Stop Being Surprised, Damn It

gunsI am not one bit surprised that a heavily-armed Elliott Rodger knocked on the door of Alpha Phi sorority at UC Santa Barbara, and when there was no response, shot and killed two Tri Delta sorority members who were outside.

I am not one bit dumbfounded that when his anxious parents called police to do a wellness check, the police assessed that the 22-year-old would-be mass murderer was a “perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human.”

I am least of all thunderstruck that this misogynist boy-child is white, heterosexual, privileged, gun-owning and considered “a nice guy” by many.

This is not a new story. Elliott is not a new character. In fact, for those of us willing to see what misogyny looks like, this is a hackneyed story. It’s been done before. And it will be done again, unless we can talk about violent men and what makes them that way.

In 1989, Marc Lepine so hated female students (he called them “feminists”) who were studying engineering that he took his Ruger Mini-14 into the University of Montreal’s École Polytechnique, ejected all of the male students and professors from a classroom, and shot the women. He hunted others in hallways, in the cafeteria where they crouched terrified under tables and in a second classroom—shooting anyone female and killing 14 women in all. Lepine left a suicide note which explained, much as Rodger’s manifesto and YouTube videos did, that women ruined his life and should know their place. He left, as well, a list of 19 other women he wished he’d had time to kill.

No more than 18 percent of engineering students were female in 1989.

In 2009, George Sodini targeted a “Latin impact” dance class in a Pennsylvania LA Fitness gym, firing 36 shots into the class of 30 women, killing three of them with his two 9-mm automatic pistols and then killing himself. Like Elliott Rodgers, he left wimpering blog posts about his befuddlement: He is not ugly, not weird, so why did women not like him or want to have sex with him?

In 2006, Charles Roberts, a milk truck driver who delivered to Amish farms in Lancaster County, PA, took his Springfield XD 9mm handgun into the one-room West Nickel Mines School, ejected the boy students and took 10 little girls hostage, shooting them and killing five, ages 6-13. Roberts then committed suicide.

In 1998, Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, pulled the fire alarm at Westside Middle School near Jonesboro, AR, and when the students and teachers filed out, they took aim from a distant field with their two semi-automatic rifles, one bolt-action rifle, four handguns and 3,500 rounds of ammunition. The boys, among the youngest in American history to be charged with murder, killed four students and a teacher, all females. The maximum sentence allowed by Arkansas law rendered the boys imprisoned until they turned 21. Johnson was freed in 2005, Golden in 2007, after serving seven and nine years respectively.

I am appalled, horrified, heartbroken and enraged by the reports from Isla Vista. I have uttered every foul word I know. I wake up thinking about the parents of those poor students, about the parents of the killer, about the witnesses, the injured victims, about every woman who knows this is the reality of the world she lives in.

However, that does not take away from the fact that this is not a new story. It is simply one we have refused to really hear.

In the U.S., femicide is the second leading cause of death for women 20-24, and the leading cause of death for African American women ages 15-24. Women and girls are raped, tortured and killed in armed conflicts all over the world and all through history. They are victims of acid attacks and honor killings. Think: Ciudad Juarez, Bosnia, Congo. Think: next door.

All of this because they are female.

It is so utterly plain, so axiomatic, as to be idiotic. The problem here is violent men. Not women, not children, but entitled, white, heterosexual men. Beleaguered men. Brittney Cooper labels it best this week in Salon as “pathological white masculinity,” echoed in recent social policy by a “mass temper tantrum from white men that includes a mind-boggling war on women.”

It would be a tired story were it not routinely resurrected and so horrifyingly over the top. But we haven’t been able to talk about our culture that privileges men and white skin and assumes that women are for the taking or burning with acid or humiliating or raping or killing.

It takes balls to talk about the things that frighten us. Women do it all the time, because the things that frighten them are, frankly, men. Now how about if men take a deep breath and listen for a moment to their wives and daughters and mothers and aunts and girlfriends, who are telling them that being angry is OK, but acting it out with hatred against half the population of the world is not. It is old news, pathetic and soul destroying.

Let the talking begin.

