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aggrieved entitlement antifeminism guns misogyny

Open thread to honor the victims of the École Polytechnique massacre

A plaque honoring the victims of the massacre
A plaque honoring the victims of the massacre

Twenty-seven years ago, as many of you know, a young man carrying a rifle walked into a classroom at the École Polytechnique de Montréal. After declaring to stunned students that he was “fighting feminism,” he shot 14 women dead, most of them students, and wounded another ten women and four men before killing himself.

Every year on this date Canadians take time to reflect on the events of that day and honor those killed in the massacre. Here’s an open thread for you all to do the same, as well as to discuss how we might best prevent future tragedies caused by reactionary ideologues with guns.

No trolls, MRAs, alt-rightsts, etc.

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Steampunked
Steampunked
5 years ago

@Conan the Librarian – What a lovely gesture by your father.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
5 years ago

I was at the University of Waterloo when it happened myself. It was a significant subject of discussion for quite a while; the idea that something like this could actually happen here shocked some of us out of our complacency. Waterloo has long had a women in engineering problem of its own (it was and perhaps still is the most male-dominated University in Canada, because Engineering is close to a quarter of the school, and Engineering enrolment is still three-quarters male) but that was in the process of changing while I was there, and various outreach programs and work on the internal culture have slowly improved things.

@Rhuu:
There’s a reason why some people absolutely refuse to use the name of John Lennon’s murderer. He’d wanted to become famous by killing someone famous; let’s not give him his fame.

Podkayne
5 years ago

I stopped by the place du 6 Decembre 1989 with my husband today, actually. I keep meaning to go pay my respects on the anniversary, but something always comes up, so this year I made sure to take the day off work.

To me (and probably by design) it always called up walking down the center aisle of a church. It’s a short walk, but it’s hard to describe how moving it is. You know you’re in the middle of town, people are honking for parking spots meters away from you, and you look towards where the altar might be in an actual church and you see…asphalt and concrete, because that’s what Montreal is about. You are not actually hidden away, you are in the middle of some busy streets next to some busy buildings, and life is going on, because it’s Tuesday, but somehow the few trees on each side really do make you feel separated from the world. And it feels…guarded? As if this particular rectangle is the eye of a storm. As if it has been set aside.

There was one white rose left on the ‘pew’ for Annie St-Arneault, and her name on the ground was cleared of snow.

Tashilicious
Tashilicious
5 years ago

As a Montrealer, it is often that I see the men referring to this event not as a person attacking women because he was a regressive sexist with outdated ideas, but just “some crazy guy who attacked a school”

Not to mention the amount of people who blame the guys in the classes for not having stopped him.

This is not over, these wounds still fester, and the ongoing reaction to this murder spree should be constantly brought into the limelight to expose how the ideas which led to it are still alive and well.

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
5 years ago

Thanks David for the post, and thanks Mammotheers for the beautiful and thoughtful comments. I remember hearing about this on the news back then, all the way down here in Aust.; we were stricken with grief and shock.

I often listen to this song on December 6; the video is great too because it foregrounds and honours the women rather than the murderer. It’s by a folk singer called Judy Small. Some of the lyrics possibly stray a bit into gender essentialism but it’s a lovely song.

Stay safe and take care, wonderful people.

Falconer
Falconer
5 years ago

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Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
5 years ago

@Owl,
Oops, I didn’t see that you’d already posted the Judy Small song – sorry!

Everyone remember the guy who sued LSE for discrimination- Tom Martin? He offered a touching comment on Montréal 89 (/s):

https://twitter.com/menagainstmras/status/806288552505970688

Angry Since 11/09/201
Angry Since 11/09/201
5 years ago

Tears as I look at all the pictures of these young beautiful women. They had their entire lives ahead of them and a terrorist took it away merely for them being women. Every time someone says we don’t need feminism anymore, I think of women like these lovely souls. They were reaching for something more and were punished for their temerity. It makes me rage for them. Thanks David for the reminder of what humanity has lost along the way.

weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo
weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo
5 years ago

He of the hard chairs are misandry and trafficked children are exploiting their rapist Johns. Always keeping it classy that one.

Flora
Flora
5 years ago

From a friend’s Facebook page that I thought was worth adding to this discussion.

