What We Learned About Modern Feminism from Santa Barbara

 

YesAllWomenI’ve been reluctant to comment on the horrifying mass shooting in Santa Barbara over Memorial Day weekend, as there is certainly nothing I – nor anyone else – can say to make sense of this tragedy. Yet on Friday I was a panelist on PBS’s To The Contrary, where I had to discuss the incident, and I thought it was appropriate to expand on the discussion here.

There has been no shortage of writers who have felt obliged to share their opinion about this awful event. But this deluge of commentary immediately in the wake of the murders is not only grotesque and self-involved, but also threatens the health of our society.

At the very least we ought to be skeptical of anyone who tries to offer insight – much of which has led to absurd conclusions like blaming actor Seth Rogen for this atrocity. But really we ought to be much angrier – and much more forthright – about those who have tried to extrapolate something larger about American culture, gender relations, or sexual violence from this horrible incident.

On To the Contrary we discussed Jackson Katz’s TED talk, in which he argues that we can’t just blame these shootings on mental illness – that this kind of violent behavior is tied to a fundamentally flawed conception of manhood in American society. Katz’s thesis isn’t entirely unreasonable – it’s true that men have committed all of these mass shootings – although I question the idea that we ought to seek out the “gender subtext” of gun culture, of discussions about “liberty,” and the like.

More concerning was the #YesAllWomen social media campaign, sparked by the notion that Elliott Rodger was a terrible misogynist, which spread like wildfire around the globe. At the heart of the Twitter campaign is the notion that American women regularly suffer a wide range of sexual abuse from offensive comments to rape. Certainly there are terrible men who wish to harm women, but I’m loathe to act as if all women are victims in waiting.

But this campaign perfectly encapsulates contemporary “feminism,” which regularly pits men and women against one another, understands women’s success to come at the expense of men’s, and views women as winning only when men are losing. Liberal women’s groups – and unfortunately some “libertarian feminists” as well — have been beating this victim drum for some time now; but in recent months they have created the impression that there is a rampant “rape culture” on college campuses and elsewhere in society, in which men regularly and consistently prey on women.

So if it’s time to make a comment about the California murders here’s what I take away from it: The modern feminist movement today was in “need” of a horrible tragedy like the Elliott Rodger killings. They may pretend to want to see women as agents, but the reality is they need women to remain victims in order to justify their raison d’etre. And this unspeakable event does just that.

This is not meant to undermine the fear that all of us certainly feel from having witnessed too many Columbine-style shootings over the past decade. How could one not want to find an answer – a solution – to these mindless killings?

Sadly, I suspect there is little we can take away from this tragedy; but to create an entire narrative about gender relations in America based on the actions of a single, disturbed man is truly insidious.

 

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  1. raycon and lindacon Inactive
    raycon and lindacon
    @rayconandlindacon

    Yet another mystery.  A lunatic with a gun walks into a “gun free zone”, and begins a killing spree.  Instead of just killing one person, usually known as a murder, he remains free to exhaust his venom on anyone in the vicinity.

    Lunatics are out there, but so are many more “gun free zones”, also known as “Shooting Galleries.”

    • #1
  2. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Four of the six victims were men. 

    What we learn about modern feminists is that they are narcissists.

    This young man was mentally ill.

    • #2
  3. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    It’s very important to some people that they be publicly acknowledged as being part of a victim group.  After the Trayvon Martin shooting many people were trying to portray this country as one in which all young black men should wear bullet-proof vests because of all the white people looking to shoot them simply for being black.

    • #3
  4. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    There’s a natural dilemma to being a feminist. 

    If the goal is to treat individuals as individuals, then you can’t assert that group identity is what drives behavior. On the other hand, I’d freely agree that men are different from women … but then it would be contradictory for me to argue that men and women have to be treated identically in every respect. When it comes to human rights, humans (male or female) should be treated equally, but human personality is much more than legal rights. Those are the areas in which male and female differences need to be respected. 

    If feminism think it’s OK to pit men and women against each other, then feminists surrender the right to complain when men don’t roll over and behave like women. 

    • #4
  5. Sabrina Schaeffer Contributor
    Sabrina Schaeffer
    @SabrinaSchaeffer

    KC Mulville
    I’d freely agree that men are different from women … but then it would be contradictory for me to argue that men and women have to be treated identically in every respect. 

    KC, I don’t think you’re being contradictory at all. Women and men are different, but of course equal under the law. Recognizing and respecting our differences can be a good thing. Sadly modern feminism seems to want to make women just “one of the guys” and men the same as women, which not only complicates gender roles, but likely leads to more ambiguous instances of  “sexual assault.”

    • #5
  6. Sabrina Schaeffer Contributor
    Sabrina Schaeffer
    @SabrinaSchaeffer

    Albert Arthur:

    Four of the six victims were men.

    What we learn about modern feminists is that they are narcissists.

    This young man was mentally ill.

