Elliot Rodger – And How Misogyny Kills

Elliot Rodger

Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree in California.

Before he did, he released several videos. The only one I watched can be found on this page. In it, he talks about how he is the perfect alpha male. He has mentioned elsewhere how he doesn’t understand why women won’t date him, and that he’s a virgin, despite being beautiful, perfect, and fabulous. In the video I linked to, he says he will slaughter all those girls he desired so much.

In the end, he carried out something similar to what he said he would. He stabbed his three male roommates and then went on a drive-by shooting spree. Six people died, seven were wounded. He headed for a sorority house like he said, but when he hammered on the door no one answered.

As this Guardian article states, to label him as a madman is ableist and completely wrong. The mentally ill are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. Not only that, but it negates his sexist language, and the way he talks as if he was entitled to the attention of the opposite sex. It is easier to dismiss him as a madman that to introspectively look at our culture and how it can breed someone with the views Rodger had of women. There is no mental illness which makes a person hate women – that is a learned thing from society. To say that any mental health problems he had pushed him to what he did implies that he had a condition that made him hate a gender, which simply does not exist. While it’s not to be argued that he may very well have had mental health problems, and they may have played a part in what he did, his conditioning to hate women did not stem from them.

Not only that, but with people reacting by saying the women should just have said yes to Rodger this reinforces the beliefs that he had, which included his feeling that he was entitled to the attention of women (Youtube screencaps 1 2 3). If we analyse his behaviour as an alienated young adult, we are close to placing the blame on those who did not include him, rather than his severely aggressive and ultimately fatal view of how society functions.

Business Insider claims he was a part of an MRA-esque (Men’s Rights Activist) website where men could talk about how they were rejected by women, identify as “incels” meaning “involuntarily celebates”, and where some posts fantasise about violence against women. This Forbes article states that men he conversed with there were equally as put off by him as women were, but he clearly found solace in the MRA movement as he frequented several of their online bases.

As this article points out (with evidence), over the last 30 years, all mass murders apart from one in the US have been carried out by men. As pointed out, gender is often negated in reporting of these events, but if it were a woman, you can be sure gender would then come into play. Rather than acknowledge that it could very well be male violence against women (MVAW), instead what is often talked about is mental illness, despite the society we live in where MVAW is common. The article also talks about how 90% of these people are also white, and how race comes into play.

Women are twice as likely to be targeted in these events than men. 15 of these events have been studied and it was found that it’s not uncommon for females to be targeted who have rejected the shooter in the past. The article goes on.

Was there a mental health problem in Elliot Rodger? Probably. But to ignore his actions leading up to that point makes a mockery of those who suffer from mental illnesses. It wasn’t that that caused him to hate women. Just last month, a girl was killed because she turned a boy down over a prom date. There is a culture where male violence against women is rampant, and it has many faces. Elliot Rodger clearly felt entitled to the attention of women, was convinced that he was somehow a perfect guy, a good guy, yet reacted to rejection by saying he would slaughter people. And he did.

[Scott Wilson]

5 Comments

  1. I think this article doesn’t quite hit the mark, for the following reasons:

    1) The dude who did it was a bad person
    2) He had a very messed up view about how relationships work and what he was ‘entitled’ to. This may be indicative of the patriarchy and sexism being ingrained into society. This is more likely to be him being brought up with bad views, and the views of several horrible websites like the red pill, which represent a fringe minority. His views were so toxic they cannot entirely be the fault of society.
    3) He may have been mentally ill. I have seen people say ‘there’s no mental illness that makes you hate women’. Kind of true, but there are things that can go wrong in one’s mind that lead to killing. Sure they’re rare, but for every hundred thousand of us who might think of hurting themselves or others, one might do it.
    4) Saying his name and talking about it shows the next shooter that if they hurt people, they will also get famous.

    I also feel that this magazine is a platform for interesting views and news, not this writer’s personal Tumblr for SJW nonsense.

