Male Entitlement Is a Deadly Drug

When I wrote about atheism’s MRA problem, I wrote that it was imperative to drive these sexists off because of the harm they do through harassment and threats against women. Now there’s a much more graphic and horrible example of the threat posed by misogynists: a mass shooting in the California town of Isla Vista this weekend, in which seven people died including the shooter.

The apparent killer left a video monologue ranting about how he had been unfairly spurned by women, whom he accused of preferring “obnoxious brutes” over a “supreme gentleman” like himself (this mentality is well known to feminists and allies, who call it Nice Guy Syndrome), and how he was going to pay them back by killing as many women as possible. He also wrote a much longer manifesto raging at women (“There is no creature more evil and depraved than the human female”) and graphically outlining his grandiose murder plans.

There are those who want to dismiss this as the isolated act of a madman, including the county sheriff, but mental illness is a poor explanation in this case. If this were a random, one-off act unlike anything else that had ever happened, with no stated or apparent motive, then that would be more plausible. There have been mass shootings where it’s hard to imagine what other motivation there could have been, besides a pure derangement of reason.

But this shooter didn’t spring from nowhere. We know what motivated him, because he said so explicitly: he was bathed in a malevolent ideology which teaches men that they’re entitled to women’s time and attention, entitled to a relationship, entitled to love and sex. And this male-entitlement mentality easily curdles into hatred and violent resentment when women refuse to play their designated role.

Nor is this the first time that men driven by misogynist rage have gone on murder sprees. Earlier this year, a Connecticut high school student was stabbed to death by a classmate after she turned down his invitation to the prom. There was also the 2009 shooting at a women’s aerobics class in Pittsburgh, or the École Polytechnique massacre in 1989, where a murderer who claimed he was “fighting feminism” shot and killed fourteen women. And that’s not even to mention the constant, mundane toll of women killed by their husbands or boyfriends.

There’s unquestionably an element of motivated reasoning in the refusal to see this. This same weekend, there was a shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, but I doubt anyone would attribute that tragedy to the random act of a madman; rather, we conclude the murderer was driven by a poisonous anti-Semitic ideology which taught him to purge the earth of those he deemed inferior. Similarly, when Christian terrorists shoot abortion providers, or Islamist fanatics bomb schools or marketplaces, we don’t leap to blame mental illness. But in this case, there are people who disregard the murderer’s own clearly stated motivation, because that would force them to admit that sexism is a much more serious danger than they’d previously believed. (That said, anti-hate groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center have recognized this for a long time.)

There have also been MRAs and sympathizers who argue that more men than women were killed in this rampage. And this is true. Of the six people who were murdered, only two were women. Three of them appear to have been the killer’s male housemates, whom he stabbed to death at the beginning of his rampage, and one more was a male student who was shot at a convenience store.

But this just underscores the fact that men, as well as women, have a reason to care about stopping sexist hate. Misogyny turned this man into a killer, and both his male and female victims paid the price. We men can’t write this off as a women’s issue – it’s a danger to us as well.

And we can put a stop to it, we men. Women can’t stop it – at least, not alone – but we can. This follows trivially from the fact that we created it. We created the culture that led to acts of violence like this: not individually, not single-handedly, but collectively, through a million small acts that add up to a background radiation of sexism, a subtle devaluing of women’s lives and autonomy that’s pervasive in our culture. When this poison becomes concentrated in a single person, it creates killers.

But we can stop it, by refusing to consent to it or reinforce it any longer. We can change the channel when the peddlers of misogyny come on; we can starve them of the attention they need to survive. We can let friends and family know, when they spew prejudice, that we don’t appreciate hearing anyone talk about women that way. We can reject the demand that men prove their masculinity through casual sexism or aggression. We can see that discrimination in the workplace, or harassment on the street, or abuse and degradation on the internet, is treated with the seriousness it deserves. We can listen to women when they talk about their experiences, and believe them. Doing all this ought to be a matter of basic decency and humanity, but if the events of this weekend have taught us anything, it’s an urgent matter of self-interest for men as well. The sense of frustrated male entitlement is deadly, and if we don’t put a stop to it, it will continue to endanger all of us.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Crimson

    Can’t help but wonder if you even read the whole wikipedia article. The guy was a deranged lonely lunatic. And it clearly made him an extremely hateful misogynist over time, who obviously set out to hurt women. But to peg that as the root cause in order to fit your (however admirable in its intentions) narrative, to me, seems… unpleasant.

  • Space Blizzard

    “Of the six people who were murdered, only two were women.”

    It’s also worth pointing out that this guy’s apparent plan was to break into a sorority house and kill the women inside. Apparently he only turned on male victims when he failed to do so.

  • Welp

    Have to agree here. Misogyny was not the root cause here– the guy was insane. His misogyny didn’t make him a murderer, his insanity did. Misogyny just gave him targets and a narrative– if it wasn’t that it would’ve been something else.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    I can’t help but wonder if you read my whole article. This isn’t an isolated incident, but the latest in a line of violent, murderous men who cite hatred of women as their motive. Do you apply this same reasoning to every mass murder? Do you conclude that the man who shot strangers at the Jewish museum in Belgium was just using anti-Semitism as an excuse, and if it hadn’t been that it would have been something else?

  • Lagerbaer

    If he was a deranged lunatic, how come the police, when they interviewed him because his family was worried, found him to be a perfectly normal, pleasant gentleman? Home come he could easily and legally obtain a gun?

  • http://www.dougberger.net Doug B.

    I think part of the reason he was able to fool the police is because he had money. Had he been homeless or latino or black he would have been taken into custody at the first meeting but because he had money he was seen as less of a threat.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    Same question, then. Do you believe any belief system can drive a person to commit a murder they wouldn’t otherwise have committed? If so, what are your criteria for telling those cases apart from mental illness?

  • Azkyroth

    I’m sorry, you’re diagnosing him based on what credentials and examination?

    Mental illness is an actual medical condition. When you simply use it as a shorthand for “I don’t agree with or understand this,” you’re not only impeding your own understanding, you’re harming and marginalizing a lot of people who haven’t harmed anyone and generally aren’t inclined to.

  • Azkyroth

    ….rereading this, it almost sounds like you’re uncomfortable with the attribution because it impugns misogyny. Please tell me I’m misreading you.

  • Welp

    I do– perhaps in extreme cult-like or religious situations where there are other factors at play. But I think the murder and dehumanization of whatever the “other” is (another religious group, or whatever) needs to be central to the ideology for the ideology to take the blame.

    I can’t claim to have read all the most extreme MRA/PUA-type blogs, but I have read some of them. I do agree a lot of them promote misogyny, but I don’t think misogyny = murder. Look at the hateful things certain extreme radical feminists say about men. If some deranged follower of theirs carried out attacks on men– I’d think it was because they were deranged and the attitudes of the radical feminist ideology fed into that derangement, not that the ideology was the root cause.

  • LB

    Read the manifesto – he totally planned on stabbing his male roommates to death first.

  • LB

    Because he very clearly suffered from a personality disorder. Too much to explain in one comment, but if you spend a few hours researching narcissistic personality disorder you’ll have a better grasp of what drives seemingly normal people into violence.