Photo from Flickr user Kevin Dooley under license from Creative Commons 2.0

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Donna Decker is an English professor at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire, where she teaches a seminar on school shootings. Her novel about the 1989 Montreal Massacre, Dancing in Red Shoes, will be published by Inanna Press in Spring 2015.

Comments

  1. Wonderful article, and not to be “that commenter,” but the abbreviation for Arkansas is “AR” not “AK.” Alaska is “AK.”

  2. Stephanie says:

    Why is it labeled a white male problem? You stated that femicide is the number one cause of death for African American women. Are white men killing them, or their African American boyfriends/husbands/stalkers? Maybe white men do it on a larger scale in the US? I agree with your article but the focus on white men makes me uneasy. Men of ALL color do this.

    • The large-scale spree attacks, when such are directed at women, tend to be carried out by white men or those who identify themselves with white culture and/or distance themselves from minority culture. Black and Latino men who kill are more likely to kill a specific woman. (This is not a hard and fast rule, and I agree that the idea was awkwardly introduced in this article, but worth thinking about. Bluntly said, black and Latino men are less prone to mass entitlement — society does not cast them as habitual protagonists, and it has demonstrated throughout history that *their* actions when directed against white American women will have strong, swift repercussions, the OJ business being an outlier — and no, I’m NOT supporting Simpson in any way shape or form WHAT SO EVER, just in case that is unclear.)

      None of this makes any of it okay or justifiable. None of this makes one group of killers any “better” than another group, no more than someone who kills subtly by poison is somehow nicer than someone who kills overtly by stabbing. But from a purely analytically standpoint, these factors are worth looking at if we are to put a stop to this s**t. Different remedies for different symptoms.

      • For example — when I say “Identify themselves with white majority culture”: This recent killer was half Asian and half white, but very much privileged his white half. He was notorious for putting down Asian men as the least manly, taunting them for not having any white blood like he did; tried very hard to position himself further on the white side of his genetic makeup; associated with PUAs who are notorious for using pseudo evo-psych and racial categorization to justify which women are more worthy of being collected by them and which men were worthy of being called one of their number; and he went after what Western society considers the “whitest” of white women in our culture, blue eyed blondes.

  3. katherine says:

    While I agree with the article. And agree and understand the problem of white male privilege as it pertains to, well, everything. I thought the statistic about murder being the leading cause of death for African American girls curious. Although while serial killers and mass shooters in this country are overwhelmingly white males, I would bet that those African American women are killed by African American men, I believe the same would be said of Asian women suffering at the hands of Asian men Middle eastern woman by Middle Eastern men and so on. My point here is that at the end of the day, the problem is male privilege, any color, any ethnicity, and all religions.

  4. Kirk Johnson says:

    I agree with the substance of this article and the general point, but two things:

    1) Rodger was not “white”, he was mixed-race, and identified as such; it appears that he envied white people for their whiteness and was especially jealous of non-white men who dated/had sex with white women.

    2) He was certainly not impoverished, but it doesn’t seem like he was as privileged as initial reporting suggested. Compared to the professionally successful and wealthy people he was exposed to on the fringes of Hollywood, it seems that he perceived himself as on the outside looking in, as far as wealth goes. Thus his pathetic quest to win the lottery.

    That said, there’s no doubt that male privilege and misogyny dominated his worldview.

    • Per your 2nd comment, I think what the author is talking about, and what is usually being talked about by white male “privilege” has less to do with wealth and more to do with power. In out society, white men are given incredible social power (“privilege”) that other people just don’t have access to. Even lower class white men, when compared to lower class men of color or women, have a great deal of privilege that is given to them solely based on the color of their skin and their gender. Have you ever read “Unpacking the Invisible Backpack” by Peggy McIntosh? Here is a link to a few of her articles: http://www.isr.umich.edu/home/diversity/resources/white-privilege.pdf ; http://www.deanza.edu/faculty/lewisjulie/White%20Priviledge%20Unpacking%20the%20Invisible%20Knapsack.pdf
      She does a really good job of explaining what privilege is, and that privilege does not necessarily mean that you always “have it easy” or that you are rolling in money, but that it means you don’t even have to think about or consider things that others do (e.g., I can walk down the street without fear of harassment). I highly recommend checking out her writing.

