Mysogyny and Victim Blaming: UCSB Shooter Edition

At this point, many know about the murder of 6 innocent people at the University of California Santa Barbara. In fact, at this point, many people have watched the UCSB shooter’s “Retribution” video about the reasoning behind the actions he took. However, not enough people are discussing the inappropriate ways in which people are reacting to this incident. There is a false sense that this incident was an isolated one, however as is explained in “Elliot Rodger and Illusions of Nuance” misogyny and victim blaming are nothing new. People may be shocked by the incident, but how could they be considering the way it’s being discussed is all too familiar… people are victim blaming and using misogynist language just as has been done as a reaction to other instances of violence against women.

The following are comments made on the YouTube video in which the UCSB shooter explains the reasoning for his actions:

Some people actually blamed women, and the fact that they didn’t have sex with him:

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Apparently, although 6 people died, it is still humorous to tell women that if they don’t “give themselves” or sexually appease men, they will be in danger. Essentially, this “joke” is “jokingly” placing the blame on the women who have been killed.


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Although this individual expressed some disdain for the UCSB shooter’s actions, he also works under the assumption that if the UCSB shooter had had sex, he would not have killed 6 people and injured another 13. This messaging is incredibly harmful, it validates the extremely hyper-masculine idea that if he had had a sexual release of sorts, he would not need to become physically violent- which is NOT true.


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Just another example of male entitlement, the same type of entitlement that propagates violence such as the one exhibited by the UCSB shooter and the same sense of entitlement that propagates rape culture. We’re supposed to think this is funny though… right? No.


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Then there was the one that blamed feminism… an entire movement of people (not just women), who strive for gender equality and the prevention of gendered violence (among a host of other human rights) for his actions. Not only does this post blame women for the murder and injuries inflicted on the people of Isla Vista, it also paints the UCSB shooter as a victim.


Some people insulted Elliot Rodger- by attempting to emasculate him…

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What’s interesting about this comment is that in order to insult a misogynist who planned and executed a mission to kill women because he felt rejected, he called him a “magnificent little girl”. This is interesting because, apparently, the best insult Fabricio Luiz Braga could come up with, for a man who killed, and disrespected women was “little girl”. His comment in, and of, itself is misogynistic; he puts a man down for hurting people, by insulting the very people whom were hurt.


Some people only showed concern for Elliot Rodger and shifted the blame away from him:

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It may be true that “America is a lonely place”, however, since when is loneliness an excuse for killing and injuring innocent people. The actions that took place were premeditated and calculated. It is important to understand where people come from before judging their actions, however, is it really appropriate to go a step farther and applaud honesty and justify such violent actions?


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This post altogether circumvents the fact that he harmed people and instead proceeds to explain how “sad” it is that people are having sex, and that the UCSB shooter looked “hurt” and “sad”. Then, more explicitly, he says that if his parents had paid a little more attention to him, he “wouldn’t be needing love”.  The blame here is placed on a culture in which sex is very important and the parents of the UCSB shooter- however, it is not the fault of those who refused to have sex with Elliot Rodger or his parents, that he chose to harm so many people. In fact, women are not to blame for not loving, being in a relationship with or having sex with the UCSB shooter. Additionally, the UCSB shooter’s parents tried to take steps to correct his behavior and protect others by calling the police to check on their son’s “wellness”- I can imagine this is not an easy thing to do to your own son, however they did take steps to prevent such a catastrophe.


Then were those who collectively did all of the above:Picture5

In this thread, RedPanther9 attempted to shift the blame off of Elliot Rodger, and wrote that he had done “a good job”- he congratulated the individual for killing 6 people and injuring another 13. Woodzy responded by insulting RedPanther9, although it is good that the inappropriate nature of RedPanther9’s comment was noted, the way in which it was inappropriate. Using the word “retarded” is hate speech- to find out more about why the R-word is hurtful, check out R-Word: Spread the Word, to End the Word. Also, by using the words “cunt” and “pussy” as derogatory terms, he is insulting a misogynist, murderer by emasculating him- by calling him variations of demeaning terms used to describe vaginas. Why would a body part be inherently insulting? Or is it the fact that vaginas are closely related to being a woman, and being feminine is the insult? Then, Shepot95 tops of the insulting comment by saying “stop being such a beta and find yourself a girl” as if finding a girl could stop any of the offensive behavior exhibited by the other people who commented and the UCSB shooter.

Have any ideas or reflections on how the conversation revolving this incident are reflective of the negative aspects of our society? Please let me know!

The Importance of having Women, like Columbia, on Top!

The Statue of Freedom

Who is Freedom? Freedom is the statue of a woman who stands atop the U.S. Capitol building.

Why does it matter that she’s on top?

Freedom, who is prominently located in the heart of DC, is one of the few statues of women. In fact, according to “America Needs More Stone-faced Women,” less than 8% of public statues honor women! There are many statues in DC, but  few of them depict women!

According to Bill O’Leary’s “Gender inequality, in form:

9 out of the 100 statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection are of women.

Our nation’s Capitol, a symbol of American, democratic, values has a woman standing on top of it, but contains few other representations of women within it. The Statue of Freedom is a rendering of the Goddess of Columbia, which is usually seen as the personification of the United States of America. I am baffled at the fact that women are given that much symbolic significance, yet they are not equally represented in statue form, or in our legislative bodies.

As Barry Schwartz points out in his article “Iconography and Collective Memory: Lincoln’s Image in the American Mind.”  “Arguments about statues often turn out to be arguments about the past and its legacy.” Statues are made to commemorate prominent historical figures, so that they will be remembered and so that a collective memory of them will be established. The fact that we have so few commemorative statues of women in the Capitol makes me question a couple of things:

  • Were women throughout history just not relevant enough to commemorate?
  • Do the lack of statues depicting women of achievement add to the inequality women face today?

In response to the first bullet, here’s a crash course on influential American Women from US history, explaining that there is MUCH to be sculpted in honor of women:

It’s nothing new, but people in the U.S. are FINALLY starting to pay more attention to the fact that women are vastly underrepresented in American legislative bodies. As per the Center for American Women and  Politics, in their Women in the U.S. Congress Fact Sheet: “Women currently hold 99, or 18.5%, of the 535 seats in the 113th U.S. Congress.”

What do statues have to do with power and the amount of women in Congress?

EVERYTHING. Culture reflects what society values, if our Capitol building primarily reflects the value of men, and the accomplishments of men throughout history, it will be less welcoming of women leaders. Women have less power in the United States, and the lack of statues reflects that.  After all, the lack of statues speaks loud and clear:  the accomplishments of women aren’t as celebrated as the accomplishments of men.

We need to commemorate the women who have shaped America, so that more women will run for office, take their power and change it for the better!