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Dr. Helen of PJ Media tries to blame feminists for Elliot Rodger's rampage. So why did she once glorify an MRA much like Rodger?

Memorial in Santa Barbara
Memorial in Santa Barbara

Leave it to Dr. Helen – psychologist, right-wing blogger, friend of A Voice for Men – to come up with what has got to be the most transparent attempt to distract public attention from the obvious parallels between the misogyny of spree killer Elliot Rodgers and the misogyny of the Men’s Rights movement she supports.

In a blog post on PJ Media, she suggests half-seriously that “If Pick-Up Artists Are Guilty,[of inspiring Elliot Rodger] Then So Are the Feminists.”

The good Doctor starts by accusing Slate’s Amanda Hess of blaming pickup artists for Elliot’s rampage. Her proof? Several passages from Hess in which Hess makes very clear that she is not blaming PUAs – or the anti-PUAs at PUAhate — for the deaths in Santa Barbara, or even for Rodger’s misogyny.

Dr. Helen then quotes eminent mental health expert “JudgyBitch,” who wrote of the case:

The fact is that Elliot’s outburst does indeed highlight an issue of central importance to the MHRM – the inadequate, almost non-existent treatment of mental health problems for young men.

Well yes, speaking as someone who’s been dealing with depression most of my life, I agree that mental health services could be improved for young men. And old men. And everyone else.

What difference this would have made in Elliot Rodger’s case, though, is unclear. Though he’s being routinely described in the media and in online discussions of the case as “mentally ill,” “freaking nuts,” a “deranged lunatic,” and numerous other variations on this theme, we don’t actually know much for sure about his brain chemistry; claims that he “suffered from extreme paranoia and heard voices” haven’t been confirmed.

In any case, Rodger himself wasn’t suffering from a lack of mental health support. He had been treated by several therapists, and was seeing a psychiatrist. He chose not to take the meds he was prescribed.

What we do know is that Rodger was a young man driven by intense, murderous misogyny, and by what sociologists Rachel Kalish and Michael Kimmel call “aggrieved entitlement” (pdf here), a personality trait he shares in common with a number of young spree killers in recent years. It’s also pretty much a default personality trait for Men’s Rights activists – but we’ll get to that in a moment.

First, let’s return to Dr. Helen, who’s just getting to the main point of her post: The Blaming of the Feminists.

Perhaps it is the feminists and their supporters who block funding and education going to boys’ and men’s issues that are to blame. Case in point? Warren Farrell tried to give a talk in Toronto about suicide in young men and other topics and was accosted by nasty feminists who did not want him to speak.

Now, I don’t support shutting down lectures of those I disagree with, and I think the protestors who shut down Farrell’s lecture not only acted in an unprincipled way but also, unintentionally, provided the Men’s Rights movement with the greatest recruitment tool it’s ever had.

That said, the protesters didn’t shut down Farrell’s lecture because they opposed mental health funding for men and boys. They shut it down because Farrell has, in the past, offered creepy apologias for date rape and for incest – including the sexual abuse of underage boys and girls by their parents.

Indeed, in a notorious interview he gave about his research exploring the supposed “positive” side of incest in the 1970s, Farrell told Penthouse magazine that most of the boys he studies actually enjoyed being abused by – sorry, participating in incest with – their mothers.

The author summarized Farrell’s claims:

Mother-son incest represents 10 percent of the incidence and is 70 percent positive, 20 percent mixed, and 10 percent negative for the son. For the mother it is mostly positive. Farrell points out the boys don’t seem to suffer, not even from the negative experience.

So, yeah, the man Dr. Smith is holding up as a compassionate hero for boys, the man who essentially invented the Men’s Rights movement we know and don’t love today, has argued publicly that boys not only aren’t harmed by sexual abuse, but that most of them like it.

I’m not sure the men and boys of the world need this brand of “compassion.”

But this is not the only thing about Dr. Helen’s post that is deeply hypocritical.

