Dude, It’s You

I don’t write much about gender relations.  Actually, I don’t write about them at all.  I have generally progressive views, but as a straight man who’s been in a monogamous relationship for 27 years, I figure that whatever I have to say, someone who’s closer to the situation can say it better and with more authority.

But sometimes I just have to say something and this is one of those times.

By now you’ve surely heard the story of Elliot Rodger, who murdered 6 people and injured 13 others.  He was angry because women wouldn’t have sex with him.  This was his “retribution” which he felt was completely justified.

No, he shouldn’t have had access to guns, but three of his killings were with knives.  Yes, he was mentally ill.  But mental illness is widespread in this country, and the vast majority of mentally ill people don’t go on murderous rampages.  And unlike so many, he had access to treatment.  To dismiss him as crazy is to ignore the obvious:  he chose to attack women.

I’ve never paid much attention to “men’s rights” activists.  I’ve assumed they were fathers who got the short end of divorce settlements and were angry over it, with varying degrees of justification.  Let’s just say I was naïve.  There are some seriously screwed up men out there spreading some seriously screwed up ideas – ideas that have dangerous consequences for women, ideas that are unhelpful for men, and ideas that quite frankly piss me off.

If any of those ideas resonate with you in the least, or if you feel the slightest bit of kinship with this murderer, I have a few things to say to you.

If a woman rejects you, maybe you’re just not her type.  If a woman is rude to you, perhaps she’s just a rude person – rudeness knows no gender bounds.  But by the fourth or fifth or tenth rejection, the odds are getting strong the problem isn’t with any given woman, and if you get to the point where you’re thinking – much less talking – about the evils of women in general, the case is settled.

Dude, the problem is you.

I may be an old married guy, but the memories of being a young single guy are still crystal clear.  I understand the evolutionary urge to have sex and lots of it, and I remember all too well the social pressure to have sex.  If anything, I think the pressure was worse in the pre-AIDS days.  I was a virgin longer than I wanted to be and I never had the lots of sex with many partners I thought I was supposed to have.  I was “involuntarily celibate” for two years in my 20s and it wasn’t fun.

But in all that time, it never occurred to me to blame my lack of sex on women, not individually and certainly not collectively.  It never occurred to me that women were “supposed” to have sex with me, or with anyone else.  Actually, it never occurred to me that women were “supposed” to do anything other than what they wanted to do, sexually or otherwise.

If you think they are, the problem is you.

For all my sexual attraction toward women, I’ve always understood that the only way I have a right to approach women is the same way I approach men:  as people and as individuals who like what they like and want what they want.  Is that one of the reasons I had so few sex partners?  Maybe, but you know something?  I don’t care.  Even in my horniest teenage years the only way I wanted sex was in a truly consensual, mutually satisfying encounter.

If you just want to get laid and you don’t care how, the problem is you.

I remember what it was like to be “the friend.”  In college I heard about family problems, money problems, school problems, and boyfriend problems.  On two occasions I heard about abortions.  I genuinely didn’t understand why I was good enough to trust with such deep secrets and not good enough to sleep with.  But even then it never occurred to me that because I was supportive of a friend I was somehow entitled to sex with her.  Yes, of course I wanted to have sex with her – I was a college-age boy – but if I couldn’t have that, at least I had her friendship.

I finally understood many years later when the shoe was on the other foot.  A friend was flirting with me (how seriously we’ll never know), and I realized that even if I wasn’t married, sex with her would not be a good thing.  It might be fun, but it would bring complications I didn’t want.  I was glad to have her as a friend, but only as a friend.  And I finally understood the problem way back when wasn’t that I wasn’t good enough, it was that I wasn’t a good match in her eyes.

If you don’t understand that both partners have to see a match – even a short-term fling – as a good thing, the problem is you.

I kept looking until I found someone who saw me as a good match, and I saw her the same way.  27 years later, we still do.

The culture that told me I was a failure because I didn’t have a string of notches on my bedpost is the same culture that told Elliot Rodger he was justified in killing women because they rejected his advances.  Yes, there’s a vast difference in degree, but the core problem – the idea that men are supposed to sexually “conquer” women – is the same in both cases.

I’m not claiming victim status and I’m certainly not giving it to Rodger.  I’m saying the culture sucks and we need to change it.

The answer isn’t forcing people into one-size-fits-all gender roles.  It’s amusing – in a sick sort of way – how those who advocate fixed roles always put themselves in the preferred role.  Neither is the answer putting sex back in the closet and insisting people not have sex unless they’re in a heterosexual marriage – that never worked anyway.  The world has moved on and it’s not going back and that’s a good thing.

Rather, we need a culture that sees everyone as individual people with their own needs, desires and rights.  We need a culture that teaches us to see people first and foremost as individuals in full possession of sovereignty, and to value their sovereignty more than we value their potential to be a sex partner.  We need a culture that teaches “consensual” doesn’t just mean not forced, it means mutually desired.

We need a culture that stops telling us we can have more sex if we buy more crap.  It’s all lies anyway, but we hear it and see it so much we believe it.

Our hypermasculine culture sets unrealistic expectations and encourages men to see women as potential sex partners instead of as neighbors, co-workers, and friends.  All too often it is deadly for women and it’s no friend of the vast majority of men.  It’s long past time for it to change to a culture built on mutual respect.

And if you can’t see that, dude, the problem is you.

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About John Beckett

I’m a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I’m an ordained priest in the Universal Gnostic Fellowship. I’m the Coordinating Officer of the Denton, Texas Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. This year I’m also serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of CUUPS National. I’m a member of the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

I write as a spiritual practice. It helps me organize my thoughts and work through ideas and concepts. It helps me evaluate my beliefs and practices against my core values and against what I know (or at least, what I think I know) to be true. It helps me interpret my experiences (religious and otherwise) in ways that are both meaningful and honest.

  • Nathan Boutwell

    What is the Pagan way of saying “Preach it!”?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

      “Preach it!” works just fine. Thank you.

  • http://www.celestinetarot.com/ Celestine Angel

    I’ll go with hoping your words get out there and help affect change, and say “So mote it be.”

  • Justin Eiler

    Well said.

  • Merri-Todd Webster

    I’m not sure how old you are, John–I think you’re a little older than I am, but not much. But I really think that while rape and sexism and misogyny certainly existed when I was a young woman meeting young men who might be interested in me, there was not yet the culture of entitlement that deranges young men into thinking that if three or four women don’t want to have sex with them, killing ten or twelve women is a just retribution. We weren’t quite that crazy yet, if memory serves me: so how did we *get* this crazy?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

      I’m 52, and I’ve been out of the dating scene for so long (thankfully!) I don’t know how to compare “now” vs. “then”. I suspect the internet simply makes it possible for angry young men to reinforce and amplify something that’s been there all along.

      I do know this is a complicated issue that does not have an simple solution. Cultures change slowly and imperfectly, but they do change. With effort.

      • Friday

        That element’s always been pretty detectable if you’ve been hit on a lot in your life: some men just feel entitled on whatever basis they imagine, …it’s crazy how many one runs into that think they can argue their way into someone finding them attractive or sleeping with them anyway, never mind become threatening

        (General misogyny’s a big factor in homophobia against lesbians and bi women: (Or just accuations of being such when advances are rebuffed) when it’s personally-threatening, quite often such men use threats of calling you a lesbian or ‘outing you’ to a room if they expect that to be useful pressure. Also it’s to do with a lot of people that think conservative religion or particularly-simplistic atheist notions add up to some kind of entitlement.)

        What I’ve seen of these Internet groups that have just come into focus seems to triangulate well with the general backlash of straight male entitlement and the general notions being pushed that “Now straight white Christian guys are the real oppressed ones and since political battles are lost, any vile thing one wants to say or do is ‘just your beliefs/opinions’ or ‘defense’ of something. Basicaly the political climate’s gworn so extreme on the Right that this comes as little surprise.

        It seems there have always been some selling rather sociopathic ‘pick-up’ and manipulation techniques to people who otherwise haven’t developed social skills or even empathy, who might find it a temptingly-appealing idea that people have hacks that can be exploited that way… then they can take out their anger on their targets when the whole thing sets of lots of warning bells.

        I think that standard advice for when people come looking for ‘love spells’ holds more generally: very foolish to try and coerce some ‘target,’ when one ought to spruce up and find someone who’s actualy a good match. (Essentially that’s what these people are trying to do, is to ‘magically’ manipulate women into compliance, and in certain mindset this leads right into other forms of coercion and even a sense of entitlement to ‘punish.’

        I’ve hung out with a lot of guys in my life, and I observe that probably the worst thing for them is to think that telling each other how to win mates has anything to do with what women actually find attractive. That seems to have more to do with instincts about dominance contests regarding who gets *access* to potential mates, etc than what actually matters to women. Society sends messages that everyone’s either an ‘alpha’ or a ‘failed alpha,’ and that’s probably got to do with the obsession with control we see in politics, etc.

        • Buddy Bee

          The door swings both ways regarding seduction. There are men and women who are looked upon as great catches because they are famous, rich, athletically gifted. the rest are either thrown in the trash heap or they have to develop some game with the opposite sex to gain an advantage. There has always been a war of the roses, the sexes are perpetually at war,and everyone is sexual property or potential sexual property to wish for a world that sanitizes human nature or calls for more controls on everyone in this battle that nature has been waging ever since the first erection, look men are trying to get in and women are guarding the citadel, saying keep out…People, you can’t use a sick child for your arguments..Although, spare the rod and spoil the child has been co-opted by sociologists who say you shouldn’t touch the poor children because it will harm their social development and traumatize them…is it better to have these troubled kids end up dead or in prison for the rest of their life? .We need to re examine our great society where there are arbitrary winners and losers in school. The academic losers need to go to trade school and not be told they can do anything they want when they enter college unprepared or ill equipped..

    • Nathan Boutwell

      Hey, Merri-Todd. You didn’t address your question to me, but I thought I’d chime in, if you don’t mind. You raise a very valid and interesting question.

      I’m 51. When I was in college, I was part of the fraternity scene. My particular fraternity was known as the “geek squad” so we didn’t really get to first base much, much less beyond. We had a phrase, “Women are like buses. Another will be around the corner.” What that meant was, “Well, she wouldn’t kiss me, much less have sex with me, so I’ll get another date next Friday. Let’s go get a beer.” We didn’t even think of seducing women, much less raping them, if they said no. A no was final. When a rape did occur on campus, and it occasionally did, the entire student body was appalled. The criminal was expelled immediately and turned over to the police who prosecuted without hesitancy. It does seem wildly different today.

