Cultural Appropriations · Rants For Thought

Elliot Rodger Is Not The Only Man Who Wants To Kill Women

As a feminist, I’ve known of the Men’s Rights Activist Movement, or the MRAs, for awhile. They’re men that believe women owe them something. They believe feminism is a scourge on the earth. They believe that they are superior to women and that it’s the fault of women that they can’t get laid, and they don’t feel respected. And they hate us. Violently and perniciously. Read The Belle Jar’s description of MRAs here.

Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old man who shot up a sorority house in California this week, killed and injured a number of young women because he believed that they owed him sex and admiration. He believed in and was wholly part of the MRA movement, and as such, decided to carry out their manifesto. The media, and the general population, is treating Rodger’s act of violence as a one-off. They believe that this was caused by mental illness, or the fact that Rodger was autistic (he had Asperger’s syndrome).

This is not a one-off. This happens daily, multiple times a day.

The Twitter hashtag, #YesAllWomen, was created last night as a response to Rodger’s act and to give women a place to tell their stories. Because this isn’t the first act of violence against women, and it won’t be the last. The vast online community of MRAs is simply growing larger and larger as the voices of feminists are growing. It’s frightening and it needs to be known. These are your sons, your brothers, your cousins, your boyfriends and husbands. They are a group of sometimes hurt, sometimes ill, and sometimes plain angry men who want to hurt and kill women.

Every woman has a story about being threatened by a man. MRAs like to pretend that we make this up, but the fact is, rape culture is real, violence against women is real, and every woman has experienced a part of this in some way.

I have been followed home by men, received unwanted physical contact from men, and been called names by men. I’ve been given death threats for writing here on my blog. I’ve been asked to justify and give examples of all of those things, and then told that I’m “too uppity” and “too picky” when I write about my real fear regarding the man who slung his arm around me and tried to steer me into an alley last year when I walked home from work. I was walking on a well-lit street. It was late, but there were many people around. No one came to my aid or tried to stop this man, who then started running after me when I managed to break away from him and duck into a convenience store.

This happens every day to women.

There are women who are questioned about abusive relationships and acts committed by men against them. They’re asked to justify and “prove” that the men hurt them in some way, threatened them in some way. Women are outright blamed for staying in abusive relationships, and they’re outright blamed for leaving, especially if they have children. For years, I wondered if it was my fault that I was assaulted as a child. That I should have put up more of a fight. I did not wonder why the man who did it to me did not stop when I asked him to until I was much older.

Women are systematically discriminated against. They are still paid less than men for the same job. They are frowned upon if they get pregnant and leave the workforce. There are countries that offer no paid maternity leave at all. Women have been passed over for jobs and promotions simply because they have a family.

Women are politically discriminated against when our rights are curtailed by politicians, and the question of legal abortion is still a question in 2014.

There are women who insist that because we’re equal now to men (not true), that we no longer need feminism. Women insist this. That’s how ingrained the patriarchial culture is.

And MRAs believe that the reason feminism exists is because women hate men. This is so blatantly untrue. Most women do not hate men in any way. They simply want to be treated equally to men. They simply want to feel safe in their own worlds.

If you are a man and reading this, you might be thinking “But not all men are MRAs. Not all men would hurt women.” That’s true. Not all men would. But all women have been dehumanized by a man. That’s what’s forgotten in this conversation – there’s so much defensiveness from men. Please listen to what we have to say. We’re telling you that this happens enough that every woman has a story. Not all men do this, but enough men do that the default is to be distrustful and wary around men.

Elliot Rodger may have been mentally ill. He did have Asperger’s syndrome. But to believe he killed and harmed those women because of those things is wrong and increases stigma about autism and mental illness. Rodger killed those women because he believed he was superior to them. He believed in the lies the MRA movement told him. And the pain of being rejected, plus an outlet to channel that rejection into and get it validated, drove him to do this.

He will not be the only man to do this. He has not been the only man to do this.

We need to change our culture. This will not stop happening to women until we do.


13 thoughts on “Elliot Rodger Is Not The Only Man Who Wants To Kill Women

  1. Emotionally charged post. It is hard not to be when looking at this issue (particularly if you see some of the responses online of people supporting Rodger’s thesis on his “perfect world” i.e. one where women are abolished).

    Sadly I don’t see this issue going away anytime soon, in fact, I think the YesAllWomen tag has only fuelled the anger and rage people (both men and women alike) feel towards feminism and those who side with it.

    One woman wrote on her twitter that she is not a part of YesAllWomen and wished other women would stop saying it’s a shared experience. She should be grateful to have not felt the patriarchy first hand, but secondly, does she not have a sister, cousin, mother or friends who have been through a negative experience? Man. That tweet really peeved me off… Sorry for the rant! Haha thank you for posting your thoughts on this.

