Since Saturday morning, I've been watching the discussion about the UCSB shooting, its misogynistic motives, and the resulting fallout...both the feminist and anti-feminist reactions. One of the more interesting things is the #YesALLWomen trend on Twitter. Other feminists and social justice minded folks have been dismantling the ableist narrative that the shooter is just a "crazy" lone wolf (which is scapegoating and ignoring that his motivations were explicitly tied to misogyny.)
There's actually been a ton of great writing out there about it, digging in on how this incident is a symptom of problems with our rape culture, patriarchy, and the MRA mentality. Please give any of those things a Google, because I don't want to talk about what happened with the particular man in question...I want to talk about his defenders. The men out there who sympathize with this murderer.
That's what has been the most chilling for me; the male response that women should have just slept with him and none of this would have happened.
As is well known now, the shooter's manifesto video states that he's going to kill "blonde sluts" because he was a virgin who has been rejected. I can admit that your mind might, for just a moment, go to "If only he would have had a girlfriend, this might not have happened." Our brains always want to try to rationalize atrocities and find a solution, etc. But it only takes a couple further thoughts to realize that when you go down this path, you are wishing a woman would have become one of the 4,000 killed each year because of intimate partner violence, instead of a mass shooting.
That's not really a solution, is it?
Unfortunately, misogynists don't give a shit about the women involved and instead they truly believe that this man was entitled to women's bodies and relationships, and therefore he had been wronged. They feel bad for him. They think women are the problem. They blame the victims.
Nothing has made this more clear than a post going around on Tumblr, which is composed of comments people left on the shooter's YouTube video shortly after it went viral. I want to re-emphasize all the content notes and triggers if you choose to click through to that post or continue reading. Some of the things said include:
"I hope you women see this as a lesson to stop being so stuck up and give that one kid some pussy who never gets shit and you might save a life..." YouTube user SlippaE619
"Females needa start giving these weird n***** pussy." DylanSmith via Twitter
"See girls this is what you get for treating nice guys like shit." YouTube user Rodney JonesSome even went as far as to suggest that he should have just raped women. I wish I was making this shit up.
As I said on the comment that was submitted to FacebookSexism linked above, "Let’s be 100% clear, if your reaction to the news out of UC Santa Barbara is anything like what Dylan Smith said up there, you are not only an insensitive douche, you’re also a victimizing blaming, rape culture endorsing misogynist. Fuck off."
We can't pretend that the shooter or any of these people are isolated extremists who hate women. Many men are literally showing us how widespread these opinions are. We must understand these comments in the context of a society which views men as entitled to women's bodies and attention, such that when they don't get what they want, and they kill 6 people, they're still called a "nice guy."
This atrocity is all part of the misogynistic cultural narrative which cries about the "friend zone," as is evident from those comments. This is why I will never, ever stop writing about why this "small" stuff is problematic. The sum of all the "small" things (like the "friend zone," rape "jokes," slut shaming, etc.) is the misogynistic society we live in. It's a daily survival experience for us women. This isn't a fucking joke or a game. It's life and death.
I kind of can't believe I have to type this up, but apparently it needs to all be explicitly stated.
I'm really thankful that people ARE paying attention to the misogynistic roots of the UCSB shooting. But we must remember, these are not fringe opinions and this was NOT an isolated incident. It is yet another sad, scary bullet point on the list that is "women killed by men." How long will we let this continue before we, collectively, admit that we must critically examine what we are teaching boys and men? Are we going to acknowledge the hundreds of them who sympathize with the UCSB shooter, instead of his victims? Will we call them out? Will we say enough is enough? And if not now, when?
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