Sunday, June 1, 2014

Cultural Misogyny

Rejection has been a theme over the past week for good reason. Elliot Rodgers felt the need to gun down 6
people before turning the gun on himself because he was so often rejected by the opposite sex that he found it to be unfair and needed to punish those he thought were responsible for his unhappiness. He was rejected so often he became miserable, full of hate, and violent and decided the only way to right these wrongs was to take lives—to make people pay.

That’s tragic. It truly is. But, when it all comes down to it, rejection is not the real reason Rodgers committed the atrocious acts he did.

We’ve all been rejected at one time or another and many of us handle it well or somewhat well. But to dismiss this case as one where a mentally ill man couldn’t handle rejection completely ignores the underlying cultural issues at work that have been creating an antagonistic environment for women throughout history that continues, obviously, to plague us today. So, at face value, it may seem like this is a story about a lone mad man who couldn’t stand rejection and ultimately and tragically reacted with violence, but once you take a closer look at things, you being to see the sense of entitlement at work—an attitude that women can tell you is all too common in so many men with whom we have contact.

Rodgers said he wanted to kill women for never finding him attractive enough to fuck him and for ruining his
time at college. He wanted them to sleep with him but the fact that these women slept with other people made them sluts. It’s the double-edged sword issue that women have been facing for ages. If we’re sexually active, we’re sluts, but if we won’t sleep with someone, we’re prudes. It’s this cultural idea that we’re not in full ownership of our own bodies. Being in control of ourselves, doing what we want with who we want is such a foreign fucking concept that instead of being “allowed” to do what we want without commentary and with the same respect given to men in the same situations, we have people constantly policing our bodies and telling us what we should be doing with them.

To add to that, we’re expected to dole out sex to men who want to sex us without giving any thought to whether or not we’re attracted to the men in question.

No seriously. Think about it. Think about every fucking time you’ve heard the “friendzone” or heard a guy complaining that “nice” guys finish last…

In every single instance, if you really think about it, you have a man complaining that a female friend of his whom he attempted to hook up with through falsified niceties and friendship strategies had no interest in fucking or dating him. In essence, he cannot handle the fact that this person only thought of him as a friend (oh the fucking horror of actually being a friend to a woman) and was not sexually attracted to him. It is not a simple case of lack of attraction, it is now the fault of all women everywhere because we only want to fuck assholes who act like jerks and lie to us to try to get in our panties because we’re bitches.

But, wait…if this guy was putting on a bullshit act to be our friend just to try to get in our panties isn’t he the
asshole who lied to us? And we didn’t sleep with *him* so.... Kinda blows that theory right out of the water. It’s not seen that way though. All across media platforms the guy gets the girl. The hero gets his babe. The hook up always happens. In books. In television. In movies. Women are objects to be pursued not persons to be respected and certainly not people with whom to be platonic friends. Ultimately, we will come around, right, guys? We’ll jump on that dick before the end of the movie if you just push and push and push until we see the error of our ways. No means negotiate. “Let’s be friends” is a death sentence, and when it happens, it’s a reason to be angered and prove your manhood through namecalling and threats or through actual violence.

Or if you’re like my stalker, just keep on texting and tracking a girl down for going on 12 years even though she consistently ignores you. She’s bound to come around at some point.

Rejection sucks. It never feels great. There’s always a sting to it. But, the difference in feeling rejected and what Elliot Rodgers’ and many, many other men feel and believe is the idea that they’re somehow owed a woman’s affections--that the world owes it to them to bestow upon them the woman they want no matter how that particular woman feels about them. Rejection then turns into injustice and that attitude becomes wholly dangerous as we saw this past week and have seen numerous times before unfortunately.

The strong urge I have to add a not all men disclaimer in this piece to avoid the same bullshit I’ve experienced while talking about this on Facebook just goes to show how bad it’s gotten, too. We’re living in this world where women are consistently objectified and seen as conquests, where men feel justified in lashing out when a woman is not interested in being their plaything, and where seemingly decent guys feel the need to put their defenses up and scream and shout “not me” every time a woman attempts to share her experiences.