  • Martin Penwald

    I don’t want to excuse this inexcusable behaviour, but I wonder if one of the trigger of these awful acts could be patriarcal social pressure : put it simply, a man is not a man as long as he has not had sex with a woman.
    It is what you say when you talk about male-entitlement, but I believe it is a patriarcal issue, and it is the reason there is that much people trying to defend the undefendable.
    Religions are essentially a way to maintain patriarchy, so fighting religion imply fighting patriarchy (and all these male-superiority things) and vice-versa.

    In fact, in a traditionalist point of view, patriarchy is so recent that it should be dismissed. Homo sapiens exists at least since 35000 years (probably more than that, but I’m not a paléoanthropologist), and patriarchy/organised religion since nearly 6000 years. Before that, the notion of paternity didn´t exist, only maternity was relevant, because the link was obvious. On an historic scale, 6000 years is ridiculous compared to 35000 (and even more to 150000).
    Traditionnalists, fight with us !

  • LB

    I agree with Welp – read the entire (!) manifesto last night, watched his videos – Elliot almost definitely suffered from at least narcissistic personality disorder. He considered himself a god above all others, socially withdrew himself, and constructed a delusional personal narrative built on top of his ‘failure’ with women. Why didn’t he just buy sex? Date rape? Because his position for subjugation would be compromised. I know it’s not a popular subject, but personality disorders are really worth studying – and I feel that if he had been low-income or Black/Latino, his house would have definitely been searched (there are other socio-cultural factors at play besides misogyny in the enabling of white masculine violence). Good article, but I do very much feel that mental health is the preeminent issue in this specific case.

  • LB

    ‘Mental illness’ is an umbrella term for an huge host of psychological, social, cognitive, etc. issues. While many personality disorders are not strongly correlated to violence against others, it’s important to recognize outliers when they occur. Based on reading Elliot’s entire manifesto and watching his YouTube posts, there is very little about his behavior that points to a well-adjusted, well-socialized, healthy individual. He had seen multiple counselors, psychotherapists, and psychiatrists during his life (and was seeing them up to the day of his attack) – he undoubtedly suffered, and suffered for a very long time. Disregarding mental illness is entirely unproductive to gaining a better understanding of these incredibly tragic events.

  • Welp

    Just want to quibble a bit about saying this isn’t an “isolated incident”. If we are considering the size of the population (or even just the population of murders), do you think there’s been any significant increase in attacks based on hatred of women? It seems to me (admittedly, without looking up hard numbers) that the amount of shootings like this is in line with what we should expect given the sheer number of people in the country. Of course it’s a tragedy and of course we should examine how to prevent occurrences, but it seems a stretch to me to suggest there’s some pattern here.

  • Pito Rosario

    We also have NO IDEA WHATSOEVER concerning any particular set of notions which might have, oh, I don’t know, enshrined this kind of ideology, don’t we?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    And if you spend a few hours researching the phenomenon of MRA “activism”, you’ll have a better grasp of the fact that dehumanization and violence against women is an intrinsic part of their ideology.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    But I think the murder and dehumanization of whatever the “other” is (another religious group, or whatever) needs to be central to the ideology for the ideology to take the blame.

    And that is precisely the case with MRA ideology. The dehumanization of women is central and intrinsic to their thinking.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    I tend to agree that people who commit mass murder are abnormal, pretty much by definition. But it’s seemingly only in cases of misogynistic killings that we find this hurry to pathologize, to write off their behavior as the tragic result of mental illness and nothing else, no matter how clearly the killers themselves explain their actions as the product of their ideology.

    When mass killings are driven by anything else, we don’t hesitate to draw the appropriate conclusions. Again, like the shooting at the Brussels Jewish museum, or that neo-Nazi who shot up a community center in Kansas City with a declared mission to kill Jews, we don’t excuse these acts as the sole responsibility of unstable, narcissistic individuals. We have no problem concluding that hateful, dehumanizing ideologies played a part in making them what they were. Why should anyone be so reluctant to draw a parallel conclusion in this case? Or do you also assert that anti-Semitic shootings occur as a result of mental illness and nothing else?

  • https://www.facebook.com/michael.carteron Michael

    I think it is very insulting to assume that every person who commits such acts is mentally ill (not that some aren’t). Most people with mental illness do not kill anyone else (in fact, they may be more at risk of violence themselves). It’s just a way to “otherize” people we’d rather not be associated with, rather than attempting to understand why they did it, as you have. I agree with you-we feel a need to pathologize.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    His stated purpose in doing that was to get them out of the way so that he could use his apartment as a torture chamber to lure women into and then kill them, although it appears he discarded that part of the plan.

  • Welp

    Maybe I haven’t found the “worst” MRA blogs but I wouldn’t call what I’ve seen dehumanization. Disrespectful? Yes. Misogynistic? A lot of the time. However, I wouldn’t go so far as to say they dehumanize women. Though I have seen a lot of them talk about inherent differences between the sexes. However, even if I conceded the dehumanization point, I still don’t think that’s enough to blame the ideology. I’ve never seen anything that explicitly promotes violence against women (and I think explicitly condoning murder/violence is necessary if you want to blame the ideology for the murder/violence). 99.99% of people will read MRA stuff and not be incited to violence by it. You’d have to be screwed up in the head already.

  • J-D

    The Wikipedia article quotes a United States Senator describing Elliot Rodger as deranged. That’s not an adequate basis for a conclusion.

  • Welp

    Actually, I would assert that shootings like the one you mention are the result of mental illness. Though I would say the ideology probably has a stronger influencing effect in a case like that– since anti-Semitic attitudes do often explicitly promote violence.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee
  • J-D

    Do most people with narcissistic personality disorder commit murder? Or, less strongly, is it the case that people with narcissistic personality disorder are statistically more likely to commit murder, or lesser acts of violence, than people without it? If not, why would you treat it as the key issue in this case?

  • J-D

    Do you have any basis for the suggestion that the notion of paternity did not exist more than 6000 years ago, or is that pure unsupported speculation?

  • Welp

    Wasn’t familiar with that guy– I guess I haven’t spent enough time reading MRA stuff. Elam seems pretty nuts, and he does seem to be overly inflammatory in a way that could set off people who are already troubled. To be fair, though, the violence Paul Elam is suggesting, in those quotes at least, is in self-defense (still wrong nonetheless). Doesn’t seem quite on the level of “go massacre a bunch of women”.

    Anyway, maybe I need to look into it more, but it still doesn’t seem characteristic of most of the MRA-type discourse I’ve seen. I could pull up equally-insane quotes from radical feminists– every group has their loony fringe, I guess.

  • Azkyroth

    Oddly enough, it’s not at all close to the number of shootings per capita in any other industrialized country.

  • Azkyroth

    …..maybe go read them, before spouting off?

  • Welp

    I’ve spent hours reading the stuff (I guess the same perverse urge that had me spend hours reading radical feminist stuff). I hadn’t read the “a voice for men” blog though. Sorry, wasn’t claiming to be an expert on all things MRA– that’s why I qualified it with “what I’ve seen”.

  • Crimson

    You’re right, it wasn’t a diagnosis and I neither have the credentials nor have I examined him. I was basing my opinion, as did Adam, on reading about the person and whatever passes for personal experience in my case.

    As someone else already replied to you, there’s plenty of information suggesting the individual was unhinged, and I find that the likelier cause of his violence (and misogyny) than him being a misogynerrorist™.