      Something I’ve noticed about popular culture is the shift in movies. Until about 1986, it was quite common to have nudity and sex scenes in movies, but violence was either comic book or at least goreless. A case in point is The Godfather. It was a very violent movie, but there weren’t any splattered brains. Yet, there was a very beautiful and tender scene of Michael’s wife undressing for him. Then, a shift occurred. Nudity and sex almost vanished, but violence became more realistic until torture porn erupted. Now, there are spattered brains everywhere, such as Hostel and Saw, but no one dares show a human body part. I can’t help but think there’s a correlation somewhere. What that might be, I haven’t any idea.

      • David Quinn

        My wife and I just got home from the Heartland Pagan Festival which is a clothing-optional event. After the first moments of culture shock coming out of our regular urban 9-5 lives, it just becomes a natural thing. Being naked isn’t about being sexual, it is about accepting our human bodies, of every shape, size, age, or ability, as natural. Modern society teaches so many wrong messages about “modesty” and sexuality. For 4 days we marvel at the openness of our community. Here is the proof that men are completely able to control themselves in the presence of a little bit of flesh. When you take away the fear of nudity, it becomes less pornographic. It makes me angry to return to a world where we have to teach our daughters how to avoid being raped. Why are we not teaching our sons to NOT RAPE? To not objectify, belittle, or manipulate?
        Even in the wonderfully open Pagan community, we still have to deal with this issue too. Monday morning as we packed up to leave, we started to hear the rumors. at least two young women were “Dosed”, had something added to a drink or were given drugs in order that they might be taken against their will. From what I heard, the organizers had an idea about who the attacker was, and if found, he will be dealt with SEVERELY. But how does punishment of the attacker heal the victims? How could we have prevented this in the first place?

        Society needs to change, and fast.

        • Friday

          Personally, I think *Pagan* culture needs to make it plain that being sex-positive doesn’t mean ‘naive’ or ‘permissive of abuse.’ cause it doesn’t. I do think it’s part of our transition into more of a mainstream faith (and secondarily one that is proportionally less full of *magically* aware people,) …that some of our self-selection and self-policing that worked pretty well, either magically or *ahem* behind the woodshed when we were a bit more ghettoized may need some adaptation to these rather text-based times.

          As much as the Internet’s done for us, there’s also a bit less of ‘teeth’ when it comes to any deterring of ‘bad actors.’ Or even the ‘Party Pagans’ camping off over there at some festivals, where everyone knew what they were getting.

          • Friday

            (Come to think of it, there was even something to be said for having fairly-well-demarcated areas about ‘Hey, Come Here And Get Messed Up For Pan And Stuff!’ They may not have been accorded great theological respect, but they didn’t used to have to coerce or mislead anyone, never mind ‘dose’ them. )

            I suppose I mean, we may too often be worried about being *defined* by outsiders’ views of ‘orgiastic’ practices and situations.

            Or fears of people not knowing how to handle it. (Sure shouldn’t take ‘date rape’ drugs, either, of course: that’s far from the spirit of things for obvious reasons. Can’t have an ecstatic experience of the Sacred if you ain’t *there.* :) ) Not even my scene, but I also don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with having a space to be somewhat ‘out of control’ as long as everyone knows what space they’re entering. (And one would hope, qualified people being ‘ground control.’ )

        • stuchan

          It’s interesting you mention this, particularly in the wake of Kenny Klein’s arrest. I used to attend HPF regularly, and it was not uncommon to hear some unsettling news of sexual misconduct during the festival, or to see the results of same. I have a family now, and my wife and I have decided we aren’t particularly interested in attending events which, rather than having a spiritual purpose, have such a dominant element of wild bacchanal free-for-all (and we aren’t the only ones who have bowed out after starting families, for the same reason). And to be clear – it’s not simply the dominant “party Pagan” vibe, but the way in which it seems to perpetuate exploitative, predatorial sexual relationships.

          Part of what’s most distressing to me is that, for all the talk of the Divine Feminine, etc, quite a lot of what I have seen among pagan men maps quite easily onto the dominant patriarchal narrative – the chest thumping swagger, the goal of gaining as many notches on your wizard’s staff as you can, aggressive posturing, etc. As a community, I think we need to address this shortcoming, and to address what frequently seems to be a yawning ethical void, married to a no-holds-barred, irresponsible, and selfish form of hedonism whose effects wreck both spiritual and physical health. It’s disappointing to see a new spiritual movement with such great antinomian potential conforming instead to the same old, same old.

      • Matt
      • Kelly-marie Oliver

        Hi Nathan, I’m 31 and when I was at uni boys and girls could harmlessly flirt without it meaning a sexual encounter loomed. You might have got wolf whistles or suggestive comments however if you threw a bad look the perpetrator would usually scraper.
        These days however I to have noticed a shift, a dirty look in the direction of someone giving hassle seems to encourage more hassle as boys/men seem to either think it’s endering or there right and will win you over to talk foul and quite frankly rudely to you. Or they seem insulted that us females didn’t swoon and so give off grief.
        What has happened in a decade to provoke such a shift in attitudes?
        I agree with the film violence as you mentioned. A lot of on screen violence and in your face Gore with no consequence. Even the underdog ‘heroes’ in a lot of violence films these days save the day by committing murder (yes against an often worse killer etc but still never with any repercussions)
        although wrong is it any wonder why so many kids end up killing people they perceive to have ‘wronged’ them when it’s almost actively encouraged everytime they turn on the telly? (this applies to both sexes)

    • Malpighi

      I’ll chime in too. I’m 58, in a polyfidelitous pentad for the last 17 years, two genetic sons, two non-genetic daughters, all in their twenties or early thirties. Things were indeed very different when we were young. I, and everyone I knew, was strongly influenced by feminism, and while we were strongly interested in heterosex, we were also working hard on empowering and respecting the women we were loving or hoping to love, despite the devaluing lessons of our childhoods and the surrounding culture. It seemed that real progress was being made.

      And then, in my perception, the Hip-Hop revolution happened. Instead of songs about “be my lady”, or even “love the one you’re with”, it was all about “bitches and ho’s.” This devaluing of women started with the damaged culture that had resulted from four hundred years of traditional African family structures being methodically destroyed, but rapidly spread through mass culture as the Hip-Hop attitude became Cool.

      What’s going on now, though, has continued this reversal, with the incredible ease of access to online pornography. What we had access to as adolescents was the slightest wisp of sexual imagery and innuendo – which we pored over with rapt fascination. But young men and women now are exposed, beginning as children, to endless (literally) visual and auditory imagery, incredibly detailed and graphic, of every imaginable sex act – acts once far out of the general imaginatory bell curve. The part of the nervous system that is aroused by sexual thought and imagery has been hammered away at by a level of stimulation previously unimaginable: like any other nervous system stimulant, tolerance builds up, and normal low-level kissing and hugging ceases to be stimulating, let alone “normal” connected loving sex. The amount of angry, insulting, anti-woman imagery out there is astonishing, and kids are growing up with it and internalizing it. It’s not the whole answer, but I think it plays a gigantic role.

      • Buddy Bee

        Feminism took a wrong turn but few are willing to admit it tanked when Kate Milett took Frued’s penis envy out of the schools because she felt it was inaccurate. Whether or not Freud was inaccurate or not in his theory or theories doesn’t change the fact that Freud opened up so many new passages in our brains as students and you don’t just eviscerate him because you disagree with him. You augment his theories and build on them. There is no building with these new Commisars. The big thing was rape is an act of violence…Hell, rape is also an act of sexual arousal at least by the perpetrator…They are giving away their power through rape, not gaining power. It is admitting you can’t acquire your object of desire through any other means than brute force…The facist regime that Feminism became didn’t allow for opposing opinions…If you had one, you were banished to the wilderness. Where was Masculinism and what of all those women’s studies classes that excluded men, It was the study of sex and should have been all inclusive…”Sex Studies”. The colleges dropped the ball and now you have people graduating college who can barely string together a coherent paragraph..Having a sane coming together like Sex Studies would allow for a cross section of ideas not a clache of harpy feminists who propped up th arm sensitive caring male, while many women secretly lusted for something more dangerous, more base and volatile…Why did she date him, he was so coarse? There are reasons women want to date “bad boys” Men are icky is a 13 year old girls viewpoint that shouldn’t be thrust upon them as young adults. My point is, women weren’t prepared properly in the field of sexuality, history, human anatomy and physiology to cope with the most dangerous animal when aroused. Man…
        Women can be dangerous too…We have allowed a few middle class white women like Katherine MacKinnon, Susan Faludi,and Naomi Wolfe, to define what being a woman means, but their all new approaches were not very evolved. and had little valid historical precedent. Thus many women rejected their narrow rule book of what a woman is.

  • http://sageandstarshine.wordpress.com/ Sage

    *applauds* Thank you for your article, John. It means a lot for men to take this stance against misogyny with women and other-gendered individuals.

  • Corvus Cardia

    I’ve read and reread this, and the sentence that (to me) stands out in its stark simplicity and understated implications is this:
    “We need a culture that teaches “consensual” doesn’t just mean not forced, it means mutually desired.”
    Thanks John.

    • Cyndi Noneya

      I agree wholeheartedly, Corvus. We teach our kids to share, but we often forget that we should teach them not everything is for sharing with everyone. I know many women who think sex is what they should use to gain love. This is what our last 2-3 generations have taught them and as we can see from the massive amounts of single parents and the term “Baby daddy”, that’s obviously NOT the case. In return, we have also raised men to expect sex without the “old school” responsibilities that come with it. Add to that having a generation or two that feel they are entitled to everything, including a woman’s body, we end up with horrible consequences.
      I also want to add, ( and not to take away from the serious injustice that this man brought upon all involved ), that we have become such an ignorant culture when it comes to those around us, pretending to just accept when what we are really doing is ignoring, that someone should have seen something coming with this man. No one just wakes up and decides, “Today, I am going kill women because I am horny”, or “Today, I am going to shoot the neighbor because he keeps parking in my spot”. Many things tend to pile up, even with the mentally ill, to cause them to take such terrible and drastic measures. If we were raising a culture to be respectful of others, I have to hope it would include paying enough attention to others to notice when their behavior is leading up to sinister thoughts and considerations of murder.

