yeah, see, this is MUCH better than the odious “Real Men Don’t … ” meme favored by politicians and the Hollywood glitterati.
What we are experiencing is the violent but logical conclusion of the decades-long right-wing backlash that arose in the wake of the women’s liberation movement of the 60s and 70s. Especially once the feminist movement gave up on the street protests, mass activist organizations, and bold actions; ever since, the right-wing has been whipping up a misogynist frenzy, trying to blame everything from poverty to the national debt on feminism in particular and women in general.
I’ve been reading about the period immediately following the passage of the federal amendment granting women the right to vote in 1920. The following two decades saw a strikingly similar backlash arise in the growth of various intellectuals and “activists” fulminating over the evils of “feminism” and “female supremacy”, blaming the women’s suffragists and rights movement for everything from causing the Great Depression to the decline in American culture.
Capitalist inequality and oppression may run through various cycles, with a victory against a particular manifestation of oppression here and there; but the problem is, that victory can always be rolled back and invariably is no sooner won than it is immediately subject to seemingly indefatigable attack from forces of reaction and ignorance. What we need is not just temporary victories, temporary concessions, temporary amelioration of the worst excesses of the system’s oppressiveness; but the utter and definitive conquest and abolition of the prevailing socio-economic order, along with the attendant inequality, exploitation, and oppression which it relies upon and fosters.
You say not all men are monsters?
Imagine a bowl of M&Ms. 10% of them are poisoned.
Go ahead. Eat a handful.
Not all M&Ms are poison.
What kind of society locks up thousands of people every year for committing the victimless “crime” of using non-lethal drugs; yet won’t lift a finger to lock up bigots, white supremacists, and misogynists who publicly support violence against oppressed people?
Now, I’m not saying that someone should necessarily be locked up simply for saying bigoted things. But I do think it’s worth pointing out the obvious racial, gender, and economic inequalities in the way this country deals with the imprisonment and punishment of certain segments of the population as against others.
To wit, I’ve noticed that privileged white men and right-wingers have no problem when it comes to locking up people of color for committing no crime whatsoever; but when it comes to the question of actually attaching consequences to the vile hate speech currently spewed with impunity by the former ilk, then all of a sudden these people become concerned about America becoming a police state.
Mental illness and depression do not cause people to want to go out and kill a bunch of women because they think they are entitled to their bodies. Sexism and misogyny do that.
Advice to men who feel compelled to keep repeating, “Not all men are like that”: If you really want to prove that not all men are misogynistic pieces of shit, the easiest thing you can do is stop hemming-and-hawing and start condemning the misogynistic violence that certain men DO engage in, without feeling a need to qualify your condemnation.
Apparently the MOTHER of Elliot Rodger, the Isla Vista shooter, had alerted the police exactly ONE MONTH EARLIER that she was concerned about the horribly misogynistic and violent stuff he was saying on his YouTube channel. When the police visited his apartment, they concluded their brief investigation with the following description of him as a “perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human.”
In other words, our society — including the police and courts — sees hatred of women as such a thoroughly normal form of male behavior that the police were able to dismiss his vitriolic misogyny as insufficient grounds for concern.
I’m all for people discussing better gun regulations in the wake of such events, but let’s also talk about better regulation of the clans of extremist bigots in our midst, and better regulation of the police who essentially abide bigotry and violence as long as it is directed at women, poor people, and/or people of color.
When Santa Barbara police arrived at Elliot Rodger’s apartment last month—after Rodger’s mother alerted authorities to her son’s YouTube videos, where he expressed his resentment of women who don’t have sex with him, aired his jealousy of the men they do choose, and stated his intentions to remedy this “injustice” through a display of his own “magnificence and power”—they left with the impression that he was a “perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human.” Then Rodger killed six people and himself on Friday night, leaving a manifesto that spelled out his virulent hatred for women in more explicit terms, and Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown deemed him a “madman.”
In what the ACLU is calling “tantamount to torture” another horrifying case of police brutality has emerged in New Mexico. Cops repeatedly sprayed a woman directly on to her vagina, to allegedly “punish” her. New Mexico law enforcement is known for their Hitlerian tactics, we’ve already seen them sodomize multiple individuals for routine traffic stops.…
… I bring this up not to detract from the misogyny that was at the heart of the killings, but to show how deep it goes: Rodgers’s hatred for women was inextricable from his hatred of Asianness, which he considered a mark of effeminacy, a lack of masculinity…. And Rodgers’s disdain for this supposed Asian lack-of-masculinity included a hatred for blackness, and other non-whiteness as well.
For some time now, misogynist extremism has been excused, as all acts of terrorism committed by white men are excused, as an aberration, as the work of random loons, not real men at all. Why are we denying the existence of a pattern?