  2. Definitely interesting. I’m not 100% clued up by any means. However, to say that his hatred of women did not stem from any mental illness is a statement that I partially disagree with. It is correct that there is no mental illness which automatically causes a hatred for a particular gender and in reading part of his manifesto, there was nothing to suggest a cause of this, at least not before the age of 8 (this is where I got up to before I stopped reading). That being said, there are mental illnesses that do carry a predisposition to such things. Personality disorders, such as sociopathy have characteristics such as an over inflated sense of entitlement, disdain for anything that challenges the also over inflated sense of grandeur, among many other relevant characteristics that could harbour a predisposition for a hatred of whatever stands in the way of whatever it is the person is trying to gain. What I did appreciate in this article was the acknowledgement of the fact that there may have been the presence of mental illness but that it should not be used to excuse the actions of such an individual. That is something that I certainly agree with. Another thing that stands out is the implication made that attributing mental illness to his actions comes as an insult to other people who suffer with mental illness. While I understand the point that is trying to be made, I don’t think it’s necessarily all that relevant as there are so many types of mental illness that can urge someone towards offending behaviour more than others with different mental illnesses. It has been acknowledged that antisocial personality disorder, paedophilia, sociopathy, etc. are mental illnesses. Again, while that does not excuse the crimes committed, it would be poor practice to negate that information when analysing the offender. Despite all I have said, the article was an interesting read from a perspective I don’t normally consider when I hear about something like this. Generally, due to my knowledge of psychology, I will focus on underlying causes and where they may have came from. In this instance, it is unclear, and an opportunity stolen from us by Elliot Rodger, himself. It is possible to read his manifesto, but anything written by a sociopath will be twisted in favour of himself and his overall aims. So that should be taken with a pinch of salt.

  3. So, by your reasoning, misogyny is a mark of sanity? Surely ‘brushing’ this person off as a madman is in fact MORE important than considering him sane. What is more insane than the subjugation of a fellow human being based upon the concept of ‘gender’? If this case could be used instead to demonstrate this, then it becomes useful to those who wish to destroy the social conditionings this article talks about.

    1. I get what you mean. My issue is that calling him mad or that he needed therapy or whatever (since he was seeing several counsellors) is seen as an explanation for his actions, when that’s only part of it. He may have been able to carry out what he did because of a mental health problem, but his views were shaped by a society that permeates violence against women.

      By your reasoning, anyone who is sexist can be labelled as in need of mental health assistance. At the risk of saying “not all men” what Elliot Rodger did is an extreme case, made possibly by society’s conditioning. You can’t send someone to counselling because they voted for a political party that opposes equal wages for both sexes, yet that is still a sexist act. Similarly, websites such as the Lad Bible etc deal with the type of jokes or “banter” that make society the way it is, but there is no real mental health problem attached to people who consume that type of media. They are parts of our society, small parts of a large conditioning, that lead to violence against women in cases, along with things like inappropriate comments while out walking, being groped in clubs, right up to sexual assault.

      Scott.

      1. I completely agree that it is the small fragments of our society (youth culture for instance, if such a generalisation can be made) that comprise the conditioning you are talking about. But its interesting that you use the example of the political party – it seems to imply that unified sexism does not merit rebuke (and not in the form of mental assistance, but in the form of labelling such as mad)

        You use an instance of murder here as an example of misogyny taken to the extreme. This does not merit ‘assistance’ – the murderer has no mental illness, that is true and it should not be used as an explanation for what he did. But he is insane. He is insane because he has been conditioned to be insane, and you yourself have noted this conditioning (it is not something he has been born with, that is where the prime distinction between ‘mental illness’ and ‘conditioning’ lies) I said that misogyny is madness – that does not necessarily mean I am saying that those who hold such values need individual assistance. They must be used. If we point to cases like these, we show that this individual is dysfunctional because his killing was motivated by a perceived superiority based upon constructed gender distinctions, then we perpetuate the belief that such is wrong. We aren’t assisting individuals by doing this, we’re assisting everyone. We’re showing them that this is not normal.
        Because, generally, people don’t want to be mad.

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