  • Louise Wu

    Well said, John.

  • Little Bear

    As a Pagan, and a feminist, and as believer that humanity as a whole is still good: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, John. Thank you writing this thoughtfully, heartfelt, without ever having to resort to vitriol. And this: “It’s amusing – in a sick sort of way – how those who advocate fixed roles always put themselves in the preferred role. ” is ON POINT (en pointe).
    The best part about this? You never once had to say “…but Not All Men!” You didn’t need to say it. You showed it. You are proof that men DON’T need to conquer to be strong. Thank you <3

  • ender554

    I agree a bit, but here is where I have to disagree:

    “The culture that told me I was a failure because I didn’t have a string
    of notches on my bedpost is the same culture that told Elliot Rodger he
    was justified in killing women because they rejected his advances. Yes,
    there’s a vast difference in degree, but the core problem – the idea
    that men are supposed to sexually “conquer” women – is the same in both
    cases.”

    You, he and I all grew up in the same culture, but unlike him and nearly the rest of male society we do not feel that women are objects or that we are sexual conquerors. Yeah sure maybe when we were young we were teased about our lack of sexual prowess but as a normal mentally healthy male that didn’t turn us in to serial, or spree killers. If anything it made us feel bad about ourselves for a bit but lets be honest if it wasn’t being teased about that it would have been something else. If it were truly culture having anything to do with this other than possibly directing this young man’s rage towards women instead of any other group we would see a lot more incidents of this. I believe it truly is just the working of a truly perverse mind. If his situation in life had been different his target would simply have been different, not non existent.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

      I think you’re right that if he hadn’t done this, he would have done something else. But he didn’t do something else – he did this. Out of all the ways he could express his anger at unfulfilled entitlements, he chose to kill women. Why?

      Nature told him to desire women. Our culture told him he was entitled to sex with a certain subgroup of women.

      We don’t see this kind of rage very often because there aren’t very many people who are willing to take their rage this far. But even from my safe perch as an old married guy I see far too many women who experience this sense of entitlement on a smaller scale.

      If we simply write him off as sick or defective or evil we absolve ourselves of the responsibility to dig deeper into a very complex situation and we miss the chance to make needed changes to our society.

      • ender554

        I just disagree with the assertion that our culture told him he was entitled to sex with a certain subgroup of women. I mean did it teach you to feel that way? Or i to feel that way? Or the vast majority of men to feel that way? I feel there is much less incident of men being told rape culture is okay than our newly internet connected lives tell us there is.

        As a college student I just don’t see the constant bombardment of us men being told women are objects that the internet is insisting is out there. I think it is a bit statistically misrepresented by the loud
        voice the internet can give us.

        On this last paragraph you are right, we should always be striving to make our society better. I also believe that when one of us does something horrible all of us in society must take some responsibility for that, I just don’t know that this culture is any more to blame than police turning a blind eye to being called as recently as a month ago because someone felt he should be involuntarily committed and they did little to no investigating and didn’t discover his already planned rampage that was written in notebooks around his home. While he had access to mental health he only had access to what he saw was fit not what was truly fit.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

          Our culture taught me I was _supposed_ to have sex with a lot of very attractive women, and when things didn’t work out that way I felt inferior. Rodger felt offended. Very different people having very different reactions to the same cultural expectations.

          If the culture was different I would have had more pleasant teenage and early adult years. If the culture was different, six people would still be alive in California.

          • ender554

            well I think we must have just had different experiences. I never felt I was supposed to have sex with anyone, I mean I felt I wanted to. At times I think I may have been teased for not having had sex but that was regardless of if I even had.

            I do believe that if culture was different you may have had a more pleasant early adult life for sure, but I strongly disagree that he would not have turned out a killer, probably just a different 6 people.

          • Friday

            Actually, I’d disagree there, Ender. I think a different culture wouldn’t have had to wither stack up that frustrated sense of entitlement nor turn it to violent aggression. He might still have been mentally ill, but there’s no particular reason it had to take that shape or be under that kind of pressure.

            (Certainly mental illness isn’t *attractive* to women, of course, but he didn’t have to think his worth as a human being depended on ‘getting sex’ either. It just didn’t have to be hostitlity or deprivation, etc. Never mind, doubtless, get scary long before he picked up weapons or even that keyboard to post what he did. I’ve met a number of women in service to Goddesses concerned with these matters, and they do so ‘easily’ and well what more Athenian types such as myself could scarcely touch. The kind of healing that don’t make headlines. )

          • ender554

            ” I think a different culture wouldn’t have had to wither stack up that
            frustrated sense of entitlement nor turn it to violent aggression. He
            might still have been mentally ill, but there’s no particular reason it
            had to take that shape or be under that kind of pressure.”

            I agree with that entirely. I say we have tons of issues with our society and dealing with the mentally ill is right up there, which is exactly my point. It wasn’t being anti-woman that caused this it was the system letting him go on for years unchecked.

          • ender554

            please also take no offense to my response to you I want to make it clear I totally respect your view. Not that I think I am in danger of offending you but you know how things can be read wrong when in type form as opposed to face to face. I think a discussion of difference of opinion and experience is a great thing and one of the reasons the internet is a great tool

          • Friday

            I think, also, just to expand on some things, I think our mass-produced overculture doesn’t actually even recognize why someone might find a dude like, say, yourself attractive in the first place. (judging by your writings and a thumbnail,) People do, but you don’t see it on TV or anything. You seem like a ‘smart bigger dude with a beard who knows what he’s about and doesn’t have to throw his weight around.’ If someone answering that physical description walked up to me like it was my fault I’m not acting like ‘women are supposed to around the captain of the football team or the chairman of the board’ …that wouldn’t go anywhere. (That’s not a proposition, just an example. :) )

            Talking about stuff like this in the overculture seems to be too often about varying degrees of entitlement vs ‘rejection’ in a context of ‘comptetition’ and ‘rules’ instead of what we as Pagans pride ourselves on being in tune with, which is to say manifold diversity and interactive awareness.

        • David Quinn

          My daughter is upstairs crying right now because she started a new relationship and another male friend of hers is now giving her a bunch of guilt over “putting him in the Friendzone”. The very existence of that phrase is evidence of the cultural objectification of women and girls. Too many young men believe that friendship is a transactional behavior, “I was nice to you, now you owe me sex.” ?!? I want to find him and ask him how he would feel if his sister were treated the same way. Or his mother? The saddest part is that it is likely that they HAVE been treated this way or worse by someone in their lives.

        • Cpt_Justice

          Your “not seeing it” doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

        • anewleaf

          It taught me that. I gritted my teeth through painful sex for years so that my husband could feel rewarded for being a good guy. When I started dating, I was appalled how many men were angry at me for not dating or sleeping with them because they were good guys. Our entire culture teaches men that if they’re good guys, they’re supposed to get the girl. http://www.cracked.com/article_19785_5-ways-modern-men-are-trained-to-hate-women.html

      • http://daoineile.com/ Aine

        “But he didn’t do something else – he did this.”

        This is it, exactly.

      • Dana House-Elf

        All of the above, plus we have a growing number of kids growing up while taking psychotropic drugs throughout adolescence. Their very brain chemistry is altered. This means they have no personal baseline “normal” to check themselves against while being buffeted by advertising and a culture that reinforces feelings of entitlement and the use of violence as a problem solving solution. Thank you for speaking out, John.

      • lbf1

        Why? Because he was batsh*t crazy. Yes, our adolescent culture and all those other factors went into it, but, in the end, he went off the deep end because he was already headed there.
        Millions of people watch those stupid cultural influences without acting out.
        Being crazy doesn’t absolve him of responsibility. You have to learn that “reason” does not mean “excuse.” Learning the reasons for tragedies helps us figure out how to prevent them.
        Here’s what might be a clue: It’s been a generation since this country emptied the insane asylums into the streets and we stopped confining people to make sure they wouldn’t harm themselves or others Are we seeing the results?

        • anewleaf

          Male narcissists hold more misogynistic views and violent tendencies toward women than female narcissists ever present toward men. They just don’t, actually. There’s no correlation between narcissism in women and hatred toward men. Our entire culture positions women as status symbols and prizes, making their humanity and autonomy direct obstacles to male narcissism. Angry men rarely assault their bosses. But they routinely beat their wives.

          We will always have narcissists and angry people in our society, but whether they see women as the enemy and their rightful victims, whether they see violence as their answer du jour, is pretty much up to acculturation.

          Violent crime in general is declining. We’re actually getting better at this overall, but violent misogynist extremism seems to be something of a blind spot. And a hell of a lot of women are sick of that blindness and are clamoring for the terrorism that makes up part of their daily lives to stop.

      • ender554

        Have you read any of his “Manifesto” because his hatred towards women is only the tip of the iceberg and seemingly all anyone is talking about. He attacked black people, Jews, women, part one of his plan was to kill every man in the world. I think the media has tried to make this a focus on a kid not getting laid and that’s incredibly shortsighted and silly of them. He was completely out of it. He also claims that it all started because of a ten year old girl that used to tease him when he was 12.

        • Cpt_Justice

          Except that he killed a bunch of women & the only men he killed were people who he felt had more women then he did.

          • ender554

            he actually killed 4 men and 2 women. His three male Asian roommates (he preached a lot about hating his Asian culture from his mother). All other victims were just walking by. He had planned to go and kill a bunch at a sorority house but no one answered the door.

      • anewleaf

        I think the corollary to this is that MANY men decide to do this. The Isla Vista shootings are remarkable ONLY for their scale. Women die for the “crime” of rejecting men’s designs upon them every day.

        • http://litbrit.blogspot.com/ Deborah Newell Tornello
          • anewleaf

            OMG, I think I want to cry and throw up after reading that.

    • rubisco

      Ugh. “Not all men…”

    • JezabelleDisreali

      I think a big difference is that while you and Rodger did all grow up in the same overarching culture, you (and I’m making an assumption here, so if I’m wrong I apologize) had different immediate influences. Rodgers father is an assistant director of the Hunger Games, so he had access to a world of wealth and privilege most of us dream about. He had to have seen men with Armani this, and Gucci that, and Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s would get the beautiful and attractive women with no effort expended. In his mind he had all the stuff he needed for women to be attracted to him but they weren’t, they wanted as he put it, the bagger at Trader Joes. This sense of privilege almost certainly played a part in why he did what he did.

