#YesAllWomen Put Up With This Shit – Elliot Rodger, Misogyny, and Rape Culture

elliotrodgerElliot Rodger

 

On May 23, 2014, Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree in Isla Vista, CA, resulting in murdering six innocent people, wounding 13 more, and taking away his own life.

You’ve probably already heard of this story whether  you saw it on the news, on your newsfeed on Facebook, or on other blogs, but I wanted to take this opportunity and contribute to the conversation.

What most national news outlets don’t really mention or address is the fact that Elliot Rodger is a disturbing misogynistic, entitled asshole with a gun. Oh, I’m sorry, is that too insensitive of a title for you? Most media coverage of this event seriously write him off as a “madman” a “psycho” or a “lonely virgin.”

Um, excuse me, but when was it okay to dismiss this boy’s actions as insane? Whether or not he’s mentally ill is still left up for discussion, but THIS whole song and dance of “boy killing girl because girl refuses his sexual advances” is NOT new. In fact, it’s like one of those overdone pop songs on the radio that you hear at least every hour in one day. Everyone’s fucking tired of this shit.

According to thinkprogress.org, more than one in three women will experience rape, violence, and/or stalking at the hands of an intimate partner in their lifetimes. Eighty-five percent of intimate partner violence victims are women. THIS IS NOT A COINCIDENCE! This is our culture trying to tell us that there is some SERIOUS issues we need to work out.

Elliot Rodger is the by product of our patriarchal society that normalizes rape culture. Now, what is rape culture?

“Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture.  Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety,” (Marshall, 2013).

So because we live in a society that pretty much deems it OK to objectify women and treat them like some reward that men are entitled to have, we get people like Elliot Rodger who grow up with this toxic way of thinking. I viewed two of his videos that he uploaded on his YouTube channel before he went apeshit on this massacre, and I honestly couldn’t even finish a minute of them. This boy is seriously just fucked up in the head. And who do we blame? His parents? His roommates? His friends, if he had any?

We should ALL take part in the blame. Because like I said, he is the by product of our twisted misogynistic rape culture.

If this isn’t a wake up call to action, I don’t know what the fuck is. How many daughters, sisters, girlfriends, wives, friends, PEOPLE have to die in order for our society to realize that misogyny exists? Why is it so hard for people to admit that misogyny kills?

I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with people that don’t understand that gender is a social construct. WE have the power to change our attitudes about this world and how we see it. No one’s forcing you to follow some imaginary manifesto of how to live your life. YOU decide how to live your life. YOU have the power to change how you view things. And that means that these useless ideas of “what it means to be a boy” or “what it means to be a girl” is GARBAGE! Throw that shit away and write your own story. A story where everyone is deserving of love, happiness, and respect.

The only good thing that has risen from this terrible situation is the fact that women everywhere took to their social media outlets, outraged at all the injustice, and told their stories using the hashtag “#YesAllWomen.” I, myself, participated in this trend and DAMN – that felt so liberating. I highly encourage you to add your own Facebook status or tweet to the discussion. Trust me, this is a long battle that we have yet to win.

And if you’re a man, you can TOTALLY take part in that conversation! This isn’t some Girls Only Club and you can’t sit with us. You can add to the discussion too… as long as you’re an ally. If you’re wondering how you can become one, just stop and think. Think about how you would want your daughter to be treated. Think about how you want your mother to be treated. Think about how YOU want to be treated. Then read these stories and realize this is a reality that every woman endures. We don’t want to put up with this shit anymore than you don’t want to hear it.

Ignorance is not cute. Apathy is so not cool anymore. If you remain passive, you become part of the problem. You want to be strong? Then call that shit out when you see it and become part of the movement.

We get that #NotAllMen are like Elliot Rodger, but you know what? There’s too many of you who are.

A friend of mine once said, “You shouldn’t have to convince people that everyone is deserving of equality. That should be a basic fundamental right.”

I totally agree. So let’s keep that movement growing.

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Why it’s Cool to be a Feminist

Let’s be real – when you hear the word “feminist,” people like to run as far away as possible.

I’ve realized lately that ever since I’ve come out as a feminist blogger, guys don’t really hit me up anymore. Straight guys, to be specific. For the past week, I kept thinking why no guys would talk to me. I’m single, I’m not terribly ugly, and I’m a fun person with good vibes. What’s not to love?!

