if I tried. Out of all the things I’ve read on this story, this is the most comprehensive and intelligent piece of journalism I’ve come across, and as a student and working freelance journalist myself, I just wan to say thank you for being awesome.
I have to say this is one of only 2 articles I’ve seen so far that tries to stick to facts and not broad generalizations. High 5 for that.
I think this is not only a misogynistic act. I think, more importantly, it is the result of kids not being taught to lose. Every kid gets a medal, award, recognition, certificate, etc. No matter their ability or talent. When are we given the chance to teach our kids that it doesn’t matter if you win the game our the girl. You matter and have other talents and other girls who will find you attractive. We’re a whole society of people who think that winning is everything. And it’s kind of what makes us great. Except we lost sight of… Read more »
I’m glad you wrote this, Joanna, although the incident really sickens me. I’m not really sure what else to say. Maybe for starters I’ll unequivocally condemn this act. The shooter may have been genuinely deranged, but he acted in a context. We all shape that context to some extent, and for my part I know I need to do a better job of that. There’s no excuse for so much as a stick being thrown in frustration. None.
As some familiar with the struggle of loving a mentally ill adult, I’d like to weigh in on how difficult it is to have someone committed to a hospital for impatient care. Unless a person makes statements of intent to harm themselves or others, you cannot have them involuntarily committed. Often, a diagnosed schizophrenic, bipolar, manic/depressive or depressed person, WILL NOT take their medication. The shooter, according to current news reports was diagnosed with Aspergers. People with Aspergers CAN have difficulty with forming relationships. But, after watching the videos posted by the shooter, he displays delisions of grandeur, referring to… Read more »
This is an incredibly important point – about how hard it is to have people committed. I have seen this just from one troubled woman around our town, which I realize is a very detached example, it’s so hard to get her the care she needs, even though she jumps in front of cars (that are moving slowly, so no risk to herself, I guess?) and jumps in people’s cars, and stares in people’s windows… I worry about her, and yet she gets forced into inpatient (I assume) and then comes out and is at it again. Such a sad… Read more »
I want to associate myself with everything Joanna wrote. On a larger note I’d like to remind everyone that when terrible tragedies or disasters like these strike often times the “first wave” of reporting can be filled with errors and rumors. Not so much because reporters are doing a bad job, when things like this happen journalists by and large work incredibly hard and take their jobs very seriously, but because, well it’s really hard to find out what happened in a chaotic scene like this. Just think about all rumors and confusion that followed the Boston Bombing. Basically it… Read more »
I love your article. I love your site, too! I wanted to bring up the “mental illness” of this young man (in particular, that he had Asperger’s). This young man may have had Asperger’s, but he is not the “norm” of Asperger’s. My 14 year old son (who is an Aspie) and I talked about the UCSB incident, and he wants the world to know that just because this guy may have been an Aspie that’s not how all Aspies are. Those who have Asperger’s are lovable, caring, and sweet, but don’t always get the social cues. It just takes… Read more »
Great point. Thanks for weighing in.
Joanna, I love this piece with one exception: can we PLEASE stop calling guys like this “entitled”? I went to UCSB and the picture he paints is flawed but not entirely innacurate. In Isla Vista, there definitely IS a culture in which the behaviors that good, decent human men are taught (like “don’t ply women with alcohol” and “treat women with respect”) are aggressively disincentivized. If you’re taught your WHOLE life to be a respectful, kind man, and then you get to college and douchebros who are emphatically unkind and disrespectful are the ones who are rewarded with attention and… Read more »
I think what you’re speaking of is different from his experience, and I don’t disagree with you entirely. I do have to say, though, living in Los Angeles and having gone to UCLA which I realize is different in many ways from UCSB, that the critical flaw here is thinking that being “popular” is the goal – and the only way to meet and love a wonderful woman. It sounds like what you’re saying is that the feelings of frustration and confusion and loneliness are normal and natural when you’re shown so many times the way douchebags get hot girls… Read more »
Well, I may have wanted him for a short while afterward, but not in a REAL way. If he’d chosen a stupid, asshole girl I didn’t respect, I’d be like, “Phew! Bullet dodged on that moron” when considering his rejection.
Dear Joanna, I wrote a very lengthy response, but, site refreshed, my text got lost… that’s what I get for not copying what I wrote, hah. 🙂 Anyways, I’ll keep to the core of what it was about: women get showered with attention, while men don’t. Women have the luxury of choice, there is a catalog of male admirers, men, do not. But men desperately want to rate high on that catalog. This is a very broad issue and the modern culture is exacerbating it by promoting shallower and shallower ideals which get readily picked up by both genders. Just… Read more »
Well, all I can say is that it’s bizarre that you think all women get their choice of men, like we have them served on a platter for us or something.