     I think you hit the nail on the head. His video/comments were hideous, but his actions speak louder than words. Modern feminists politicizing this tragedy to justify their own purpose.

    • #6
  7. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    I spoke poorly. I definitely believe that women are different from men. (Thank God.) And, I believe we should respect those differences. 

    Believe me, when you’re the father of two teenage girls, you treat them differently than their brothers. When it comes to daughters, dads don’t do equality.

    • #7
  8. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Kate Millet, the influential Second Wave feminist was also active in the movement to deinstitutionalize the mentally ill. Clayton Cramer’s  book, rooted in his heartbreaking experience with his schizophrenic brother  documents that in that movement, people with a genuine interest in the welfare of the mentally ill were pawns in a deliberate and ideologically based effort to put them on the streets.

    Millet, who herself was very crazy, has a sister with something to say about this subject

    We, as a family, had struggled for years with Kate’s issues, many times attempting to hospitalize her so she could obtain the serious help she so obviously needed. She was a brutal sadist, a violent bully at whose hands everyone about her suffered. Throughout my childhood I was menaced and immeasurably traumatized, as I’m sure was Elliot Rodger’s younger sibling whom he, in fact, intended to murder.

    • #8
  9. N.M. Wiedemer Inactive
    N.M. Wiedemer
    @NMWiedemer

    It’s routine now that anytime these mass shootings happen certain ghouls rush to be the first to pin their preferred political fetishes on the corpses of the victims.
    Claiming the victims as political capital for whatever unpopular position they cling to. Wether it be gun control, censorship, stigmatization of political opponents, or the general acceptance of misandry.
    They’re goal is to prey on the emotions of the public and our inner desire to find societal ill’s reflected in the actions of a few statistically insignificant individuals.
    We must all be made to feel guilty as a society- namely so we will all be more willing to sacrifice parts of our liberty and freedom in order to atone of our collective sins and receive the promise of (ever elusive) safety in return.
    The feminists attempt to co-op these hideous killings to fit into their increasingly risible “dialog on gender” is raw and rampant opportunism. This increased focus on sexism serves only to inoculate Hillary,or Warren, or whichever female candidate the democrat party chooses for 2016, from criticism.
    Just as the previously emphasized dialogue on race served to do the same for President Obama.

    • #9
  10. Trajan Thatcher
    Trajan
    @Trajan

    From the article;

    “[t]his campaign perfectly encapsulates contemporary “feminism,” which regularly pits men and women against one another……”

    Sabrina, Hon, dear, you’re way over thinking this as we are well beyond  gender/color/status  issues etc… “this campaign perfectly encapsulates” the democratic parties hold on feminism and the like, when the donkey brays, the sheep go baaaaa……its that simple. re: Trayvon Martin.

    • #10
  11. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    I cringe every time I hear the words “Rape Culture.” We are not a rape culture. We are a rape-in-decline culture. Rape has been on steep decline for three decades. Things are very very good and getting better all the time.

    Which is why feminists need to redefine rape to include things that aren’t rape — like interrupting a woman when she’s talking.

    Unfortunately, they’re cheapening the crime of rape and turning it into a joke, much in the same way that knee-jerk defense of Obama policy by shouting RACIST! trivializes real race struggles over history.

    Four men were killed in this attack — or if you prefer, twice as many men as women. Math don’t lie! Clearly the shooter hated men. Right? Also, at least half the victims were Asian. Clearly he was racist, right?

    Nope. Misogynist. And you’re a misogynist to suggest misogyny isn’t the cause. Heads they win, tails we lose. Every damn time.

    • #11
  12. Sabrina Schaeffer Contributor
    Sabrina Schaeffer
    @SabrinaSchaeffer

    DrewInWisconsin:

    I cringe every time I hear the words “Rape Culture.” We are not a rape culture. We are a rape-in-decline culture. Rape has been on steep decline for three decades. Things are very very good and getting better all the time.

    Which is why feminists need to redefine rape to include things that aren’t rape — like interrupting a woman when she’s talking.

    Unfortunately, they’re cheapening the crime of rape and turning it into a joke, much in the same way that knee-jerk defense of Obama policy by shouting RACIST! trivializes real race struggles over history.

    Four men were killed in this attack — or if you prefer, twice as many men as women. Math don’t lie! Clearly the shooter hated men. Right? Also, at least half the victims were Asian. Clearly he was racist, right?

    Nope. Misogynist. And you’re a misogynist to suggest misogyny isn’t the cause. Heads they win, tails we lose. Every damn time.

    I cringe, too, at the notion of a “rape culture.” How horrifying to the women and girls here nd around the globe (and men, in our prisons, for instance) who truly are sexually assaulted. There was a time when feminism took women’s agency seriously. Ironically now we are all objects and nothing we do — nothing — can change out situation. Hope you’ll read my piece on this over at The Federalist: http://thefederalist.com/2014/05/29/what-monica-lewinsky-understands-about-feminism-that-others-dont/

    • #12
  13. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Sabrina Schaeffer:

    DrewInWisconsin:

    Four men were killed in this attack — or if you prefer, twice as many men as women. Math don’t lie! Clearly the shooter hated men. Right? Also, at least half the victims were Asian. Clearly he was racist, right?

