Shit Misogynists Do

What can you say about Elliot Rodger? It’s a more difficult question than you would think. Was he a misogynist? Obviously. Was he mentally unstable? Probably. Does his mental state play a bigger role in this than the misogynistic beliefs that he held? That’s where things get sketchy. Before the shooting, his family probably actually knew he was in dire need of some kind of mental health intervention because his behavior was seriously messed up. It doesn’t matter whether you watch his video on retribution or just the one where he’s on a tirade because a couple sat down on a bench at the beach and kissed. There is something unnerving about his thoughts and beliefs. That could be attributed to being mentally ill, but mental illness does not generally cause a person to become violent. It certainly does not cause them to exact revenge on their “enemies” for perceived wrongs.

I am a major believer in the idea that many people who have been arrested have some level of mental illness or mental instability.1 That doesn’t mean that I excuse them of what they’ve done. It just means that I want their issues to be recognized and treated in the way that can make them a more stable and more secure member of society. The problem in this case is that Rodger was a narcissist. Let’s be honest. He wasn’t just a sociopath. He didn’t just lack remorse for the bad things that were going to happen. He wanted to hurt people; he wanted to respond with anger and violence toward other human beings because he believed they were responsible for his suffering. These are things commonly associated with narcissism. And the only way to fix a narcissist’s thought patterns is for them to realize that they are the ones who are actually at fault. He wasn’t there. He probably wasn’t going to get there. His case is an extreme example of someone who was probably never going to get better. And that isn’t unusual with personality disorders. There is a reason that they are defined as being maladaptive. One has to be willing to work very hard to overcome them.

His way of overcoming them was to plan and partly2 carry out the mass murder of other individuals–strangers and people who he knew quite well. That’s not exactly a sign that better therapy and drugs would help him, so bringing up the idea of mental health care as a way to dismiss other root causes for his violence does more harm than good. One of those very important things was the hatred that he had for women. This was not some annoyance or some mild distaste. This was full-on hatred.

Women owed him respect.

Women owed him dates.

Women owed him adoration.

Women owed him sex.

Anyone who disagreed was wrong. Anyone who disagreed deserved to be taught a lesson. Anyone who disagreed deserved to die. This is the logic that you see in hate crimes. And this event was exactly that: a hate crime.

He felt fully justified in going around and killing as many people as possible because he was ashamed to be a virgin at 22. And some people have attempted to justify his actions, telling women that this is why they should say yes. That it is okay for a person to want to kill them because they reject them. It’s kind of like how some of these same people try to justify when a woman is raped. And if you call them out on this shittiness, then they try to turn to a different topic: men being raped3 / men not getting custody4 / how women are too powerful in the world. Really? How fucking powerful do they really think that women are in this world if rape or murder is the response to telling a man no? If a person is okay with harming a woman because she does the horrible thing of saying no to them, then the cool-with-rape-person obviously doesn’t view that woman as being very important or powerful or worthy of any level of respect.

Dear people who think this way: You are not owed respect, dates, adoration, or sex because of your gender or because of the other person’s gender. You’re actually not owed anything. Women do not have to fuck you just because you have a dick. They do not have to fuck you because you happen to be horny. They do not have to fuck you because you feel shitty about yourself. They do not have to fuck you simply because you exist or because you wish they didn’t.

How do people end up thinking this way? It isn’t just wackadoodles on pick-up artist websites and mass murderers who frequent those sites. It’s something women encounter on a day to day basis. Thus the whole #YesAllWomen hashtag5 that has trended on Twitter. When it takes less than a day to have hundreds of thousands of tweets across the world talk about living in fear or being sexually violated or being beaten by someone they should have been able to feel safe with, there is a problem. No, not all guys are like that, and most women will point out that they know this. The problem is that no woman can tell just by looking at a guy or just by spending time with him that she will be safe. Dating, sex, and even friendship with guys are things that are potential threats to a woman’s life. And when bad shit happens, it is usually not just a case of a woman being victimized by one person. Women regularly encounter individuals in law enforcement, people they go to school or church with, people they work with, family members, and other friends who are dismissive of what has occurred. Somehow a message has gotten out that on some level any woman who encounters misogyny is actually to blame for encountering it. Something she did caused it. If she suffers from flashbacks, anxiety, depression, etc. or uses drugs or alcohol or self-injury to deal with the effects of traumatic events, then she is told by some people that she wants attention or that she enjoys being a victim or that she is weak. Not only do we have a culture where a woman will be blamed for becoming a victim, we have one that will shame her for feeling anything other than happy-go-lucky after being victimized. We are so anti-victim that it is considered more socially acceptable for a woman to pretend that sexual assault and domestic violence and discrimination or harassment never happen than to actually admit that they are quite ingrained in our culture. This means that we refuse to work toward making these events a thing of the past. We not only dismiss what the victim has gone through, we create a culture that allows future victimization to occur.

One day, people probably won’t remember what happened at UCSB. They probably won’t remember who Elliot Rodger was. And maybe that will be okay, but that’s only if we work now to prevent more people from doing what he did. We have to fix our world. We owe it to all the victims that existed before we were born. We owe it to all the people who have been victimized during our lives. We owe it to all the potential victims that may come after us. We owe it to ourselves.

  1. If you call me an ableist or uninformed about mental illness for saying this, I will laugh in your face. There are thirteen years of entries on and over twenty years of my personal mental health records that invalidate that argument. Oh and I have sources for these feelings: NAMI, Psychiatric Services #1, Psychiatric Services #2, NICIC, Al Jazeera America: “U.S. prisons home to 10 times more mentally ill than state hospitals, Inside a Mental Hospital Called Jail

  2. Is it bad to be thankful that you can say he only partly carried out his plans for mass murder? 

  3. Yes, men are raped. Yes, this is a bad thing. No, this has no place in the discussion of a man plotting mass murder because women wouldn’t fuck him. 

  4. This is actually improving. The rate of fathers getting custody is getting better. 

  5. My contributions:


About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.