But I’ve been down this road with commenters before, and I have a feeling where it’s going. All I can say is this: what you think you know about the experiences of women is probably wrong.
“All I can say is this: what you think you know about the experiences of women is probably wrong.” You realize this is very dismissive and will likely annoy this person right? I haven’t got much time to explain but to Dathan? Some women get a lot of attention, quite a lot do get ignored though. Lookup “feeling invisible” by women who aren’t conventionally attractive. A big part of the problem is expectation of men to pursue women, and also another big problem especially with many shy guys and even more so with guys with aspergers is inability or difficulty… Read more »
A lot of this has to do with the “I deserve everything without working for it” culture in the last 15-20 years. Now the feel they deserve a shot at whoever they want. Insane.
Someone tweeted that the problem with the friend zone is that we’ve taught guys that we are like vending machines – if you just keep putting quarters in us, the prize will pop out.
Doing “all the right things” won’t get you sex.
It’s not a guarantee, and nobody should want it to be. Who wants to have sex with someone who feels obligated or was tricked into it?
There are a few versions of the friendzone people talk about. If I ever get time I might try write an article on some of them. One version is basically being a nice guy, and going above the call of duty is attractive, sexy, and likely to seduce her, to show he really cares. Many good people do this naturally but I believe some of the romance movies played more into this, basically the guys get caught up trying to prove their worth and they both fall in love after she sees how much he cares and does for her.… Read more »
Its not that they think they deserve it without working for it. They think that there is a specific workflow (which does involve doing work) that needs to be followed.
Yes, that’s the “vending machine” analogy. If you put in your dollar, you should get your candy bar.
If you do xyz you will get sex. Except women are human beings and you don’t deserve sex no matter WHAT you do.
Yes, that’s the “vending machine” analogy. If you put in your dollar, you should get your candy bar. Oh I’m familiar with the vending machine analogy. However thinking there are a certain set of steps that need to be followed is VERY different from thinking you don’t have to put any work in, which is what Josh said. If you do xyz you will get sex. Except women are human beings and you don’t deserve sex no matter WHAT you do. Agreed. But if we are going to do something about problematic expectations then they have to be properly described… Read more »
That information is there. Here’s a start: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/05/24/1301671/-Elliot-Roger-Gunman-in-California-Mass-Shooting-was-influenced-by-the-Men-s-Rights-Movement
Now, google is your friend.
And honestly? Even if he were involved with zero MRA or PUA movements, my point would remain: that we should focus on the epidemic of lethal male violence directed at women and how to stop it, rather than trying to deflect attention elsewhere.
The thing is – in my article, and in Lori’s comment above, we are not naming which groups he may have been involved in. I didn’t even mention which ones because I wasn’t sure what information would come to life, so I left it out. I want to be clear about that. Nobody is saying that anybody was in any groups or that all groups are the same. I didn’t mention a single name of any group. If someone doesn’t like what was written on DailyKos or elsewhere, go comment there. We keep deleting these comments about PUA vs MRA… Read more »
Male violence against other men dwarfs male violence against women by a staggering margin, even when considering these freak occurrences. Here’s a different approach you might consider. The reality is that our society feels entitled to male violence, not the other way around. When a criminal breaks in at 2 AM in the morning, both men and women expect that the man of the house will risk his life to protect everyone. The same thing when enemies invade our shores, or when a woman is assaulted in the street. We expect that a man will risk his life to save… Read more »
I agree with you fully that violence against other men is just as serious as violence against women.
Men do need to learn what you’e saying, that they have value beyond their sexuality and violence. I think that’s what bell hooks is getting at in the quote Ariel Chesler pulled, which is quoted in the above piece.
Another FANTASTIC reference point is Carlos Andres Gomez’s amazing amazing amazing video about how men see each other as animals. If you haven’t seen it, you need to stop and watch it now. It’s gorgeous and made me cry.
I agree, but it goes beyond that. Men’s lives are not considered important. Men are disposable. Men’s lives aren’t just given up for violence. Men are 90% of industrial accident deaths. 19 fireMEN died fighting a wildfire. Government medical spending on men is dwarfed by the spending on women. When men are taught not to value their own lives, there will be a segment that you will be unable to get to value someone elses. You can’t teach empathy to a boy when the first thing you teach is that he doesn’t matter.