  5. Heather Cyr says:

    I recently graduated from a Women’s Studies MA program in CT and I am earning a second MA in History (Women’s History). My first thesis was on MST, Military Sexual Trauma, and the thesis I have begun to work on now focuses on domestic violence during the 19th century. What I have learned from my research (and from my lived experience, for that matter) is that not much has changed in regards to violence towards women in the past two hundred years. Men rape and abuse and torture yet women are held responsible for the violence done to them. The outrage and disgust expressed by Donna is precisely how I have felt and continue to feel every time I delve further into the issue of violence towards women in America. It is not an easy subject to read/talk about, which is why so many people choose to ignore it, but if we continue to ignore it it will only continue to get worse.

    • Donna decker says:

      Thank you, Heather. It is hard to hear, but it must be said because the consequences are too dire, as you we’ll know.

  6. Wow just wow

  7. No, it doesn’t take “balls,” my sister. It takes guts. And we all have them.
    I appreciate your essay, and thank you for posting it.
    In peace and solidarity,
    jm

  8. I echo your frustration. I told my students today that this is my “Mad as Hell” moment. I am so tired of hearing the “shock” in people’s voices when another one of these oh too familiar hate crimes happens yet again. We ALL need to talk – wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, husbands, sons, lovers, fathers. It’s everyone’s problem!

  9. Matthew Farabee says:

    The article is good. I understand her point, but to say that all white males think that way, is just a little too simplified. Or just males in general. You can not link all guys with a small number of privledged white males, that act out because they find out that money and power can’t get them everything. Never have I ever been violent towards a woman, or even been disrespectful. Even during arguements with women. I know plenty of guys that are the same way. I know it is easy to lump all guys in to the same pile, but this writer takes it to the extreme.

    • Ellen HS says:

      Nobody said it is all men. Nobody said it was all white men. It is certainly a pattern though.

      You may not realize it but your comment is part of an overdone trend. The trend of men – that means SOME MEN, btw – responding to posts about the things women go through at the hands of (SOME!) men by posting comments such as yours. “Not all men!!!”. It has been noted throughout the Internet… “not all men!” As the primary concern of men – instead of addressing the issues – led to the hashtag #YesAllWomen. In other words, your “it’s not all men!” Observation has been done to death, is obvious, is unhelpful and defensive. The answer of women all over the world lately with #YesAllWomen is meant to try to show that though of course these things are “not all men,” they do, to some extent or anger, affect all women! So when women talk about it, try to listen instead of pointing out the obvious in a manner that is defensive and deflects from the issues at hand.

    • To expand on Ellen’s point, while it is very clear that not all men behave aggressively towards women, it is unfortunately true that all women, at some point in their lives, have felt objectified or disrespected, have been told that their opinion or argument is less valid, have had their emotions and insecurities belittled, and/or have felt that they are not safe in the presence of a man. We respect that you, Matthew, are not a violent person, but rather than push the “not all men” defense, you have an opportunity to reach out to women and learn what it’s like to live with the inequality and hostility that we face. Ask a woman in your life what her experience has been and you may be surprised by what you hear.

  10. Thank you. This is the first article that I have read that says it as it is. No beating around the bush, no worrying about hurting someone’s feelings, because after all there is no more time for that. We need to address this problem once and for all and we need to face the fact that in this country and in many others WOMEN are still in danger and minorities. So, thank you, I need this.

  11. Amber Harris says:

    A much needed reminder of just how often this happens. However, it is not a white guy problem. This psycho wasn’t a white guy– he was half Asian, which was a big source of his problem in his own twisted mind. And the violence perpetrated against women worldwide is certainly NOT happening largely at the hands of white men. Look to South America, China, Africa, the Middle East? Please, let’s be intellectually honest when facing this problem. Pointing fingers at white men is not helpful, and will only serve to separate our cause. ALL men need to look at their brothers, and ask why?

