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Why Elliot Rodger's misogyny matters

A chart posted by Elliot Rodger, giving his chilling spin on a manosphere meme depicting supposed female "hypergamy"
A chart posted by Elliot Rodger, giving his chilling spin on a manosphere meme depicting supposed female “hypergamy”

When a white supremacist murders blacks or Jews, no one doubts that his murders are driven by his hateful, bigoted ideology. When homophobes attack a gay youth, we rightly label this a hate crime.

But when a man filled to overflowing with hatred of women acts upon this hatred and launches a killing spree targeting women, many people find it hard to accept that his violence has anything to do with his misogyny. They’re quick to blame it on practically anything else they can think of – guns, video games, mental illness – though none of these things in themselves would explain why a killer would target women.

In the case of Elliot Rodger, who set out on Friday night aiming, as he put it in a chilling video, to “slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up, blonde slut” in a popular sorority house at the University of California, Santa Barbara, some Men’s Rights activists and other manospherians are doing their best to convince the world that misogyny had nothing to do with it.

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Video allegedly from mass killer in Santa Barbara: "If I can't have you, girls, I'll destroy you." [TRIGGER WARNING]

A mass shooting in Santa Barbara last night left seven dead, including the man suspected of being the killer. Local authorities say that this chilling video, titled Elliot Rodger’s retribution, “appears to be connected” to the shootings. It is a supremely disturbing real-life villain’s monologue in which a young man, evidently the killer, explains on the day before the massacre why he intends to kill: because women have rejected him.

As the person who sent this video to me this morning noted, it sounds almost like a parody of the misogynistic beliefs and rhetoric that I write about on this blog. His language and his melodramatic tone both echo the writings of many of those young men who consider themselves “incels.” His anger is the same anger we see from the rejected men who lash out with insults and threats on OkCupid when their often crude advances are turned down. He reminds me of every so-called “nice guy” who is inwardly seething with resentment born of sexual entitlement denied. He even, at one point, calls himself a “gentleman.” He also calls himself an “alpha.”

It is clear that his  resentment at women was stoked by what I call the “new misogyny” and by steeping himself in at least one online community that reaffirmed his exaggerated, unwarranted sense of victimhood. So far we have evidence that he was a commenter at PUAhate, a site ostensibly designed to critique PUAs but which has degenerated into a haven for misogynistic “incels” and angry trolls. I suspect we will find that he was also a reader of, or  a commenter at, some of the other sites I critique on this blog.

For those of you who cannot make it through the video — I found it very hard to watch — here is a transcript of what he said.

Hi, Elliot Rodger here.

Well… this is my last video. It all has to come to this.

Tomorrow is the day of retribution. The day in which I will have my revenge against humanity. Against all of you.

For the last 8 years of my life, ever since I’ve hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection, and unfulfilled desires. All because girls have never been attracted to me.

Girls gave their affection, and sex, and love, to other men but never to me.

I’m 22 years old and I’m still a virgin. I’ve never even kissed a girl.

I’ve been through college for two and a half years, more than that actually, and I’m still a virgin.

It has been very torturous.

College is the time when everyone experiences those things such as sex, and fun, and pleasure. But in those years I’ve had to rot in loneliness.

It’s not fair. You girls have never been attracted to me.

I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it.

It’s an injustice, a crime, because I don’t know what you don’t see in me. I’m the perfect guy, and yet you throw yourselves at all these obnoxious men, instead of me, the supreme gentlemen.

I will punish all of you for it. (laughs)

On the day of retribution I am going to enter the hottest sorority house of UCSB… and I will slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up, blonde slut I see inside there.

All those girls that I’ve desired so much, they would’ve all rejected me and looked down upon me as an inferior man if I ever made a sexual advance towards them while they throw themselves at these obnoxious brutes.

I will take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you.

You will finally see that I am in truth the superior one. The true alpha male. (laughs)

Yes, after I’ve annihilated every single girl in the sorority house, I’ll take to the streets of Isla Vista, and slay every single person I see there.

All those popular kids who live such lives of hedonistic pleasure while I’ve had to rot in loneliness for all these years, they’ve all looked down upon me every time I try to go out and join them. They’ve all treated me like a mouse.

Well now, I will be a God compared to you. You will all be animals. You are animals, and I will slaughter you like animals. I will be a God, exacting my retribution, on all those who deserve it.

And you do deserve it, just for the crime of living a better life than me.

All you popular kids. You’ve never accepted me, and now you’ll all pay for it.

And girls, all I’ve ever wanted was to love you, and to be loved by you. I’ve wanted a girlfriend, I’ve wanted sex, I’ve wanted love, affection, adoration, but you think I’m unworthy of it.

That’s a crime that can never be forgiven.

If I can’t have you, girls, I will destroy you. (laughs)

You denied me a happy life, and in turn, I will deny all of you life. (laughs) It’s only fair.

I hate all of you, humanity is a disgusting, wretched, depraved species. If I had it in my power, I would stop at nothing, to reduce every single one of you to mountains of skulls and rivers of blood, and rightfully so.

You deserve to be annihilated. And I’ll give that to you.

You never showed me any mercy, and so I will show you none. (laughs)

You force me to suffer all my life, and now I’ll make you all suffer.

I’ve waited a long time for this.

I’ll give you exactly what you deserve.

I will have more on this as the story develops. My heart goes out to the loved ones of all the victims.

Misogyny kills.

EDITED TO ADD: Elliot Rodger seems to have been a commenter on PUAhate, the anti-PUA message board that is as misogynistic and generally awful as the PUAs it critiques. PUAhate has taken itself offline, so all evidence of this may end up scrubbed. I added a paragraph about this.

I will keep updating  as I track down more information on this story. Please post anything you find in the comments as well.

EDIT 2: This will be a NO TROLLS thread. Anything gratuitously argumentative or less than respectful of the victims will be removed.