Rodger’s murders were clearly driven by “aggrieved entitlement.” He believed he deserved a “beautiful blonde girlfriend,” and that the world had wronged him by not giving him one. And so he set out to take his “retribution” upon the girls who had rejected him – as symbolized by the “blonde sluts” of the sorority he targeted – and upon the world at large.

As Kalish and Kimmel write,

What transforms the aggrieved into mass murderers is also a sense of entitlement, a sense of using violence against others, making others hurt as you, yourself, might hurt. aggrieved entitlement inspires revenge against those who have wronged you; it is the compensation for humiliation. Humiliation is emasculation … For many men, humiliation must be avenged, or you cease to be a man.

Like virtually all spree killings by young men driven by “aggrieved entitlement,” Rodger’s rampage was also a suicide; he ended it with a bullet in his own head. Kalish and Kimmel would define this as “suicide by mass murder,” a way for aggrieved young men to use their own suicides to reaffirm their masculinity and take revenge upon their supposed tormenters.

The trouble is, even while Dr. Helen condemns Rodger’s murders, and tries to blame feminists for them, she herself has joined many other Men’s Rights activists in glorifying a man who attempted something very much like a “suicide by mass murder” himself.

I am talking, of course, about Thomas Ball– an angry MRA, estranged father and admitted child abuser – who several years ago set himself aflame on the steps of a New Hampshire courthouse, leaving behind a manifesto urging fellow MRAs inspired by his suicide to start firebombing courthouses and police stations, acts of terrorism which he admitted quite plainly could lead to deaths.

So what did Dr. Helen have to say about this manifesto, which among other things contained helpful tips on how to make effective Molotov cocktails? On her blog, she waxed poetic:

His statement is not the ramblings of a madman, it is the mission of a warrior in some sense.

Mr. Ball’s death should serve as a wake-up call to the men and their supporters in this country to continue to fight for equal rights in the area of marriage and family law.

Like Rodger, Thomas Ball was driven by a sense of aggrieved entitlement. Like Rodger, Thomas Ball hoped for a “Day of Retribution” in which his enemies would die violent deaths.

Unlike Rodger, he did not kill anyone else himself; instead, he hoped that others would do the killing for him. But the impulse behind Rodger’s manifesto was largely the same. He sought to fight what he considered a grave “injustice” through violence.

And Men’s Rights activists turned him into a martyr. A Voice for Men posted his manifesto – complete with its calls to firebomb government buildings – in its “activism” section for several years; it was finally removed only after the Boston Marathon bombings brought media attention back to the issue of domestic terrorism. The theme song for AVFM’s flagship radio show contains an “invocation” celebrating Ball as a fallen hero and declaring that “his death will not go in vain.”

No, the Men’s Rights movement didn’t cause Rodger’s rampage; there’s no evidence that he ever even came into contact with it, though he was clearly steeped in misogynstic online subcultures like those of PUAhate. But there are a frightening number of MRAs who think a lot like Rodger. And that is far more worrying.

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daintydougal
daintydougal
6 years ago

@ brooked
I know right?! It’s very peculiar. As if you’d have to be systematically brainwashed to believe that women are human and abuse isn’t very good.
The mrm seems to consist of the opposite.

historophilia
historophilia
6 years ago

Yeah and the whole “if only he had access to mental health care!” thing is a massive red herring in this particular case because he DID have mental health care. He had therapists and was prescribed medication (which he refused to take). He had the best possible mental health care. More therapists or more drugs wouldn’t have stopped him committing these murders.

cloudiah
6 years ago

It’s a lot easier for some people to empathize with male child abusers who’d rather forego seeing their own child rather than attending some anger management classes… After all, those abusive men are still human, unlike women.

Ally S
6 years ago

“Manarchist”? Lol, you guys are deeply ignorant but you sure have a great creativity for buzzwords.

It’s not a buzzword. It’s a completely accurate description of you. Literally everything about your political views – from your terribly misinformed interpretations of second-wave radical feminist texts that all stem from a dudebro-ish contrarian attitude to your pretentious, try-hard anti-feminist/womanist nonsense about “the system” – constitutes a manarchist mindset.

