Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The misogynist extremism of the Santa Barbara rampage

Stories of the Santa Barbara man who killed his roommate and then went out shooting sorority women is dominating social media.  He left a video about why he did it:  blaming women for denying him what he wanted (sexual response).

Yes, there are issues concerning mental illness and gun control, but the realities of misogynist culture must not be downplayed in this story.

Here are just two of the many voices that need to be heard (with short excerpts from their articles so worth reading):

The term “rape culture,” which has been in use for some time among younger feminists – particularly in the context of the sexual entitlement and sexual violence-soaked climate of American college campuses — makes many people uncomfortable. But it is a term that I want to use here in order to stand in solidarity with the younger and more outspoken generation that coined it, and in order to support the work of confronting the sick sexual culture in which Elliot Rodger’s mental illness progressed. Rodger left a manifesto that makes it absolutely clear that his actions were developed, pre-meditated and carried out because women he lusted after did not respond to him. For this “crime,” he murdered them.

The hashtag #YesAllWomen started trending on Twitter soon after the shootings, giving testimony to the widespread culture of violence against women and to how it is becoming almost acceptable. The #YesAllWomen is a furious rebuttal to the familiar 'not all men' argument that deflects analysis of rape culture and redirects it to individual male behaviors. 

If you read the Twitter feed, you will scroll through fear, rage, heartbreak, courage, lament, insightful analysis of rape culture, as the tweet above demonstrates, and more. It is a virtual tour of the battlefield of the war on women. You can, for a time, actually witness to the fact that all day long, all night long, every day and every night, the bodies of women and girls are turned into a battlefield. Their bodies are penetrated against their will; they are burned, maimed, bruised, slapped, kicked, threatened with a weapon, confined, beaten with fists or objects, shot, knifed; their bones are broken, they lose limbs, sight, hearing, pregnancies, and their sense of personal and physical integrity. They are terrorized and they are killed.