  • Azkyroth

    Of course it’s due to patriarchy. That’s kind of another way of saying what we already are.

  • Crimson

    In so far as I know I’ve read all your articles.

    As someone else said, this seems pretty isolated to me. You had to go back 25 years to cite 3 specific incidents. Domestic violence is too diverse, imho, to lay it entirely at the foot of misogyny, nor is the violence being committed exclusively by men, or even exclusively against women.

    As for MRA, in the entirety of the article about it on wiki, the most that can be said in terms of hate speak (as far as I can tell) is: “Sectors of the men’s rights movement have been critiqued by some as exhibiting misogynistic tendencies”.

    If hatred of women and incitement to violence is so pervasive in the ideology and such a core aspect of it (as in, say, Islam compared to Buddhism), perhaps someone should update the article on it.

  • Martin Penwald

    Try that, I agree that dates are subject to speculation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_goddess

    The point is that early tribe have no clue that the birth of a child needed a sexual intercourse 9 monthes earlier to happen. So, the survival of the tribe depend of the existence of people able to bear childs, in the case only women.
    According to archeologists, the discovery of paternity happened relatively recently, and the predominance of goddesses declined since then to be replaced by male gods.

  • J-D

    Nothing in the Wikipedia article you linked to supports your contention that the notion of paternity did not exist more than 6000 years ago.

    If the archaeologists you mention had any basis for making the same suggestion, you haven’t indicated what it was.

  • tyler

    i sometimes wonder if the term “men’s rights activist” could be replaced with something else. i imagine something incorporating the word “terrorist” would be better, to prevent people not well-versed on the topic from mistaking the movement for anything other than decentralized terrorism. at the very least it might help people recognize that it has nothing to do with ‘rights’ or ‘activism.’

  • Psycho Gecko

    And according to Fox News, he did it because he had homosexual impulses, but that would also completely ignore his own stated reasons.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    Wasn’t familiar with that guy– I guess I haven’t spent enough time reading MRA stuff.

    Quite so. It’s also worth emphasizing that Elam isn’t some random nobody, but one of the most prominent and popular writers of the MRA movement.

    To be fair, though, the violence Paul Elam is suggesting, in those quotes at least, is in self-defense (still wrong nonetheless).

    Yes, Elam puts up a fig leaf of claiming that the violence he advocates is for self-defense. But if you read that piece and saw anything other than sadistic glee at the prospect of a man having an excuse to hurt a woman, you must have read something different than I did. In addition, you’ll note that he advocates this violence explicitly for restoring women to their “proper” state of subservience (“make her clean it up afterwards”).

    You also didn’t address the third link I posted, where Elam hosted the manifesto of an MRA terrorist openly calling for violence against police and courts. And Elam is far from the only MRA praising violence; he’s just the easiest one to find with, frankly, the few minutes of Googling I did to write this comment. There are many more I could have cited. Another prominent MRA, GirlWritesWhat (a woman, shockingly enough) is notorious for saying that wife-beating makes for a happier and healthier relationship.

    I could pull up equally-insane quotes from radical feminists…

    Even if you could (which I doubt), there is the extremely obvious difference that radical feminists are not going on murderous rampages against men.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    You had to go back 25 years to cite 3 specific incidents.

    How many mass murders should an ideology have to inspire before you think it’s worthy of concern?

  • Psycho Gecko

    There’s this little site called Reddit, you probably haven’t heard of it, where they recently discussed a professor’s vote for president of a college being held up due to sexual harassment allegations: “Once again we see why our ancestors didnt take claims by women seriously.”

    “Seriously, the government has only grown since the fruition of feminism–the exact opposite of what the founding fathers were trying tocreate. Women have simply replaced one man with the big government. It will continue to only grow larger as feminism takes over more and more institutions such as the corp world, universities, and the media.”

    “These stories absolutely terrify me. It’s just one more social obstacle men have to fight against just for sex (that may or may not be any good).”

    “Men must be extremely careful when it comes to sex with women who have been drinking. Especially if you are running any game to get laid.

    It has come to the point where if a women is simply intoxicated, and you have sex with her, she may not actually have consented. No matter what she said or did leading up to the sex.

    It used to be that a women had to be totally unconscious drunk before a man could be charged with rape for having sex with her. Now, it only matters if she is intoxicated. Well what is intoxicated? One commenter had a very good point……… if women cannot make decisions
    with any alcohol in them, it should be illegal for them to drink.”

    “All so some bimbo could sue the school. You must be a woman, or just dumb anyway.”

    “I think we should make it illegal for women to drink sense they can’t handle their shit. If they don’t want any agency or responsibility, I say take it from them.”

    “Thats why you should only fuck drunk women that do not know you and you don’t know them. Just remember to call yourself John and wear those plastic glasses.”

    And I thought it was incredibly interesting to bounce around there and run across a guy like this on a different thread: “I know I’ve complained a lot about not understanding why women date assholes who just want to get laid instead of good intentioned family minded guys like me. That doesn’t mean I feel entitled. It means I think they’re ruining their lives by making horrible decisions, evidenced by half the fucking profiles on OkCupid being single moms.”

    And when a MRA actually asks others to condemn what this guy did, we get stuff like this:

    “Your position assumes there is truth in their accusation that mra’s support or were somehow involved, and its an admission of some kind of involvement. So that is letting them control you and discourse. Just tell them to fuck off and give them a list off horrible things that actually feminists have done and you win.”

    So let that sink in. An MRA who thinks they shouldn’t actually condemn all this stuff because he thinks it would make them seem connected, and he’d rather seem unconnected to murders than condemn murder.

  • Azkyroth

    “Male supremacist” was suggested in previous discussions, but never seemed to have caught on.

  • Azkyroth

    Why?

    I’m trying really hard to be charitable to you, but I find your comments incomprehensible unless you’re explicitly trying to rehabilitate misogyny.

  • flame821

    “I’ve never seen anything that explicitly promotes violence against women” – Welp

    So calls to rape women who speak out against them isn’t violent? Constant harassment and death threats aren’t violent?

  • GCBill

    I think it’s terrifying how much greater the mundane toll of domestic violence is than the tolls of specific mass murderers. It’s unfortunate that this graph will have less rhetorical effect than the narratives of sociopaths. It is a testament to the irrational way in which humans process evidence; a reasoning flaw I am convinced plays a huge part in complacency toward institutionalized sexist violence.

    I think part of the problem will involve making people realize that events like these are background noise compared to the horrors that go on daily. And in order to achieve this, we’ll need to stop relying on empathy as the basis of moral reasoning. Instead, we need to make people realize that the plights of most victims can never be “felt” in the way that normally inspires us to action. Put another way, abstract reasoning needs to play a much bigger part in public moral discourse.

    I worry that beating sexism (and other -isms) will need to involve more than just cause-specific activism. I suspect it’s going to require us to learn how to understand the moral weight of a cause without specifically-identifiable victims. And that’s going to be difficult to say the least.

  • Frank Lee

    It’s impossible that any competent mental health professional who heard Rodger’s thoughts would have deemed him to be in no need of treatment. Credentials in mental health are not required in order to be in law enforcement. The fact that there have been only two of these incidents in the US in at least a quarter of a century means they do not constitute a pattern.