You’re the ones defending the system as it is, the one who’ll want to bring down this system will fight you but you can pretend that you are overthrowing systems of power by parroting what your professors teach you in your university you pay dozen of thousands of dollars to attend.

My introduction to anarchism and radical politics was never inspired by a professor. I took some relevant classes, but overall I formed my own views through my own readings – and not just feminist/womanist philosophers, mind you. I also know plenty of anarchist feminists who don’t, in fact, have a university education but know a shitload more about oppression and institutions of power than you ever will. Funny how the assumption that we anarchist womanists and feminists only gain their understanding of oppression through university curriculum happens to also be very classist.

Ally S
6 years ago

@scott1139

Is it okay for, a white man, to admire certain WoC who are womanists and the ideas they’ve created? I’m thinking yes, but I wanted to be sure.

To give an example: I think the author of *** Lair is an amazing person, and that her ideas are brilliant. I took out the first word because I don’t want to risk sending any more abusive people her way. She gets so much shit already… 🙁

It’s fine for white male allies to be appreciative of womanist thought. That’s part of being an ally. As long as that appreciation doesn’t turn into some form of fetishization, you’re in the clear.

Ally S
6 years ago

@WhatIsThisGravitasOfWhichYouSpeak

Personally, I prefer Kropotkin, but anyway.

Me too. But my favorites are Errico Malatesta and Emma Goldman.

Also, hi!

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
6 years ago

@Auggz,

She is trash

Can we please not refer to people as “trash”? Her ideas are trash, sure, but this level of dehumanizing makes me really uncomfortable.

BlackSphinx,

Gods, people will just say anything to avoid admitting this was a gender-based hate crime won’t they?

This is even worse IMO: she’s admitting that it’s a gender-based crime, but trying to spin it so men are the real victims.

meme,

The only thing worse than a male misogynist is a self-hating female who sells out her sisters in order to try and get a ticket into the boy’s club. Disgusting. Not worthy of being called a woman. Or human.

Holy shit, no.

@Thread, anyone else feel like brz’s tl;dr defense of Thomas Ball merits an email to David? I tend to ignore him because he’s so goddamn boring, but IMO that was worth a smack with the banhammer.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

IMO, Brz has been overdue for a meeting with the banhammer.

Ally S
6 years ago

If David bans Brz today I will eat ice cream in celebration. No joke.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
6 years ago

BRZ,

accepted to be treated like a criminal because he once slapped his daughter three times

He was treated like a criminal because that is a crime!

The guy isn’t my hero but I empathize with him.

Do you empathize more with the child-hitting part, or the part where he made people watch him commit suicide to make a political point?

You’re the ones defending the system as it is, the one who’ll want to bring down this system will fight you but you can pretend that you are overthrowing systems of power by parroting what your professors teach you in your university you pay dozen of thousands of dollars to attend.

“You guys are deeply ignorant with your college educations which BTW undermine all your arguments because college is expensive”. You can’t be for real, right? This is an extended performance piece, isn’t it?

@Gravitas,

And then proceeded to not do that for 10 years, refusing to deal with the courts in any way, shape or form, beyond filing a suit with Monadnock Family Services for what he considered improper conduct on their behalf in telling his wife to call the police or they would (Apparently they get a fee from the courts for each case referred. See; corruption). He never attempted to seek help, never used his situation to call attention to what he perceived as the problem in the media, nothing. He did nothing but insist the courts were wrong, and refused to meet their requirements.

Yeah, see, shit like this makes it utterly unsurprising that he chose self-immolation over anger management. I (like many women, like many other people) have dealt with men like this before. They’re all rage and insecurity, and react to even mild criticism with a combination of aggression and denial that they did anything wrong. The whole world is out to get them, it’s so unfair, etc.

I had the misfortune of sharing a building with one of these guys when I first moved out on my own. My first week there, I politely asked him to turn down the music he was blasting, for which I was rewarded with screaming and threats for hours. He would occasionally go on screaming rants (sometimes neighbors would call the cops over it), because the n***ers and k*kes got him fired and his “fat pig” neighbor *waves* got him in trouble with the landlord and the f*gs across the street got him in trouble with the cops, and he may have been yelling to the whole neighborhood that he wanted to get drunk and hit someone with his car, but only because the whole world was just so unfair to him.