“On December 6th I often think about the beginning of the Montreal Massacre story, when [the shooter] walked into the classroom with a gun and asked all the men to leave… and they did. I often think about how the story might have been different if those men had said no.”
– Jake Pyne

itsabeast
itsabeast
5 years ago

“how can someone reject feminism and not be a misogynist?” Benevolent sexism. It’s correlated with misogyny, but not exactly the same thing.

Kat
Kat
5 years ago

I remember this.

I was living in Berkeley and had an early morning appointment. On my way home, I passed a newsstand and saw the headline.

Four years later I visited Vancouver. On my last morning there, I dropped by a feminist bookstore, which I spotted on my way to catch the bus that came back over the border to the USA. I was touched to see a commemorative button there and I bought it.

kupo
kupo
5 years ago

@itsabeast
I’m not convinced that benevolent sexism isn’t part of misogyny.

Hostile sexism and benevolent sexism are mutually supportive ideologies. In a 19-nation study published in the May, 2000, issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, responses from more than 15,000 people who completed the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory showed that countries high in hostile sexism were invariably high in benevolent sexism. Hostile sexism and benevolent sexism are also significantly correlated at the individual level (meaning that a high score on one scale tends to be associated with a high score on the other), though this correlation is not large.

http://www.understandingprejudice.org/asi/faq

Misogyny (/mɪˈsɒdʒɪni/) is the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against women or girls. Misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including social exclusion, sex discrimination, hostility, androcentrism, patriarchy, male privilege, belittling of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification.

Even by the definition of misogyny it should be included as it’s a form of prejudice against women and it results in every single one of the listed manifestations of misogyny in this definition.

weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo
weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo
5 years ago

The implication of benevolent sexism is that a woman who stops being worthy of being protected and pedastalized (a Madonna) becomes worthy of severe punishment and derision (a whore).

Beth
Beth
5 years ago

“And I’m so upset that my (Canadian) school has lately been covered in MRA propaganda. Today, of all days, I did not need to find that out.”

That has to be deliberate. The first time I’d ever encountered extreme misogyny online was several guys hailing the shooter as a “hero” and “martyr”. There’s no depths to which they (misogynists) won’t stoop.

Owl
Owl
5 years ago

@Mish — No problem! Judy Small is not nearly so well-known as she should be; the more of us that try to change that, the better.

Glen
Glen
5 years ago

“On December 6th I often think about the beginning of the Montreal Massacre story, when [the shooter] walked into the classroom with a gun and asked all the men to leave… and they did. I often think about how the story might have been different if those men had said no.”

– Jake Pyne

Men need to start saying “no” every time a misogynist speaks.

No more silence.

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
5 years ago

There’s a very good if difficult to watch film called Polytechnique that was made about this. Half of it focuses on a fictional survivor, the other on a fictional male student dealing with the fact he didn’t do anything. I highly recommend it.

One of the great things about it is that not only did the director screen it for the families of the victims and get their approval before he released it, he absolutely refused to give the killer a name. Even in the credits the actor is just “Le Tueur.” And there’s a roll call of the dead before the credits.

The killer’s mother also eventually published a book about trying to deal with what her son had done. It’s a pretty tough book.

epitome of incomprehensibility

Thanks for posting this, David. It’s strange, I didn’t participate in any Dec. 6 memorials when I went to school in Montreal, only when I was in Ontario doing my English MA. It was a simple event in a classroom: candles were lit and people from the feminist club (including me) read short bios of the women who were killed.

I already knew about the murders – from a distance, since I was a baby in 1989 – but reading about Maryse Leclair, who was talented and about to graduate and could have done many more interesting things in her life… it made me think of the enormity of the loss, and the damaging effects of violence on so many people.

There was also a screening of the film @Rabid Rabbit mentioned above, Villeneuve’s Polytechnique, and a discussion. Some people thought that it put too much emphasis on a man’s struggle (one of the characters in the film, who helps the main character but is powerless to stop the violence). Someone else pointed out that it ended with the other character, a woman, facing discrimination at work – a good way of linking the murders with other kinds of pervasive but less obvious misogyny. I thought these were both good points.

(I wish I could remember more specifics about the film itself, but I haven’t seen it for four years.)

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