From our comrades at The Latin@ Asian Dialectic Blog.*
Much can be said about the situation surrounding Elliot Rodger. He wrote a manifesto over 100 pages that provides invaluable insight into his own logic, as well as the general logic of misogyny. I’ll find some other time to provide a more thorough analysis of this manifesto. For now, I’ll focus on what I see to be the central struggle arising from this event, primarily the fight against gender norms.
Let’s be blunt here. Rodger was a misogynist. There is no excuse or explanation to refute this fact. For those still needing proof I will simply leave behind this excerpt from his manifesto (You don’t have to read this long quote if you’re already convinced):
“Women are flawed creatures, and my mistreatment at their hands has made me realize this sad truth. There is something very twisted and wrong with the way their brains are wired. They think like beasts, and in truth, they are beasts. Women are incapable of having morals or thinking rationally. They are completely controlled by their depraved emotions and vile sexual impulses. Because of this, the men who do get to experience the pleasures of sex and the privilege of breeding are the men who women are sexually attracted to… the stupid, degenerate, obnoxious men. I have observed this all my life. The most beautiful of women choose to mate with the most brutal of men, instead of magnificent gentlemen like myself.
Women should not have the right to choose who to mate and breed with. That decision should be made for them by rational men of intelligence. If women continue to have rights, they will only hinder the advancement of the human race by breeding with degenerate men and creating stupid, degenerate offspring. This will cause humanity to become even more depraved with each generation. Women have more power in human society than they deserve, all because of sex. There is no creature more evil and depraved than the human female.
Women are like a plague. They don’t deserve to have any rights. Their wickedness must be contained in order prevent future generations from falling to degeneracy. Women are vicious, evil, barbaric animals, and they need to be treated as such.
In fully realizing these truths about the world, I have created the ultimate and perfect ideology of how a fair and pure world would work. In an ideal world, sexuality would not exist. It must be outlawed. In a world without sex, humanity will be pure and civilized. Men will grow up healthily, without having to worry about such a barbaric act. All men will grow up fair and equal, because no man will be able to experience the pleasures of sex while others are denied it. The human race will evolve to an entirely new level of civilization, completely devoid of all the impurity and degeneracy that exists today.
In order to completely abolish sex, women themselves would have to be abolished. All women must be quarantined like the plague they are, so that they can be used in a manner that actually benefits a civilized society. In order carry this out, there must exist a new and powerful type of government, under the control of one divine ruler, such as myself. The ruler that establishes this new order would have complete control over every aspect of society, in order to direct it towards a good and pure place. At the disposal of this government, there needs to be a highly trained army of fanatically loyal troops, in order to enforce such revolutionary laws.
The first strike against women will be to quarantine all of them in concentration camps. At these camps, the vast majority of the female population will be deliberately starved to death. That would be an efficient and fitting way to kill them all off. I would take great pleasure and satisfaction in condemning every single woman on earth to starve to death. I would have an enormous tower built just for myself, where I can oversee the entire concentration camp and gleefully watch them all die. If I can’t have them, no one will, I’d imagine thinking to myself as I oversee this. Women represent everything that is unfair with this world, and in order to make the world a fair place, they must all be eradicated.
A few women would be spared, however, for the sake of reproduction. These women would be kept and bred in secret labs. There, they will be artificially inseminated with sperm samples in order to produce offspring. Their depraved nature will slowly be bred out of them in time.
Future generations of men would be oblivious to these remaining women’s existence, and that is for the best. If a man grows up without knowing of the existence of women, there will be no desire for sex. Sexuality will completely cease to exist. Love will cease to exist. There will no longer be any imprint of such concepts in the human psyche. It is the only way to purify the world.”
I was grappling whether or not I should shorten this selection, or to just leave it as it is. I chose the latter because I felt it was insufficient to reduce this misogynist attitude by reducing it to neat one-liners.
Anyways, there is clearly a lot to analyze just from this passage alone, but again, as a reminder, I am focused here on what I perceive to be the most important struggle coming out of this situation, which is the need to destroy, ruthlessly, without mercy, constructs of gender norms.