WhatIsThisGravitasOfWhichYouSpeak
WhatIsThisGravitasOfWhichYouSpeak
6 years ago

Cheers very much, Ally S! Nice to be here and I look forward to meeting sex worker penguins to hear about their life-experience whilst drinking flavoured bottled water in the area of scented candles!

Ally S
6 years ago

I’m glad you have fully accepted matriarchal indoctrination. Join us as we literally act like oppressors of men by asking them to respect our boundaries.

Nitram
Nitram
6 years ago

VERY good point histrophilia. Can’t blame access the mental health services or even a lack thereof. I am, however concerned this is going to result in “the therapists were incompetent!” And turn the dialog down that ridiculous path.

sparky
sparky
6 years ago

What is it with Brz and burning things?

What is it with the insistence that we must empathize with men who do violent things?

emilygoddess: Yikes, what an awful neighbor!

Wetherby
Wetherby
6 years ago

Yeah, being calling names by you guys is a good signal that I might be good at being a decent human being. It’s not sufficient though.

It’s certainly not sufficient, because you haven’t posted any evidence that you’re a decent human being and a great deal that suggests the exact opposite. Your willingness to lie and dissemble in the face of well-established facts about your hero Thomas Ball, for instance.

WhatIsThisGravitasOfWhichYouSpeak
WhatIsThisGravitasOfWhichYouSpeak
6 years ago

It was tough to accept, but luckily I’m neither biased nor fecking stupid, so I proved an easy target for the liberal-fascist-communist feminists. On with the jackboots! MWAHAHAHAHA

Wetherby
Wetherby
6 years ago

@genderneutrallanguage

He was receiving help for a mental condition, but clearly not appropriate levels of help or this wouldn’t have happened. So how is this not a failing of mental health services? The therapist committed malpractice by not having him committed.

What evidence was available to the therapist at the time to justify the very significant step of having him committed? The “manifesto” wasn’t made available to anyone until the day of the murders, and I doubt he said “Oh, by the way, I fantasise about killing women all the time”.

“Malpractice” is a serious accusation – indeed, potentially libellous if the therapist in question can be identified – and such accusations demand substantial supporting evidence in order to justify them. Please produce some.

Shaenon
6 years ago

The guy isn’t my hero but I empathize with him.

Why do you empathize with him and not the toddler he beat up?

Why do you empathize with this newest spree-killing asshole and not the people he killed? Or the people he threatened and attacked before going on his rampage?

How did your personal identity get so wrapped up in perceiving yourself as a Poor Nice Guy the Bitches Don’t Appreciate that you’ll identify with child abusers and mass murderers as long as they complain that the bitches don’t appreciate them, either?

I don’t get it at all.

enhancedvibes
enhancedvibes
6 years ago

@brz

TL;DR – word salad. Tunisia example NOT aggrieved entitlement.

Also, go fuck yourself.

__________________________________________________________

I am sorry if this is OT, but MRAs bring up the boys in education thing A LOT. I have a very diff slant on this, as my father was an educator, and will try not to be too verbose.

The change in the way we started teaching our children had nothing to do with feminists as it largely started in the 80s – via Multiple Intelligences. I believe learning about MI is part of the degree curriculum for those studying to be teachers in college. MI in short: diff people learn in diff ways – parallel in education thus the form of teaching should not solely be through lecture and note taking, but through collaboration, hands on learning, etc.

The whole feminization of grade school (which is usually what they mean) is non-existent. Now, there is some study that concluded that women teachers were more likely to include behavior in their grade and thus graded boys lower because they were more likely to act out, but I’m pretty sure ALL elementary school report cards included behavior on them since mine did in the 80s. Behavior is an issue to be worked on, in the home. The problem these days is that boys are NOT receiving proper discipline at home, combine that with immense peer pressure of being forced into the “act like a man” box all the time.