    • Bill Malley says:

      Amber,

      I’m agreeing with you and the article, that violence….male violence….white male violence….white heterosexual violence ……on women is unacceptable in all its forms (physical, emotional, economic, social, etc). By suggesting this person is ‘psycho’ may not be useful for two reasons. First, it is doing a disservice to those who have a mental health issue aren’t violent. Violence (against women) doesn’t have to be a mental health issue. Second, by suggesting this person has a mental health condition doesn’t recognize the prevalence of violence (against women) in our society….unless we are saying all those who engage in violence has a mental health condition?

  12. #YesAllWomen says:

    Congratulations to Matthew Farabee for being the first #NotAllMen respondent! You knew there was going to be at least one.

    • Bill Malley says:

      I’m agreeing with you and the article, that violence….male violence….white male violence….white heterosexual violence ……on women is unacceptable in all its forms (physical, emotional, economic, social, etc). I think the article is suggesting that men are a problem in this and that they, through a conversation, need to be a part of the solution. I do hope my first contribution is acceptable to #YesAllWomen………?

  13. We also need to hear more about men the opposite of Elliott Rodger. Especially from a feminist magazine. All media should be pressed to show our children, our grandchildren what a man with human values looks like. Thanks for printing a photo of this building rather than the latest murderer.

  14. The topic of discussion by the author is femicidal mass shootings, of which statistically the majority of the perpetrators are white men. If the author were looking at femicide statistics outside of the US, she would have mentioned it. If this were pointed out as a problem amongst men of color, the majority of other commenters would be silent or approving. Once kneejerk reactions defending white privilege are relaxed, we can finally have a proper discussion on why white privilege IS a problem, especially in the cases of femicide and mass shootings.

  15. Possibly cut and paste was not your best friend with this article. Following your rather brief list of school shootings you do quite correctly point out that women are being killed misogynistically all over the world and throughout history. It is in your 12th paragraph. Two paragraphs later, you attribute this to ” entitled, white, heterosexual men.” In fact you restate this notion a few more times for good measure before concluding your article. Those entitled, white men really get around don’t they? Remarkable. I am having a difficult time believing that all sense has been tossed aside here. But then, why even bother with the harangue about EWGs? Is your experience so narrow? I can understand if the topic were simply recent mass shootings. But it is femicide. Suddenly, you have tossed aside all credibility.

  16. This is a great article. Maybe the people who don’t see this entire picture aren’t seeing the whole picture. This problem doesn’t start with killings. It’s starts with the good ole boys network where men back each other no matter what …is the rule. Bros before hoes. It starts with 70% pay. It starts with the cat calls on the street. And worse, thinking the cat calls are funny. It starts with 1 in 3 women being sexually assaulted. It starts with being a hoe carries a sense of pride with men, but casts shame on women. It starts with the victims being treated as the culprits. It starts with male athletes getting away with it because… well, they’re male athletes. It starts with the culture that guys grow up in where these beliefs are reinforced on a daily basis. If you have ever lived by or believe or reinforced any of these concepts or any of the many others that perpetuate this culture… you are a typical guy. If you aren’t part of this culture you must be one hell of an exceptional individual and I emplore you to lead the way in ridding us of this lunacy because you possess extraordinary gifts.

  17. jovan1984 says:

    I am not in the least bit surprised about this incident, given that a similar incident happened in Wagener, S.C. — about 25 miles due NORTH of me — in July 2011. Kenneth Myers shot and killed four women before killing himself. He had more women targeted for murder as they all tried to help his then-wife escape him as he was being abusive towards her.

    Here is the tag of all of the stories I wrote about that incident.

    http://aikenareaprogressive.blogspot.com/search/label/Wagener%20Massacre

  18. What stands out in this article to me is the need to discuss these violent men and what makes them that way. Thank you for continuing to bring this into the light Donna!

  19. Jason Hinchliffe says:

    Alright, let’s try to put some perspective on what is in my opinion a horrifically flawed article. You may disagree, but at the very least let’s look at the numbers.

    The author claims “femicide” is the second leading cause of deaths for women aged 15-24. This is patently false. For white women, it’s the fourth leading cause. So what’s the second leading cause? Suicide. So white women in that age group are killing themselves at more than twice the rate that men are killing them. Once again, not that either is Ok on any level, but it gives lie to the above article in a pretty damning fashion.