… I make no apologies for the fact that this piece is full of rage. When news of the murders broke, when the digital world began to absorb and discuss its meaning, I had been about to email my editor to request a few days off, because the impact of some particularly horrendous rape threats had left me shaken, and I needed time to collect my thoughts. Instead of taking that time, I am writing this blog, and I am doing so in rage and in grief - not just for the victims of the Isla Vista massacre, but for what is being lost everywhere as the language and ideology of the new misogyny continues to be excused.
Why can we not speak about misogynist extremism - why can we not speak about misogyny at all - even when the language used by Elliot Rodger is everywhere online?We are told, repeatedly, to ignore it. It’s not real. It’s just “crazy”, lonely guys who we should feel sorry for. But as a mental health activist, I have no time for the language of emotional distress being used to excuse an atrocity, and as a compassionate person I am sick of being told to empathise with the perpetrators of violence any time I try to talk about the victims and survivors.
… I know for sure that just by writing this I will have exposed myself to more harassment, more threats, more verbal assaults. The comments below this piece will be stuffed, as they always are, with rank sexism, along with by a few brave souls trying to counter their arguments or maintain some pretence at tolerant, adult debate. I have clear memories of a time when I really looked forward to engaging with people who commented on my blog, even when we disagreed, when online politics was an exciting, dynamic space of living conversation. I remember it, and it’s in the cache, so it must have happened. But many young women at the start of writing and digital careers today have no such memories.
We have been told for a long time that the best way to deal with this sort of harrassment and violence is to laugh it off. Women and girls and queer people have been told that online misogynists pose no real threat, even when they’re sharing intimate guides to how to destroy a woman’s self-esteem and force her into sexual submission. Well, now we have seen what the new ideology of misogyny looks like at its most extreme. We have seen incontrovertible evidence of real people being shot and killed in the name of that ideology, by a young man barely out of childhood himself who had been seduced into a disturbing cult of woman-hatred.
Our society pits men against women at every turn. It teaches men that they are the natural better of women; that she belongs to him. That he is her ‘natural protector’ and therefore entitled to her body.
To be sure, many men will fight tooth and nail to defend the existence of these unequal social relations. For many men, this society truly is the best of all possible worlds from their vantage point, and they have little to gain and much to lose in the event that women win true social emancipation.
However, there are far too many other men who are themselves exploited and oppressed by this society and have every interest in seeing its downfall, and yet buy into the notion that their supremacy over women translates into their own liberation within the status quo; that their emancipation is predicated upon the oppression of women. To these men I say, what emancipation? What liberation? What grand set of conditions which prevail under the status quo are you defending?
If the oppression of women was necessary for your liberation, then why do you remain, under present social conditions, mired in poverty, ill health, low wages, police brutality, imprisonment, alienated and unfulfilled labor, war, environmental catastrophe, and a host of other cultural norms which suffocate you in a rigid cage of artificially-constructed “masculinity”?
No. To quote the great revolutionary socialist, Helen Keller, “Workingmen suffer from the helplessness of working women. They must compete in the same offices and factories with women who are unable to protect themselves with proper laws. They must compete with women who work in unsanitary rooms called homes, work by dim lamps at nite, rocking a cradle with one foot. It is to the interest of all workers to end this stupid, one-sided, one power arrangement.”
"The laws made by men rule the minds as well as the bodies of women. The man-managed state so conducts its schools that the ideals of women are warped to hideous shapes … Nearly all the opportunities, educational and political, that woman has acquired have been gained by a march of conquest with a skirmish at every post.
"We shall not see the end of capitalism and the triumph of democracy until men and women work together in the solving of their political, social, and economic problems, [and thereby] hasten the day when the age-long dream of liberty, equality and brotherhood shall be realized upon earth."
We truly need to destroy contemporary U.S. society in all of its wretchedness in order to create something better; just as the caterpillar must be destroyed to make way for the butterfly.
A society so horribly corrupted by a history and legacy of misogyny, racism, slavery, genocide, xenophobia, bigotry, inequality, and white male supremacy is fundamentally irredeemable. Humanity today has as little use for the prevailing institutions of capitalist society as the American slaves had for the politico-juridical infrastructure of the Antebellum South.
We must burn misogyny to the ground in the same way that slavery was burned to the ground by the likes of Sherman and Sheridan.
A much better is world possible than this Hell on Earth we call “modern civilization”. But it will not come about without the storm and stress of revolutionary rejuvenation; without a vicious and merciful onslaught on the very root conditions which make capitalist and white-male supremacy possible.
#YesAllWomen #YesAllThingsMustChange #YesAllOppression #YesWeNeedRevolution
Lest we forget, the vigilante misogynistic violence of people like Elliot Rodger is NOT an isolated incident. Just last year, a jury in Texas acquitted a man for the murder of a woman who refused to have sex with him.
The fact is, violent misogyny is actually structurally encouraged by a society which oppresses women at every turn and generally treats them as inferior to men.
A Texas jury acquitted a man for the murder of a woman he hired as an escort, after his lawyers claimed he was authorized to use deadly force because she refused sex.