      “If it were truly culture having anything to do with this other than possibly directing this young man’s rage towards women instead of any other group we would see a lot more incidents of this” :http://whenwomenrefuse.tumblr.com/

      • ender554

        I know first hand what it is like to have a female family member murdered by her husband for leaving. That isn’t the issue. The issue is that misogynistic culture didn’t make this kid go so insane that he killed 6 people.

        • anewleaf

          But it might indeed have kept him insane WITHOUT killing people if he didn’t have a lot of backup for directing his frustrations toward women and with violence.

    • Cpt_Justice

      The difference is that his reaction was on a larger scale because he was mentally ill. But the sad fact is that there are people out there *idolizing* this criminal – Facebook has had to take down two pages for just that reason.

    • Merovius

      Indeed. He was a narcissist, and if anyone reading has had the misfortune of interacting with such a person over time, they will know how damaging and dangerous such a person can be.
      Narcissists make excuses and blame external forces (persons, groups, etc) whenever the external reality fails to conform to their grandiose inner picture of how important, powerful, or special they are. Rodger blamed anyone and everyone who in some way reminded him that he wasn’t as wonderful and godlike as he imagined himself to be. For one as deeply self-identified with his narcissistic fantasy as Rodger appears to have been, such reminders of his fallibility are interpreted as mortal threats. Protecting his narcissistic delusion becomes the highest priority, at whatever the cost.
      This wasn’t some kid acting out a scene from a bad video game, but a time bomb primed to detonate. It didn’t much matter what the final triggering event was.

    • Marybeth Pythia Witt

      “If it were culture having anything more to do with this other than directing this young man’s rage towards women…we would see a lot more incidents of this.”

      We Do. Every single day.

      Every how many minutes is a woman raped, beaten, or murdered? Why has institutionalized misogyny not just continued to flourish throughout my lifetime, despite decades of women and men altering their deeds and words in ways so that we constantly pray to awaken one morning and NOT read headlines about the increase of rape being used as an act of war? To see the picture of yet another beaten celebrity who is praised for returning to her/his abuser? To watch the mounting numbers of women and children being kidnapped into the world of sex slavery? To hear about yet another woman/small group of women escaping lives in captivity, where men knowing to mask their steps, have held them for a decade or more?

      The point is that despite the continuing examples of people leading more consciousness-raising lifestyles, society is still finding ways to reward misogynistic or thuggish behavior…and we must continue to expose the rot in primacy of gender, race, and ethnicity and the power dynamics which manifest themselves in things like bullying, which continues, not just among children, but adults as well.

      I thank the author for establishing respect for one another as an absolute which must be met to even be heard in these comments. Respect for each other seems like such a tiny thing for which to ask, yet look at all of the manifestations of ignorance regarding this in all of its small (here) to extreme (the massacres) instances in the gestalt we call “society”.

      Blessed Be all Beings, and may our perceptions of relatedness continue to change the world, one kindness to the next.
      Thank you all for your civility in this examination of the author’s brave take on the issue at hand .

      Pythia

      • ender554

        I am not denying that we live in a misogynistic culture, nor am I denying that these things exist. What I am strongly disagreeing with is that that culture caused him to do this. There is a normal way to react to that culture and many unnatural ways. Myself and the author both standard males reacted normally, possibly some emasculating embarrassment but non the less came out people who respect all humans.

        What I am getting at and that many aren’t following or are disagreeing with me is that this kids case is not a case of a person thinking women are objects, its a case of a mentally disturbed person with a huge problem a superiority complex and blaming all of society for emotions he couldn’t explain.

        His first hatred of a woman comes from a ten year old who picked on him, long before misogyny even entered his head. He was angry at the entire world that had ever stood in his way. He hated his mother for her inferior genetics, he hated tall people for looking down at him, he hated blacks and jews for being better at sports and more successful. This is all stuff written in his manifesto yet for some reason everyone is focusing on his hatred of women. Maybe that is because this country and American culture really does need to take a long hard look at our blatant inequality, however this incident is not causally related to that culture. It is strictly related to a system that failed to take care of its incredibly mentally unstable, and its inability to look at a person rather than turn away and ignore.

        Yes we absolutely need to work on our terrible culture and I will not for a second deny that. I just feel the correlation in this case is being forced either by choice of the media for larger viewers or for simply lacking the desire to find out what was really going on. It is all written down by him and after reading it, it certainly wasn’t just women he wanted to watch burn he wanted all of society to go just as bad.

  • Matt

    Preach brotha!

  • Phil Henderson

    The fact that you consider the SPLC to be an accurate source of information on anything pretty much destroys all your credibility.

    • Deonne Williams

      I find it strange that often the folks who have that response about statistics from SPLC are the ones who belong to organizations on SPLC’s watch list.

      • Cpt_Justice

        I don’t find it strange at *all*!

    • Friday

      The fact that you say that pretty much means you haven’t checked out their well-annotated sources on any given topic.

  • Rosaleen Dawn Bellchamber

    Thank you!

  • Janie

    The “friend zone” thing is a big issue. Being on the younger end of the spectrum it’s scares me to see how some of these teenage boys act. Kids today are under the impression that life owes them. Life doesn’t owe you anything. Just like that girl doesn’t owe you her body because your a “nice guy”. Our children today do not know how to handle rejection, being told no. And this is the repercussion of it. No means no, not “no means the end of the world OMG I didn’t get what I want so my life is ruined”. I feel like this is also a major problem in today’s society.

    • Cpt_Justice

      Children are not taught patience or even allowed to progress beyond instant gratification. It was one of the things I was adamant about with my kids.

      • Janie

        I completely agree and is one thing I am going to make sure I teach when I have children.

      • Mieke

        Ditto.

    • MEVE

      I will add a comment…I hope nobody will take it too personally but…..who raises these children? Adults. The parents. It is the parents responsibility to teach them LIFE. And as there is no more courses given on sexuality in school, where do they learn about it? In the movies, on Internet…..I saw a news report once comparing sexual habits of Netherland, to France, To United States. In Netherland, schools included within their courses load, a course about sexuality. Kids talk openly about sex and relationships with their teachers and their parents. Between the 3 countries, Netherland has the highest number of abortion clinic per km, and the lowest number of abortion per year. The reports would mention how in some countries, where sexuality is portrayed as evil, where kids don’t talk about it neither at school, neither with their parents, illegal abortion is the highest, new born babies are left to die in cemeteries,… I was raised Catholic, and at school, our nuns teacher would talk to us about sexuality and love relationships in a very denigrating way, would not allow boys and girls to play together in the schoolyard, and would denigrate us as little girls. This extremist religious mentality still pervades in our society even if people are not going to church anymore. This is why I am so happy to be Pagan: to learn life as it is, to respect life as it is…and learn to really not harm anyone, with a huge dose of common sense.

    • Rebecca Gerber

      Yes! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: women are not vending machines you place a sufficient number of kindness into and out pops sex. If you are being a good friend because you want to gain sex, you are not a good friend, you are a manipulator and user.

      Be awesome because you’re awesome. That’s reason enough.

    • Jen L

      Don’t pretend that this is new. The only think that’s new is that women are more comfortable reporting violence against us by men. This has been going on for centuries.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

    I had a question on Twitter about the picture – this post has gone far beyond the usual magically literate audience.

    It’s a black candle, a white candle, and an athame: the tool of discernment, used to draw sharp bright lines. Mouse over the photo to see its title:

    “Choose”

  • Shelly Nixon

    Bless you.

  • JohnStory

    Thank you. You said how I feel more eloquently than I could have written. Thank you once again for writing this.

  • TenThousandBees

    The only problem I have is that most of what he says in his manifest indicates that not only did he hate women, he hated men, sex, and our sex-glorifying culture. He wanted to become a god and take sex away from everybody. I’m not saying your point is wrong (we could do with a LOT less of these self-proclaimed “nice guys” who feel entitled to “have” women, that’s for sure), I’m just saying that simplifying Rodger’s motives down to “he hated women” is leaving out just how screwed up he honestly was.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

      You’re not wrong – he was that screwed up. But the fact remains: out of all the vile things he could have done, he did this.

      • TenThousandBees

        I think that speaks more to his own self-aggrandizing than anything else. His upbringing and the culture around him are factors, for sure, as is his own psychosis. Disregarding any one part of what happened is disingenuous, I feel.

        That said, this is a messed-up culture. We have all this media, all these entertainers, bragging about their sexual conquests. Same goes for teenagers who try to emulate them. Is it any wonder we end up with people like Rodger and the Men’s Rights community, whining about how they never get laid and never once stop and think that they’re the problem? That they’re not “owed” sex just because they’re “nice guys”? I do think your points there were spot-on. I’m just not a fan of simplifying motives for any sorts of tragedies. A lot goes into things like this, and pointing to one area and saying “this did it” isn’t helping. This may be one exception, though, if it gets serious discussion on what’s wrong with our culture going.

  • H Kenneth Porter

    At 63, and a parent of grown children, I certainly see the shift in attitudes. I know it’s impossible for the college kids now to look back and see it, but it has been happening. I actually thought at one time that the “revolution” of the mid sixties through the early seventies would culminate in a less threatening environment for women, and fewer misogynists. Oops!

    • Cpt_Justice

      There was a backlash against the sexual revolution; misogynists actually *wanted* to keep women from enjoying sex on the same level as men.

  • Luxomni

    Excellent. You address almost every issue. One you miss. Why do women like “bad boys”? Women that appear (to us) to be excellently matched, not just in looks, but in interests, in style and intellectually reject us for what are obviously sociopathic types generally interested only in conquest.. The only possibility I have come up with so far is that since society teaches them not to just have casual sex and instead to approach mating as courtship to something permanent, these men are subconsciously recognized as easily rejectable as long term mates without guilt. “Oh, he just didn’t work out”. That way the blame for a short duration physical only relationship can be placed on him rather than themselves, avoiding guilt.
    I am open to more rational explanations of this irrational female behavior.

    • Raven

      ….It is not irrational to love someone who isn’t you, and a man is not “psychpathic” just because you don’t like his clothes. Try actually caring about somebody rather then just “being nice”. Which you clearly don’t if you are saying something like this =.

