Blog: UCSB shooting marks dangerous misogynist trends in our society

Aubtin Heydari, Staff Reporter

In Santa Barbara last week, a man committed mass murder in an attempt to rectify what he perceived as injustices done onto him by women. He uploaded YouTube videos with paleopatriarchal rants about how women refused his advances, published a manifesto calling women evil and justifying killing those who won’t have sex with him, has a previous history with assaulting and stalking women, and has subscribed and is a frequent on forums in the “manosphere.” However, a major segment of the media has refused to call his acts misogynistic, instead arguing that it is purely a matter of mental illness.

His only diagnosed mental condition is mild Autism, which is not an unstable and violent neurodiverse condition. Even if the reason he killed was a consequence of him being mentally unstable, his justifications were not rooted in paranoid schizophrenic delusions or hallucinations or conspiracy theories but mimicked the type of rhetoric and mindset of these movements involved in the new patriarch movement. Feminists have been pointing out for decades that women are subjugated because men perceive they deserve to have sex with a woman and can be in control of her sexuality, and this dude goes out and says he believes those exact things, how naive does someone have to be to not consider the broader socio-political context of these incidents and the way they are indicative of particular cultural trends in certain subgroups and pop culture? The logic this man used is essentially what rapists use, that men (or any person) ought to have unlimited access to someone else’s sexuality.

Obviously there is an issue with mental health in this country but the studies all show that people with mental illness are 2.5 times more likely to be a victim of violence as opposed to perpetuating it. This is white patriarchy at it’s finest; when people of color or poor people kill it is because of the culture they are raised in but when white males go on massacres the go to is always mental illness. The mental illness card is just a means by which to write off instances like this that point to violent trends in various subcultures as coincidental and one off instances. The evidence is pretty glaring that this man was a misogynist, I don’t understand how that is misleading at all when that is what he himself described it as.

We need to quit pretending like “Men’s Rights Activism” and hypermasculine movements are benign. The cultural logic perpetuated by these neo-patriarchal groups are at the heart of this tragedy. It’s become too easy to write off violence as merely the result of “crazy people” when in reality the views they express are remarkably similar to the views these groups espouse.

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