    However, for black females, it is the second leading cause. In fact, it seems black men are killing black women at four times the rate that white men are doing it. Not that any of this is acceptable on any level, but if we’re going to talk about “toxic white masculinity” it would seem there is 4 times the urgency to discuss “toxic black masculinity”. Unless of course we assume all those black women are being murdered by white men.

    I’ll assume the author conflated the number for black and white women, which of course, is an elementary statistical error. I’d like to hear the authors rebuttal to this. Perhaps you could enlighten us to why you felt it fair to exponentially overstate the amount of crime being perpetrated, and then unilaterally lay it at the feet of white men (even though by those numbers, the 80% of the violence you speak of would have been committed by black men, yet you don’t mention them once?).

    The reality is, there are male behaviours that need to be addressed, but looking at them thought the prism of this tragedy is like basing cancer treatments around the rarest forms. It is not indicative of the general male condition in any way. Further, in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t even very important. Domestic violence is a far larger issue and has very little in common with this tragedy.

    I’d love to have a conversation about what men should be doing differently and better. I don’t think any reasonable male denies there are serious issues. The conversation needs to be reasonable though. You have to understand the realities of men. We have lots of testosterone. The effect of that is substantial and we need outlets. It’s not useful or effective to tell us to pretend we’re not that way.

    • Lisa Ahn says:

      “You have to understand the realities of men. We have lots of testosterone. The effect of that is substantial and we need outlets. It’s not useful or effective to tell us to pretend we’re not that way.”

      Are you serious? Do you really expect to be taken seriously with a comment like that? Step away for a few days, a few weeks, and look at this again because I cannot believe you think your testosterone should be a part of this conversation.

      • Jason Hinchliffe says:

        Hi Lisa,

        I think you’re misunderstanding my point. High testosterone does not excuse misogynist behaviour. However, the more general male condition is not explained by misogyny, but rather by a predisposition to violence and aggression. Testosterone is a major factor is that type of behaviour and short of estrogen therapy for all men it’s a reality that can’t be ignored. So yes, I do hope to be taken seriously. Once again, this isn’t saying “we have high testosterone so you need to put up with Shitty behaviour from us”. It’s saying it’s not sufficient to tell men to just not be aggressive, because we are by nature for the most part. There are other issues as well like the incentive structure attached to aggressive behaviour.

        I suppose the underlying point I’m making is the author is utterly misattributing causality of the generalised female experience with to misogyny and entitlement when really that’s an extreme and extremely fringe segment of the male population.

        • Codi Michel Johnson says:

          And here I’ve been hearing all my life that the problem with women is that they’re “ruled by their hormones.” I just remember my father telling me about almost not being my father by nearly getting killed at the Oregon Museum, a club in Salem, Oregon. Another disturbed male went in on ladies night and shot 24 people, and although the police never really came up with the exact motive (is there really one?), it was pretty much accepted that it was to get back at his being spurned by the women in his life–hence, he waited for ladies night to shoot the place up. And this was back in 1981, I think; so this kind of crap has been going on for awhile. Statistics aside, your understanding of this article and mens’ motivations is skewed at the very least.

        • Concerned Male says:

          “It’s saying it’s not sufficient to tell men to just not be aggressive, because we are by nature for the most part.”

          Men, by their nature, are not aggressive. That is how men have been raised and what they have been told all their lives. As I stated earlier, the biological effects of testosterone can be overcome depending on how you view life and how you have been taught to view life. Yes, there may be extreme cases of extremely high testosterone levels in a few men but these cases are rare enough so that they cannot be an explanation for the amount of male violence towards women that exists. It is history and the retelling of history that make men believe that they have power over women and thus have a right to their love, bodies, sex, etc.

          As to the point the author is making, you are not seeing the forest for the trees. Regardless of the specifics on which the author focuses, the general point of the article is that there is too much violence towards women by men–of that there is no argument. In the end, it does not matter what race, religion, country of origin, or anything else, THIS PROBLEM EXISTS AND WE NEED TO ADDRESS IT. That is the point of this article.

    • Concerned Male says:

      Regardless of whether or not the statistics are exact, the point is valid. I am a man, and I recognize the issue–it exists. Don’t get caught up in the numbers, just open your eyes. We do not need to label whether or not they are white, black, Asian, rich, poor, privileged, or whatever–the problem exists, and we need to address it.