      • Luxomni

        You also missed my point. It isn’t “why not me?” It is “Why are a$$holes so attractive”?
        (I am not even in the market – married for decades)

        • http://litbrit.blogspot.com/ Deborah Newell Tornello

          “Why are a$$holes so attractive?”

          They aren’t. I believe it only *seems* they are–that they attract all the women and get all the attention–because they’re the ones people talk about; they’re the ones who everyone tries to figure out (as here), or at least identify (mostly, believe it or not, so we can avoid becoming entangled with them). And in popular culture, they’re the ones who inspire narratives–think Don Draper in Mad Men. (As a fiction writer, I can tell you few people want to read a story about a happy, well-adjusted person whose life contains no struggle, no demons, and no controversy. In fact, one of the first things they teach you in creative writing is to make bad things happen to at least some of your characters. And you know who does bad things? a$$holes!)

        • Meeself

          Luxomni, you wouldn’t even be asking that question if you were part of the group you’re judging here. Are you truly not aware that your question smacks entirely of “why aren’t they picking guys like me, something must be wrong with them”?

          • ogunsiron

            Do you criticize women who complain about men not finding them attractive because they’re, for example, overweight ?

            Do you find it problematic when those same women imply that there is something wrong with men (or those particular men that they’re interested in) for not finding them attractive ?

          • BtA

            Answering for me, I don’t see women out complaining about that kind of thing nearly as often as men – usually when we’re fat we know it thanks to the many social reminders. But if I had a smelly shabby friend who complained often about not being able to attract men, I’d take her for a spa day, hair cut, and talk to her about hygiene. Many women who need it have gotten this talk already from their mothers, those of us who didn’t have helpful mothers have gotten comments from everywhere else and occasionally from good and helpful friends. It’s kind of hard to think about how I would respond to someone I didn’t know doing it because I really don’t remember seeing a public post from a women complaining about being “friend zoned.” I may have actually seen one a while back, but I think I would notice just because it would be weird. Most women handle that sort of thing more personally. I think I remember hearing about women complaining that they can’t find a partner when they are very strident, but that might be an echo of a repeated anti-feminism meme from the 70′s. My women friends have never complained to me about their s/o’s not taking them seriously, but that is very likely because my women friends typically choose s/o’s who treat all humans as equal humans in general. I have noticed before that a lot of women in my group of friends who are married chose to marry men who are seven or eight years younger than they are – possibly part of the way they selected for a more open view of gender roles (or the lack thereof if wished). All of which is getting further and further afield as I think about one thread leading to another, so back to the original question yes I would discuss that kind of issue with a woman who had that kind of issue, but socially it would be much more likely to be in person than online.

        • Ryan England

          I’m reminded of the National Rifle Association’s oft quoted saying “outlaw guns and only outlaws will have guns.” In the same vein: “If sex is held to be immoral or disrespectful of women, then only immoral men who disrespect women will have sex.”

          I think that’s the crux of it. It is not that “nice guys” cannot be attractive. It is a societal definition of “nice” that precludes active sexual agency on anyone’s part.

        • BtA

          My take on this – Because when we are young and dumb and full of the thrill of being young and dumb, bad boys are dramatic and oh we are vats of drama in our youth, and bad boys dare to ride motorcycles and flash smiles and pretend there isn’t a care in the world and wrap our hearts around their little carefree fingers and that’s attractive right up until we realize that it also comes with consequences not to have a care in the world. Some people keep going down that rabbit hole and end up with teeth falling out from meth use because thrills were the most important thing. But most people don’t, most people grow up eventually. Young women are just as hormonal, irrational and ill-considered as young men, we’re just trained to put a ladylike face on it, and it may be for that reason young men think they’re the only ones who are crazy when they’re young, but it’s an incorrect assumption.

    • JezabelleDisreali

      I think, and this is totally my own story and anecdata so take from it what you will, that your statement “women that appear (to us) to be excellently matched, not just in locks, but in interests, in style and intellectually reject us for what are obviously sociopathic types generally interested only in conquest” is based a lot on judging books by their covers.

      Example: Mr. Disreali not only dresses like a “bad boy”, but was involved in drugs (buying and selling), was for a time involved in the bad kind of sex cult, smoked like a chimney, drank like a fish, and was in general an OBVIOUSLY (snark snark) sociopathic type with no respect for women. But just because he looks like this doesn’t mean that he is. He has a lot of respect for women, and treats them like actual human beings. He’ll also go on for hours about his garden, and how well the roses are doing. He is kind, he is loving, he adores our nieces and the dogs, and he has a graduate degree.

      It is very possible, and I would argue in fact highly probable, that women see in those so called “bad boys” a trait they find desirable that makes a relationship (regardless of length) worth it; rather than using the men for sex so the women can get their jollies and not feel guilty. It is similarly probable, and I mean this with absolutely intent to offend, that you simply do not have the traits women find desirable at that point in time in their relationship lives.

      • Friday

        Yaknow, I’ve had a really hard life, but reading threads like what’s below makes me look around some days and thank Goddess I’m bisexual. For surely we are the Lady’s Not-Particularly-Singled Out On This One Thing People. :)

    • rubisco

      You need no “rational explanations”. This bullshit argument suggests that you have some right to decide who other people “should” be attracted to.

    • Elizabeth Smith

      Luxomni, way to miss the whole damn point. What has that got to do with a man killing seven men and women?

      Many people do end up dating people they shouldn’t be with, for various complex reasons that differ on a case-by-case basis, because people are uniquely screwed-up individuals, okay? (and also, some women like to have casual sex, too, you know) But that’s irrelevant to this discussion.

      The point the article is trying to make is that a man decided that it was all women’s fault for rejecting him and that led to some disturbing conclusions. I see similar reasoning on OKCupid ” hey why haven’t you messaged me back I’m a good guy?” ” Ok, fine then, you probably only like jerks, have fun when you end up with some guy who beats you don’t come running to me” < approximately remembered real messages from real "nice guy"

      It's not womankind's fault that this guy went off the deep end. It's all on him.

      • Merovius

        “It’s not womankind’s fault that this guy went off the deep end. It’s all on him.”
        Exactly! It’s all on HIM. Not some interpretation of society, or culture, or some ideology, or whatever.
        We all have free will, and the power to act. We are co-creators of reality, for better or worse. We must bear the responsibility for each and every one of our decisions and actions. To do less is to surrender our power and attenuate our connection with Divinity.

    • Friday

      Blaming women as ‘irrational’ for not agreeing with your assessment of what they should think, (or feel?) or what we should find attractive for what ignoble motives, probably has a great deal to do with why your advances aren’t so appealing.

      One aspect of what you say may be more straightforward: in mainstream society, sex is portrayed as ‘bad or naughty’ *unless* it’s within a certain frame, so to a degree there may be an association of hooking up *with* ‘bad boys’ as well as possibly something about breeding instincts as opposed ot otheraspects of mate-selection. Actual sociopaths can be difficult to spot out or manage to not trigger warning instincts, but people with similar *mindsets* often set off the sketchy warnings.

      When I go for males, I generally like strong and secure types, but frustrated dominance is definitely a danger signal. A fair number of women in society use alcohol to shut those off, actually.

      There’s a lot of variation in these dances, basically. If you’re relying on arguments of ‘They should’ or ‘Why don’t they’ …that’s probably the wrong track for you. :) Frankly, I like to be pursued somewhat, by either sex, …and a lot of the ‘nice guys’ don’t actually *ask,* apart from trying to emulate ‘pick-up lines’ or ‘techniques’ or whatever. (That comes off as dishonest, or even just puts things in the wrong frame, like, ‘Hey, don’t you think I’m the sexiest person in the room?’ ‘Err, no, actually.’ :) ) I mean, if you have a notion , ‘Hey, I like you and I think we’ve got potential, want to go out?’ try saying so, and then the answer could be ‘OK, sure.’ It’s no guarantee of chemistry, but typically gals know if that’s there.

      Especially when I was younger and more-to-look-at, I had a tendency to seem unattainable till someone got kind of obsessed and usually therefore way ahead of me about what was supposed to be happening before I even heard about it. (And that can lead to some pretty messed-up situations, let me tell you :) ) Also, being seen as ‘hard to get’ (Can actually be hard to ‘get:’ not terribly ‘hard to date,’ though.) I’ve often had people see me dating someone and being “You’re with him or her? What about me?” “You never asked me out. I would have said ‘Sure.’ ” Especially in the Pagan community, where we pride ourselves on being more mature about these things, honesty goes a lot further than ‘why me.’ :)

      If you’re thinking about long-term attachments, that’s about trust between people, which usually comes either of knowing each other in other ways, or both starting from the beginning and finding out where that goes, together. Get it? :)

      • Luxomni

        Not at all. What you are stating that I am stating is what the shooter said. I am not saying that at all.
        That they didn’t find me attractive is immaterial. There could be a thousand reasons not visible to me. That is not the question. The question is why do they go for obvious a$$holes?

        • Friday

          Well, I was addressing what you said, not who said it, come down to it. It seems there’s some of both in there. But bhat’s not the important part. Especially when you reiterate the ‘question.’ Which I thought I went some way toward addressing.

          If you phrase it in terms of ‘Why obvious a-holes,’ that’d just be an amplified version of the same. For one, not all women are actually particularly calculating, either, shall we say. It can also have to do with internalized low expectations/shame and some stuff about ‘alpha female’ reindeer games that I’d be very hard-pressed to explain.

          (Let’s put it this way: a lot of straight gals kind of are taught to ritualize some notion that ‘breediness’ =’high-status mates’ and I guess notions that a-holes are high-status. Meanwhile, smart guys are taught to think all other women are on *that* scale somehow, and smart gals are supposed to be ‘ball-busters who want men to be passive,’ as opposed to putting on a tie or growing a social skill or something. We’ve been through a lotta years of men telling each other that ‘women want’ slobs or obnoxious dudes like it’s about how someone ranks getting picked for ‘teams’ or something and it’s just about ‘You’re supposed to settle for this on some scale.’

          I remember sitting around with some guy friends in the 80′s, even, they were all asking, ‘Why can’t we get dates?’ and I was like, “You do realize you’re all wearing Bloom County T-shirts right now, right?” (They really were. Each actually had perfectly workable style things going on, (Actually, come to mention it, one really needed some more work, there.) but they may as well have been wearing big ‘I Gave Up Showing For Myself’ signs. :) )

          The question ‘Why the a-holes’ isn’t the right question. The question is, ‘How do I show what I’ve got interactively.’ People aren’t machines.

