On Friday night, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger killed six people and injured 13 more in the college town of Isla Vista in California.
Rodger stabbed three people and shot three others before taking his own life. Over the weekend, videos emerged showing Rodger expressing his hatred of women and resenting the fact that no woman would sleep with him, claiming he would “slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up, blonde slut I see”.
Rodger was said to be severely mentally disturbed and some have blamed the mental healthcare system for these killings, however this case has also raised questions about America’s gun culture, and in particular the role of misogyny in Rodger’s motives.
In the videos, Rodger stated:
“College is the time when everyone experiences those things such as sex and fun and pleasure, but in those years I’ve had to rot in loneliness, it’s not fair … I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me but I will punish you all for it.
“You forced me to suffer all my life, now I will make you all suffer. I waited a long time for this. I’ll give you exactly what you deserve, all of you. All you girls who rejected me, looked down upon me, you know, treated me like scum while you gave yourselves to other men.”
Like many men, Rodger believed he was entitled to sex and female attention, and many have argued that this kind of misogyny is not just a one-off event from a mad man, it is the result of a culture which teaches men that women are simply sexual objects which exist only for their pleasure.
Feminist blogger Melissa McEwan tweeted: “Dismissing violent misogynists as ‘crazy’ is a neat way of saying that violent misogyny is an individual problem, not a cultural one.”
Whilst clearly not all men believe they are entitled to sex and female attention, this kind of misogyny IS experienced by all women. This story has sparked a twitter trend, with the hashtag #YesAllWomen, with women all over the world sharing their experiences.
Here are a selection of tweets:
Felicia Day @feliciaday: When a woman makes a video, most comments are about tearing apart her looks. Or if they’d “do” her. With a man, almost none. #YesAllWomen
Emily Hughes @emilyhughes: Because every single woman I know has a story about a man feeling entitled to access to her body. Every. Single. One. #YesAllWomen
Steffi Heck @SteffiHeck: Because “You have no reason/excuse to not go out with me. You’re single.” The fact that I’m not interested doesn’t matter?! #YesAllWomen
Lisa Guerrero @4lisaguerrero: Because I routinely get sexually harassed online (including rape threats) after my investigations air. Male reporters do not. #YesAllWomen
sarah lang @sarahstardom: #YesAllWomen because we teach girls how to not get raped rather than teaching boys how to properly treat a woman.
Carrie Clowers @CarClow: #YesAllWomen because campus rape statistics shouldn’t be a factor in any girls’ college decision.
Olivia @tweetinsofly: #yesallwomen because we are either taught to dress to attract men or to cover up as not to distract them- never for ourselves
Many people tweeted in response, with the hashtag #NotAllMen, stating that not all men act in this misogynistic way or feel entitled to women’s bodies, however a backlash also ensued against this, with tweets such as:
With over 250,000 tweets, some very thought provoking points have been made, and it is clear social media is becoming a very effective tool and a significant part of fourth wave feminism, helping to tackle the sexism and harassment experienced by women every day all over the world.