I’m supposed to be packing; my movers come tomorrow and there’s SO much left to be done. But packing in solitude means that I have plenty of time to think, and while I normally have random ideas and blog posts writing themselves in my head on the reg, I just have to actually sit down right now and get this one out while it’s fresh in my mind and fresh in yours.
There is a hashtag trending on Twitter — #YesAllWomen. It’s a variety of Tweets talking about the wide-ranging things women face every day as a matter of course; for having the audacity to possess a vagina. Cat-calling; worrying about being raped; not being paid the same amount as a man in the same position; actually being raped or groped or assaulted or being the victim of sexual harassment; being afraid to report it because we think no one will believe us; reporting it and having no one believe us; reporting it and having people blame us or the fact that we were drinking or that we were wearing a dress (!!); talking about these things and being called fat and ugly and gay (because that’s an insult?) or worse yet, being threatened (wishing or threatening rape, etc.); being belittled or dismissed for things that men do but are considered good or interesting or noteworthy; being invisible; only having our boundaries or voices acknowledged if we’re already acknowledged as “belonging” to someone else (i.e., a man); being told we’re “crazy” or to “calm down” or “relax”; having to avoid large groups of men on the street just to be safe; and on and on and on and on and on and on. You can see the threads/hashtag here — #YesAllWomen
These are things I have been talking about FOR YEARS. Often to deaf ears — both men AND women. Women of many generations — including my own and those younger — seem to think that “feminist” is a dirty word, and have bought into all these crazy backlash ideas that it should just be “humanist,” because if we just want to be equal then …… yes, but we *aren’t* equal, so until men join us in getting us all equality, I’ll stick with feminist, because we’re looking to get WOMEN equal rights, not everyone, cause men already have the power seat. They are born with privilege.
And there’s also a hashtag that is #NotAllMen, to indicate that of course, not ALL men act like the Men’s Rights Activists that are spouting the sorts of things that are at the base of Elliot Rodger’s manifesto — the driving force behind the rationale that led him to go on a killing spree. Make a note here — I’m going to come back to that. It was a driving force behind the rationale.
But let’s face it. If your boss came into the office and said, “Someone stole $2000 from the store last night,” and you hadn’t taken a penny from the guy in the five years you had worked there and you liked your boss and had always done an outstanding job … then you would have absolutely NO reason to freak the fuck out and start screaming and flailing around and saying, “I don’t know what you’re getting at but I AM NOT A THIEF!!!”
DUH. Of course you’re not. You’d be sympathetic to your boss and find out what you could do to help and help the cops out with their investigation and hold tight while they found out who stole the money. Because you *did nothing wrong.* No need to get crazy. I don’t understand why some men immediately have to counteract a hashtag like #YesAllWomen by saying “but not ALL men are like that.” Right. So, if you’re not one of them, no worries. Keep doing the right thing by women and being an ally and trying to teach your fellow man (literally) what the deal is and how to act. Done.
However, there is a particular kind of tweet that keeps coming up — one that goes something like this:
#YesAllWomen Yes four dead – were young men – and a toxic form of masculinity killed them. Patriarchy hurts men too. We’ve said it all along
— hyperlocavore (@hyperlocavore) May 26, 2014
And that’s where I have to beg to differ. This toxic form of masculinity was the driving force behind his rationale — remember when I said that? But it was NOT the catalyst. No way.
Merriam-Webster defines a catalyst as such:
1.: a substance that enables a chemical reaction to proceed at a usually faster rate or under different conditions (as at a lower temperature) than otherwise possible
2.: an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action
The catalyst for the killing spree was mental illness. Sad to say, there are PLENTY of misogynistic fucks out there. But there isn’t a shooting spree every day. Because despite some wacked out views on life and womanhood and manhood and how the world works, not all Men’s Rights Activists have lost *complete* touch with reality. They haven’t all had complete psychotic breaks. They at least understand murder is not fucking okay.
You dig what I’m laying down? There is still a huge mental illness problem in this country that combined with a real gun thing is making for some real fucked up shit going down on the reg. Yes, this misogyny is a pervasive, evil, corroding thread. And something needs to be done. But the other problem is that we have a lot of fuses leading to a powderkeg of mental illness — if it wasn’t an obsession with this misogyny, I can guarantee you it would be something else. The pain and confusion and rejection would be funneled into a work situation or a movie theater or a grade school or … you get the drift.
It’s not like these white, middle-class, 18-35 year olds have only gone after sorority houses and women’s workplaces. It’s becoming an epidemic and it discriminates not a whit. Perhaps I’m wrong and we’re not looking closely enough at these men — perhaps each shooting has a tie to a specific woman; perhaps there is a thread of woman hate that we’re failing to acknowledge.
Either way, if you look at the profile sketches, it seems like a lot was going in the wrong direction for these men long before the day they suited up and showed up for the day of execution. I think there’s got to be a way to start being aware that as a society, we have a serious mental illness problem, and just like women’s rights, we are continually choosing to ignore it because it makes us SO uncomfortable to stare it right in the face.
It’s not pretty, friends, but it’s the only way we can ever start to change it.
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