    • Cpt_Justice

      Because what you view as a “bad boy”, women do not. What YOU view as “excellently matched”, women don’t. But, OTOH, I do very much like your rationalization for it, as it touches back on the original problem”: the Patriarchy. Once you get past the idea that “women can only have sex with the One True Forever Love ™, or she’s a Slut ™,” then everyone will be a lot better off. Same goes for decrying women as irrational for not behaving the way you think they should.

  • http://litbrit.blogspot.com/ Deborah Newell Tornello

    BRAVO, John. What a wise, insightful, beautiful piece of writing. I will be sharing this far and wide.

  • Raven

    …And what the hell does this have to do with men’s rights activists, considering that men are not given help that females are, are ostracized and bullied if they don’t want to do construction which they have every right not to do, and that men’s rights activists have nothing to do with sex?

    • Cpt_Justice

      Wow, you actually believe everything you wrote! (Construction? Really? But your vaguely coherent rant wasn’t *personal*, was it?)

      http://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2014/05/25/why-elliot-rodgers-misogyny-matters/

      • Merovius

        Manboobz? Really?
        As I said in another post, don’t believe everything you are told about MRAs. Read both sides, and formulate your own opinions. If everyone listened to what detractors had to say about pagans, where would we all be now?

  • Michael Washington

    Well there’s too much damn pressure from all sides. Just let people be people. Women and men have to understand that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Not all men are going to find you attractive, not all women are going to find you attractive. As someone who spent a large portion of my adult life in adult oriented businesses, I’ve learned that everyone has a type. Stop judging people for their healthy attractions, and stop trying to tell everyone that they should be attracted to you. Just be you, I’ll be me, and if we cool, we can hang and if not that’s cool too.

  • Dana

    This. Exactly exactly exactly.

    Although I still think some form of mental illness enters into it somewhere, and part of the problem with talking about this angle is twofold as I see it:

    1. We don’t seem to understand that there are lots of ways to be mentally ill just as there are lots of ways to be physically ill. Most physically sick people don’t have smallpox or Ebola or cancer, and most mentally ill people don’t go on killing sprees. But it doesn’t mean people with smallpox aren’t physically sick or that people who think a murder spree is a good idea aren’t crazy.

    2. Also, just because something is believed by the majority of the culture doesn’t mean it’s not insane. George Orwell said, “Sanity is statistical” in 1984. That’s true as far as official definitions of insanity. But if you’re talking about genuine mental illness that interferes with healthy personal and social functioning then no, it’s not down to numbers, and a majority of the population *can* be sick in some way, just as significant numbers of Europeans in the Middle Ages caught the Black Death.

    I’d argue that teaching men to feel entitled to women’s bodies is a way of fostering mental illness that has the result, at minimum, of alienating men from healthy social interaction as well as encouraging reactionary mental illness in the women so targeted. It’s certainly not a *sane* way of thinking.

    And maybe we need to start driving this point home *before* it occurs to the next guy to pick up a gun. Just like you’ve done here. “Dude. You need help. NOW.”

    Oh and one more point. Just because someone can hold down a job or a polite conversation doesn’t mean they’re not mentally ill. My housemate is bipolar nonspecific and he’s held the same job since 2005. But that goes back to my first point again. This young man out in California could have been committed if the police who spoke with him hadn’t had some way erroneous ideas about the various ways in which mental illness manifests. Those six people might still be alive now.

    • Friday

      Mental illness often ends up affected by the *forms* society shapes and tends to bury. The misogyny’s one of the undercurrents that can be one of the *shapes* a psychotic break takes, especially when you’ve got a religious or political group that’s cultivating that very thing as a stressor.

      It’s like if some militia guy or Fundamentalist fanatic snaps, it may not be the only *cause* of such a psychotic break, but it certainly shapes what happens when they *have* one.

      • editcat

        I would like to quote this when talking to others. May I do this, and if so, how would you like to be attributed? Because I think that you sum this up well.

        • Friday

          Open source.

          – Yer friendly neighborhood, ever-lovin… Eh, Don’t ask me.

          8;)

    • Ferlonda

      I agree with you. I figure any mindset that fosters hatred of and the repression of more than half the human race is mental illness. I know lots of folks with mental health issues but since they don’t have that particular mindset they’re quite harmless, hold down jobs, are nice people, etc.

  • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

    Bravo especially the correct meaning of consensual.

  • Meggie Davidson Green

    Thank you for writing this. I pray lots of people read this and rethink the way they see gender roles.

  • Wytchfawn

    It’s nice to hear from leaders in the Pagan community who are married, monogamous and have otherwise ‘boring’ lifestyles. Mothers are the others we never hear from either. Thank you.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

      Read Niki Whiting’s “A Witch’s Ashram”. She’s a Pagan mother of three who frequently discusses family issues. Also the “Pagan Families” blog.

  • LaMonica Williams
  • Ferlonda

    This is great! Thank you!

  • mrXander

    Well – there is also the imbalanced culture where men are still expected to be the pursuers and women the pursued, setting up a bad paradigm around rejection to start with.

    • Cpt_Justice

      Yes, that’s all part & parcel of the patriarchal society that feminists dislike. Because the corollary to that paradigm is the “women who pursue are called sluts, & shamed for it.” Stop shaming women for wanting/liking sex, & there won’t be a burden on all men to do all the pursuing. But, of course, there will STILL be the people exactly like this murderer, who will still not be pursued & will still blame women for it. Only, maybe, just maybe, in that utopian future, no one will come up with excuses for his crimes & will finally admit he, alone, is responsible for them, & that misogyny is a fault.

      • mrXander

        My point is that I think it is the social and cultural aspects, which go on day after day in continuous indoctrination, which have to be addressed regularly rather than the outrage when this kind of horrible thing happens.
        The focus on these extreme cases of
        physical violence take away, by being moments of outrage and blame, from everyone looking at their own part in these games. If we want to address, and maybe change, human
        behavior then all the roles, and the emotional damage
        these can create, and the responsibilities, of both genders!, must be
        addressed – not only when disaster strikes.
        (Repeatedly the studies have shown the slut-shaming is done more by women to each other than by men.)

      • mrXander

        If we want to address, and maybe change, human
        behavior then all the games, and all roles, and all the emotional damage these can create, as well as the responsibilities, of both genders, must be addressed. That’s the bigger, day to day, perpetuated / perpetrated scenario that feeds the extremes of violence/rape.
        When something like this happens there is the mad rush of anger and blame . . . All I am suggesting is that much more discussion needs to go on, regularly, to explore how both genders can change (and yes, I am suggesting that both need to do so – both need to examine their roles and privileges!) to create more equitable relations. Things have got to change – not in just these mad extreme cases, but way on down to every one of us.
        PS Something that reveals the ugly depths of the roles played by both genders is that It has been repeatedly shown that women slut-shame women more than men do.

    • Friday

      Actually, that assumption doesn’t work either way. Just cause it’s sexist to make such presumptions doesn’t mean that some people don’t appreciate a little pursuit once in a while, from one sex or both. :) Just cause you ain’t blanket-entitled to a chase doesn’t mean you don’t have to play or that others are expected to chase *you.* Like with a real hunt in Pagan terms, it’s about respect.

  • 7a2bad83@opayq.com

    I’m glad I read this essay before I commented. While I agree with much of the content, I also find many disagreements. For one thing, I find the characterization of the men’s rights movement insulting and wrong. The social changes in the ’60s and ’70s, while good overall, placed a huge burden on males to adjust. Even good changes are difficult. Also, I was never in a culture that overtly glorified sexual conquest and material gain as a measure of a man’s worth until AFTER the revolutionary years of the ’60s. I was trained to say “Yes, ma’am” and open doors politely and generally act in a “knightly” manner. After the ’60s the society has bombarded me with the (entirely correct) message that women are equal partners in business and personal relationships.

    If you consistently fail to have decent relationships, it is prudent to remember that the common thing in your relationships is you. I find it disgusting when people use tragedies to promote their personal viewpoints and hot buttons. There is room for criticism of culture and society but it is the individual actor who commits these crimes and who is at fault.

    • Cpt_Justice

      Yes, I can see where men could see that giving up their privileges of control is a burden. And I can also see where men don’t want to admit that there is a pattern afoot, because it reflects badly on them, even if they aren’t directly guilty of it. But the fact is that misogyny is at the root of this atrocity, & that woman can’t end that all by themselves.

      • 7a2bad83@opayq.com

        You demonstrate my point.

        • Friday

          Which is?

          • 7a2bad83@opayq.com

            Using tragedies to promote a personal viewpoint or hot button. In this case, misandry.

  • Ron Brown

    John Beckett gives us a very wise overview of a tragic situation. The psychological breakdown of Elliot Rodger quickly devolved into a lethal rage when he chose to attack and murder his classmates. Touching on the importance of personal responsibility, this commentary also presents a reasoned view of reality that unfortunately was not shared by Elliot. Everyone should head what John presents here but I must add that only those whom have an ethical ethos, value personal responsibility.

    Elliot Rodger appears to be a sociopath and was obviously functioning at a lower
    spiritual vibration. I understand that 10% of the population develops a sociopathic nature; without empathy, these poor soles are the primary targets for spiritual oppression and even possession. In my opinion, Elliot most likely was influenced by the oppression of an impure spirit entity that some have referred to as “Arcons”. Without the benefit of a strong spiritual foundation, the sociopath will generally take a dark path. Even an education in pagan belief and practice would be a better alternative to living in a spiritual void.

    • Chris Hamer

      He didn’t attack his classmates as he was not a student at UCSB, he was not a sociopath as he clearly had a range of emotions/valued human connection, he clearly has empathy as he realized how people would react if they found out what he had planned, and Elliot Rodger was heavily influenced by his Parents and the culture he was raised in. If you want an actual intellectual analysis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oybAUKZhaMA

  • GimliNZ

    Thank you John!

    Your story of being a young male resonates with mine, despite the differences that different countries create.

    I valued my friendships with females as much as any of the few ‘more than friend’ relationships I had!
    The thought that I was ‘entitled’ to anything other than what the other person was willing to give me never entered my mind!

    This current issue certainly needs to be discussed and the more posts like yours are spread, the better chance we have of making a change!

  • Catriona McDonald

    Fantastic assessment, thank you.

