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Why Elliot Rodger's misogyny matters

A chart posted by Elliot Rodger, giving his chilling spin on a manosphere meme depicting supposed female "hypergamy"
A chart posted by Elliot Rodger, giving his chilling spin on a manosphere meme depicting supposed female “hypergamy”

When a white supremacist murders blacks or Jews, no one doubts that his murders are driven by his hateful, bigoted ideology. When homophobes attack a gay youth, we rightly label this a hate crime.

But when a man filled to overflowing with hatred of women acts upon this hatred and launches a killing spree targeting women, many people find it hard to accept that his violence has anything to do with his misogyny. They’re quick to blame it on practically anything else they can think of – guns, video games, mental illness – though none of these things in themselves would explain why a killer would target women.

In the case of Elliot Rodger, who set out on Friday night aiming, as he put it in a chilling video, to “slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up, blonde slut” in a popular sorority house at the University of California, Santa Barbara, some Men’s Rights activists and other manospherians are doing their best to convince the world that misogyny had nothing to do with it.

On A Voice for Men, for example, Janet Bloomfield (who goes by the name JudgyBitch), notes that Rodger killed more men than women, and thereby declares that

Elliot was an equal opportunity hate monger, torn between wanting to kill women and wanting to kill men. …

Jessica Valenti proclaims that “misogyny kills”, blithely unconcerned with the fact that more men than women were killed.  Killing men is misogyny?  That’s an interesting interpretation.

Bloomfield ignores the reason more men were killed than women: Rodger’s planned massacre of sorority women failed. He was unable to get inside the sorority house. And so he was forced to improvise.

On Twitter, meanwhile, cultural commenter Cathy Young, long sympathetic to Men’s Righsters, seems to think that Rodger’s rampage was entirely due to “mental illness” and argues that connecting Rodger’s rampage to a wider culture of misogyny is a form of “anti-male hate speech.”

Even more strangely, the proudly racist Steve Sailer – a hero to Heartiste and others in the “alt-right” wing of the manosphere – has declared that Rodger wasn’t motivated by misogyny but rather by “anti-Blondism,” and that his targeting of “ blonde sluts” in a popular sorority house was “an extremely intentional racial hate crime.” Never mind that the half-Asian Rodger idolized blonde women as superior (even as he hated them) and that his comments online are littered with rather crude, rather traditional racism against people who weren’t white.

But Sailer’s claim is little more than an attempt at a derail.

The fact is that Rodger made his misogyny very clear — in his videos, in his internet postings and most of all in his 140-page “manifesto,” which is filled with angry denunciations of women and elaborate fantasies of violent “retribution” towards them. As with many misogynists, his misogyny was largely driven by thwarted sexual entitlement: he desired women intensely but they (wisely) wanted nothing to do with him.

Consider the following passages from his manifesto. I’ve put some of the most disturbing bits in bold.

The most beautiful of women choose to mate with the most brutal of men, instead of magnificent gentlemen like myself. Women should not have the right to choose who to mate and breed with. That decision should be made for them by rational men of intelligence. If women continue to have rights, they will only hinder the advancement of the human race by breeding with degenerate men and creating stupid, degenerate offspring. This will cause humanity to become even more depraved with each generation. Women have more power in human society than they deserve, all because of sex. There is no creature more evil and depraved than the human female.

Women are like a plague. They don’t deserve to have any rights. Their wickedness must be contained in order prevent future generations from falling to degeneracy. Women are vicious, evil, barbaric animals, and they need to be treated as such. … All women must be quarantined like the plague they are, so that they can be used in a manner that actually benefits a civilized society. …

The first strike against women will be to quarantine all of them in concentration camps. At these camps, the vast majority of the female population will be deliberately starved to death. That would be an efficient and fitting way to kill them all off. I would take great pleasure and satisfaction in condemning every single woman on earth to starve to death.

I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds just a little bit like misogyny.

Rodger saw his “Day of Retribution” as part of a war against women. Elsewhere in his manifesto he wrote:

Women’s rejection of me is a declaration of war, and if it’s war they want, then war they shall have. It will be a war that will result in their complete and utter annihilation. I will deliver a blow to my enemies that will be so catastrophic it will redefine the very essence of human nature.

Now, there is no question that he also hated certain kinds of men and boys – the “obnoxious brutes” he so often saw with the “pretty blonde girls” he simultaneously desired and despised. His manifesto is dotted with denunciations of them, as well as with denunciations of humanity as a whole. At one point, he posted a fantasy on PUAhate about killing all the men on earth with a virus so he could have all the women for himself. But he thought about, and wrote about, killing women all the time.

Indeed, even when he was bullied as a youngster, he directed most of his anger not at the bullies themselves but at their girlfriends.

Remembering one bullying incident from high school, he wrote

Some boys randomly pushed me against the lockers as they walked past me in the hall. One boy who was tall and had blonde hair called me a “loser”, right in front of his girlfriends. Yes, he had girls with him. Pretty girls. And they didn’t seem to mind that he was such an evil bastard. In fact, I bet they liked him for it. … The most meanest and depraved of men come out on top, and women flock to these men. Their evil acts are rewarded by women; while the good, decent men are laughed at. … I hated the girls even more than the bullies because of this.

