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>The Giffords shooting: Misogyny has consequences

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Reason #1538 it’s not such a good idea to spend time online nursing your resentments towards the opposite sex because no one from that sex seems to want to have sex with you: Because that kind of, sort of, makes you a little bit like Jared Loughner.

The Wall Street Journal managed to track down what are apparently some comments Loughner made on a gaming site; they’re full of his usual conspiratorial nonsense (his lunatic theories on grammar and currency) but they’re also, as the Journal notes, “peppered with displays of misogyny.” One posting

titled “Why Rape,” … said women in college enjoyed being raped. “There are Rape victims that are under the influence of a substance. The drinking is leading them to rape. The loneliness will bring you to depression. Being alone for a very long time will inevitably lead you to rape.”

This is the dark side of the “incel” mindset. (That is, those who turn their “involuntarily celibate” state into an identity.)

Another time, the Journal reports, Loughner

started a thread titled “Talk, Talk, Talking about Rejection.” He solicited stories of rejection by the opposite sex. The next day he wrote, “Its funny…when..they say lets go on a date about 3 times..and they dont….go…” Three days later, he wrote, “Its funny when your 60 wondering……what happen at 21.”

There is other evidence that Loughner nursed anger towards and hatred of women and authority figures: he apparently scrawled the phrases “die bitch” and “die cops” on a letter he’d gotten from congresswoman Giffords.

As Amanda Marcotte points out, there are a lot of people out there who’ve responded with anger at the very notion “that misogyny might play a role in the choice of a young man to shoot a powerful woman in the head … .”

But the fact is that misogyny has consequences, and one of its most common and most predictable consequences is violence towards women. Misogyny plays a role, as Marcotte notes, even when the perpetrator of this violence is “crazy.”

What I’m seeing here is that Loughner, mental illness or no, completely absorbed society’s teachings about male entitlement and female sinfulness, that men have a right to have needs filled at women’s expense, and that women give up their rights to bodily autonomy if they do things deemed unladylike, like have sex or drink alcohol.

And just as those who spew hateful political rhetoric — filled with talk of guns and targets and “second amendment solutions” to political “problems” — shouldn’t be surprised when someone takes that rhetoric seriously, so those who spew misogyny online shouldn’t be surprised when someone acts on that misogyny and attacks a woman. As Marcotte puts it,

just because someone has a mental illness rarely means that he’s completely unaware of the world around him.  Loughner’s ability with a gun or his thoughts on rape didn’t spring fully formed from his brain, but are the product of an individual interacting with a specific environment.

Those who contribute to that toxic environment — whether they’re Sarah Palin talking about “reloading” or some random woman-hater talking gleefully online about bashing “bitches” — share in the responsibility when someone pulls a gun and shoots down a female politician he’s convinced himself is a “bitch.” 

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Yohan
11 years ago

>@Sal BroTo consider only the majority is not enough in history.You have to consider how long these women were holding power, how influencial was their personality and for how many victims they are responsible.For example Queen Elizabeth I was Queen for 45 years, this is equal to 10 presidents of the United States, who are elected only for 4 years.About victims, for example Queen Mary I was Queen only for 5 years, but sent over 300 men AND women into their death alone during the Marian Persecution.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_WasteQueen Mary I did not even spare the life of a blind woman and she was burnt at the stake.Lady Jane Grey und her father were also beheaded by the order this nice Queen Mary I.—–Maria Theresia was ruler over the Habsburg Empire for 40 years, it is said, she was very successful.Isabel de Farnesio was Queen Consort of Spain for over 32 years and responsible for the Spain's foreign policy.About Eastern Europe, Maria Amalie Auguste was the first Queen of Saxony and Duchess of Warsaw.Women for sure were not always powerless, helpless and oppressed, even not during Middle Age 300 to 500 years ago.I can give you 100s of names of women in the past who had a lot of political power, were rich and even sent plenty of men and even women into their death.

BDD
BDD
11 years ago

>"The Biscuit Queen said… Is it misogyny to wonder that this politician was likely the only one having town hall meetings in the vicinity at the time? Seems more likely a cause than her gender."From the New York Times:Leaving an ImpressionAt a small local branch of a major bank, for example, the tellers would have their fingers on the alarm button whenever they saw him approaching.It was not just his appearance — the pale shaved head and eyebrows — that unnerved them. It was also the aggressive, often sexist things that he said, including asserting that women should not be allowed to hold positions of power or authority.One individual with knowledge of the situation said Mr. Loughner once got into a dispute with a female branch employee after she told him that a request of his would violate bank policy. He brusquely challenged the woman, telling her that she should not have any power.

David Futrelle
11 years ago

>Here's the URL for the piece. The quoted parts are near the end:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/us/16loughner.html?pagewanted=6&hp

The Biscuit Queen
11 years ago

>Well, in this case I will admit it seems resentment towards women may have had a play in the shooting.

Elizabeth
11 years ago

>I challenge you to do so then Yohan.I can name the top female rulers in England starting with Matilda, Mary I, Lady Jane Gray, Elizabeth I, Anne, Mary II, Victoria and Elizabeth II. Mary was a co-ruler with William III of Orange. In the history of the country starting with Edward the Confessor, seven monarchs have been women. There have been a few Queen consorts with some power-Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach and well actually that is it unless you consider Elizabeth Woodville to have had power but then that would also mean Anne Boleyn had power. Neither of them truly did.In France, women were not even allowed to rule (which is why Eleanor of Aquitaine wound up married to Henry II) due to Salic law. Wiki only has 58 queen regents for Europe.So I want to see more names.

Joe
Joe
11 years ago

>As more stuff comes out about Loughner it certainly seems like misogyny played a role in his choice of targets.It occurs to me that there is no clear line to be drawn between being disconnected from reality and bigotry. Bigotry thrives where people are cut off from the reality of the "other" by rigid social structures (e.g., apartheid)

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