  2. “He believed in and was wholly part of the MRA movement, and as such, decided to carry out their manifesto.”

    No, he wasn’t. He was actually a part of an anti-MRA group. Did you actually read his manifesto and all the other information available about him? If this is misogyny then why haven’t we had more men a part of mass murders in the US? Why did he kill four men if he only hated women?

    He had an innate feeling of jealousy which started at age 9 and it wasn’t about girls. He spoke about this at length in his manifesto. There are so many factors in this whole heartbreaking situation, that it’s inaccurate to say that it was any one factor.

  3. Elizabeth, I’m so glad that I have the opportunity to address you here.

    Elliot Rodger was a very disturbed young man. He revealed this in his 100k+ rambling ‘manifesto’. Did you read it? All of it? It’s 100k words about his life. Why he was who he was, his feelings, his motivations, etc. 100k words. That’s narcissism territory. Narcissists derive gratification from self-admiration. When one is a narcissist, one requires excessive admiration and affirmation. Others are seen as supporting actors who are meant to reinforce the narcissist’s deluded viewpoint.

    It’s also apparent, from his ‘manifesto’ that Elliot was an introvert. His interests were tied to himself and not dependent on external factors. When narcissists are introverted, their inner monologues tend to become extremely skewed. Consequently, their perspectives become warped. They’re always alone. They’re always thinking about themselves and the issues that are important to them. All else–anything that contradicts or imposes upon their self-sanctified thoughts becomes ‘wrong’, evil and/or dangerous to themselves and the world. And since the narcissist is the center of their world, they see themselves as warriors meant to battle or change those who run counter to their beliefs, thoughts, perspective, etc.

    Elliot’s views on women were fueled by frustration and anger that came about as a result of his poor social skills. His narcissistic personality magnified the mental impacts of these rejections, and it resulted in his stated feelings towards women and his actions. Had he been a homosexual, his ire would have been directed at the homosexual community. The gender aspect of this story is largely a distraction from how our society deals with and treats those with mental disorders, which is the real problem.

    Take a moment and imagine the female version of Elliot Rodger. Don’t distract yourself with his recent actions. Envision the life of an introverted narcissistic woman. She has ended up resenting men. Maybe she’s overweight and unattractive. (Men would be more prone to overlook the obvious personality disorders this…hypothetical…woman might have if she were physically appealing.)

    Her younger years were plagued with rejection. The attractive guys in high school and college ignored or bullied her, and this has resulted in our adult, female Elliot. Because she is a narcissist, she sees nothing wrong with herself. She sees herself as perfect. Therefore, it is her rejecters that are flawed. She never loses that extra weight, and she surrounds herself with ideologies and people that reinforce her skewed mindset. Men are the problem, and she will dedicate her life to fixing the perceived problem.

    She probably won’t end up like Elliot. Men and women are different. Her life will be longer. Her misery and dissatisfaction will plague her for decades. She will swim against the current of reality until her final breath.

    While Elliot’s problems ended quickly, this…hypothetical…woman will most likely live with hers. Her warped mind will distort her perspective. Her influence on society, while not as violent, will likely be more detrimental when all things are considered.

    Good thing she’s not real, right?

    1. Ethan: Very well written post. Your comments concerning narcissism are correct. The current trend is to label anyone with personality issues as being autistic-not that it matters in this case. But, to me, he shows all of the symptoms of a Borderline Personality disorder. This disorder can take many forms but one factor stands out; they are totally egocentric.

  4. “Lol so now feminists are rejected, overweight narcissists. This is just getting ridiculous. Feminists may be narcissists, but last I checked, accusing women of mental illness is a known way of shutting them down. Also, accusing me of being like Elliot Rodger because I talk about social justice is really just plain stupid. Difference: feminists are fighting for women’s rights and equality for all. Rodger is a murderer of men and women.”–Elizabeth Hawksworth

    Elizabeth, I spoke of a hypothetical woman. I didn’t call feminists narcissists. I didn’t accuse women of being mentally ill in an attempt at shutting them down. In fact, I welcome a mature debate on the merits of feminism whenever and wherever it might be appropriate.

    I did not accuse you of being like Elliot Rodger. You made that connection on your own. As I said, men and women are different. It is no wonder that the feminists who have Elliot’s mental problems are not murderous; women are more passive, more cerebral, etc. Thus they channel their energies not into forcing change with a gun or a knife, but through societal modification via the government–they have someone else do it for them.

  5. So because all women have experienced this chastisement it just opens up the door for you to do whatever you want to the general population of men? If laws are passed they will by no means affect only the men who actually commit crimes against women. They will affect men in general. Did you even stop to think that men have been horribly discriminated against by women also? The only difference here is most men get over it while most women never grow up enough to. Hence the vindictiveness of a five year old girl in the prevailing feminist movement. The only reason to be a feminist is to be too weak to deal with what many men and women call life

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