I am also not a fan of the over prescribing of meds but if the kid did not have a chemical imbalance ADHD drugs would not work. I am ADHD and stupidly once in high school my friend was all, hey snort this, what is it, a crushed up ritalin, ok I’ll try but I hate snorting things, and…..nothing. Never snorted anything again either.

Whenever the issue is brought up about boys expected to behave like girls and sit still I think, so, this is a new thing? Students dont understand they have to sit still when asked and give the teacher or whoever is speaking their attention? When did this change? Do they act out in church? I doubt it. That is why I tend to blame poor parenting, which seems to be getting worse as more and more parents get called into school for discipline issues with the “my kid’s shit dont stink” attitude. It is almost as though parents are increasingly teaching a lack of respect for others and for authority to their children and this is something we as a culture need to work on.

(ok cant write without being verbose, my apologies!)

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

He burned himself alive after having lost his job and facing jail sentence because he was unable to pay child support.

A man faced consequences for choosing to abuse his child and was expected to pay for the upbringing of the child he chose to father? Oh no! Human rights violation!

How much do you want to bet that Brz opposes welfare, food stamps, and subsidized child care because women should just keep their legs shut if they can’t afford to raise their kids?

Stevie
Stevie
6 years ago

I lost BRZ when he dived head first into the special place in hell for bad anarchists; yesterday it was Jesus, today it’s the geography of hell. I find myself pining for the good old fashioned sort of troll who left out the theology and just relied on being offensive…

jenninsb
jenninsb
6 years ago

@brz: I didn’t mean to derail this conversation.

Not sure if I can say “Liar, liar, pants on fire” without making it about Thomas Ball…

Stevie
Stevie
6 years ago

Enhancedvibes

Most research suggests that in mixed sex schools boys receive a disproportionate amount of time and attention from their teachers, notwithstanding the fact that the teachers perceived themselves as giving a disproportionate amount of time and attention to girls. It is for this reason that girls in single sex schools do far better academically than girls in mixed sex schools; equally, boys do far better in mixed sex schools than single sex schools.

Unsurprisingly this research is not exactly welcome in MRA land, but then science in general isn’t welcome in MRA land…

contrapangloss
6 years ago

Stevie! Could you link that study? Or find the journal? It sounds well worth a read and a bookmark.

Wetherby
Wetherby
6 years ago

My wife and I are strongly tempted to send our daughter to a single-sex school for this reason. Not least because my wife was also educated at a single-sex school, which gave her an intellectual confidence that she’d lacked up to then.

bekabot
6 years ago

Dr. Helen of PJ Media tries to blame feminists for Elliot Rodger’s rampage.

1. Well, that was only a matter of time, and

2. It didn’t take long.

Stevie
Stevie
6 years ago

Well, in the States the 1993 study by the Sadkers is the one most usually cited: Failing in Fairness: How America’s Schools Cheat Girls. The teachers in question weren’t, on the whole, deliberately discriminating against girls; they were simply reflecting the society which surrounded them.

There’s loads of stuff in Britain too; I went to an all girls school and my daughter went to an all girls school, because the academic results were, and are, far better and gender stereotyping didn’t kick in. My daughter did Physics, Chemistry, Biology and History at A-level; she wanted to go to medical school and that is hugely competitive so she needed really good grades. It also let her study a subject for her own interest; she’s fascinated by history, and in an all girls school it was much easier to say ‘I want to study it because it is interesting’ than in a coed, because in a coed it would have been seen as ‘not truly interested in science because she’s a girl and wants to study history as well’.

Forgive me for not writing further tonight; it’s a fascinating topic but I have a hospital appointment tomorrow morning and the joys of the London rush hour are not for the sleep deprived…

contrapangloss
6 years ago

Thanks, Stevie! Sleep well, and I hope only good things happen on the road and at your appointment.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
6 years ago

Even if boys are being “disadvantaged” in U.S. schools, it turns out it’s not hurting them in the long term.