Women Buy, Men Sell
One of the main themes arising from Rodger’s logic is that women are the holders of sex. They decide who to give it to. Conversely, this means men are the ones who “get” sex. Elliot did not do what he did simply because he was shunned or rejected. No. He did what he did because he was denied something he felt entitled to. As a man, women should give him sex. Now, where could Elliot come up with such ideas? Was he simply just disturbed? This idea doesn’t just come out of no where. All of us confront this reality in our daily lives. Why is it that women who are sexually active tend to be considered sluts whereas sexually active men are idolized? Ultimately, this is because women give sex so they can have sex as they please. Men, on the other hand, must struggle for sex, so sex becomes a conquest. However, to be a man it requires one to demonstrate conquest.
This becomes the source of Elliot Rodger’s narrative of the victim. As a man he feels entitled to sex. This is what society ingrains on our minds. But, as a man, Elliot felt unable to conform to that gender norm. It is not simply that he is being denied something he feels entitled to, it is also the fact that he feels unable to do whatever it is that he has to do in order to conform to that standard. Take a look at this passage:
“Why do things have to be this way? I’m sure that is the question everyone will be asking after the Day of Retribution is over. They will all be asking why. Indeed, why? That is the question I’ve had for everyone throughout all my years of suffering. Why was I condemned to live a life of misery and worthlessness while other men were able to experience the pleasures of sex and love with women? Why do things have to be this way? I ask all of you.
All I ever wanted was to love women, and in turn to be loved by them back. Their behavior towards me has only earned my hatred, and rightfully so! I am the true victim in all of this. I am the good guy. Humanity struck at me first by condemning me to experience so much suffering. I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t want this. I didn’t start this war… I wasn’t the one who struck first.”
Destroying misogyny in our society can not happen without also destroying the concept of what it is to be a man. This idea that men need to be dominant, that they need to be an “Alpha Male” is inseparable from misogyny. Secondly, we must all realize the germs that have infected Elliot, infect us too. Any man who says they can not see a part of himself in Elliot’s words is lying. Clearly not all of us go to the extent Elliot do, but to abstract and isolate Elliot from yourself is to downright be oblivious to the fact that you, yourself, grew up in the same society as Elliot. One of the most chilling moments I got from reading his manifesto were the parts where he benignly mentions growing up with Pokemon and the Nintendo 64.
To destroy such gender norms requires the most vigilant and conscious campaign from all of us who hope to see an alternative society one day. The ideology of our society is omniscient. We reproduce capitalism and oppression in our most personal spaces to the most public of spaces; in our most private relationships, to our most professional.
The Struggle Involves Men and Women, But Not Equally
Let’s not have this lead us to believe, however, that men and women have an equal fight. We have a common struggle, but the fight is not equal. Who are the ones facing the brunt of this violence? Women are. Who are the one’s enacting most of this violence? Men are. As a man, I’ve personally never felt unsafe walking through a city, regardless of how I was dressed or presented myself, of having to deal with an aggressive and unwanted sexual or romantic advance. Of course, these are not universal and rigid laws. Are there examples where many things that happen to women can also happen to men? Sure. Are there examples where women act in the way men do? Yes. But this is nowhere near the general case.
Men and women must work together to destroy these dangerous gender norms. Men, however, must realize the first step towards this is to help in the fight to defend women. This fight is already being carried on and led by many women. What’s missing is the vital support and active participation of men in realizing that this is also their struggle as well.
P.S. Please stop calling Elliot a white terrorist. He is half-white and half-Asian. I do not think it is a genuine effort to understand why this happened to simply conclude that he was white terrorist because… well, he is clearly half-white and half-Asian. Secondly, it is kind of odd (to put it nicely) to erase the fact that he is half-Asian in order to fit this white terrorist narrative.
Disclaimer: The LAD blog and podcast’s political views do not necessarily represent the views of La Voz/Voice.