June 2, 2014

Misogyny Is Not Mental Illness

Posted in Current Events, hate crimes, Men's role in sexual assault, Popular Culture, privilege and oppression, Rape Culture, Uncategorized, Victim Blaming at 8:39 pm by sacetalks

Written by Cynthia

We can’t write the Isla Vista killer off as “just another crazy person”. First and foremost, this is a cruel disservice to people living with mental health disabilities, who are actually far more likely to be victims of violent crime than its perpetrators. Yes, Elliot Rodger saw a therapist. But, by his own admission, that’s not why he killed and injured people. He did so because he believed he was entitled to women’s bodies and was enraged that they didn’t see it his way.

What’s more, he expressed these ideas in multiple Internet forums where they went utterly unchallenged. Some of those forums are even devoted to promoting such hatred. They’re reinforcing a deeply toxic concept of manhood that hurts everyone involved.

Misogyny is the issue here, not mental illness. But it’s not just present on the forums Rodger haunted; as PZ Myers puts it, “[I]t’s not just MRAs and PUAs that spread that poison. Every politician and media blowhard who bargains away women’s rights, who dismisses efforts to correct economic inequities, or patronizingly decides that they must manage women’s lives for them, is polluting the atmosphere further.”

The #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter (so-called as a response to the frequent cry “Not all men” that often reframes issues of violence against women to be about men) showcases these issues, too, as people relate stories of misogynist violence and misogynists attempt to commandeer the tag by posting vitriol. Also on Twitter, Melissa McEwan sums up the problem with pointing at mental illness as the cause of this mass murder: “Dismissing violent misogynists as ‘crazy’ is a neat way of saying that violent misogyny is an individual problem, not a cultural one.” Indeed: if Elliot Rodger was sick, then society itself is sick.

What’s the cure? Continuing to challenge the idea that anyone is entitled to access another person’s body. Continuing to reinforce that women are not prizes earned by accumulating possessions or currying favour. Continuing to, as this mom did in this fantastic post, teach our children this lesson.

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