  • CashFlowIT

    If John Beckett CONSISTENTLY held to his belief that adult relationships should be, ought to be, could be, all “consensual”, ie applying the non-aggression principle, then John would NOT have “generally progressive views”, but instead he would would have generally libertarian views. The sad fact is, Unitarian Universalists and Progressivism have united under one ideological roof, thus keep out the more peaceful libertarian belief system.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

      This is off topic, but I’ll let this one go because I want to respond.

      While I have some fondness for the live and let live ideals of libertarianism, it focuses only on individuals and ignores communities. We all have an obligation to our communities, and in any community larger than an extended family, that requires some sort of government.

      Further, I’ve read enough history to know what happens in the absence of representative government – the strong and rich oppress the weak and poor. Yes, that happens too much anyway, but at least now the weak and poor have the ballot box, if they’ll just use it.

      I’m not interested in debating this (and certainly not here), but I broke my not-rule on off topic comments, so you (and only you) can have one brief rebuttal, if you’re so inclined.

    • Friday

      Please elucidate how purity of belief is supposed to lead to sexytime?

    • Kae Oz

      I didn’t know any one political party had laid claim to consensual, non-aggression sexual relations.

    • ogunsiron

      Consistency is important but it’s not all that counts.

      If you apply the NAP consistently you end up with. among other things, anti-natalism. That is, you come to the logical conclusion that becoming a parent of children is basically a crime. Not too many libertarians are anti-natalists so even they aren’t 100.00% consistent and that’s a good thing.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

    OK, folks, let’s keep the conversation polite and on topic… which, to be fair, most of you are. But not all. I haven’t used the delete button in months and I’ve already had to use it several times today.

    I don’t have a comment policy because I don’t like policies, but basically, if I think your comment is rude, off topic, or illustrative of the kind of behavior I preached against in the original post, I’ll delete it without a second thought.

    • Chris Hamer

      So you you don’t have a comment policy because you do not like policies, but you have a policy where you will delete comments without a second thought if they say things you don’t like? Brilliant intellectual display sir

      • Renlish

        No, he’s saying he doesn’t have a standard/regular policy for comments but anything wandering off topic or offensive to himself or others in THIS post will be deleted. His house, his rules.

        • Chris Hamer

          My problem has nothing to do with him having policies or not having policies. My problem is the intellectual hypocrisy that comes with saying one thing “I don’t have comment policies because I don’t like policies” and doing another “I will delete your comment based on my policy”.

          • Jen L

            Don’t be so disingenuous. Your problem is that you oppose his stance in the article and support a “right” to hateful and harassing speech against women, because it drives us from the conversation, because it eliminates OUR ability to speak freely.

            The only “intellectual hypocrisy” here is yours. You believe that you “freedom” of speech is absolute, that it includes the “right” to a forum and audience of your choice even if they object, and is more important than the actual safety of women as well as our ability to speak.

            Sod off.

      • MEVE

        I agree with Renlish – He just would like everyone to exchange comments in a respectful way. And it does mean he will be deleting comments without a second though. There may be a reason why his post is touching your feelings…..

      • Benjamin Schools

        It’s his blog, dude. He gets to do that. Don’t like it? Write your own. :)

  • fakegramita

    “We need a culture that stops telling us we can have more sex if we buy more crap. It’s all lies anyway, but we hear it and see it so much we believe it.”

    Agree with the sentiment, but it seems to me that it’s not so much a lie. As you point out, we’ve seen/heard it “so much we believe in it”. But all of the media/social content and cues that give us that message, by their nature also convey the flipside- that people who have more are more desirable.

    We’re ingesting both messages to the point of belief, so they end up playing out in ‘real life’ all the time, which pretty much makes it true in a lot of cases. For a given individual, all else being equal, man times they really can and do have more sex when money, and the things it buys enter the picture.

  • M.J.Orifice

    Salute sir

  • Rebecca

    Very, very well written. Thank you John, it was a refreshing read. I hear many men here talking about how they do not view women through society’s rather one-sided lens; and it is encouraging. But the problem goes deeper than just making a statement online.
    Why are we not teaching our boys that No really does mean No? That “No” doesn’t mean go borrow a rufie from that guy you know. “No” doesn’t mean shouting to the room that “X is a lesbian, I have proof!” because X turned down your offer for intercourse. “No” doesn’t require an explanation or excuse, it doesn’t require an apology either. Some of the blame lies with the dominant religions of our time that tout male superiority over women. Some of the blame lies with the conversation thus far; telling women to dress a certain way to avoid rape while also telling them they need to dress another way to attract a mate.
    Here’s a thought: Let’s change the conversation. If you are man and you hear your friend talk about women in a demeaning way, confront it. “Dude, that’s not cool.” goes a long way when repeated often enough from a young enough age. Don’t laugh at “That’s what she said” and other sexist jokes. If men say it isn’t acceptable, other men will follow. The key is to not silently accept the behavior. Lead by example. If you see a woman who needs help, either give it or get it for her. That’s how social behavior is changed, by enough people saying it is no longer acceptable. Look at the movement to recognize homosexual marriage! It is finally happening because enough people stood up and said that they believed homosexual couples had the right to wed. Woman can shout from the rooftops, create all the #’s they want but this will not change until enough men get on board and start doing some shouting of their own.

    • ogunsiron

      “That “No” doesn’t mean go borrow a rufie from that guy you know”

      Yes because normal men think nothing of slipping a roofie to a woman. That’s what most normal men do, routinely. That’s especially what those Nice Guys love to do, right ?

      ” “No” doesn’t mean shouting to the room that “X is a lesbian, I have proof!” because X turned down your offer for intercourse”

      It’s still perfectly OK for a woman to call a heterosexual man gay if he’s not interested, hough, ecuse, after all, no guy would ever say no to any offer of sex from any woman. Btw what’s wrong with saying that X is a lesbian ? Is X afraid of being thought of as a lesbian ? Sounds kind of homophobic.

      “telling them they need to dress another way to attract a mate”

      I’m not aware that we have a virtue police going around enforcing dress codes on women (only). Women can dress more or less however they want and if you don’t want to look “sexy” you certainluy don’t have to. Men don’t force women to care about their appearance. Now I admit that men may react a certain way to women’s appearance but that’s in no way forcing them to do anything. You’re perfectly free to not shower, to dress as shabbily as you like, if that’s what you’re into. Perfectly free. It’s not illegal at all.

      ” If you see a woman who needs help, either give it or get it for her.”

      I’ll give help to my female relatives. I don’t think that I should give more help to able bodied stranger females than to similarly able bodied stranger males or (insert sex and gender). Gratuitously putting my safety in danger for an able bodied woman that I don’t even know ? Why ?

      What is it about males that makes them more responsible than generic humans to come to the help of a stranger female ? Could it that males are particularly endowed with some qualities and abilities ? To tell you the truth, I think it is the case. But are typically male abilities and qualities admirable only when they serve the interest of women ?
      Bravery, strength, etc is all toxic and reprehensible in general but it’s ok to tap into those qualities when helping some random women ?

      • Rebecca

        Exhibit 1 on why this is still a problem in our society.

  • http://conservativecommune.com Joy W. McCann

    “To dismiss him as crazy is to ignore the obvious: he chose to attack women.”

    Actually, he chose to attack men: he killed four men and two women (not including himself). And he was, in fact, mentally ill, or–colloquially–”crazy.”

    • Susanne Drakborg

      His manifesto, rants and intent were to exact revenge on women. Women were the cause of all his anguish. Women had made him suffer. According to himself his three (male) roommates were collateral damage and he drove straight to a sorority house where, when not let inside, he shot and killed two women outside. This was all about mental illness fuelled by misogyny, which is rampant in our society.

  • Heather Barron

    Thanks for this, John. I love it.

  • Louise_Chanary

    This was a good piece and I am ver glad you wrote it. Thank you.
    But while I was reading I was thinking that so many feminists have been saying these things for years. Feminism is not just there for women, but is also there to change society’s roles for men (which is not always made sufficiently clear probably). And it would help so much to get more men involved in the attempt to change society. Please, get involved, and not go back to being silent about this topic. (I don’t know you, maybe you already are involved, but you start out by saying that this is usually not a topic you discuss that’s what made me think this.)

  • Maureen Skaar

    great piece..filled with rightness of thought and ideology..nice to know someone is normal..there are so many blamers..this young man chose to kill. period. so, thank you.

  • jimfromcanada

    Although I’m a Christian Pastor and you describe yourself as a Druid in the Texas Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, I agree with your post.

  • Allison

    “Yes, he was mentally ill. But mental illness is widespread in this country, and the vast majority of mentally ill people don’t go on murderous rampages.”
    Thank you! As someone who is bipolar, I can’t tell you how many times people “half jokingly” have asked when I was going to hurt someone due to my illness. Yes, I am sometimes angry, but when I am angry or express my anger (non-violently, mind you) people act like I’m going to “snap”, as if I’m not allowed to share my feelings. I’m not trying to take away the main issue of the article, but those who suffer from mental illness shouldn’t be afraid of expressing themselves (non-violently, of course). The stigma is overwhelming.

  • joseph willis

    Well said , I couldn’t of said it better , I am going to share this on my fb page and encourage others to do so as well

  • Merovius

    As a pagan AND a men’s human rights advocate, may I point out that taking someone else’s word as to the demographics and opinions of that rather nebulous group commonly referred to as “men’s rights activists” can be as misleading as getting your information about paganism from a Chick tract. In other words, don’t believe everything you are told. Do your own reading and research, and form your own opinions.
    Like any non hierarchical, non centralized group, where there are no membership requirements or screening (anyone can claim to be a member), there are bound to be a fair share of miscreants, trolls, and the like. I’ve encountered quite a number or angry, hurt individuals. Some have good reasons to be, other less so. But that applies to any large group, including the pagan scene.
    May I also point out that Elliot Rodger wasn’t even a part of the men’s rights community. He frequented a few pick up artist type sites for a while, hoping to learn “the secrets” to hooking up, and then turned on the pick up artist scene when he failed at achieving his goal. (Pick up artists are not the same as MRAs, any more so than a Gardnerian is the same as a LeVay Satanist.)
    As a pagan, I don’t want to be judged based on the actions of the worst of our community, nor on rumors and fabrications about what pagan’s do. As a men’s human rights advocate, I feel the same way.

