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If anyone was hoping – against their better judgement – that Men’s Rights activists would be inspired by the tragedy in Isla Vista to reconsider any of their beliefs, or even to reflect for a moment on the many striking similarities between passages in Elliot Rodger’s book-length manifesto and comments posted every day by MRAs and others in the manosphere, well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you should not keep that hope alive.
It’s not that they’re not talking about the tragedy. A look through the top 100 posts in the Men’s Rights subreddit, the largest Men’s Rights forum online, reveals that roughly a third of them, including the top stickied post, relate in some way to Elliot Rodger’s rampage and the discussions that have come up online and in the media in its aftermath.
But the message of virtually all of these posts is: “Nothing to see here! Move along!” There are numerous posts expressing outrage that anyone would see any connection between Rodger’s toxic misogyny to the Men’s Rights movement; there are others mocking and attacking the #YesAllWomen hashtag; there’s even one suggesting that Rodger, who wrote about how he longed to watch all the women of the world starve to death in concentration camps, wasn’t actually a misogynist at all.
Take a look. One post, with more than 500 upvotes, complains:
Another post makes a strikingly similar complaint:
One angry MRA asks:
Sorry to break it to you, fella, but that’s not how defamation suits work. If it were, all of us who call ourselves feminists would be collecting millions of dollars from the Men’s Rights subreddit for all the patently untrue things you guys say about us every day of every week.
And then there’s this fellow, who seems to think that Rodger only hated men, and that his big problem with women was that he loved them too much:
There are, it’s true, two posts that raise the issue of what might be done to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future. One of them takes on the issue of “virgin shaming.” (Sure, I’m against that, and against slut shaming too. Odd that roughly 100% of the virgin shaming I’ve ever heard in my life has come from MRAs and other non-fans of this blog, even though — sorry to break it to you fellows — I’ve not been a virgin since the early Reagan administration.)
Meanwhile, the other “positive” suggestion — the stickied top post, submitted by one of the forum’s moderators — is pretty transparently intended as a PR move – and an excuse to bash feminists.
Yep, “creep shaming.” That’s the problem! Way to cut through all the bullshit and get to the heart of the matter! The problem isn’t that some men — well, a lot of men — think and act in predatory and entitled ways towards women. The problem is that sometimes when they do, women call them “creeps.”
The problem isn’t that the world’s creepiest and most entitled man just killed 6 innocent people, the problem is “creep shaming.”
After killing his roommates and a friend of theirs, Rodger attempted to get inside a sorority so he could massacre the women inside it. But he couldn’t get anyone to let him in. Probably because, well, whoever was nearest the door thought he looked a bit, well, creepy.
“Creep-shaming” isn’t some insidious form of discrimination against awkward men. It’s a defense mechanism that women develop to protect them against predatory men. And in the case of the Isla Vista murders, I’m guessing that the willingness of women to go with their gut sense that Rodger was a creep literally saved lives.
But the mods of the Men’s Rights subreddit would rather moan about “creep shaming.” They would prefer that women lower their defenses against men like Elliot Rodger — because it hurts their feelings to sometimes get called a “creep.”
Guys, this is why people think Elliot Rodger was an MRA.
EDIT: I added more to the conclusion because I had more to say about creep shaming.