yet another blog post about the isla vista shooting

I guess this is how our nation copes with tragedies now. Hashtags. Twitter monologues. Blog posts.

I wasn’t going to write one, I guess, but then I read this Thought Catalog article and it made me so mad that I had to sit down and explain every reason that it is partially right but mostly horrifically wrong.

In the event that you don’t feel like reading a Thought Catalog article (more power to you), here’s a basic summary:

  • Men commit violence against women because they’re upset, probably.
  • They’re upset because they’re not allowed to express their feelings.
  • “The way we treat men is insensitive.”
  • Women manipulate men because women love sexism.
  • Masculinity is a confusing, restrictive, and generally unpleasant set of standards, whereas femininity is a walk in the park.
  • Plus, poor men are expected to pay for dinner.
  • Anyway, let’s all be more compassionate to each other.

The reason this article got to me, I guess, is that the writer (a woman) is very close to making a very good point. Elliot Rodger did not decide to shoot a bunch of people in a vacuum. And yes, our society’s limited views on masculinity had a lot to do with that decision. Women aren’t socialized into violence the way men are. We’re taught to talk about our feelings and ask for hugs, and perhaps as a consequence, women don’t go around shooting people nearly as often. It’s nice!

But operating within the confines of femininity is just as hard, if not harder, than following the straight and narrow path of manliness. Following the rules of femininity means keeping your head down and saying nothing when a stranger yells “NICE TITS” at you on the sidewalk, because yelling “FUCK OFF” would be rude — not to mention potentially dangerous.

Anyway, what I’m saying is that this writer makes a solid point about gender norms. They hurt men. They hurt women too, which she doesn’t really mention or even acknowledge, but they also hurt men. Fine.

But to carry on and say women are “insensitive” to men? That little boys have fewer opportunities than little girls? That women just don’t let men have a voice in this big matriarchal world of ours? It’s literally insane.

I am tired of being told to feel bad for men. They have a rough time, but women have a rougher time. They put up with some bullshit, but women put up with worse bullshit. They worry that without a hot blonde on their arm, no one will respect them as a man. And then a tiny fraction of them get so worked up about it that they shoot a bunch of people.

We, on the other hand, worry that the guy at the grocery store will feel us up when they’re showing us where the bathroom is. We worry about taking taxis alone. Apparently now we have to worry about getting shot because some lunatic somewhere believes we’ve spurned him just by existing and not having sex with him. And this writer believes that we should also worry a little bit more about the menfolk’s feelings?

I’m sorry, but I have literally run out of fucks to give. I spent all my fucks trying not to get attacked on the way home from the bus stop. I spent all my fucks trying to convince myself that when the middle aged man came on to me in the Starbucks line when I was fourteen, I should have been flattered. If that middle aged man didn’t have enough opportunities to play with Barbie dolls and talk about his feelings, I’m sorry, but that is not my fucking problem. (All kinds of people have shitty coping mechanisms. That doesn’t make it okay to harass girls who aren’t old enough to get their learners permit. Take up gambling or something. I don’t care.)

Do we need to reevaluate the gender models we’re feeding to the next generation? Of course. But if you expect me to feel extra sorry for the male half of that equation, you’re smoking something.

Photo credit: Psycholabs / Foter /Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

  • Graciamaria Studio

    Great point of view!

  • Luisa Muhr

    I don’t know where to post this but I would like to share this:

    Quote from the male who murdered 6 women in the Isla Vista massacre:

    “I saw two hot blonde girls waiting at the bus stop. I was dressed in one of my nice shirts, so I looked at them and smiled. They looked at me, but they didn’t even deign to smile back. They just looked away as if I was a fool. In a rage, I made a U-turn, pulled up to their bus stop and splashed my Starbucks latte all over them. I felt a feeling [of] spiteful satisfaction as I saw it stain their jeans. How dare those girls snub me in such a fashion! How dare they insult me so! I raged to myself repeatedly. They deserved the punishment I gave them. It was such a pity that the latte wasn’t hot enough to burn them. Those girls deserve to be dumped in boiling water for the crime of not giving me the attention and adoration I so rightfully deserve!”

    We really, REALLY have to strive for change. Fast. NOW. Things like these can’t be happening all the time but they ARE. There is so much women-hatred in the world and it cannot be growing by the minute. We have to stand up and make this come to an end! Together. Women AND MEN!

    So, to all the men out there (and if you truly and deeply understand this already – I am not talking about on the surface, I mean on a deeper level -, good for you – you know deep inside yourself if you do or not; so if you do go tell your buddies, encourage each other, stop worrying about being “cool” or having the need to be liked – you attract 100% more people if you are true to yourself, if you follow your heart, then you’re really “cool”):

    Please wake up! You all came from a woman! How could there possibly be so much hate against women? Think about your own mothers. Would you mistreat your mother? Ever? If yes, why? Isn’t it true that whatever else she might have done to you, she gave you your life. The greatest gift of all. It is up to you to do something with it. This life is about service. This counts for all of us (women and men). You have to see that so much good in this world, so much brilliant thinking, so much creativity and love comes from women. Imagine a world without women. You wouldn’t want that. In fact, you wouldn’t be here. And if ever you hurt a woman, physically or emotionally, apologize to her and MEAN IT! If it was more than one, apologize to all of them. Take your time, but do it. Deal with your past actions. Deal with the harm you may have caused. Apologize. Heal the wounds together. Only then they will actually heal. Why wouldn’t you meet a woman on an equal level? Ask yourself the reason for this, if you don’t. And be honest to yourself. Is it pride? Does your pride really mean more to you than another human being? Is it fear? What are you afraid of? Or is it something else? Find out what it is. Identify where any of this might come from. As soon as we are aware of things we are already one step closer to solving them. Hate is not a solution. It is ego. It is pride. It is the opposite of service. It is the opposite of living.

    But what happens if you turn hate into love? Ask yourself that question.

    And love.