On Friday, while at a cook-out at my father’s house, my phone started blowing up with notifications about the shooting in Santa Barbara. Some of the things that I was seeing from my various social networks were pretty horrific and I decided to turn my phone off for a while. When I got home, I plugged back in and started to look at this situation. The first thing I viewed was the vlog the gunman left – titled “Retribution.” I won’t be linking it here, but there are many copies of it uploaded to Youtube.
Watching the video, I was disgusted by this kid and his attitudes. The media has reported widely that Rodger was a 22-year-old virgin who was upset that women didn’t kiss him while at college – where “everyone experiences things such as sex, fun, pleasure.” And of course, in his mentally ill mind, it’s everyone else’s fault. He states that “you girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls have never been attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it.”
Because Elliot Rodger uploaded his views to social media, it’s only natural for the social media world to discuss it. The facts of the incident are coming out – he stabbed three people to death in his apartment before going on a shooting spree in Isla Vista. He then ended his life by shooting himself. 19 people in total were victims of his spree.
Elliot Rodger has all the earmarks of being mentally disturbed. Many reports have come out about a 140 page manifesto he sent to approximately 30 people before setting out on his spree. The Chicago Tribune reports that Rodger had talked to friends about sex crimes he wanted to commit against women, and that he had become despondent recently. Other reports talk about a child who was bullied and had Asperger’s syndrome.
The news is out there if you want to look into it. What I want to look into is the backlash against the conversation that women were holding in public places, hijacked by men using the hashtag “notallmen.”
I have a HUGE problem with “not all men.” In fact, many men and women have an issue with “Not all men.” The argument comes about when people speak in generalities about sexism and misogyny. The following comic by Matt Lubchansky sums up the argument perfectly:
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Rodger made it abundantly clear in his videos, blogs and manifesto that he was doing this because women didn’t pay attention to him. We didn’t fuck him like we were supposed to. We didn’t throw ourselves at his feet, prostrate with our mouths open to receive his manhood. Sure, I never met the guy. I live on the opposite coast from Rodger. But his comments were directed to me as much as they were directed to women who had actually rejected him – #yesallwomen.
The conversation took place in public because this is yet another issue of misogyny in the media affecting the worldview of men. Rodger arguably was mentally ill – but he was subjected to the same problematic viewpoints that other men are. I feel that his alleged mental illness was a blessing in this case. It allowed him to speak without a filter — baldfaced and frank — about how he feels entitled to women and how it’s our fault for not falling in line with the expected stereotypes.
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I can’t honestly tell you that I don’t think you’re going to hurt me, because as a woman, I have been trained that men are better, stronger, faster, more believable witnesses, and because of what I lack between my legs, I’m over-reacting. I’m being emotional. I need to calm down. I need to remember that “not all men” want to hurt me. “Not all men” want to discredit me. “Not all men” think that I’m being irrational (unless it’s that time of the month, amirite brah?)
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And that’s the point. We’re over here trying to have a conversation – a valid conversation about how it sucks that we have to make exceptions for our statements, we have to be concerned about how “not all men” are murderers and rapists, and then because we’re talking – a bunch of men have to come in and prove our point.
Because seriously, why you mad, bro?
Why does it matter to you that we’re having a conversation about how fucked up it is that girls have to change their clothes at school to prevent young men from having sexual thoughts about them? Why does it matter that we found Rodger’s motives for his spree frightening and relevant to what we’ve been talking about as women? What effect on your dick does it have that we are sick and tired of being told “it’s just a joke, calm down sugartits?”
Here’s something else #notallmen do: Not all men understand that when you feel the need to use #yesallwomen to insult us, you cement in our minds that we’re right and that you don’t give a shit about us as humans. Not all men feel anger when women have a conversation about casual misogyny and how it affects our life. Not all men use “friendzone” or think it’s a cool term. Not all men blame women for not wanting to go out with them. Not all men force women to wear wedding bands at work to prevent them from being harassed. Not all men spread rumors about the women they fuck at parties. Not all men make women feel worthless and substandard.
But enough of them do to support the argument that it’s a problem.
If you’re angered by the #yesallwomen tag, ask yourself why. If it’s because it’s fucked up that women get treated the way we do, then perhaps you shouldn’t tell that joke about women wearing white to match the rest of the appliances. Maybe you should tell your buddy that it’s not cool to keep badgering the bartender for her phone number.
If you’re angered because you feel that we shouldn’t include the special snowflake that you are, then perhaps think about your motives for that. If your heart is truly hurt by the assumption that you’re being judged for your gender, congratulations! Welcome to empathy! Now, go back up a paragraph and start correcting misogyny when you see it. If you just want to mansplain to a bunch of women that we’re the problem because #notallmen see us as objects, then you’re still what women – #yesallwomen – are fighting against.
Men keep telling us it’s about equality.
So why not equal responsibility?
#yesallwomen fear what #notallmen do.