Rodger was not only a misogynist; he was explicitly an enemy of feminism. While he doesn’t seem to have ever identified as a Men’s Rights activist per se – the only “rights” he seemed to be interested in were his own – his postings online echo the extreme and ignorant denunciations of feminism seen amongst MRAs and other manospherians.

This, too, has been denied by Men’s Rights activists. On AVFM, the “non-feminist” would-be “philosopher” Fidelbogen declares that

We have no evidence yet that Elliott Rodger was anything but apolitical in regard to feminism as such. He was not outspoken about feminism … He was only a sexually frustrated chump with mental issues, who apparently “hooked up” with PUA literature, and websites like “the Manhood Academy”.

In fact, Rodger attacked feminism explicitly in a number of comments on PUAhate, where rabid antifeminism is essentially the default ideology. In one comment, he declared bluntly that “feminism must be destroyed.” In another he predicted that

One day incels will realize their true strength and numbers, and will overthrow this oppressive feminist system.

Start envisioning a world where WOMEN FEAR YOU.

And while he saw PUAhate itself as “a putrid pit of despair,” he argued that

it does give a view of what the world is really like, what women are really like, and the evils of a feminist society.

Every male should read the posts here so that they can be awakened. There are too many delusional males worshipping women who would only spit in their faces.

There is no question that Rodger was a very disturbed man. I’m not a psychiatrist, nor do I have access to his medical or psychiatric records. But I would not be shocked to find that he was struggling with some sort of mental disorder or disorders. He was seeing several therapists, and a psychiatrist prescribed the antipsychotic Risperidone for him; he refused to take it. This prescription in itself doesn’t prove he was psychotic; psych meds are often prescribed for off-label uses, and Risperidone is also used to reduce irritability in people with autism. (Rodger was reportedly diagnosed as having aspergers.)

But, as someone who has himself dealt with depression for decades, I cannot help but think, reading through his manifesto, that his thinking was, as mine has sometimes been, distorted by depression.

He was also clearly a narcissist, in the colloquial sense if not necessarily in the clinical sense, whose resentment of others was driven by narcissistic rage. And some of his pronouncements, particularly towards the end of his life, were so grandiose it’s hard to know whether these reflected his tendency towards melodrama, fueled by his love of fantasy literature and video games, or if they are symptoms of a delusional disconnection from the real world.

I don’t think, given the considerable evidence there is of his troubled state of mind, that raising these issues detracts from the main point, and that is:

Rodger was a misogynist through and through. In many ways his misogyny was his life. If you watch his videos and read his manifesto, you’ll see that he related anything and everything in his life to what he saw as the grand tragedy of his rejection by “girls,” a state of affairs he blamed entirely on the girls of the world and not on his own “magnificent” self.

He was utterly consumed by his sexual obsession with “pretty blonde girls” and their utter lack of interest in him, and, increasingly, by his elaborate fantasies of “retribution” against them, which ultimately led to his killing spree on Friday night.

To deny that he was driven by misogyny makes as little sense as denying that Hitler was driven by anti-Semitism.

The evidence is as clear-cut as it can be on this point. Anyone who can’t or won’t admit this is either an ideologue or a liar – or both.

Thanks to Melody and several other readers for pointing me to some of the examples used in this post.

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Ally S
7 years ago

:: throws party for Argenti and blasts Emilie Autumn for zir ::

cloudiah
7 years ago

PARTY FOR ARGENTI

:: blows silly horn, releases confetti ::

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

You guys are awesome, y’all know that right?

*pulls out vodka and cranberry juice* that’s an and/or option, anyone is free to bring other virtual drinks, alcoholic or not. The coffee is mine though! 😀

Rosa
Rosa
7 years ago

Here’s my interpretation of this incident. I think that it had some misogyny involved in it, given that it was about a feeling of Rodger being angry by a feeling of being deprived by women, as if they were objects that other men had but he didn’t. But I think that we live in a society where people are taught to resent themselves for almost anything [no matter how happy their background seems to be] so much that people end up believing based on almost anything that they should feel bitter about themselves. So I think that is part of it too, it was because of misogyny, but also because of the self-hatred the world frequently inflicts and teaches people to go through.

marinerachel
marinerachel
7 years ago

I don’t feel that sorry for the little asshole, personally.

I have no self-esteem or self-worth. Never felt like killing anyone except, during exceptional episodes of depression, myself.

ParadoxicalIntention
7 years ago

I don’t think there was any self-hatred involved. ER obviously thought very highly of himself, so much so that he thought women should be falling all over themselves to get in bed with him.

He didn’t hate himself for being a virgin, he hated women for not validating him as a “man”.

Also, why are you necroing a thread? C’mon now.

Mikaela
Mikaela
3 years ago

“Indeed, even when he was bullied as a youngster, he directed most of his anger not at the bullies themselves but at their girlfriends.” Seems to me that that is what the whole INCEL hate is about. The actually hate the Chads who bully them and force them to occupy the fringes of society but direct their anger at the women they assume are attracted only by these alpha Chads.
It is all so twisted and sick I feel dirty even thinking about it.

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