      I am also a biologist, and testosterone is not a valid excuse as to why men commit so many violent acts. Men have the mental faculties to overcome the biological effects of testosterone. It just depends if those mental faculties are nurtured and developed. For so many, it often has to do with the fact that so many men are raised not to discuss their “feelings” because that is not what men do. What happens as a result of that? Bottled up emotions that eventually explode most often in violent ways.

  20. Object. Loudly. Every single time you see women being demeaned by a comment or a gesture.

    Every. Single. Time.

  21. “The conversation needs to be reasonable though. You have to understand the realities of men. We have lots of testosterone. The effect of that is substantial and we need outlets. It’s not useful or effective to tell us to pretend we’re not that way.”
    – Jason Hinchliffe

    So your “argument” is…”testosterone makes them (violent white males) do it?” Seriously? Such an “argument” is blatantly false, and only serves to justify even more violence and murder against women. I’m not buying that self-serving nonsense for a second, and I don’t think anyone else should buy it either.

    • Jason Hinchliffe says:

      Hi Susan,

      That couldn’t be further from what I am saying. Testosterone does not “make” anyone do anything. What I am saying is, that to engage young men effectively we need to account for the natural aggression that is part of being male. Any strategy for dealing with this has to find positive ways to harness that. Punitive finger wagging will not suffice and we’ll continue to have this conversation.

  22. Well finally the topis of male violence and privileged attitude are being discussed. Men simply think they are better, and why wouldn’t they? They earn ore, get better oppts. all the political leaders and most billionaires are male, until recently the TV news was all male, and if you go up and down the channels, most the time it’s men on screen.
    It’s the European tradition. Capitalism and religion work hand in hand to keep it organized that way, ie. as in the dowry was paying men to marry daughters and leaving the majority of women shut out of the job market and having to prostitute to feed their kids; and their kids had no rights or even allowed to use family name and no working rights. ….this didn’t happen with America, it started with religion 6 k years ago and keeps getting worse. NRA know men will kill women and that’s why they make sure guns are plentiful…why? Because women start the revolutions, are the whistle blowers and vote for proper spending of budgets….men in power make most of their money off the backs of women, because of approx 75% of the work on this planet is done by women and they do not want men taking their side!
    Read Marilyn Waring…”If women’s work counted”
    Marilyn French “War on Women”

  23. Sandra Wright says:

    I applaud your courage to speak out for the protection of women, however, I am saddened by your racial profiling of white men and biased examples. There are deeper roots to every cause that make resolution to an issue paramount. Since the horrifying times of slavery and long journey away from its residual racism, it hasn’t been “cool” to be a white male. We have built a society that is so afraid to offend that we are no longer a society that judges on merit alone. Schools and jobs will hire less qualified “minorities” to keep an “Equal Opportunity Employer” image. Until we treat everyone as unique individuals and judge on merit alone, these sorts of crimes will continue. Saying “never allow people to say a bad thing about women” is a nice start, but until no one tolerates an ill word against anyone else because of their color, culture, religion, beliefs gender, sexual preference etc. we are being hypocrites.

    PS In regards to gun ownership, we Americans are ALL “Privileged Gun Owners”. It’s our Constitutional right and if you want to take that away, I suggest you research the reasoning of that law’s addition to the constitution. Furthermore, if you think it’s outdated, I suggest a tour of other countries and take a little popularity poll of the US.

  24. I shared this article to my facebook with the following lead-in:

    Interesting article that highlights instances where women have been solely targeted in what one could call mass murder suicides (Lepine being the Canadian example).

    Claims of femicide (broadly defined as the murder of women) being the second leading cause of death for women aged 20-24 is misleading, as it positions it as something that applies only to females. The second leading cause of death for men 20-24 at 2,486 deaths (and 15-19 at 1,581 deaths)? Homicide as well (but we don’t call it menicide, just because they are men).

    The stats for women actually show it as the 3rd cause for women 15-19 (251 deaths) and fourth for women 20-24 (360 deaths). That’s 611 deaths for women, and 4,067 by homicide for men in the United States… Yes, this is a conversation that needs to happen, but we need to have it as a society, and not as men and women.

