On Friday night in a California college town, a 22-year-old man named Elliot Rodger murdered six people and wounded eight others.
Information about this killer began spreading across Twitter soon after he ended his massacre with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
For example, we learned he had dabbled in online ‘men’s rights activism’ — MRAs being a bunch of notoriously anti-woman assholes and whiners — and also, that he had made a bunch of YouTube videos in which he detailed his frustrations with women and his rage.
His final video, titled Elliot Rodger’s Retribution, was reportedly posted just hours before he began his killing spree. Here is a transcript.
It’s stomach-churning, as you’d expect — even in written form. (I chose not to watch the video because ugh.)
For the last eight years of my life, ever since I’ve hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection, and unfulfilled desires. All because girls have never been attracted to me. Girls gave their affection, and sex, and love, to other men but never to me. I’m 22 years old and I’m still a virgin. I’ve never even kissed a girl. I’ve been through college for two and a half years, more than that actually, and I’m still a virgin. It has been very torturous. College is the time when everyone experiences those things such as sex, and fun, and pleasure. But in those years I’ve had to rot in loneliness. It’s not fair. You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it.
Yeah, see, whereas I’m pretty sure I know why girls weren’t attracted to him.
Elliot Rodger thinks it’s unfair that girls don’t like him. (He goes on to describe this reality as “an injustice” and “a crime.”) Because he’s such a catch, obviously.
He calls himself “the perfect guy” and “the supreme gentleman.” He whines that all he ever wanted was to love a woman and be loved in return. He calls sorority girls “spoiled, stuck-up blond sluts.”
NOT VERY GENTLEMANLY THERE, ROMEO.
I’ve wanted a girlfriend, I’ve wanted sex, I’ve wanted love, affection, adoration, but you think I’m unworthy of it. That’s a crime that can never be forgiven. If I can’t have you, girls, I will destroy you.
GEE I CAN’T IMAGINE WHY THIS DUDE WASN’T GETTING LAID.
Humour as coping mechanism aside, the male entitlement on display is stunning. Alas, it’s hardly surprising.
Our culture teaches boys that they deserve all sorts of things simply by virtue of being born male. Success. Attention. Orgasms. Public space. And unrestricted access to women’s bodies.
These boys grow up to become men.
Male entitlement is linked to misogyny because our culture is also misogynistic. A ‘wife beater’ is a type of shirt and hardly anyone bats an eye.
Porn caters to any and all sexual desires a boy or a man might have — reinforcing the idea that making dicks feel good is the most important thing ever, no matter what one has to do to achieve that goal, while at the same time, sexualizing the humiliation and domination of women.
Rape ‘jokes’ are gleefully shared in comedy clubs and on TV; actual rape goes unreported and unpunished, perpetrators are sympathized with, victims are shamed, mocked and harassed. Women posed as corpses are used as props in fashion spreads.
A multitude of pick-up subcultures teach men that if they do x, y and z, they should be rewarded with sex from women, the desires of those woman being of no consequence.
And a multitude of MRA subcultures teaches men that women are to blame for their failures and pain. That woman are all stupid bitches who chase after ‘alphas’ when they should be dating (and fucking) nice guys like them — the nice guys who gather in online forums to call women stupid bitches.
This is our culture, in which boys grow up to be men.
This is the culture in which Elliot Rodger grew up.
And suddenly he found himself 22 years old and a virgin and it wasn’t fair.
All the spoiled, stuck-up blond sluts had the audacity to be active agents in their own lives instead of passive vagina vending machines. It wasn’t fair. Someone had to pay for his pain.
Real talk time: Our culture is fucked up. In order to make any progress on fixing what’s wrong, we need to acknowledge this.
We don’t like to do that, however.
Indeed, as is often the case whenever a man’s sexual frustration and rage explode into violence and murder, many folks were all too eager to label Rodger’s killing spree an isolated incident and Rodger a deranged madman.
Except that this guy told us exactly what his motive was. In his own words. Clearly and repeatedly.
I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it.
If I can’t have you, girls, I will destroy you.
Nor was he the first man to think he was owed something from life and who blamed women for not getting it.
Way back in 1989, a man named Marc Lépine shot 28 people, killing 14 women, in an attack at a post-secondary institution now known as the Montreal Massacre because ‘feminists’ had ruined his life.
In 2009, George Sodini walked into a fitness class at a Pittsburgh gym and shot 12 people, killing three women, because ’30 million women’ had rejected him.
I wrote a column for the Winnipeg Free Press about that particular crime. Humour me as I quote myself:
It’s an understandable position to take since it serves to create distance between ‘us’ — the normal people — and ‘them’ — the crazies who massacre innocent women. But it’s also problematic in that it doesn’t allow us to connect the dots and understand individual acts in the context of the larger cultural narrative in which they occur. To say that Sodini was a lunatic or that his nonexistent sex life was the cause of his violent outburst — as many news media have implied — is to ignore a far more obvious fact: misogyny exists. Sodini didn’t go on a killing spree against women because he hadn’t been laid in 19 years. He did it because he hated women — a hatred that is accepted, condoned and even actively encouraged by some in our society.
And now here we are. Again. Another day. Another city. Another angry man with a gun.
Another man who felt he was owed love and sex and who blamed women for not providing them like they’re supposed to, as decreed by the universal and non-negotiable ‘nice guys get pussy’ rule.
Another body count.
And when feminists do try to connect the dots and help others understand such crimes in the context of the larger cultural narrative in which they occur?
When Jessica Valenti writes:
The truth is that there is no such thing as a lone misogynist — they are created by our culture, and by communities that tells them that their hatred is both commonplace and justified.
And when Laurie Penny writes:
Misogynist extremism does not exist in a mystical digital fairyland where there are no consequences. It is real. It does damage. It kills.
And when hundreds of other women react on Twitter with shock and grief but also with anger because JESUS CHRIST HOW MANY MORE WOMEN HAVE TO BE MURDERED BEFORE WE ACKNOWLEDGE THAT MALE ENTITLEMENT TO WOMEN’S ATTENTION AND BODIES EXISTS AND IS A BIG PROBLEM?
We get push back from people who don’t want to talk about this particular subject. We get ISOLATED INCIDENT and DERANGED MADMAN and NOT ALL MEN and this shit show.
We get denial and deflection and all the other lies we tell ourselves so we can sleep better at night.
I have a radical idea: let’s not be afraid to hold up a mirror to our culture. Let’s look closely at the kinds of attitudes we’re perpetuating, even if they make us squirm.
Let’s recognize the patterns that are right in front of us.
Let’s acknowledge that our culture is fucked up and let’s start fixing what’s wrong.
Photo: screenshot from But I’m A Nice Guy.