Maybe you should start with why guys like this are angry in the first place. They aren’t born this way, after all. Maybe they’re angry because they’re told from birth that women deserve their respect, simply for being women. Yet at the same time places like Tumblr and other sites are filled with ‘lol misandry’ and ‘kill all men’ And what’s more, these guys are told women have a *right* to say that. Or the fact that a woman can vent her anger at men in a multitude of socially acceptable ways (ugh, men are useless assholes!) while I, despite… Read more »
Yes, that’s what we mean when we talk about the “man box” and “toxic masculinity”.
And I’m telling you that isn’t working. Whether rightly or wrongly, guys like this perceive that as an attack on themselves. You have two options: you can forge ahead with it anyway, in which case these guys WILL turn somewhere else… or you can find a better way to frame it, preferably one that doesn’t implicitly blame the guy himself for it. Calling it toxic masculinity only works after a person has gotten to the point where he can understand masculinity =/= man. Until then? Until you can convince him of that all he’s going to see is ‘toxic =… Read more »
Listen, I just can’t get behind any thinking that says a guy is “wronged by women” – a guy can be hurt by a woman, have his feelings hurt, but how is he systematically “Wronged” by “Women” – I get what you’re saying, that this language we’re using isn’t going to work with guys like this guy or the many, many who have harassed us for so many years. But I don’t think I can get behind changing what I believe in order to try to win over guys who already hate me. I wish I could figure out some… Read more »
How could you expect them to change though without changing yourself IF your actions prove to push them away. No idea if they do personally, I am totally fine with what you say so high 5.
Maybe the wording for toxic masculinity could be changed to toxic subgroups of masculinity, and phrase it to show that masculinity itself is not toxic or harmful. Often I think men are hearing the message that men are brutes and we need to be changed, it does feel like being male is a form of original sin.
You could maybe start by not dismissing it as ‘hurt feelings,’ Joanna.
wow, flagged as a spammer.
Never mind. If you only wanted responses from people who agreed with you 100%, you should have said so in the article. I’m out.
That happens with our new system somewhat randomly. I’ve let all your comments go through, as far as I can tell.
My comment was tagged as spam, also. It appears to have nothing to do with content, at least in my case.
I wasn’t even flagged, just deleted.
Be and think like the collective or be gone gone gone. And so goes the GMP theme.
@ Joanna Schroeder
I have huge issues with terms like “toxic masculinity”, phrases like “let’s fix masculinity” or “what’s wrong with masculinity”. There is nothing inherently bad or wrong with being a man or being male. It is society’s perception of masculinity that needs to be changed. It is societal pressures on men too adhere to this perception of masculinity that is problematic. There is nothing wrong with being man. There is nothing bad about being male.
Masculinity =/= men.
Many aspects of standard masculinity can be labeled as toxic (the same goes for standard femininity). That is why we talk about the toxic masculinity, not masculinity as a whole – we target the not so good aspects.
There’s obviously a problem with American masculinity particularly surrounding sex as a right of passage. The sexual expectations that are foisted upon men and the merciless mocking that accompanies the failure to live up to those expectations. As well as the male privelage and entitlement creating the disgusting expectation that women *must* submit to man’s desires are face the consequences of misogynists.
And when women rape men or boys he is often called lucky since his masculinity is proven without effort. This comes from the same mindset that men must and can never refuse sex with a woman. In society women are not only entitled to men’s bodies, but when they do forcibly take it, it’s considered a gift. I take exception to this concept that when a woman rapes a man or boy it is misogyny.
Joanna, Bravely and delicately written. My only issue is this quote: “Even though masses of American boys will not commit violent crimes resulting in murder, the truth that no one wants to name is that all boys are being raised to be killers even if they learn to hide the killer within and act as benevolent young patriarchs.” I’ve not read the source material, but without this quote, I would be in almost complete alignment with you. I wonder if you really agree wit this statement. *All* boys are being raised to be killers? Really? When I see a statement… Read more »
I think the quote refers to a system rather than individuals. I DEFINITELY do not think all boys, literally every individual boy, are being raised to be killers.
Glad you liked the piece, thanks Gary, for the comment and support.