It has to stop. Women need to be heard so we can finally start addressing the misogynistic culture that
shapes people like Elliot Rodgers into murderers. We shouldn’t have to sleep with a man out of fear of being slaughtered or raped for saying no. We shouldn’t have to be afraid to go on a date or be approached by a man in a fucking parking lot. We shouldn’t have men trying to shut us up when we want to share what we’ve gone through and what other women go through. I was told before I wrote this that men don’t have it easy and that blaming certain actions on culture doesn’t address that. But, no one has an easy life. If you’re doing it right, it’s going to be a series of challenges and obstacles that help you grow. The problem right now is that we live in a culture where on top of the experiences we all have in life that challenge us to be stronger, women of all races and ages and sexual orientations face these unique-to-us situations that make life harder and scarier than it has to be and, at every turn, bringing about awareness on this issue gets shut down.

And that’s fine. I’ll just get louder.

Who’s with me?

This has been part of Sunday Confessions with More Than Cheese and Beer. The prompt was rejection. Check out hers and the rest of the contributors' posts! It's always fun to see how each person takes and interprets their posts. 


  1. Really thoughtful post. I never would've put together this weeks events with rejection. Admittedly, I pay less attention to that kind of stuff, but now that you point it out, I can see the connection. All I have is my personal experience to go on so, I'll ask this; do you think age has anything to do with how men 'accept rejection' or perceive whats 'owed' to them? I'm 31. Throughout my life I've had three serious boyfriends, 7 sexual partners, but have always gotten along well with males having quite a few platonic and non platonic meaningful friendships. Looking back, I'm trying to remember if there was ever any misogynistic behavior when it came to me, as a 'conquest' and either there wasn't, or I'm romanticizing it by not remembering. I wonder if this issue is more prevalent in today's younger men. Like you said, the media can shape that. Just a thought. ~Maura @ Play Pen; The Irreverent Parents' Guide

    1. I'm 33 and it happens to me constantly, so no I don't think it's just today's younger men. I have a number of platonic male friendships but given the opportunity each and every one would be willing to jeopardize it for the opportunity to get in my pants... I've had people threaten me because I didn't want the same relationship they wanted. I've been accused of only dating assholes even though I really don't do relationships at all just because I wouldn't have sex with someone. It's ongoing. It's a regular occurrence honestly.

  2. I feel like you needed to add the hashtag #yesallwomen to this post.

    I definitely agree we need to be louder, but I'd settle for being actually heard and understood.

    Many people take it as an offensive movement if a woman tries to share her story or experience rather than listening and learning from what unfolded and why it shouldn't.

    It's more common to hear of women learning not to be attacked or raped than to hear of men being taught to respect women and not rape them.

    That last line sounds silly and pathetic, yet it's silly and pathetic that rapes, abuse, attacks happen every day and are written off as 'acceptable violence'.

    (Acceptable in the sense that there seems to be little or no outrage but rather societies just tend to accept it as a cultural norm, an inevitable set of circumstances that will happen and always happen and there's nothing we can do about it.)

    ^sound like one of those annoying feminists don't I? Oh well, I'd prefer humanist.

    I'm not asking for stuff to change over night, because that is simply impossible but having an open mind goes a long way.

    Love the route you took with this.

    1. I'm perfectly fine with the feminist label. I proudly declare myself to be one despite all the negativity I get because I do so. Humanists are more about the value of human life through secular rationalistic thinking. And that's great. I like that movement, too. But, feminism is an aspect of that all to itself. I like to explain to men that feminism actually helps them in areas where they feel slighted--like in custody disputes--because those areas are largely based on outdated gender roles.

  3. I was kidding about "the annoying feminist" but rereading my comment it's not quite transparent-my apologies, no disrespect ever intended Jenniy.

    1. Don't worry about it. I had my serious pants on and went all on my soapbox even though I knew you were being funny about it. haha.