TRIGGER WARNING for this entire story. Everything about it is misogyny, rape culture, rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, entitlement, murder, and more. Please be wary read through this.
As most of you know by now, on Friday, May 23, Elliot Rodger stabbed three men in his home, shot two women outside a sorority house, then shot a fourth man at deli, before apparently shooting himself, in Isla Vista, California.
One only need to read through his manifesto, watch his videos, and read his social media posts to get his fully-spelled-out motivation: misogyny.
Pure. Unadulterated. Misogyny.
He hated women. Hated them to the very core of his being. He hated that, at 22, he was still a virgin. He hated that he couldn’t get laid.
I was desperate to have the life I know I deserve; a life of being wanted by attractive girls, a life of sex and love. Other men are able to have such a life … so why not me? I deserve it! I am magnificent, no matter how much the world treated me otherwise. I am destined for great things.
Rodger splashes coffee and tea on two couples during a jealous rage in separate incidents in July of his first summer in Isla Vista, according to his writing. He became “livid with envious hatred” at the sight of a young couple “kissing passionately” at a Starbucks, he wrote.
When they left the store I followed them to their car and splashed my coffee all over them. The boy yelled at me and I quickly ran away in fear. … I had never struck back at my enemies before, and I felt a small sense of spiteful gratification for doing so.
The incident made him realize he “was capable of killing them,” he wrote. “I wanted to kill them slowly, to strip the skins off their flesh. They deserve it. The males deserve it for taking the females away from me, and the females deserve it for choosing those males instead of me.”
Rodger wrote that he splashed two “hot blonde girls” with his Starbucks latte at an Isla Vista bus stop after they “didn’t even deign to smile back” after he smiled at them.
“How dare those girls snub me in such a fashion! How dare they insult me so! I raged to myself repeatedly. They deserved the punishment I gave them. It was such a pity that my latte wasn’t hot enough to burn them. Those girls deserved to be dumped in boiling water for the crime of not giving me the attention and adoration I so rightfully deserve!”
Rodger wrote that he attempted a “last ditch effort of desperation” just days before his 22nd birthday “to live an enjoyable college life” in Isla Vista.
“I was giving the female gender one last chance to provide me with the pleasures I deserved from them.” The night ended with his leg broken.
College is the time when everyone experiences those things such as sex and fun and pleasure. But in those years I’ve had to rot in loneliness. It’s not fair. You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me. But I will punish you all for it,’
‘I’m going to enter the hottest sorority house of UCSB and I will slaughter every single spoilt, stuck-up, blonde slut that I see inside there. All those girls that I’ve desired so much, they would’ve all rejected me and looked down on me as an inferior man if I ever made a sexual advance towards them,’
‘I’ll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am, in truth, the superior one. The true alpha male …
It fascinates me that there are those trying to blame what happened on anything other than misogyny, but it’s so obvious. Rodger makes it very clear that his motivation was his hatred of women (literally the definition of misogyny) and the fact that they wouldn’t sleep with him, and yet people still want to ask “why” he did it.
These people who want to avoid blaming misogyny? They want to blame mental illness. But Miri Mogilevksy (I will avoid saying that she’s always right this time, but I will note that I still agree with everything she’s written so far… :p ) rips that apart quite nicely.
So it becomes clear that Roger was motivated by misogyny, and fueled by toxic masculinity, more than anything else.
A boy stabbed a girl to death in Milford, CT because she refused to go to the Prom with him.
George Sodini murdered three women and wounded 9 in an LA Fitness outside Pittsburgh before killing himself back in 2009.
There’s the Montreal Massacre in 1989, committed by a man who claimed he was “fighting feminism”.
It’s common enough that there’s even a name for it: Femicide.
It is that last link I want to talk about.
“No, not all men channel frustration over romantic rejection into a killing spree. But yes, all women experience harassment, discrimination or worse at some point in their lives.”
That is the point of #YesAllWomen. That is why the hashtag exists.
I cannot convey with words how important I think this hashtag is. I don’t have the words for the emotions I feel every single time I read through that hashtag… how many times I want to respond with “I’m sorry”; how many times I want run outside and just scream and yell because it isn’t fair.
I can go on a walk in many, if not most, places in this country at any time of day or night and not feel threatened. I don’t have to wear headphones or bring a book when I take public transportation. I don’t have to include, in my plans for my day, steps of precaution and self-protection because I’m afraid of the world around me. I am remarkably privileged in these regards.
I remember a couple semesters back, when we got into a debate about feminism and rape culture in one of my classes (the debate was wildly off the topic of the class… but two specific men refused to let it go). I finally snapped, stood up, and ranted at these two men. And then I said something I actually regretted afterwards.
I told them to count up the men, and the women, in the room. Then I gave them the numbers:
1 in 33 men have experienced or will experience sexual assault/rape in his lifetime.
1 in 6 women have experienced or will experience sexual assault/rape in his lifetime.
Which meant that in this class, at least one man and four women had been or will be raped in their lifetime. That ended the debate, because no one could say anything else.
After class, literally every single woman sitting at my table, as well as a few others in the class, told me about their experience with harassment, assault, and rape.
It was heartbreaking.
And it continues to be heartbreaking.
Look at that last tweet. Read it.
Read it again.
Until it sinks in. Get it. Figure it out.
And that is why #YesAllWomen matters. It makes plain the fact of the matter that we still, even here in 21st Century United States, do not see women as equal people. We do not treat them as people. Of course, women are people. They are human beings, entitling them to all of the rights and privileges that the other half of the human species enjoys, and that includes bodily autonomy and the right to say “no”.
And that brings me to something that terrifies me. It’s sparked by a double standard. Men like Rodger insist on having women like supermodels. They have very high standards for what kind of women they want to be with. And that is perfectly fine. I have standards myself. Having standards is perfectly normal.
The problem here is that they don’t allow women to have standards. Women, in their minds, shouldn’t be allowed to choose whom they have sex with. They believe something rather terrifying; that women should be required to have sex with men.
At the end of his manifest, Rodgers said this:
“Women should not have the right to choose who to mate with. That choice should be made for them by civilized men of intelligence.”
It’s not the first time I’ve come across this. Ever heard of Governments Gets Girlfriends, now known as That Incel Blogger? I’ve written about him before.
In his own words, he believes that “governments have to help certain people obtain a girlfriend.”
Neither he nor Elliot are rare. Many amongst these groups of men do indeed hold similar ideas, that women should essentially be… obligated… to give men sex. By law, if necessary.
To me, that is too much.
I find honest, enthusiastic, happy consent to be a wonderful thing. Obligations ruin that, as far as I’m concerned. So no. This is not okay and I don’t support it. And I hope you don’t, either.