Saturday, May 31, 2014

Andrew O'Hehir on How Elliot Rodger Is All Men's Problem

What troubles me is the extent to which many men seek to ignore or deflect all conversation about the specific nature of Elliot Rodger’s pathology, along with the evident fact that many women see that pathology as a ubiquitous social and cultural problem. 
It’s one thing to conclude that access to guns and inadequate mental-health treatment were the most important factors in the toxic equation that fueled Rodger’s rampage, and that misogynistic ranting was the form of his crazy but not the substance. I don’t find that entirely persuasive, but it’s a reasonable position in itself. What I’ve encountered over and over again this past week on Twitter and comments forums and message boards is that opinion used as a weapon, angrily presented as an incontrovertible fact that should put an end to all this hysterical and irresponsible lady-talk. It’s a window-slammer, meant to terminate a conversation that threatens to stray into uncomfortable questions about misogyny, male entitlement and masculine identity. It’s another way of telling the girls to shut up. And fellas, we’ve done quite enough of that.

It’s another way of telling the girls to shut up. And fellas, we’ve done quite enough of that: God, yes. And it gets soooo old so quickly, that defensive, blathering and bleating mansplaining that just won't shut up and listen for a change.

Because it's so used to splainin' everything to everyone else from its bully pulpit.

As O'Hehir concludes,

All men are implicated in a culture of masculinity that allows such things to happen. It’s a culture that looks away from misogynistic crimes, or proclaims them to be isolated and untypical events rather than extreme examples of things that happen every day. It’s a culture that does not ask whether it’s our responsibility to love and nurture our sons and brothers such that they grow up knowing that women and girls are not the enemy, not an alien species, not vessels for their lust or displaced self-loathing or misguided veneration but complicated and wonderful and exasperating human beings not unlike themselves. Changing that culture won’t be easy. My dad taught me that a man always tackles the hardest tasks first.

And he's right

The graphic is Elliot Rodger's California driver's license photo, and is from this EMSWorld article.

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