Editorial note: we were particularly warmed to see that Jessica Valenti was bold enough to blame this one on misogyny outright. Well done Jessica. Can you illustrate male disposability better? Anyway, readers should expect more on this story in the coming days. –DE
This article is also available in Portuguese.
By now you have probably heard of the Isla Vista Shooting, carried out by a disturbed young man named Elliot Rodger. Elliot, who may have had autism and/or Asperger’s Syndrome, was living in a facility designed to help him address awkward social skills. Elliot was part of an on-line community called PUAHate, a website devoted to revealing ‘the scams, deception, and misleading marketing techniques used by dating gurus and the seduction community to deceive men and profit from them.’ Elliot posted some very disturbing videos on YouTube in which he rails against the women who rejected his advances and muses about killing all the men on the planet except for himself.
‘If you could release a virus that would kill every single man on Earth, except for yourself because you would have the antidote, would you do it?
‘You will be the only man left, with all the females. You would be able to have your pick of any beautiful woman you want, as well as having dealt vengeance on the men who took them from you. Imagine how satisfying that would be.’
It seems that Elliot was an equal opportunity hate monger, torn between wanting to kill women and wanting to kill men. Ultimately, when the bullets started flying, he killed 6 men and 2 women, and he injured several others, whose gender is not clear at the moment.
He also killed himself.
I’ll confess it came as a shock to me to see the actions of this deeply distraught, confused individual linked wholesale to the Men’s Rights Movement. The Daily Kos took no time to proclaim Rodger was “influenced” by the MHRM, although it presents absolutely zero evidence that this was, in fact, the case.
The Men’s Rights Movement as they call themselves is a nebulous group of pickup artists and misogynists who’ve found each other on line, and are attempting to create a movement based around their hatred, disdain, and fear of women.
We know for a fact that Rodgers [sic]was influenced by this movement, as he is subscribed to multiple “pick up artist” or “mens rights” channels on YouTube. (For those here that don’t use YouTube, when a user subscribes to a channel, they receive notifications when that channel posts a new video.)
Except that all the links the KOS posts lead to Pick Up Artist sites, and none lead to MHRM sites.
Jezebel commenters are quick to repeat the same error, insisting that Pick Up Artists and Men’s Rights Activists are one and the same – something that would almost be amusing if they stopped to consider the number of married women with children who are part of the MHRM. How exactly are we Pick Up Artists?
SPLC commenters make the same connection, again with no evidence at all.
alternatesteve2 • 15 hours ago
Aw, dammit. I had this terrible feeling, for quite a while now, that something like this would happen. And now it has.
Honestly, just EFF the “Men’s Movement”. Eff ‘em all.
The Frisky follows suit, claiming that murdering 6 men and 2 women is “textbook sexist MRA (men’s rights activists) bullshit at its most entitled and violent.” I appear to have been absent the day the textbook was issued.
Jessica Valenti proclaims that “misogyny kills”, blithely unconcerned with the fact that more men than women were killed. Killing men is misogyny? That’s an interesting interpretation.
While it clear to me that nothing more than ignorance and prejudice is informing these writers about the MHRM and MRAs, I wonder how the association between PUA and the MHRM came to be? Because I came to the MHRM out of a concern for the legal and social equality of men and women, and not out of bitterness born from dating and interacting, I know very, very little about the PUA community. I have encountered Chateau Heartiste, and have even written posts pointing out that some of his material is terribly mistaken, but I do not recall ever encountering any serious discussion of political and social issues that affect men and boys on his website.
And the most poignant irony for me is that Elliot was a member of an ANTI-PUA site, so not even part of the PUA community at all. His fantasies included killing both men and women, but the focus appears to be stubbornly on how much he hated women. He killed more men than women, and yet the focus is stubbornly on the female victims.
The only conclusion I can come to is that this is political grandstanding, with no evidence or facts to support the assertion that Elliot was a member of any MHRM communities. In a desperate attempt to paint the MHRM as violent and hateful, prominent media feminists are ignoring evidence and body counts to create an association between the desire for social equality and murderous rampages.
This is both sad and totally expected. Sad that feminists will take the dead bodies of innocent young people and parade them as evidence for something that doesn’t exist and never has. Sad that media feminists will step over the bodies of dead and injured men to fuss and fawn over dead and injured women and then claim they are interested in equality. Sad that feminists will mourn dead women but not dead men. And sad that feminists will insist that a community of men and women working to ensure that both boys and girls, both men and women, are treated fairly and equally are the reason for Elliot’s tragic, deadly outburst.
The fact is that Elliot’s outburst does indeed highlight an issue of central importance to the MHRM – the inadequate, almost non-existent treatment of mental health problems for young men. Socially, our treatment seems to be to wait until the tortured young man puts a bullet in his own head, and just pray that he doesn’t take innocent victims with him.
As a strategy for health, it’s not working very well.
Compare that to how we respond to women who are mentally fragile after giving birth. We screen for Post Partum Depression and throw money and resources into keeping both the women and their children safe, because if we don’t do that, a lot of babies will end up dead. Women struggle with mental issues, too, and take it out on the innocent. But rather than ignore those women and hope for the best, we create programs designed to identify and help them.
There was tons of evidence, especially on YouTube that Elliot was a dangerously unwell person, struggling with demons he likely could not understand and certainly could not cope with. A society that had true compassion for men and boys would respond to hurting men like Elliot, the same way we respond to hurting women.
So in that sense, yes Elliot is linked to the MHRM and MRAs. He is one of the men and boys we are fighting for. If we had stepped in, Elliot would be alive. His life matters, too. If we had resources and means to assist young men struggling to integrate into our complex society, his victims would be alive.
Two beautiful young women lost their lives in Isla Vista. But so did four beautiful young men. And thirteen other people were wounded. Either way, they deserve our compassion, too. They are more than grindstones on which to sharpen a political axe.
Because men are people, too. Why is that so hard for some people to remember?
Lots of love,