    So the far more important issue is how long it will take the American people to elect a Congress and president who will ban semi-automatic weapons, ban high-capacity ammunition clips, require background checks for all gun purchases, enact a single-payer system that covers mental health care, create a Department of Peace and Nonviolence, and drastically reduce the flow of violent entertainment to minors.

    To espouse prevention of violence against women but not of violence against men is to dehumanize men. To tolerate the portrayal of gratuitous violence as entertaining is to dehumanize us all.

    The use of the straw man fallacy here is disappointing. No one here has sought to excuse the referenced killings or suggested that ideology played no role in any of them. No one here has suggested that every mass killer is mentally ill or that most mentally ill people are killers.

  • Welp

    I agree that Elam sounds like he’d enjoy hurting women from the way he wrote about that. Also, sorry, I didn’t address the one about hosting the manifesto. I tried to click the link to where it was hosted but it had been taken down and I didn’t look further for it. I found it and read it now– I’m actually surprised that it doesn’t seem hateful towards women to me. It just sounds like he’s angry at the system overall, he even refers to his wife being a victim of it as well. I actually feel pretty bad for that guy– especially since he just committed suicide and didn’t harm anyone else.

    Anyway, things got a little off track here– I’m not trying to be in the position of defending MRAs. I don’t agree with a lot of what they say, though I think they do have some valid points hidden in there somewhere. My point is just that I don’t think this ideology, in the absence of some kind of severe mental issue, is enough to cause someone to go on a rampage.

    Since you doubted the feminist quotes, here are a few. These are radical feminists, so I don’t try to characterize the whole movement by what they say (just as I wouldn’t characterize all MRA by what Elam says).

    I feel that ‘man-hating’ is an honorable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them.” — Robin Morgan, Ms. Magazine Editor.

    To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he’s a machine, a walking dildo. — Valerie Solanas, radical feminist (attempted to murder Andy Warhol)

    Under patriarchy, every woman’s son is her potential betrayer and also the inevitable rapist or exploiter of another woman. — Andrea Dworkin

    “Only when manhood is dead — and it will perish when ravaged femininity no longer sustains it — only then will we know what it is to be free.” — Andrea Dworkin

    Anyway, plenty of crazy stuff from them– also, there’s plenty of current online stuff going on with all sorts of keyboard warriors talking about the evils of men and how they should all be killed/burned/whatever.

  • Jennifer Burdoo

    One of my favorite songs by Australian folksinger Judy Small is “Montreal, December ’89.” It’s about a similar incident in which a killer singled out women, and asks why men (and not women) are usually the instigators of such violence.

    And a man behind her in the line, he started getting steamed.
    He said “It wasn’t because he was a man, this guy was crazy, mad, obscene.”
    “Yes, he was crazy,” the woman replied, “but women go crazy too.
    “And I’ve never heard of a woman shooting fourteen men, have you?”

  • Welp

    What it sounds like to me is that “MRA” doesn’t have a very concrete definition and attracts a lot of different types of people. Some people with legitimate grievances, and some bitter misogynistic assholes. Maybe more assholes than people with legitimate grievances.

    I don’t think it’s fair to tar the entire concept based on internet commenters, though. Look at the crazy shit “feminists” post on tumblr. There’s even a subreddit for it– /r/tumblrinaction

  • LB

    The irony here, as a woman, is that it feels like I’m arguing with a bunch of men about the violence of men against women. I don’t terribly understand what the point of your analysis is – MRA “activists” are violent against women. Okay. How do we subvert that subculture and end these mass shootings? I feel that the MRA activism may be correlated, but not causal. I personally believe that deeper psychological issues are causal. I grew up verbally abused by a man (“You’re fucking worthless”), entered a relationship where I was emotionally abused by a man (“slut,” “whore”), left that to be sexually abused by men (unsolicited touching, drugging, penetration). None of these men were MRA “activists” – they *were* unstable and unhealthy. I see that the point is that there is a misogynistic undercurrent in our culture, but without a way to individualize and treat abusers, I don’t see much hope for an end. If it’s something as simple as culture that turns men into murderers, then I guess I’m just terrified.

  • LB

    Do most people who hate women go on a killing rampage? Or, less strongly, is it the case that people who hate women are statistically more likely to have compounding psychological, emotional, and environmental factors that push them toward hatred and violence? I honestly don’t know, I don’t conduct this specific research – I’ve studied socially despondent adults that retreat into MMORPG’s, and do know that there are a multitude of personality disorders that factor into someone’s inability to appropriately socialize. If that lacking of socialization exacerbates other problems, then I do think it’s possible, in some cases, for these situations to escalate into committing murder.

  • LB

    I don’t think I disagree with you, but I don’t think that anyone concerned about mental health are “writing off” killings. For me, that statement feels like that’s a “writing off” of mental health, when in honesty I think we should take the entire context for what it was. By bringing to attention mental health problems (whatever they may be) along with the misogynistic cultural tendencies that seem to be serving as a trigger for violence, hopefully we can isolate and treat these individuals before they become dangerous to the public. I’m not invested in being right. I’m invested it helping to make these horrible events cease to exist.

  • LB

    I think that your statement about “otherizing” is very generalizing (and, frankly, insulting) to those who are honestly concerned about the mental or emotional health of students or citizens at large. This is another confusion of correlation v. causation – Not all people with some form of mental health issue kill, and not all killers have clinically diagnosed mental health issues. This should be obvious, as it’s statistically impossible to have 100% in either scenario. I guess my question is why we can only discuss one issue – the health thing, or the misogyny thing – without exploring the interplay of both.

  • LB

    Can you post links or recommend a couple? I’m honestly just not familiar with the space.

  • LB

    Was the UCSB shooter active on MRA blogs? I know he was active on a Bodybuilding forum.

    UPDATE: Yes, he apparently was, at least on the Pick-Up Artist (PUA) threads.

  • eyelessgame

    The question that comes to mind for me is – what is the *difference* you would look for, that would have led you to the counterfactual – i.e. what exactly, in your mind, does a “misogynerrorist” look like, and how does it differ from this particular person? Are misogynerrorists defined by their lack of personality disorders?

  • eyelessgame

    I think it is clear that – since most MRAs are not mass murderers *and* most NPD sufferers are not mass murderers – neither condition is by itself a complete explanation of the man’s behavior. But I think it is fair to say that both seem to have been contributing factors that affected his decisionmaking process and therefore both had a role in leading him to his violence.

  • eyelessgame

    Most misogynists are not murderers. But also, most people with personality disorders are not murderers. This man was both a misogynist and suffering from some personality disorder. If he had been only one of the two, it’s entirely possible he wouldn’t have committed any of these murders.

  • eyelessgame

    Hm. There’s this potential counterargument: people would be more willing to say it was “an anti-Semitic shooting” because there are organizations that frankly (if not quite publicly) call for anti-Semitic violence. We *know* such groups exist, and therefore people are more willing to consider a shooter to have been an agent/dupe/tool of these organizations. A lone wolf is more likely to be considered just plain “insane”, in this view, simply because there was no one else who helped him plan – no conspiracy or larger purpose.

    I don’t buy the argument – I think a person is perfectly capable of coming up with a violent retributory act all by himself – but perhaps that’s the thought process of some of the people here.