First, I agree that the comment that “all boys are raised to be killers” is absurd, and I also believe it is not so subtly anti-male. And with all due respect, your reply — “I DEFINITELY do not think all boys, literally every individual boy, are being raised to be killers –implies that a substantial number of boys are being raised to be killers. You know, Joanna, that with three sons and four grandsons, I’m pretty sensitive about this kind of thing. I think the overwhelming majority of boys are raised absolutely NOT to use lethal violence. The entire passage… Read more »
Gary, I agree with you. And I think the extent of the shooter’s mental illness is undervalued here. Clearly, he was looking to place blame elsewhere for his own failings, related to his alleged Asbergers and other conditions. Sadly, there exists way too much material urging young men to blame women for their own shortcomings. But’s let’s not paint all young men with a sweeping indictment. My wife and I have raised our two boys to respect women and to be accountable for their own choices, not to blame others when things don’t go their way. I am sickened by… Read more »
Thank you Chris. I don’t want to undervalue the role of the shooter’s mental illness. But I didn’t want to speculate about what his mental health was at that time. I still wouldn’t today. I only knew what was in the video and some quotes from some websites, and didn’t want to speculate further. But I agree that an unstable person will be have a direction for their instability, generally. I do think that his feelings about women come from a culture of entitlement, like he believed he deserved attention, when in fact nobody inherently deserves it. Our partners aren’t… Read more »
@ Gary That quote jumped out at me also. I doubt many if any boys are being raised as killers even by society (I disagree with Joanna). I just look at how many fights I’ve been in. How many my friends, nephews, etc. have been in. Most of the fights didn’t involve a weapon. Many of the fights we had weapons they weren’t used. If boys are raised killers in society, the body count would be a lot higher than it is. When I was 16 – 17 years old. I got into a fight with a much larger opponent.… Read more »
You say “no way are boys raised or taught to be killers” and yet you ‘support’ that by showing how violent interactions were/are the norm for you and your friends, nephews, etc. That doesn’t support your assertion – it contradicts it completely. To say they aren’t being raised as killers because the fights didn’t involve a weapon makes little sense when followed up with the phrase “I used a potentially lethal strike”. That simply proves that you do not need a weapon to be ‘lethal’.
There is a huge difference between being violent and being a killer. There is also a difference between being violent in self defense and being aggressively violent. Parents, many women included, who spank their children are no less violent. Are you saying that they are also killers or is that distinction reserved only for men?
Actually, the only difference between the a violent person and a killer is that the killer has taken their violence that one extra step further. Beating someone almost to death and beating someone to death is a fine line. Obviously not all violence is of the same rank (a slap does not compare with a gunshot wound) but it is a type of training, so to speak, and it does involve a certain psychological profile. I said nothing about gender beyond quoting your response.
Either you haven’t read enough about his anti-PUA group, or you’re obfuscating the truth of the matter. They were only critical of the fact that after paying for these courses, they still had not gotten anywhere with women. Success with women had been promised, these guys paid their money, and they are pissed that they still are not getting what they feel the are entitled to.
More on the anti-PUA site, which has currently taken itself offline, possibly to do some scrubbing: http://www.businessinsider.com.au/ucsb-shooting-forum-associated-with-elliot-rodger-reacts-2014-5 Anti-PUA in this case is still misogynistic. Hoping this comment thread will focus predominantly on the scourge of angry, violent young men, their imagined entitlement to women’s bodies, and the women who pay for that with their lives. That should be the focus of this discussion–what can be *done* about male violence. Gun culture and mental illness are a part of the picture, but until we frame these tragedies as what they are–lethal male violence targeted against women that is occurring with regular… Read more »
Trouble is 99.999% of guys won’t do any of this, so the culture can be fine for them. Even the majority of men probably do not commit violence against women, so the culture can be fine for them. Most men will not really have a clue why people take the jump from angry to extreme violence. Sure I get angry at women’s treatment of me but I focus on individuals, I whinge to some friends n vent how bloody annoying it is to be jerked around but most women aren’t like that. There are plenty of violent women too but… Read more »
“I am angry at every stuck up blonde slut…”
This is just too frightening to just even read about….my husband as a young frat boy has been rejected by snooty blonde sorority girls,….those girls didn’t like him… But other girls did…But how do you go from there to shooting people? My 13 yo son is starting to navigate closer relationships with girls, but I think he understands that if someone doesn’t like you, then fine… Move on….
So sad that there are people like that….
Quite frankly people like that, without support, will probably go on to kill anyway. A very very small % of people do such extreme violence, it’s possibly a defect in the brain? My lazy guess is due to the greater mutation of the Y chromosome it can lead to more variety in males born in regards to mental and psychological health, with a very small portion being so violent. Society relies heavily on people learning for themselves about relationships, hence why there are so many problems. Some will grow up like this, some will be lucky and figure out the… Read more »
The online group in this case was called PUA-hate.
It was critical of PUAs and MRAs.
Nope. PUAhate was critical of PUA’s who didn’t deliver. It was a website basically saying that PUA’s who purported to help men get laid were cheating men out of their money if those men did not, in fact, get laid. PUAhate was, is possible, even more offensive than PUAs themselves.