Then it hit me. I plaster the word “feminist” on all my social media outlets. And that’s my Achilles’ heel.

This compelled me to write a piece explaining myself and all the other feminists out there. We get a bad rep because people truly just don’t know what we do and why we do it. People just see the crazy, irrational, angry personas and think, “Oh hell naw, I ain’t getting near that.” Well, you SHOULD want to get near us. We’re compassionate, loving people who believe in equality for all.

Feminism means believing in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. (Straight up quoted that from Beyonce’s album. See, even Queen Bey knows what’s up!) That’s ALL it is. It means recognizing the power structures that exist in our society and challenging them to create structures that support everyone of all backgrounds. It means believing that anyone regardless of sex, gender, religion, and ethnicity deserve an equal chance to pursue happiness and liberty.

So, if YOU believe that, then voila! You’re a feminist! Yay, welcome to the club! And don’t be scared; you should be fucking proud to say you believe in equality.

I hear often from people that they don’t like the word “feminist” and prefer to be called “humanist” or “equalist.” Here’s why that’s toxic in itself. Humanism is rooted from the European Enlightenment. That is, privileged white European men sought to remake humans of the New World in their own image. (Messina-Dysert, 2013). Basically, it’s founded on patriarchal values that ignore all other gender and ethnic based injustices. Equalists, or egalitarianism, is rooted from the French and means that everyone should be of equal status. It means all humans should be treated equally and have equal opportunities. While that sounds fantastic and it is ultimately what we feminists want, it really dances around the belief that there IS gender inequality in the world. What that says to me is you don’t understand how patriarchy works. Egalitarianism and feminism go hand and hand, but feminism addresses that there IS an inequality that needs to be fixed. By saying you’re egalitarian, you deny that there’s any injustice going on. And real talk, that’s bullshit.

Feminism isn’t about hating men and stripping them of every ounce of power they have. It’s about allowing everyone else who isn’t a White male a chance at being treated with respect and equality. So yes, feminism does have the bias of women’s rights, but look at the history of this country – of this WORLD. Really, really look at it. If you still don’t see anything wrong, then I suggest you slap yourself. Because that’s some fucked up shit.

The fact that people don’t even want to be called “feminine” is toxic. It perpetuates this notion that displaying any sort of feminine characteristic is degrading and you should be ashamed of it. Are you starting to catch my drift? It’s not about “ermahgerd, women just want to be dominant and powerful! Onoz, what about teh mens!?” Well, what about them? They’ve had their story told over and over again. They’ve had their story told in history books, in literature, in movies,  in comic books, in politics, and in the media.

So again, I ask you, what about them?

It’s an unfair advantage they have and it has to stop. These existing power structures need to be dismantled in order to obtain an egalitarian culture.  It’s a long battle, but we can’t just give up. If we give up, we let all the strong women who dedicated their whole lives to advocating change die in vain. Their efforts can’t go unnoticed.

And if you’re a White male reading this and thinking, “Well, how the hell does this effect me? I’m totally on the winning side here.”

Indeed you are. This. my friends, is what we call White Privilege. It’s been debated a lot in the academic and media forums because of Princeton freshman Tal Fortgang’s essay that Time republished. If you’re white, you benefit from these existing power structures. That’s it. It’s a fact. No one would want to make this up. Trust me, we have better things to do with our time than sit here and make up concepts that put us colored people at a disadvantage.

So basically what I’m trying to say is that being a feminist means you’re a lovely human being that truly has good morals and beliefs. And I think that’s fucking awesome and cool.

It’s cool to be a feminist. I think women who are empowered by their knowledge of the world is so amazing. Guys, don’t be afraid of that. As Iggy Azalea said, “You should want a bad bitch like this.”

I’m a feminist because I believe in living in a world where my hard work and efforts will grant me the same success that a man’s would. I’m a feminist because I want to live in a world where terrorists won’t kidnap a bunch of girls and threaten them because they don’t believe women should have the right to an education. I’m a feminist because I want to live in a world where my daughters won’t be accused of being a slut if she expresses her sexuality in a way that doesn’t fit in a conventional mold.

It’s 2014. It’s time we make some changes around here.