  • Chris Hamer

    Did you even stop to find out that 4 of the 6 murder victims were men or did you just not care about them at all when you went on to say quote “To dismiss him as crazy is to ignore the obvious: he chose to attack women.” Yes we really live in a culture that values masculinity all right…..

    • Kella

      Do you have a source that says 4 of the 6 victims were men? All the sources I’ve read say that they were all women.

      • Chris Hamer

        I find it tragic, but in this Feminist world expected, that the men were left out: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/names-faces-elliot-rodger-victims-article-1.1805488

      • http://www.mensswinging.com/ Aaron Andrews

        The first two killings were his male roommates. At least one of the people he shot was a guy. Unfortunately a quick google search doesn’t bring up a full list of victims, but if you google his name and roommates you’ll see that at least the first part it true

  • Mieke

    Thank you. Very well said – thank you for putting my thoughts into something much more cohesive than I could.

  • Ryan England

    Unrealistic expectations abound. The problem many men have is that they go into things assuming women are simply gender flipped reflections of themselves and want essentially the same things out of their sexual relationships. Legions of young men take to the bars and nightclubs looking for easy lays, then turn to this “pick up artist” community when this fails to materialize.

    Then there’s this huge let down – that can manifest in a tragic scenario such as this in the case of a psychologically imbalanced man – once he starts to discover that there are vast chasms of difference between the genders. Differences in libido. Mutually exclusive and adversarial differences in gender roles as they relate to courtship and pursuit (he experiences power through sexual conquest, she experiences power through sexual rejection). Differences in what is considered attractive. Differences in preferred activities in the bedroom and even in how sex itself is defined. Differences that underlie discussions like this, and are reflected in feminist and socially conservative ideologies alike.

    Differences that were self evident to me from a young age, difference that make the pursuit of sexual relationships with women a futile gesture for many, if not most men. The sooner the male of the species realizes this and finds more worthwhile things to engage in, the better it will be for both sexes.

  • my six

    The problem is me. I’ve tried to change, I’ve tried to be offensive like the guys I’ve seen girls date. I’ve tried to be asexual. I’ve tried to be sexually attracted to men, or at least transsexuals. Yet, it always comes back to not really wanting to change who I am. I want to be myself as a man and get the kind of companionship women are easily able to get when they are themselves. Sounds like you got lucky finding an intimate friend before your mid-20s. As the years roll by it becomes harder and harder maintaining yourself through the depression. Especially when others see you being you as the problem.

  • Andy Sprouse

    I dont date alot of women- I sometimes will go a couple of years without so much as going out on the first date- but 99% of the reason is I dont ask them out very often. I dont try hard enough. I have people tell me all the time that I shoudnt try at all- well, for 13 years, I didnt try at all- and for 13 years I was alone, no sex at all, and that dry run was broke up by someone asking me out.

    But at the root of the problem is I wasnt trying. I still dont try hard enough. This guy is a lunatic. He needs the death penalty. Nobody deserves it more. There was something seriously wrong with his personality to have good looks and money and still be unable to find someone; If for nothing more than sex, as there are plenty of women out there who will give it away.

    Recently I, for the first time in my life, had to pass on dating someone- I didnt feel any chemistry at all. Ive never had to reject anybody before; Then I realized all the women in my past that rejected me had nothing to do with my looks, or my personality.

    This guy will never get it.

  • rogerogreen

    Man, this stuff SHOULD be self-evident. That the Twitter hashtag #YesAllWomen is trending shows that, sadly, it is not.

  • Brendan A. MacWade

    I would argue he was not mentally ill. He was impulsive and spoiled, but he was also socialized to think that he was entitled to women’s bodies. In other words, he was a normal American boy….with guns.

    We need to confront and rethink how we define and reinforce masculinity in our culture. We have a masculinity crisis.

    • ogunsiron

      ” In other words, he was a normal American boy”
      feminism 101 in a few words.

      • Brendan A. MacWade

        Nothing wrong with feminism. It has delayed the destruction of our society (which will probably inevitably happen).

  • lynnediligent

    This is a great blog post, and I’ve shared it. Unfortunately, I’m sure the men who need to read it are the one’s who are not reading it! I had the same thought about the men’s rights movement as you expressed here after seeing the news of this shooting (and previously had thought the same as you did).

  • AlsnB

    @ John, great article, beautifully written. “I finally understood many years later when the shoe was on the other foot.” Good point.

    Would you consider redacting the UCSB shooter’s name? Studies have shown that when media spreads a killer’s name around people are more likely to copycat.

  • ofCanada

    Right on the darn nose!

    This was a great article and a good read. Thank you for the sanity.

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  • qzpdljpn

    This is absolutely true and I agree with it, and the issue is getting people to see each other as plainly humans. But as a frustrated incel male I find your article…unhelpful. We have this need, a need to sexually engage our preferred partners and one that we are ready and willing to drop everything to meet with just about any potential opposite. So imagine our frustration and confusion when females are not interested, show non of the same desires and apparently just really don’t care if they get laid or not or worse actively dislike us or find us unattractive (what a feces encrusted waste of humanity i must be if I’m unattractive everyone given that I’m attracted to anyone who isn’t totally ugly or obese)

    • qzpdljpn

      in other words this article fails to do the one thing it could do to help move the culture in the right direction because it fails to address the actual people experiencing this situation and instead addresses the society which already knows this is wrong. I believe the term is ‘preaching to the choir’

    • Guest

      in other words this article fails to do the one thing it could to help because it fails to address the actual people in that situation and instead addresses the society who already knows that this is wrong. i believe the term is ‘preaching to the choir’

  • mrempty

    “We need a culture that stops telling us we can have more sex if we buy more crap. It’s all lies anyway, but we hear it and see it so much we believe it.” – Meh. Buy a Lambo, a Porsche, or a Malibu beach house. I promise you’ll have more sex if you want to.

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  • Lana

    Excellent article. Summarizes just about everything I’ve been thinking ever since learning about mras, the “friendzone,” “nice guy” syndrome, and the like, and especially since the Elliot Rodgers incident. It also makes me think about the broader problem of entitlement among millennials (I’m a millennial myself by the way) and how this might relate to sexual entitlement among young males in particular. Overall, I do not believe our generation is any worse than any other. But every generation has its downfall, and the attitude of “I deserve it (or in this case, HER) just because I’m me” seems to be ours. It’s a rotten result of well-intentioned parenting that seems to affect young people from wealthy families the most.

  • Strtwise

    The “friend zone” phenomena isnt new, but its become more pronounced these days. I *think* it goes something like this:

    I, a young and sexually immature man, am providing a necessary service to you, an emotionally needy woman.

    In return, I expect to be repaid in another service: sexual gratification.

    I think the guys assume that the women understand this (maybe some of them actually do) and get pissed off when things dont play out the way they want. They think they payed forward for a service they didnt receive.

  • ginandtonic15

    I read, “Men are afraid women will embarrass them…Women are afraid men will kill them”. That seems to be a very sad and true statement, and the problem needs to be addressed at the personal level, with men looking in mirror, and having a serious conversation with themselves about respect, and ego…violence is never an answer.

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  • Cris0000

    There’s an advice forum that I’ve participated in on and off over the last 10 years. I’ve seen a lot of the type of anti-women sentiment. And a lot of guys who just didn’t understand why women didn’t want them and were on the border of blaming it on all women. Sometimes when guys came there with a broken heart asking for advice, it was like arguing for their souls against the female haters who trying to convince them that all women were evil instead of the reality that not every man is right for every woman and vice versa. The reason I periodically stopped posting on the forum was due to the negativity and that it can be so hard to explain to a guys why that mentality was wrong.

    I’ve read *a lot* of discussions on this topic over several years. From the title I was expecting to read the same stuff I’ve read multiple times about men needing to have confidence, etc. But you surprised me. This is the most insightful and well-put thoughts I’ve ever read on the subject. I doubt it will change the minds or hearts of any men who are already full of hatred, but you just might convince some young men who are still searching for answers.

    Aside: Everything you said also applies to women — as I’ve also seen some of the same bitterness and hatred from women against men (though less prolific and usually with less focus on sex and more on marriage).

  • Biogenic Gnosis

    Here is the thing. Our culture has not and continues to not take care of the people it creates. If you think that this guy or the other guy who killed tons of people is just some asshole who is a dick and is just some nutcase. (Notice I didn’t say any names because I don’t need to we get them all the time) Well, this is the problem. There simply isn’t enough done for the mentally ill. If you aren’t close to mental illness than you can stay ignorant to it and chalk it up to whatever excuse you feel you are justified in giving. I’m not at all saying I have empathy for these killers but I do feel as a society we should do more to help them because it’s their lack of understanding that causes them to kill multiple people. I am afraid this guy and the last few guys are just the beginning, I’m closer to mental illness than most people and I am sorry to say but there are a lot of people out there who are not getting the help they need, and not only that but the mental help they give isn’t good enough or progressive enough, most of it is very basic and not staying up to date with the new studies and findings. So there will be more killings by more people who aren’t getting help they need. And if people can’t wake up to see this and at least help it then what will it take for them to finally do it? More killing? I hope not.

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  • Rhona Byers

    Thank you John. Very articulate and thoughtful words. Makes me wish I had said them…:) I agree that we have, over time allowed this culture to blossom, it’s time now to put an end to the idea that one gender has more rights over the other gender. Also we need to stop using the rationale that every one of these events is perpetrated by someone who is “mentally ill” because then that allows us to propose some abstract ideas to “fix” the problem (which of course never happens) and ignore the real problem of our increasingly violent culture. Rather we need to look at the “gun culture” and the sense of entitlement that allows people to believe that they have a “right” to behave badly in public whenever they are denied whatever they want; from throwing a tantrum to pulling out the “Weapon Du Jour” and attacking anyone within their chosen boundary. We do need to adequately treat mental illness, but as I think you said most of the mentally ill do not commit such crimes, they are usually the victims of crime. Maybe calling such incidents what they really seem to be; hate crimes would make the prosecution of them more effective.

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  • Tiana Miller-Leonard

    Thank you so, so much for this. As a college-aged woman who has struggled for the past several years with these issues, and come up again and again against men my age who cannot fathom that they aren’t entitled to sex and that women aren’t objects to be conquered, this really hits home. And as someone else said, the line that really resonates with me is “We need a culture that teaches ‘consensual’ doesn’t just mean not forced, it means mutually desired.”

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