Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Toronto Van Attack: We "Continue to Find Any Reason for Violent Misogyny Besides Violent Misogyny"

While unfounded rumours that the attacker was a jihadist mushroomed across social media, the significance of his apparent affiliation with an online misogynist group has been shushed and spun out of focus. Almost 30 years after the École Polytechnique massacre, we must continue to find any reason for violent misogyny besides violent misogyny. 
It's vital that we keep feminist analysis central to the conversation surrounding the Yonge Street massacre. Why, when men tell us that hatred for women is the root of their violence, don't we believe them? The École Polytechnique murderer, the Isla Vista murderer, the Yonge Street killer: these were misogynists by their own evidence. If we refuse to look for the common denominator, if these events are always going to be framed in terms of the perpetrator’s mental health or childhood trauma (which, yes, I know, are also often factors), then we can't confront the radicalisation at the root of it all. 
Talking about the violent misogyny that is likely behind the Yonge Street massacre means delving into an online world that is so stupid and facile that it's difficult to take seriously.

The young man who has been charged with the murder of 10 pedestrians and attempted murder of 13 others in a van attack in Toronto reportedly posted a Facebook status chock-full of slang coined by hyper-misogynistic men online and the extremists who attempt to court them. 
The CBC and BuzzFeed have confirmed that the suspect had a message posted on his Facebook page that read: "Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt. 4chan please. C23249161. The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!"

In the same post, Minassian praised Elliot Rodger, who went on a killing rampage in Isla Vista, CA, in 2014 that Rodger described in a note as a "Day of Retribution" for his virginity, which he attributed to "the cruelness of women." The incel community often celebrates and discusses Rodger, and in his post, Minassian wrote, "All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!" 

Canadian law enforcement acknowledged in a Tuesday press conference that Minassian "is alleged to have posted a cryptic message on Facebook minutes before" he got into the vehicle. And Facebook confirmed to outlets including TPM that the since-deleted account belonged to the suspect. . . . 
[T]he connective tissue between self-identified "incels" and men's rights activists is a deeply misogynistic worldview that embraces physical and sexual violence against women. 
Minassian's purported Facebook post plays on these communities' tropes. 

Their sick glee was only exacerbated by the fact that most of the victims of the Toronto attack were women, including an 80-year-old grandmother who was an avid fan of the Toronto Blue Jays and Maple Leafs.

Incels—the online community of misogynists who self-identify as "involuntary celibate"—have flocked to support the man accused of killing 10 people with a van in Toronto on Monday. The sect of losers, which congregates on sites such as Reddit and 4chan, adopted Alek Minassian as a "new saint" after it was reported he posted about an "incel rebellion" and praised anti-woman UC Santa Barbara murderer Elliot Rodger shortly before the van attack. 

This week's massacre is terrifying, but can't be separated from the daily violence stemming from male entitlement. . . . 
If terrorism is violence used to force one's political views on people, then it's reasonable to ask why we don't consider gendered violence as a form of terrorism. 
Part of the problem, no doubt, is that it's so common for men to hurt and kill women to control them or punish them.

He's filling his administration, agencies, and the courts with activists who peddle junk science and lies about both contraception and abortion. . . . 
[A]nti-choice politics have become an indication of a broader political and cultural ideology—one that keeps women out of the public sphere and positions of power. Access to abortion care and contraception both conflict with this worldview. As the ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey affirmed, "The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives." Reproductive freedom allows women to control their own sexuality and lives, which for many seems a dangerous proposition.

There is a growing number of men, most of them young, who are radicalized online and are radicalizing each other online, who revel in dreams of violent retribution against women — for being women, for not submitting to these young men's every whim and desire, for not sleeping with them on command. At the heart of this violence is these men's belief that, because they are men, they are entitled: entitled to regard women as ripe fruit to be plucked from a tree any time they wish, their private parts to be grabbed with impunity. When they cannot have what they imagine they are entitled to, they lash out. 

But it is entirely disingenuous for us to pretend that violent misogny is a problem only of disaffected men who imagine they are entitled to everything in the world, including ownership and control of any woman they want.

This assumption is built into our culture in a foundational way, and is shouted with a megaphone by almost all religious groups in our country over and over.

Those same religious groups want these assumptions built into our political life — and they are now being very sucesseful at cementing them into our political life.

A sizable percentage of Americans would not vote for Hillary Clinton because she was a woman, and women's place is to be under and controlled by a man — not leading countries.

This, what Dawn Huckelbridge describes — this that is happening right now before our eyes in the U.S. — is violent misogyny, driven by twisted religion that seeks to control women's lives, all of our lives, as it lies about the scientific facts about human reproduction, contraception, etc.

This, which is happening because of our political choices in the U.S., is violent misogyny in which we are permitting select religious groups to assert their control over all of us, and to subjugate women to men.

Violent misogyny is not someone else, driving a van and mowing down women. Violent misogyny is us. 

No comments: