I never understood why it went over everyone’s heads what happened with Elliot Rodger. He was an awkward kid, who couldn’t understand some social cues as he had aspergers. The media told him women should be falling all over him; he had money, looks, he was a nice guy (and he might have been before he lost it and killed people) but women weren’t even talking to him. I imagine he just came off a bit creepy, and people can be really cruel to “weirdos” especially, I assume, in a place with lots of beautiful people like Santa Barbara. Sadly, he couldn’t understand that. If he’d just quietly committed suicide he would have become part of a mostly ignored statistic. We have a biological need to connect with people and have sex so his story is a lot less fantastic to me than Sandy Hook where the mentally challenged kid went out and randomly killed 20 kids.
Let me repeat, we have a need to connect with people. According to Psychology Today in Why do we have sex, “Human beings, fundamentally, are distinctly, spectacularly social. Lonely and isolated, we cannot survive, let alone thrive. For us, power and meaning emerge through making connections. Sexual desire, thus, is not chiefly aimed at physical pleasure or the production of children, but at connectedness with others.” (Emphasis mine.)
I’d like to thank Attachment Feminism for posting the article that got this all sparked in my mind, “MRA’s are missing the point”. In it the writer tries to connect the mentally ill with all Men’s Rights Advocates as well as men who are just a bit annoyed at some of the louder more annoying voices in Feminism. I found it disingenuous.
In general, men have a legitimate grievance. Feminism over the past forty to fifty years has helped to change the roles and expectations of women hugely, but the expectations of men for the most part haven’t changed. In The Real War on Boys and Men, this is detailed quite well. As he puts it, ‘The war starts in early childhood, and never really lets up. The biggest attack can be summed up in three simple words that pretty much every boy hears at one time or another: “Be a man.”’
Except actually maybe the expectations have changed. Men are expected to be the bread winner, but happy for the woman to do it if she wants to. They’re expected to be a big, brave protector but with emotions leaking out at only the right times. Whether he was raised in a gendered or feminist household he is bound to feel like most of the world hates him. Both messages are quite loud but come from different directions and as we all know these messages feel amplified when specifically aimed against you. It’s not really very different from formula feeders feeling judged when feeding out in public and breast feeders also feeling judged when feeding out in public for doing the exact opposite. It can feel like there’s no way to win. And there isn’t because the world is made up of so many different opinions you cannot make everyone happy.
I’ve been on the Reddit sub Red Pill and it sickened me. I’d be willing to bet the majority of them are sociopaths, narcissists or otherwise mentally ill as well. As a society our culture creates this, so we should be taking note rather than just screaming how sick they are. Of course they’re sick but they’re all saying the same thing so where did they get these thoughts and feelings? In what way do social norms contribute? No one ever wonders? It is much easier to just demonize them.
Featured image courtesy of Vladimir Pustovit.