The heavier stuff

I read Elliot Rodger’s manifesto so you don’t have to…but you probably have.

May 27, 2014

You can, if you want.  I wouldn’t.  I can summarize it for you with a few choice quotes.  There’s a whole lot of racist and classist garbage.  There’s a lot of “beautiful blonde,” there’s a lot of “supreme gentleman,” there’s a lot of “deserve.”

And if you’re female, you’ve probably seen a milder version of this most days of your life.

I spent a lot of time this past weekend on the #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter.  The phrasing on this hashtag is a play on the words “not all men,” an expression you’ll frequently see when people try to bring up anything related to violence or general harm against women that’s committed by men.

It will appear like this:
“When women are raped…” “Not all men rape!”
“Women are frequent victims of domestic violence..” “Not all men are abusers!”
“Many women get catcalled walking down the street…” “Well I don’t catcall anyone!”

I get it, guys, I do.  I’m not being sarcastic here.  Elliot Rodger was a raging misogynist, and you don’t in ANY way want to be associated with him.  He was a disgusting human being, and his actions were unforgivable.  Most men aren’t like him!

But I listened to the radio this morning, and I heard a guy who called in say that he, too, frequently gets mad at women because he sees them with “the wrong guys,” and he lets out his resulting anger by listening to music or playing violent video games.  Elliot Rodger got mad at couples too, and wrote about throwing his hot coffee on couples that disgusted him, hoping to burn them.

I’ve talked to men about the pick-up artist community, who calls women “targets,” and is willing to sacrifice the personhood of those women to win sex.  Elliot Rodger tried the pickup artist technique, and spent time on a website called PUAHate.  This website does not criticize pickup artists for treating women like objects; its members hate on the technique because it doesn’t work.

I watched an episode of The Big Bang Theory in which Howard is painted to be a sad geek who just wants to love women, and never gets the chance, all because Penny calls him “creepy.”  She explains to him that she’s not interested in him, he attempts to kiss her anyway, and she punches him.  His last line states that he’s “at least halfway to pity sex.”  Elliot Rodger played World of Warcraft and skateboarded and read A Song of Ice and Fire and just wanted a girlfriend.

I heard a conversation on a SEPTA train where two guys were describing this one girl as a “whore” who would “f*** anything that moves,” but they also “wouldn’t say no if she offered, I mean, I’m only human, right?”  Elliot Rodger wanted nothing more than to lose his virginity to a beautiful blonde, but called all the blondes he saw “sluts” in his manifesto.

I’ve been catcalled while wearing a dress, and while wearing jeans; I’ve been called a “bitch” because I don’t respond to the catcalls, and my choice to respond is taken away from me because the men drive away…and because I don’t know if I’ll be attacked if I respond.  Elliot Rodger would spill his coffee on people and then run or drive away before anyone could do anything to stop him.

I’ve seen parents tell their little nerdy boys that “the geeks shall inherit the earth,” and let them know that once they’re older, girls will be lining up to date them because they’ll have great jobs and tons of money.  Elliot Rodger was an affluent young man, and didn’t understand why his fancy car and Hugo Boss shirts and Gucci sunglasses didn’t turn into automatic sex for him.

I’ve heard close friends detract women as “crazy,” and dismiss their exes as “she doesn’t even know what she wants.”  Elliot Rodger called all women, including his mother, mentally ill, because they didn’t make the “right” choices, the choices he would have forced them to make.

I’ve read writings of men who don’t understand why on Earth a girl doesn’t want to date them when they’d treat their women like queens.  Elliot Rodger’s “Day of Retribution” was committed because he felt he hadn’t gotten what he deserved, and “if I can’t have them, no one can have them.”

And in the #YesAllWomen tag?  I’ve given up on you if you’ve decided to take over a hashtag written by women to discuss the universal shared experience of feeling threatened every. fucking. day. of their lives to interject and say “Well I’M not like that!” as if it mattered at all.

My first contribution to this tag was this:
“#YesAllWomen Since when is ‘not all of us’ a good enough standard? Go fix it until it’s ‘not any men.'”

No one is giving you a medal because you weren’t Elliot Rodger.  That isn’t the decency standard.  If you’ve laughed at a rape joke, if you’ve called yourself a “nice guy,” if you’ve heard a catcall and said nothing, if you saw this story break and felt anything except “what the hell is WRONG with men,” you’re a part of the problem.  Women are trying to fix it, but we can’t fix everything; you have to help.  Not just sit there and not hurt anyone and hijiack a hashtag to tell everyone how not-terrible you are: actively fix this problem.

My other contribution to this tag was this:
“#YesAllWomen makes men mad because they’re grouped with misogynists.  It makes women mad because misogyny kills us.  See the difference?”

Being grouped with Elliot Rodger sucks.  You know what’s worse?  Having “text me that you got home safe” after a date being a necessity.  Needing to alter routes or when you leave somewhere because it’s dark out.  Getting called a c*** because you won’t respond to a guy calling you “cutie” from across the street.  Being terrified to reject advances because you think you might get assaulted.  Getting assaulted.  Getting killed.

I get that this makes you uncomfortable, but it should make you more uncomfortable that literally every woman you talk to is scared at least once a day.  When every interaction I have with an unknown male is a game of Russian roulette with vaguely better odds, I don’t want to hear how I’ll be fine because you’re not a bullet.  We’re not having this discussion to attack you; we’re trying to stop being scared and getting hurt.

You’re not Elliot Rodger.  Go fix the world so no one is.

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