  • Azkyroth

    Yeah, really. I can think of one or two self-described “radical feminists” (actually, the only one I can think of is a fuckhead who referred to her presumably-hypothetical man-murdering conspiracy movement as the “Red Queen”, but I’m allowing for another) who even *approach* the level of unhinged violent ideation that’s par for the course with the Male Supremacy movement.

  • J-D

    If it’s true that the homicide rate in the US is significantly higher than in other industrialised countries, what might be the reasons for that?

  • J-D

    Belle Gunness may have killed fourteen men, or even more. Admittedly she didn’t shoot them.

  • J-D

    The Wikipedia article also says, in the sentence immediately following the one you quote: ‘The Southern Poverty Law Center has said that while some of the websites, blogs and forums related to the movement “voice legitimate and sometimes disturbing complaints about the treatment of men, what is most remarkable is the misogynistic tone that pervades so many.”‘

    But if that’s not sufficient for you, perhaps you could read more widely on the subject.

  • Crimson

    The difference to me would be precedence, was he able to function up until the moment he encountered an ideology so toxic it ruined his life, or was he just so messed up to begin with that he developed an irrational hatred over time.

    After reading several pages and excerpts from what people are calling his “manifesto”, he just seemed to go at some point from a lonely and frustrated kid (which I can relate to) to narcissistic and delusional based on his own warped view on his life experiences. He didn’t seem to pick it up from a book.

    Also if you take two individuals… both of whom have an irrational hatred for whatever out-group… which do you think is more likely to actually commit violence? The one with or without a personality disorder? I don’t have a problem with someone hating other people so long as they don’t harm them… you’re allowed your own thoughts/emotions and we need not all get along.

  • J-D

    What basis do you have for suggesting that being ‘unhinged’ (whatever you mean by that) is likely to be a cause of violence? Are you suggesting that people who are mentally ill (if that’s what you mean by ‘unhinged’) are more likely to be violent than people who are not?

  • Crimson

    I saw that, thank you, and found it synonymous to what I quoted, specifically the “critiqued by some”. If you have anything specific you’d like me to read on the subject feel free to share.

  • MNb

    Especially in cases like these I strongly dislike premature conclusions. The Belgian police hasn’t caught the killer at the Jewish Museum yet, so nobody – and specifically you, Adam Lee – has a clue about his (statistically unlikely a her) mental state. As for the Isla Vista murderer mental illness and mysogyny don’t exactly exclude each other. So postulating that the first “is a poor explanation” smells like a false dichotomy. Moreover unless you’re the psychologist who has questioned the shooter you’re not qualified to make such judgments.
    Finally I think it lame if we need murderers to motivate us for combatting mysogyny.

  • GCT

    Also if you take two individuals… both of whom have an irrational hatred for whatever out-group… which do you think is more likely to actually commit violence? The one with or without a personality disorder?

    Take another two individuals… both of whom have personality disorders… which to you think is more likely to actually commit violence? The one with or without the irrational hatred fro whatever out-group?

  • https://www.facebook.com/michael.carteron Michael

    I’m not taking issue with genuine concern, it’s the seeming automatic assumption (such as that below) of these killers having a mental illness, or that causing their acts. It’s more probable for mentally ill people to fall victim to violence than commit it from what I know.

  • GCT

    To espouse prevention of violence against women but not of violence against men is to dehumanize men.

    No one is doing that. What is being argued is that men don’t tend to get killed for being men, while women do get killed for being women. Additionally, this smacks of “What about the menz?!?!?” If someone brings up an issue of violence against women, it’s not dehumanizing to men. Not mentioning men in every single instance of talking about women’s issues is not dehumanizing men. Having to ensure that women’s issues can’t be discussed without whining about men being dehumanized, however…

  • Welp

    I agree domestic violence is an important issue– however, I think graphs like the one above are a bit sensational (especially with that tweet below it). All women need to be worried their partner might kill them? That’s a pretty extreme stance to take. I was curious what some other “death toll” numbers look like, to get a sense of perspective so I did a quick google search. Turns out you’re more likely to die from an accidental drug overdose than domestic violence. Interestingly, as an aside, the U.S. homicide rate declined by nearly half (49%), from 9.3 homicides per 100,000 U.S. residents in 1992 to 4.7 in 2011, falling to the lowest level since 1963 (according to the BJS). Anyway, my point is, I think we can treat domestic violence/homicide as an important issue without trying to paint all men as potential murderers– because that’s a distortion of the facts, and I don’t think it creates a healthy atmosphere for either gender.

  • Richard Hollis

    To add insult to injury the very scummiest of our British rags, The Daily Mail, had the cheek to run an article on the girl Elliot Rodger was obsessed with, featuring photos of her in a bikini next to Elliot’s diatribe about girls ‘flaunting themselves’, effectively blaming her (oh, and they don’t moderate comment either, so there’s all sorts of things in the comments box). I won’t link to it because I don’t want to give them the hits, but it’s out there if people want to dig for it.

    It genuinely horrifies me to see such a blatantly misogynistic, victim-blaming piece in a non-tabloid (ie, supposedly higher-brow) newspaper.

  • Welp

    I don’t know where the line should be drawn, but it seems to me that for it to be reasonable it’s got to be way more than 3 in 25 years.

  • Psycho Gecko

    You shouldn’t make premature judgments about the gender of the killer at the Jewish Museum yet. Nobody, and specifically you, MNb, has a clue about body parts of the killer.

    Otherwise, if you were to do something like say it was most likely a man because of statistics, from there you’d have to also admit he was also most likely anti-Semitic because of murdering people at a Jewish Museum.

  • Psycho Gecko

    Yeah, and just look how far back you have to go to find one single example of a Holocaust. Obviously, there’s no such thing as anti-Semitism either.

  • J-D

    I’d like you to do your own research, but if you want me to suggest a starting point, here’s one:
    http://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2014/05/25/for-new-readers-an-intro-to-the-mens-rights-movement-and-the-new-misogyny/

  • J-D

    I don’t know. Are people with personality disorders more or less likely to commit violence than those without? What’s the evidence?

  • J-D

    That isn’t an answer to my question about why you would treat narcissistic personality disorder as the key issue in this case — unless ‘honestly don’t know’ is your answer. I accept what you say about people with personality disorders lacking ability to socialise appropriately, but I don’t think what we’re discussing here can be relevantly characterised as somebody’s failure to socialise appropriately — if all Elliot Rodger had done was retreat into an MMORPG we wouldn’t be discussing him.

  • Science Avenger

    A bit OT, but has anyone else noticed that the Fox News coverage of this episode has had two glaring traits:

    1. Little to no mention of his motives. It’s as if they know doing so would call them on the carpet for much of the ideology they push.
    2. They insist on referring to the female victims as “coeds”, as in “there were three victims, two coeds and a student”. That term was passe when I was in school 3 decades ago, I can’t fathom why anyone would use it now, except to relate to their median 69 yo audience, or to illustrate why the GOP has such a problem with the XX’ers.

  • Science Avenger

    According to Wiki, the US homicide rate is on the low end of the spectrum at 4.8 annually per 100,000 people. There are at least 30 nations higher than 20, with El Salvador, Honduras, and Venezuela topping the list above 60. We are privliged on the world scale on this issue.

  • Science Avenger

    I’d say the concern should be proportional to the correlation between the two. Right now it looks very small.

