The recent spree is the latest example of how men and women are told differently on how sex is taught and how relationships are viewed.
Editor’s note: Emily Lindin is a graduate student at University of California, Santa Barbara, and the founder of The UnSlut Project, which works against sexual bullying and “slut shaming.” She is the creator of the upcoming “Slut: A Documentary Film.” Follow her project on Twitter and Facebook. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
(CNN) — A powerful reaction to women-hater Elliot Rodger’s killing rampage Friday night has been the Twitter hashtag #YesAllWomen, where women point out how misogyny and sexism damage them and restrict their lives. It emerged in response to the common, misguided argument that “not all men” are like that.
Of course not all men are like Elliot Rodger. But he is the product of a culture that condones and in many cases endorses the belief that if you are a “nice guy” — or a “supreme gentleman” as Rodger described himself — you are somehow entitled to sex with women.
Gun control, campus safety and mental illness are all issues raised by the massacre, but hatred of women concerns me most. I am the founder of The UnSlut Project, which fights “slut shaming” and sexual bullying in our schools and communities. I’m also a graduate student at University of California, Santa Barbara, where the rampage took place.
Rodger and others like him believe that sex is a reward to be earned, not a consensual activity between adults who respect each other, and that women are prizes to be won, not actual people with the agency to make decisions about their own bodies.
Nowhere is this mindset more obvious than in the reactions of some men who actually sympathize with Rodger. Many of these men are self-described Pick-Up Artists, or PUAs, who employ a series of strict rules in order to manipulate women into having sex with them, referring to those women as their “targets.”
Rodger allegedly participated in forums on the site PUAHate, which criticizes Pick-Up Artists not because of their obviously misogynist tactics, but because those tactics didn’t work for him and other PUAHate members. The site shut down Saturday morning with the message: “PUAHate is about to get a massive amount of press,” according to the watchdog Southern Poverty Law Center.
After the killings, the extent of misogyny in this community was revealed in the creation of a Facebook page called “Elliot Rodger Is an American Hero,” with the advice for everyone to “share your thoughts and pay your respects to Elliot Rodger here. Also, view this final message from our beloved hero,” which links to his videotaped rant, with commenters expressing solidarity with his desire for revenge against women. The page has since been taken down.
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