A week ago I’d never heard of incels. I’d always assumed that MRAs were a fringe group of bitter divorced ex-husbands and PUAs were entitled spoiled brats, and that both groups were tiny slivers of resentment. I thought that people who rejected the PUA mentality finally grew up and realised that it was bullshit because it’s about treating women as less than human and tricking or intimidating them into sex.
I thought that mass murder was a big red line marking the Moral Event Horizon, and that people wouldn’t come together to condone a mass murderer’s actions even if they agreed with parts of his worldview.
I was a lot happier a week ago.
Now I’m sick to death of seeing “NOT ALL MEN~!~!” plastered all over the web. I’m almost moved to tears by the resignation and despair emanating from the #YesAllWomen hashtag, where so many women have told their stories about everyday abuse, rape, harassment, stalking, and generally having men ignore their boundaries … and the response to these stories is that the women hate men?! I can’t even fathom that level of self-centred-ness.
I’m sickened by the number of men trying to argue for some kind of twisted state-sanctioned obligation for women to put out for any man who wants sex. Or that if The Murderer had just learned better tricks to fool women into sleeping with him, lives would have been saved, and just BY THE WAY we have a book you can buy which details those tricks!
The thing that fills me with the most rage and sadness? That newspapers, TV news, bloggers, commentators, they’re all scratching their heads and saying “What caused this? Why did this man turn violent?”
It’s not a fucking mystery, guys. This individual left 141 pages of venomous ranting about women’s inferiority, about how he thought they should all be punished for the “crime” of not worshipping him. He left a goddamn YouTube clip detailing what he was about to do – murder women he felt had denied him what he deserved.
We know why he did what he did. HE TOLD US. Because he thought women existed to serve men’s desires, and more specifically his. Because he didn’t think of women as people, not really. Because he’d grown up in a world that had reinforced the message, time and time again, that what he deserved was whatever he wanted, because he was a (white cis able-bodied affluent) man, and that made his wants and needs more important than other people’s. Because he surrounded himself with other men who believed, as he did, that if he wasn’t getting what he wanted from women, it was the fault of women.
This is rape culture. This is misogyny. This is all too typical, and all too accepted, and all too depressing.
Why isn’t misogyny being discussed as a factor in this horrific incident? My guess is the same reason that air pollution and sunshine aren’t – because they’re accepted as such constants that most people don’t even acknowledge their presence.
Mental health wasn’t the issue here. Let’s flip the “Not All Men!” defence for a minute. Not All Mentally Ill People go out and kill people. In fact, statistically speaking they’re far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. Millions of people with mental health diagnoses are not going to go out and kill women who don’t sleep with them.
Gun control isn’t the issue. It’s certainly a factor, and that’s a whole other discussion I’m not gonna have here because while I believe gun control is a feminist issue I don’t think it was the primary problem in this case. The fact that the first three people killed by The Murderer were stabbed is pretty clearly indicative that gun fetishism wasn’t this guy’s major malfunction.
And women were not to blame. I shouldn’t even need to say this because c’mon, what the fuck? You cannot fundamentally believe women are people and also believe that they were responsible for this fuckwit’s actions. If anybody thinks getting turned down for a date or sex is justification for violence, that person is the problem, not the person who turns them down. I’m not sure I can put it any more succinctly than that except by screaming incoherently.
The problem here was misogyny – the hatred of women. The refusal to accept women as valid agents of their own lives. The denial of their humanity. The attitude that when a man wants something, it’s a woman’s duty to provide it with a wink and a smile. The poisonous entitlement of Nice Guys(TM) who are anything but, and resent both women who don’t fall for their deceit and men who gain female attention through honest, up-front interaction. The mindset that “involuntary celibacy” is a huge problem that requires the world re-aligning to grant the complainer everything they want with no effort on their part. The fact that domestic violence kills every day and it’s not newsworthy. The wounded-bear rage of “Men’s Rights Activists” who hide their crusade to punish women behind a veneer of legal and ethical pseudobabble and flimsy statistical “evidence”. The sneering contempt of “Pick Up Artists” for women’s values and wants and boundaries. The constant, ever-present depiction in popular culture of a guy who Won’t Take No For An Answer as endearing, determined, truly devoted, until the incredibly hot girl realises she’s been in love with him the whole time – and the guys who fall for that idea without ever acknowledging that it’s really stalking.
It’s all part of the same insidious thing, guys.
This incident has opened my eyes to how many men there are who genuinely think women are not worthy of making decisions about who to date, kiss, fuck or spend time with. That disgusts me. Men are better than that. We are. We need to let these men know what we don’t share their caveman views about women’s inferiority. We need to step up and show the world how many men their are who don’t think of women as blank canvas for the projection of our desires or trophies to be brandished to prove our Man Power. We need to reinforce positive ideas about the value of women’s perspectives and opinions. That we won’t tolerate them abusing women’s insecurities to get into their pants. That we believe in appreciating all that women have to offer the world and that we want equality, not domination.
Women are people. Men are also people. Can’t we just be people together, without stupid notions of “winning” and “losing”?
Striving towards a world where equality isn’t laughed at as an idea,