Suzy
Suzy
6 years ago

MRAs really like to complain about child support. You have to be the dumbest person in the world to think that the average monthly child support (430 dollars) is enough to raise a child. Lolololololol

What about the parents who have to sacrifice their careers and a huge amount of their time to raise the kids AND make money to raise them? Because if you think that 430 dollars a month is nearly enough and that OHHH THE POOR MENZ who don’t want to take even the slightest.responsibility, you should step in the shoes of the primary caregiver and actually see who’s the one who has it BAD.

They also act as if mothers who don’t have custody don’t pay child support. On top of that, women aren’t even given equal pay and occupy the lowest paying jobs, so paying for child support in a lot of cases is A LOT TOUGHER for women.

Idiots.

hrovitnir
hrovitnir
6 years ago

Wetherby | May 27, 2014 at 4:51 pm

My wife and I are strongly tempted to send our daughter to a single-sex school for this reason. Not least because my wife was also educated at a single-sex school, which gave her an intellectual confidence that she’d lacked up to then.

I went to a single sex high school (my own choice – most of the schools in the area were single sex, and basically chose it because my friends were going there).

My friends and I always had the theory that there should be mixed gender schools with segregated classrooms (for bigger subjects – we had to go to the boy’s school to do things like metalwork. Hence I didn’t do it. 🙁 )

I know that I never fit in especially well at a girl’s school, though I was never bullied. But as soon as I started spending time with our brother school for the play we did together I made friends, and friends I felt more relaxed and able to be myself around.

My trying-to-escape-gender feels wrt schooling is for the main subjects where you already have two streams you could have two approaches to teaching and let kids choose what they’d prefer. You know how people are always going on about how “boys learn differently”? Well, people learn differently from one another, how about we try a bit of diversity.

Not actually helpful for choosing schools in the current reality, but when it comes to a teenager, she will probably have her own opinions on what would work for her.

pecunium
6 years ago

Not worthy of being called a woman.

Not acceptable. She is a woman. A lousy person, but that doesn’t mean she stops being a woman.

pecunium
6 years ago

BlackSphinx: And then this person is trying to blame the shooting on feminists by claiming feminists, what, have nationally defunded mental health services by blocking one hateful man from speaking at a single event?!

Better… women in a different country protested an event and that ended health care for men in the US.

scott1139
scott1139
6 years ago

It’s fine for white male allies to be appreciative of womanist thought. That’s part of being an ally. As long as that appreciation doesn’t turn into some form of fetishization, you’re in the clear.

Oh, okay, cool. Thank you. 🙂

moldybrehd
6 years ago

Better… women in a different country protested an event and that ended health care for men in the US.

I was wondering about that. Guess it’s the power of the hivemind?

moldybrehd
6 years ago

Plus, the protest happened decades after the budgets for mental health care in both countries were cut back.

OMG, we has a TARDIS?!?!?!

oogenhand
6 years ago

Reblogged this on oogenhand.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

I don’t even…I thought I patched the holes in my mosquito netting, and yet I hear brzzzz’ing…

So much BS from Brz and GNL (big surprise there), so much of it already covered, I guess I’ll go for the “should’ve had him committed” part.

Sans an imminent threat to yourself or others, you pretty much can’t be committed against your will. This is a good thing. It means that if people like my crazy self have competent psychs, we can openly discuss being sorta maybe kinda suicidal without worrying about getting a 3+ day vacation in the psych ward. (Nobody get me started on incompetent psychs and malpractice, at least I may not have to see her again!)

On the side I’m not familiar with, I imagine it would also allow people who’re afraid they could maybe hurt someone to discuss that and deal with it. Or, related to the Ball topic, let people with serious anger management issues get help without being committed when they say sometimes they just want to kill someone.

In short, committing people who might maybe be homicidal would also mean committing people who might maybe be suicidal, which would not be good for the already huge pressure on men not to seek psych care and be seen as weak.

Is the US mental health system fucked? I could rant all day. Is loosening the involuntary commitment laws the answer? Noptopus.

House Mouse Queen
6 years ago

I didn’t mean to derail this conversation, the one where you once again attempt to frame mras as abusers or whatever because you have no rational argument to oppose to them,

Yes you did. Now shut the fuck up.