    Nope. Misogynist. And you’re a misogynist to suggest misogyny isn’t the cause. Heads they win, tails we lose. Every damn time.

     The severely mentally ill are more likely to be the victims of violent crime. Bad acts of members of accepted victim groups are excused, justified or even praised, especially by the Left. But the severely mentally ill are also more often the perpetrators of violent crime than those not so afflicted; because they are victims, society may not protect itself from them.

    Yes, there were abuses of the civil commitment system. Those abuses were used by Leftist ideologues to destroy the public institutions which were part of the social safety net for the mentally ill. The lack of care for the mentally ill then justifies erosion of everyone’s liberty.

    Heads they win, tails we lose

    That’s the real agenda.

    • #13
  14. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Sabrina Schaeffer:

    Hope you’ll read my piece on this over at The Federalist: http://thefederalist.com/2014/05/29/what-monica-lewinsky-understands-about-feminism-that-others-dont/

    I did read it a few days ago, and it was well done and thoughtful. Naturally, it’s not reactionary enough for the left. I considered linking to it on an enemy message board, but I decided against throwing pearls to swine.

    You may also find this interesting (http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_1_campus_rape.html) if you haven’t yet read it. It’s partly about how statistics on campus sexual assault are inflated by defining sexual assault downward and absolutely about how women’s agency is completely removed so that they will always be victims of men, no matter what choices they make.

    It was encouraging to read that a lot of college-age women weren’t even buying it.

    • #14
  15. Sabrina Schaeffer Contributor
    Sabrina Schaeffer
    @SabrinaSchaeffer

    DrewInWisconsin:

    Sabrina Schaeffer:

    Hope you’ll read my piece on this over at The Federalist: http://thefederalist.com/2014/05/29/what-monica-lewinsky-understands-about-feminism-that-others-dont/

    I did read it a few days ago, and it was well done and thoughtful. Naturally, it’s not reactionary enough for the left. I considered linking to it on an enemy message board, but I decided against throwing pearls to swine.

    You may also find this interesting (http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_1_campus_rape.html) if you haven’t yet read it. It’s partly about how statistics on campus sexual assault are inflated by defining sexual assault downward and absolutely about how women’s agency is completely removed so that they will always be victims of men, no matter what choices they make.

    It was encouraging to read that a lot of college-age women weren’t even buying it.

     Thanks for reading. Think Heather MacDonald is doing great work on this. Thought her comparison of violence on college campuses to the streets of Detroit was poignant and put it into perspective. Don’t know where you’re located, but @IWF will host “Straight Talk: An Honest Conversation about the ‘Rape Culture’ and Sexual Violence” on June 26th with Christina Hoff Sommers, Cathy Young, Andi Bottner, and one more panelist TBA. 
    https://www.eventbrite.com/e/straight-talk-an-honest-conversation-about-rape-culture-and-sexual-violence-tickets-11799112463

    • #15
  16. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    N.M. Wiedemer:

    This increased focus on sexism serves only to inoculate Hillary, or Warren, or whichever female candidate the democrat party chooses for 2016, from criticism. Just as the previously emphasized dialogue on race served to do the same for President Obama.

    I know it’s cynical to suggest that’s what’s going on, but . . . I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going on.

    I guess that makes me a cynic. : )

    • #16
  17. Autistic License Thatcher
    Autistic License
    @AutisticLicense

    Men committed all these shootings?  No. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurie_Dann

    • #17
  18. N.M. Wiedemer Inactive
    N.M. Wiedemer
    @NMWiedemer

    DrewInWisconsin:

    N.M. Wiedemer:

    This increased focus on sexism serves only to inoculate Hillary, or Warren, or whichever female candidate the democrat party chooses for 2016, from criticism. Just as the previously emphasized dialogue on race served to do the same for President Obama.

    I know it’s cynical to suggest that’s what’s going on, but . . . I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going on.

    I guess that makes me a cynic. : )

    When certain segments of our culture insist on making the personal (along with every other aspect of our lives) the political, I get very cynical about them- then again, is it all that cynical to expect a scorpion to sting?

    Anyway Drew, as long time lurker here, I can say you generally make your cynicism work for ya.

    • #18
  19. kmtanner Inactive
    kmtanner
    @kmtanner

    In my country, Finland, five dead children were found in a closet today, their mother was arrested. Sad story, but what might be feminist standpoint?

    We have had school shootings too, we might beat US even without gun culture.

    • #19
  20. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    kmtanner:

    In my country, Finland, five dead children were found in a closet today, their mother was arrested. Sad story, but what might be feminist standpoint?

    Obviously living in a patriarchal society drove her mad.  If a man murders his children he’s a monster.  If a woman does it, she’s a victim. 

    • #20
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