  • Science Avenger

    You seem to be making the same mistake in reverse that racists do when they claim they aren’t racist because they haven’t lynched anyone.

  • Science Avenger

    “…paint[ing] all men as potential murderers…[is] a distortion of the facts…”

    Agreed, but it would be consistent with how many present issues of violence concerning guns, which are less correlated with murders than the Y chromosome is. People want simple answers, but the issues are complex and multidimensional, and effective solutions will need to be as well.

  • Science Avenger

    “What is being argued is that men don’t tend to get killed for being men, while women do get killed for being women.”

    Isn’t that overstating the matter? Granted, the level of domestic violence against women is far too high*, but in the US I’m unaware of any rounding up of women for random XX elimination (a female holocaust), which is sort of what you are saying. It’s hard enough to get a lot of people to deal with the ugly reality, I don’t think hyperbole is going to be effective.

    *Having been the guy called to help on more occasions than I care to recall, which is absolutely no fun at all, I speak from considerable personal experience.

  • LB

    I’m personally speaking to this case – Elliot Rodger and his history of therapy/issues. I’m aware that there will be countless anecdotes in either direction to prove/disprove any situation. In the case of Elliot Rodger, it seems apparent that he has severe problems with socialization and delusion – I don’t get what is so politically incorrect with drawing a correlation between that fact and the violence he incurred.

  • J-D

    I don’t think it’s an over-statement. The evidence does show more than one incident in which women have been killed for being women — at least, that seems to have been the primary reason. It’s true that those incidents don’t add up to a continuous systematic effort to kill women on an industrial scale, but I don’t think that’s what the original assertion meant.

    (It strikes me as odd, and possibly a little disturbing, to write that ‘the level of domestic violence against women is far too high’, almost as if there could be some level that would be acceptable; it’s not a problem that the level is high, it’s a problem that it happens at all. Perhaps your choice of words should be reconsidered?)

  • J-D

    Yes, I saw that information too. The comparison Azkyroth made was with other industrialised countries, not with all other countries. Generally speaking, the homicide rate in industrialised countries is lower than that in other countries. So that leaves us with two questions: what might be the reasons that the homicide rate is lower in industrialised countries than in other countries; and, what might be the reasons that the homicide rate in the US is higher than in other industrialised countries?

  • Welp

    I think you’re being overly nit-picky with the wording. No incident of domestic violence is acceptable, obviously, but reasonable people accept that some level of any crime like that will always exist. The goal is to minimize it as much as possible.

  • josh

    Probably any belief system of victimization and righteous comeuppance for those who have ‘wronged’ you will suffice. But the social acceptability of the belief and the mental state of the believer are hugely important. Look at violent Jihad; no one can doubt that the prevalence and social support for violence, the common narrative of oppressed, pious Muslims fighting the unrighteous, plays a role. Especially in cases of war, unless one thinks that an army is composed of people who suddenly all lost their minds at the same time directed at the same enemy. But suicide bombers are also drawn from the most unstable and resentful people who fall under the influence of that particular ideology.

    We call mentally ill someone who constructs a paranoid fantasy that no one else believes. Like killing your kids so that the alien spy posing as your dog can’t get them. But there is necessarily a grey zone where a mentally unbalanced person picks up on common resentments and carries them to an extreme that the general culture doesn’t condone. As usual I don’t see much point in insisting on an either-or distinction.

    Reading his disturbing manifesto, it is clear that Rodger had a grim and thoroughly unrealistic fantasy of punishing the whole world for his unhappiness. I don’t think anyone reading it would conclude that he was a mentally well man. In his case a lot of that resentment came from loneliness and lack of sex, with a concomitant desire to punish attractive women which draws, obviously, on the misogynist strain. But also a desire to punish attractive men for being successful in his eyes, happy couples, his brother, black people, and humanity as a whole.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    Anyway, my point is, I think we can treat domestic violence/homicide as an important issue without trying to paint all men as potential murderers…

    While it’s of course true that the vast majority of men aren’t violent, the problem from a woman’s perspective is that any man might be, and even if your intentions are nothing but good, there’s no way for a woman you meet on the street to know that.

    You should read the famous essay “Schrödinger’s Rapist” to get an idea of how this plays out from a woman’s perspective.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    I don’t know where the line should be drawn, but it seems to me that for it to be reasonable it’s got to be way more than 3 in 25 years.

    Then let’s make it four.

    The man who shot children in an Amish schoolhouse in 2006 thoughtlessly neglected to leave a detailed written manifesto explaining the purpose for his actions, but what we do know is that he sent all the boys out of the room and then started shooting girls in the head. It’s not a great leap to conclude that misogyny of some kind was a motive.

    Also, murderous mass rampages like this one are just the most visible examples of a pattern of deadly violence. On average, 12 murder-suicides happen in the U.S. each week; according to the journalist Soraya Chemaly, in these deaths, “women are 85% of those killed, and men 95% of those killing”. We can also add the many stories collected on this site, of men who suddenly turned violent when women broke up with them or refused their advances.

    Again, I ask: How many examples do you want to see to be convinced that this is a larger problem?

  • Jon Jermey

    According to a 2005 survey, 3.4 times as many men as women die violent deaths in the US each year. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5703a1.htm

    What I read between the lines in articles like Adam’s is that killing men is somehow less important and less worthy of corrective attention than killing women. But a genuinely compassionate, even-handed approach would regard any killing as equally unacceptable and equally deserving of efforts to halt. If that requires spending 3.4 times as much on stopping men from being killed as women, that’s what the statistics would seem to require.

  • J-D

    I don’t know that some level of domestic violence will always exist, and I don’t see how you can either.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    Your “reading between the lines” flatly ignores the part of my post where I explicitly said, to head off this exact mischaracterization, that misogyny needs to be stopped because it poses a danger to men as well as to women.

    I won’t tolerate being impugned in this way; not least because I happen to be a man myself, and I take great offense at the suggestion that I don’t value my own life. I don’t accept that kind of insult from religious fundamentalists, who say I must not value myself because I’m an atheist, and I don’t accept it from you.

    Retract your statement. I won’t make this request twice.

  • Jon Jermey

    The point is not that ‘misogyny’ poses a danger to men as well as women. It is that men are at greater risk of violence for ALL reasons, all the time, everywhere and in every way, than women are. You choose to be outraged by violence against women, but not by violence against men — have you EVER written an article on the types of violence directed specifically against men?

    By singling out ‘misogyny’ and remaining silent on all the other causes of violence, injury and death among men you are tacitly giving approval to the feminist meme that crimes against women are inherently worse than equivalent crimes against men, and that men who commit crimes are inherently worse than women who commit the same crimes.

    Tell me you disagree, and that research into preventing violence should be funded and promoted on the basis of the number of deaths and the gravity of injuries caused, rather than on the gender of the victims, and I will retract my comment.

  • Psycho Gecko

    If he never set out to murder women, he wouldn’t have killed any men. That’s blatantly obvious from the fact that he said he was setting out to murder women, and how he killed his male roommates so he could use the place as a torture chamber for women.

  • Psycho Gecko

    I think you missed the context.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    I said I wouldn’t ask twice. I meant it. You are no longer welcome on this site.

