I will not do Elliot Rodger the service of reprising his misogynist ranting. Those who doubt that his motivation was rage caused by a frustrated sense of entitlement to women’s bodies need only click here for a sampling of his manifesto. I encourage you to read it. I found it quite educational, myself. Go ahead. I’ll still be here when you get back.
There are a few conversations we need to have as a society in the wake of this abominable act. Sensible gun regulations, how privilege played into the police not stopping him beforehand, what to do when people exhibit the signs Elliot Rodger exhibited that he might do something like this. They’re important conversations, and we all have a part to play in them.
But before we have those conversations, we have to have the conversation about misogyny, rape culture, and the culture of masculine entitlement. And while that conversation is happening, we, as men, need to STFU and just listen.
I know that’s going to be a stretch for some people. And like any good stretch, if it isn’t uncomfortable, you’re doing it wrong. In fact, I’ll go ahead and suggest that the more uncomfortable it makes you to listen to women talking about sexual harassment and rape culture and masculine entitlement, the more you need to hear what they have to say. The more defensive it makes you (especially now, in the immediate aftermath), the the stronger your urge to sidetrack, derail, quash the conversation, carve out exceptions, protest the virtue of yourself and all the other good apples: the more you find yourself compelled to do these things, to do anything other than STFU and listen, the greater your complicity in the problem. That defensive knee-jerk anger? That’s guilt, whether you’re conscious of it or not.
We’re all complicit, fellows, whether we know it or not. I am complicit. So are you. Even if your past and your conscience are clean (mine are not), and you are the best of all possible apples, we are still in the same barrel as the bad ones, and they’ll continue to spoil the barrel until we can get rid of the rot.