I put up a post yesterday (linking to this post on We Hunted The Mammoth, formerly Manboobz) about Elliot Rodger, the shooter who killed six college students and wounded seven before killing himself on Friday night at UC Santa Barbara.
Dave Futrelle, writer of We Hunted The Mammoth, has spent several years now chronicling what he calls “the new misogyny”: the MRA’s (Men’s Rights Activists, for those fortunate enough not to know), the PUA’s (Pick Up Artists – it’s much nastier than it sounds) and the MGTOW’s (Men Going Their Own Way, who never actually do, but rather spend all their time talking about how they should because women are so horrible). These are people who don’t fit in well with the traditional patriarchy (many consider a traditional housewife to be a parasite who “sits on her ass all day eating bon-bons” while stealing her hardworking husband’s money, for example), but who deeply resent the independence available to women in the modern world.
As Dave points out in the linked post, Rodger’s pre-murder-spree rant is almost a boilerplate example of the anti-woman propaganda the New Misogynists put out. This post at Daily Kos illustrates just how deep Rodger was into the subculture.
Whatever else was wrong with this kid’s head, it was shaped, focused and encouraged by what he found among the New Misogynists. They told him that he was entitled to any woman or sex he wanted. They told him that women were evil, selfish creatures who liked to make men – especially “beta males” – suffer out of spite, and denying him his rightful access to pussy was part of that.
And he listened.
This is not the first time this has happened.
In fact, the New Misogynists follow a pattern similar to the Anti-Choice movement: they demonize their opposition, talk about how evil they are and how much they deserve to be punished, until – surprise! – one of their less-stable members actually goes and does it. Then, they act all shocked and horrified. We never advocated violence (explicitly enough for charges to stick)! You can’t blame us for this!
But then they go back to business as usual, but now it has a little bit more of an edge: better watch out. If we don’t like you, something bad might happen to you. But it won’t be our fault, of course.
When I was younger, I went through periods of bitterness and resentment toward women. There were even times when I believed that “Girls Don’t Like Boys, Girls Like Cars And Money” bullshit.
I got better. And I am eternally grateful for two things:
1) That even at my worst, I managed to keep several female friends. The cognitive dissonance between “Girls Don’t Like Boys Girls Like Cars And Money” and the fact that none of the actual women I knew were like that eventually helped to pull my head out of my ass. The fact that some of them were patient enough to explain how things looked from their side helped even more. (Which leads me to another thing I’m grateful for, I suppose: that I was never too far gone to listen.) Sharon, Chris, Dana – thank you.
2) That the internet hadn’t developed to the extent it has today. Hell, in some of my earlier resentful periods, it could hardly have been said to exist at all. If it had, I might have found the MRA’s and the PUA’s (I was never going to Go My Own Way – I’m too much of a romantic, or, failing that, a horndog), and I might have been drawn in. I might have allowed myself to be poisoned by their mental pollution, because it fit my existing prejudices. Reinforced by a subculture full of nasty anti-woman rants, would I have kept and listened to my friends? Or would they have just become more of the enemy? I don’t know.
That’s why this shit can no longer go unanswered. Men of good will have to speak up. Dave Futrelle has been keeping a lonely vigil for some years now, and that has to change.
This blog is not going to become a political blog. There’s still going to be fiction, and reviews, and posts on writing theory. But this blog has also always been a platform for me to talk about shit I care about.
And this is now officially shit I care about.