Misogyny in a Five-Item List

By this point you’ve probably heard all about Elliot Rodger and his misogyny-fueled killing spree in Santa Barbara last weekend. It’s sparked a lot of discussion around the interwebs about all sorts of issues relating to feminism, the “men’s rights” movement, and mental illness. I have a lot of thoughts about all these things, but I think the best way to tackle this is in a five-item roundup of information.

  1. Let’s make no mistake: Rodger’s motivation wasn’t mysterious in the least. Prior to the events in Santa Barbara, he wrote a 141 page manifesto about his hatred for women. And why he hated women wasn’t a mystery, either: he felt women owed him things they weren’t giving him: sex, a date, whatever. Here’s an article with more thoughts on misogynist extremism.
  2. The phrase “not all men” needs to be immediately removed from our vocabulary. It’s insulting, unnecessarily defensive, absolutely unproductive, and derails these conversations that need to be happening. Here is a wonderful article that explains why in better words than I have. Here is another article about the #YesAllWomen hashtag movement and how discussions of women’s issues get derailed.
  3. Far too often, trans women are left out of the discussion of misogyny. Even worse, there are times when discussions of misogyny are used specifically to exclude trans women from women’s issues. This came up on my Facebook feed a couple of days ago:

    (For those who are unaware, Gender Identity Watch is a hate group run by Cathy Brennan.) This is so wrong, on so many levels. But the largest point I want to make here is that transmisogyny is misogyny, and violence against trans women hurts all women.

  4. Read the posts in the #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter. Particularly if you’re a dude who’s wondering what the big deal is. This is real life for women Every. Single. Day. Notice the attempts at division and derailment. And don’t you DARE say anything about how the women making those posts should be nicer, or less angry, or more polite. Fuck respectability politics. Shut up and listen.
  5. I have been struck this week by the immense amount of privilege I have gained as I more and more frequently am read as male. I am going to do my best to leverage that privilege for good, to use my voice where women’s voices aren’t getting through, and to SHUT THE FUCK UP AND LISTEN when women are talking. This Robot Hugs comic about privilege has been on my mind a lot this week. This one, too.

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