Thursday, May 29th, 2014

The Twitter hashtag #YesAllWomen has led to toxic gender warfare, Cathy Young suggests:

For one thing, “misogyny” is a very incomplete explanation of Rodger’s mindset, perhaps best described as malignant narcissism with a psychopathic dimension. His “manifesto” makes it clear that his hatred of women (the obverse side of his craving for validation by female attention, which he describes as so intense that a hug from a girl was infinitely more thrilling than an expression of friendship from a boy) was only a subset of a general hatred of humanity, and was matched by hatred of men who had better romantic and sexual success. At the end of the document, he chillingly envisions an ideal society in which women will be exterminated except for a small number of artificial-insemination breeders and sexuality will be abolished. But in an Internet posting a year ago, he also fantasized about inventing a virus that would wipe out all males except for himself: “You would be able to have your pick of any beautiful woman you want, as well as having dealt vengeance on the men who took them from you. Imagine how satisfying that would be.” His original plans for his grand exit included not only a sorority massacre he explicitly called his “War on Women,” but luring victims whom he repeatedly mentions in gender-neutral terms to his apartment for extended torture and murder (and killing his own younger brother, whom he hated for managing to lose his virginity).

Some have argued that hating other men because they get to have sex with women and you don’t is still a form of misogyny; but that seems like a good example of stretching the concept into meaninglessness — or turning it into unfalsifiable quasi-religious dogma.

Of course, four of the six people Rodger actually killed were men: his three housemates, whom he stabbed to death in their beds before embarking on his fatal journey, and a randomly chosen young man in a deli. Assertions that all men share responsibility for the misogyny and male violence toward women that Rodger’s actions are said to represent essentially place his male victims on the same moral level as the murderer — which, if you think about it, is rather obscene. And the deaths of all the victims, female and male, are trivialized when they are commemorated with a catalogue of often petty sexist or sexual slights, from the assertion that every single woman in the world has been sexually harassed to the complaint that a woman’s “no” is often met with an attempt to negotiate a “yes.”

A common theme of #YesAllWomen is that our culture promotes the notion that women owe men sex and encourages male violence in response to female rejection. (It does? One could much more plausibly argue that our culture promotes the notion that men must “earn” sex from women and treats the rejected male as a pathetic figure of fun.)


  1. Alrenous says:

    Leads to? Leads from.

  2. Aretae says:

    I’ve been trying to frame a decent response to this for a while now.

    Central line:

    Procreation (sex) is the core drive behind human evolution. And women can (roughly) always get sex if they want some. And their drive towards sex is usually mitigated by the fact that testosterone is the sex-drive hormone, and the average male has 16x the amount that an average female has. I expect the ratio is worse among young adults.

    Saying that he’s wrong is banally true — killing randomish people to show your rage isn’t so good.

    Saying that a young male steeped in a culture of sexuality and then not able to get any isn’t going to sometimes crack in this fashion isn’t actually very surprising, though.

  3. Handle says:

    Aretae: “Saying that a young male steeped in a culture of sexuality and then not able to get any isn’t going to sometimes crack in this fashion isn’t actually very surprising, though.”

    How rare should cracking be, as a proportion of the class of individuals who experience the same inputs, to be surprising?

    There are two million men in the same age-cohort as Rodger. Most of them are steeped in a culture of sexuality. A good number are sexually frustrated. Let’s think about the bottom 5%, or 100,000 guys who are the absolutely most frustrated virgins who are are the most steeped in the most sexualized parts of the culture.

    Still, it seems that about one of these guys does something like this about once a year. If all you knew about a guy was that he was a member of this 100,000, you would be surprised to learn he had cracked, because it’s just so rare.

    If I started adding criteria — mentally ill, extreme social anxiety, psychotic, narcissistic, broken home, then maybe we are describing the accurate profile of all the guys who tend to do this, and if it’s only a few hundred dudes, you would not be so surprised to hear that one in particular was the guy who cracked.

    That means, if it’s possible, then it might be good to try to develop an accurate profile, and it’s feasible to keep a few hundred dudes a year under supervision.

  4. Of course, knowing that you are one of the 200 most supreme losers in the entire country, so lame that not only can you not get laid, you require government supervision — what effect might that knowledge have on the psyche of a young man?

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