  • http://rogiriverstone.com/ Rogi Riverstone

    Of course, instead of talking about these issues, the media will likely default to the usual armchair diagnosis and hand-wringing fuckery about how Elliot Rodger was “crazy” and “mentally unstable.” It has already begun with Sheriff Brown who told reporters,”It’s obviously the work of a madman.” Spoiler Alert: Unless you were Elliot Rodger’s therapist, you don’t get to diagnose him. To do so is not only actively contributing to mental illness stigmatization, but it’s perfectly plausible that it’s not even accurate. To quote Miri Mogilevsky of Brute Reason, “It is not actually ‘crazy’ to believe stuff that’s been shoved down your throat from birth.” http://skepchick.org/2014/05/alpha-male-elliot-rodgers-retribution/#.U4DQ6bGTNfw.facebook

  • Azkyroth

    All men ARE potential murderers, in the sense that all men are, in at least some fashion, physically capable of completing the mechanical act of inflicting lethal injury upon another human being. Whether or not any given man is likely to do so in:
    -extremely limited circumstances, IE extreme self-defense
    -much broader circumstances, IE the “self-defense” of Floridiots who stalk and kill black teenagers
    -unusual circumstances, such as extreme anger or emotional stress
    -no circumstances at all, not even in self-defense
    -as soon as the opportunity arises and he believes himself likely to get away with it
    -something else entirely
    depends on mental states of that man, which any given woman does not have access to.

  • Azkyroth

    He read what comparison I was making, he just wants to have an argument he thinks he can win instead.

  • J-D

    Just as all men (well, very close to all men) are physically capable of inflicting lethal harm on another human being by one means or another, so are all women (or as close to all women).

    So you, reading this, you almost certainly have it physically within your power to commit murder, and so do I. Speaking personally, it’s knowing that I have the capacity to commit harm (and now I don’t just mean murder) that holds me back (it’s when I forget about the harm I can do that I’m most likely to do it).

    And so, if somebody were to tell me I am a potential murderer, I wouldn’t be offended. I suppose maybe I could be one. Now, what do you suggest we do about that?

  • Welp

    The problem that any man on the street might be violent applies to men, too. Though I agree men worry less about rape. I understand how this can effect women (with regard to feeling the need to devote more thought to safety, planning, etc). My issue with the image above and Azkyroth’s comments is that they aren’t about a random guy on the street, they’re about domestic partners. There are signs that a person has abusive tendencies and there are ways to mitigate those risks (in earlier stages of a relationship) if people are properly educated about it (but I’m not saying all women can easily escape the situations). My point is that the way they present these stats makes it sound like all men are ticking time-bombs of violence about to go off. I don’t think that’s something women need to fear from all (or even most) men.

  • https://www.facebook.com/michael.carteron Michael

    My point is that most people with these issues do not kill anyone. It seems to me that the rote blaming of this, rather than say, extreme misogyny, serves as a way to distance people from the acts by labeling it as simply the work of a madman, nothing more.

  • Lagerbaer

    They use the term “code” so they don’t have to say “women” or “females’.

  • Lagerbaer

    Yes, they do exist. But they fall quite short of the widespread support by internet manchildren that MRAs enjoy.

  • Welp

    Again, you’re being nit-picky with the language. I do think some amount of crime or bad behavior will exist as long as people have free will. Yes, we should try to minimize it as much as possible but how do you eliminate something like that entirely? If you have some ideas of how to go about that I’d love to hear them.

  • Science Avenger

    I’ve often thought it would be a good exercise for a lot of men to spend some time on a desert island inhabited by nothing but homosexuals who were into bodybuilding, MMA, football, etc., to spend some time walking in women’s shoes to the extent of being constantly surrounded by people who at any time could overpower them to get what they want. It never occurs to most men that while they may be nervous on first dates, they don’t have to worry much about anything like that.

  • Tommykey69

    Jon Jermey, you’re playing that stupid game where no one is allowed to address a subset of a problem, namely violence against women, as opposed to addressing all violence. More men die because they are more likely to engage in violence, period. Men aren’t being targeted because they’re not putting out for women who feel they are not getting the attention they deserve.

  • Tommykey69

    I agree, that seems an absurd notion to me. After all, animals know they have to mate in order to reproduce, but somehow humans didn’t realize it until 6,000 years ago?

  • Science Avenger

    Because we’ll never be Vulcans that’s why. Those of us who have lived nice secure whitebread upper middle class lives tend to forget (if we ever knew) just how many unhappy, psychologically damaged, violence-prone individuals exist out there. Getting to the point where domestic violence is a rare, universally condemned event is challenge enough.

  • Science Avenger

    Oh please, I got the context just fine, I just think it was a really apples-and-oranges comparison (pretty much any comparison to the Holocaust is that doesn’t involve the Khmer Rouge) and thought I’d say so in a more colorful manner than, well, that.
    There’s a lot more to mysogyny than domtestic violence, and a lot more behind the Holocaust than anti-Semitism

  • Science Avenger

    Don’t quit your day job, your psychic powers suck. There was a discussion of homicide rates in the world, so I looked up the data. I leave the self-serving No-True-Scotsman exercise of defining “industrialized” to others,

  • Psycho Gecko

    Yeah, I’m sure a bunch of eugenics idiots trying to create their version of the master race by killing and sterilizing people is in no way similar to the practices of American eugenicists in locking up women and sterilizing them for having sex out of wedlock either, all because they felt that women having sex on their own was a sign of mental inferiority.

  • Azkyroth

    Making an effort to actually compare apples to apples is “No True Scotsman?” Fucking seriously?

    You do realize fallacy names aren’t just magic incantations, right?

  • Azkyroth

    Do we know the latter?

  • GCT

    No, I don’t feel like I’m overstating the matter at all. Women are killed, abused, threatened, harassed, etc simply for being women. Men are not similarly treated.

  • eyelessgame

    A fair question. I think it’s reasonable inference given that he was seeing two different therapists and his parents had expressed concern over his stability prior to this event. I admit the evidence for a personality disorder is not *nearly* as conclusive as the evidence that he was a strong MRA and PUA-wannabe.

  • J-D

    The point isn’t that all women are afraid and it isn’t that all women should be afraid; it’s that generally speaking women’s fears (when they have them) should not be dismissed as unreasonable.

    Given that men too can be the victims of attack in the street, or by intimate partners, it does seem to follow that generally speaking men’s fears (when they have them) should not be dismissed as unreasonable. This leads my mind to the question of whether men’s fears are in fact dismissed as unreasonable as often as women’s are.

  • J-D

    I’m afraid now I have to switch to the other side of the argument, although on the basis of the same principle: I can’t see the evidence that would justify the conclusion that non-human animals know they have to mate in order to reproduce. In the case of at least some animals there seems good reason to think the contrary: in the extreme case, I don’t see how an animal without a brain can be said to know anything, but they still reproduce.

  • J-D

    I know that many people are unhappy, many people are psychologically damaged, and many people are violence-prone, but I do not know that this will always be the case.

    I agree that it is more appropriate to think in terms of a challenge to reduce the level of domestic violence rather than a challenge to eliminate it, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to think in terms of that reduction being aimed at any sort of target level, no matter how low. No matter how low the level may fall in the future, so long as it’s non-zero a challenge to reduce it further will still be appropriate.