    ***Death stats are from CDC for the year 2004 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/dvs/LCWK1_2010.pdf

    http://msmagazine.com/blog/2014/05/28/stop-being-surprised-damn-it/

  25. A conversation is needed, but it’s not the conversation you think:

    http://eyeofwoden.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/a-conversation-with-men-is-needed/

  26. Nathaniel Stewart ( Stewy ) says:

    I agree with this article 100%. These mass shootings, murders and attacks on women are mostly committed by white males. This doesn’t mean that other races of men do not feel this sort of entitlement and rejection. Then why is it that white males seem to take it to the next level?

    Being a middle class white male myself I find these claims true and disturbing. Our society may need to focus more on the mental health aspect of these horrific crimes rather than the gun laws themselves.

    We need to re-teach our young men what success and being a ‘man’ truly is. In our societies eyes, sensitivity, especially in men is viewed as weakness. We need to teach that being compassionate and empathetic isn’t just for Women to feel and experience. Honestly I’m tired of these egocentric males not being able to cope with rejection or coming up ‘short’. Life is full of short comings but it’s up to the individual to strive and overcome. In the case of Elliot Rodger, I mean come on, he was in his 20′s and had the rest of his life to find a PARTNER. It begins with raising a child to understand and grasp the concepts of rejection and resiliency. If you see any signs of disturbing behavior it’s up to the parents/teachers/family to identify these and have the child seek professional help.

  27. Amen!
    Male privilege is a problem. Violence against women is a problem. And our culture and society are doing nothing to stop the mass killings. If it was against a different race it would be a hate crime, a different religion it would be a hate crime, a different culture it would be a hate crime…but if it is against women its not considered A HATE CRIME. When are we going to start calling it as it is??? A HATE CRIME. HATE made those men kill women, HATE made them murder them in cold blood, and therefore it should be treated as A HATE CRIME. Its not guns, its not the media, its not drugs or intoxication… its pure HATE against women. And should be prosecuted as such. Anything other is a disrespect to the victims.

  28. teardown says:

    After the columbine shootings the music of marylin manson had been accused as a trigger of the violence. Michael Moore asked him for his film bowling for columbine what he would like to say to these Kids, he responded: “I would not say anything, i would listen to these kids what they have to say.” Please think about which is the smarter approach. There is no need for oneway socalled “conversation” from women to men like the article offers. There is a need for a broad societal conversation among the sexes, which includes the fears and dreams of both. Greets from Germany.

  29. Sandra Hunter says:

    I agree this urgently requires discussion. Violence against women is historically established and currently perpetuated. However, Elliot Rodger wasn’t “white”. He was half-Asian. I’m not saying this in mitigation. But the assertion that he was “white” introduces the idea of racism. Also, the assertion that testosterone equals violence may require further examination. Plenty of males make it through puberty and beyond without shooting up campuses.
    We need to discuss this but without heated rhetoric. I’m glad the discussion’s begun.

  30. “What I have learned from my research (and from my lived experience, for that matter) is that not much has changed in regards to violence towards women in the past two hundred years. ”
    – Heather Cyr

    Sadly, Heather, you’re correct. I’ve done a lot of research myself on the 19th century Women’s Rights Movement, for a different project. From what I have read (and I’ve read a lot!), there was a huge amount of anger against the women who “stepped out of their proper sphere” by speaking up for the rights of women. The leaders of that movement, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone — to name just three of the top leaders — were viciously reviled in the press, mostly because “the lords” at that time didn’t want women speaking in public at all. And these “lords” were, of course, white men, who wanted to keep the status quo.

    Judging by the murder sprees against women by hateful men like Elliot Rodger, it seems to me that many men, white or not, still have the backward belief that women “should know their place,” and that they have the “right” to attack women who don’t. The really scary thing is that violence against women is either minimized or ignored by many American politicians. Look how long it took to get the Violence Against Women Act passed. I agree with Donna Decker, that the acts of violence against women, whether committed by white or non-caucasian men, need to be publicly discussed, not ignored because some folks find the facts “uncomfortable.”

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