  • J-D

    There _are_ some challenges where it’s appropriate to set a specific target level and to treat the challenge as met when that target has been reached. This is _not_ one of them. I suspect you know that, which is why I suggest you consider expressing yourself accordingly.

  • J-D

    If you are suggesting that the word ‘industrialised’ has no meaning, you are mistaken. Perhaps I have misunderstood you and you meant something different from that.

  • GCT

    I disagree with your last point, though, that women have to constantly be in fear people could overpower them and rape them. It seems infantilizing to me to suggest that’s the case. There are plenty of things women can do to mitigate risks in this regard…

    (Yes, I know you’ll complain about my leaving off the last part of your sentence, but too bad…)

    Plenty of things women can do, like not walking home at night alone, staying out of dimly lit parking lots, not drinking too much, not dressing too provocatively, etc? And, why do we teach women these things? It’s because they have to do them in order to be safe. IOW, you just provided the counter argument to your argument.

  • GCT

    Perhaps you should read some of the other comments before you say the same shit that’s already been discussed. You’re way behind.

    So, this PUA-wannabe would have attacked women regardless of his misogynistic views? Really?

  • Azkyroth

    What.

  • Azkyroth

    Generally, plus you’re seen as A Failure As A Man if you’re afraid in the first place.

    Sexism hurts everyone.

  • J-D

    Written records show clearly that humans were aware of the connection between mating and reproduction well before sperm were observed through microscopes. The case still hasn’t been made that the connection was recognised 6000 years ago but not before that.

  • Glenn Olson

    The trouble is: while it might be technically more accurate, *they* will still be calling themselves “men’s rights activists.” We have to use the terms they identify themselves with, if we want those who are not well versed on the topic to know who we’re talking about.

  • Glenn Olson

    Of more interest to me than whether it was 6000 years or 35,000 years is why the time frame even matters. Is wWhether it was a (contextually) recent event or tied with the ‘birth’ of homo sapiens itself even relevant? Does it make a difference to the conditions of today?

    Or is it just an excuse to argue minutiae instead of what is relevant?

  • optimisticmomma

    As a female and walking this earth for 50 years, I can see this author’s point very well and I thank him for being introspective enough and humble enough to write an article defending and encouraging us women. I wish there were more people like you. Just for the record: I am not a feminist, in fact, I am a conservative Christian if you have to ‘label’ me, happily married.

  • Sandra Willow Lang

    Here is the issue for me as a woman; mot all men are violent misogynists, but the ones who are do not come with a warning label that says, “Warning I feel entitled to abuse women on every level because they will not do what I want”. As a woman who was raised by a man like this, forgive me if I am more cautious when dealing with men because I have personal experience of what the cost is for being chosen / choosing the wrong one.

  • Azkyroth

    We have more than one, though. The majority of self-styled MRAs are atheist or agnostic.

  • Azkyroth

    Why? People know what we mean when we say “Anti-Choice” and “Stealth Racist.”

  • Azkyroth

    I guess Rodgers was a parallel killer, then? [/gallowshumor]

  • Azkyroth

    If you have some ideas of how to go about that I’d love to hear them.

    Well, not frantically, flailingly downplaying the problem every time someone brings it up would be a good place to start…..

  • Martin Penwald

    Like I said, I am not an archeologist. I had a teacher with credit in mythology and history who tell me that, but it was not the object of the class I take with him, and I’ve heard some times ago same kind of statement on radio (on CBC or HPPR, not sure), and I didn’t note any reference.

    Mother Goddess article is the closest stuff I found about that (it was more or less an argument concerning paternity : if people were aware that men were needed as well as women to conceive a child, why fertility is regularly represented by women in presumably prehistoric cults ? Because a man is technically able to have more children than a woman, so why fertility wasn’t linked to male-gods ?
    I don’t find it is a very good argument, because a lot of information about prehistoric lifestyle are missing, but it has some merritt).

  • Martin Penwald

    Problem is that since we have written history, we know for sure that humans were aware of the paternity link (Gilgamesh himself has a father). It introduces a bias when thinking of prehistoric tribes. Written records are too recent to conclude anything on the paternity’s awareness of homo sapiens.

  • Azkyroth

    Just for the record: I am not a feminist

    Why?

  • J-D

    Written records of encounters between literate human societies and pre-literate ones provide evidence that understanding of paternity is possible in pre-literate societies ranging from empires (like the Incas) to hunter-gatherer bands. This by itself does not establish a conclusion about when in human history the concept of paternity was first recognised, but it does make it more plausible that it was understood well back into the Paleolithic and casts doubt on any date as recent as 6000 years ago.

  • J-D

    I am not an archaeologist, either. I’m not asserting any definite conclusions. I have read of theories about prehistoric female-dominated cultures, which may be some of the same material you have encountered, but I have also read about how they have been heavily criticised by other scholars. For example, you can find in the Wikipedia article on Marija Gimbutas a discussion of the theories she put forward and also of why and how other scholars rejected them.

  • J-D

    Adam Lee responds to this event by saying that misogyny is a problem that we need to do more about. That’s a reasonable response.

    There are of course other reasonable responses. Saying that mental illness is a problem that we need to do more about is a reasonable response; saying that the police response to the warning they received needs to be investigated is a reasonable response; simple sorrow is a reasonable response. But none of those make Adam Lee’s response any less reasonable.

    If you, in turn, respond to Adam Lee’s response by saying that misogyny alone is not enough to cause somebody to go on a rampage, what you say, even if true, is beside the point, since it doesn’t cast any doubt on the statement that misogyny is a problem that we need to do more about.

  • GCT

    You didn’t really address my comment. Those men aren’t being targeted to be raped. They aren’t being targeted because they are men. We have to teach women to be extra careful because they face a danger that, frankly, men don’t really face.

  • http://teethofthebuzzsaw.blogspot.com/ Leo Buzalsky

    And you would appear to be outraged by violence more than Starving Kids In Africa. (Capitalized because that is essentially what I call this fallacy. Wikipedia calls it the
    “Fallacy of relative privation” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_relative_privation )

  • GCT

    Oh whatever. Take 5 minutes to familiarize yourself with Adam’s work and you’ll see how stupid you look right now.

  • J-D

    There’s nothing subtextual or subcontextual about it. It’s right there on the surface, explicitly … in a textual form and context inconsistent with your interpretation.

    In the very first sentence we have ‘… imperative to drive these sexists off because of the harm they do through harassment and threats against women.’ Then in the concluding paragraph we have ‘ … a matter of basic decency and humanity …’ followed by ‘… an urgent matter of self-interest for men as well.’ Adam Lee is explicit about the fact that misogyny harms men and that this is _a_ reason for stopping misogyny, but he has not positioned it as the only reason for doing so or even as the primary reason, only as a supplementary reason. If you see something problematic about making any reference at all to the fact that misogyny also harms men, I’d like to see you explain further, because I see nothing problematic about that.

    If Adam Lee _had_ said that harm done to men is the only reason to stop misogyny or even that it is the primary reason, I would see that as a problem. But he didn’t.

  • J-D

    It is plausible to suggest that when a problem is on a larger scale, that justifies increasing the effort and resources put into tackling it, and this does imply, conversely, that the smaller the scale of a problem the lower the expenditure of effort and resources it justifies: but it does not follow that there’s some specifiable target level at which there is no justification for any further expenditure at all to reduce it to a still lower level.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X