A few weeks ago I posted this piece discussing the fact that our fiction fails to reflect the continually-evolving state of gender relations in modern society, and alluding to the problems that logically could follow from entire generations of men being conditioned to expect to relate to women in an archaic way, and having the rug pulled out from under them when they find out the world doesn’t really work like that. I’d said my piece on that subject and was prepared to move on to other topics.
Then, not even a week after I had put up that blog post, the UCSB shooting happened. Elliot Rodger shot and killed six innocent people and then himself, and his own “manifesto” and YouTube videos revealed that he had done this to “get revenge” on the world because he didn’t have an attractive girlfriend (or any girlfriend, but he placed major emphasis on the “attractive” part), and he felt that he was owed one.
That, in the parlance of our times, is some spooky shit. Suddenly, and understandably, I think, I was less inclined to immediately move on from this topic.
After I wrote a blog entry discussing the problems that arise when entitlement and gun ownership collide, and as I did a little more reading on these subjects, I quickly found that Rodger was involved with the so-called “Men’s Rights Movement,” a group of loosely-connected (and often opposing) online communities who ostensibly speak up for men’s rights in a feminist-dominated world. Anybody with a basic knowledge of history will immediately understand why that mission statement is so absurd.
My previous experiences encountering this self-described “Movement” mostly amounted to running into one of its advocates on a message board or in an online comments section in a thread dealing in some way with sexism, or reading about them conducting cyber-attacks on feminist websites. I hadn’t fully realized the depth and breadth of this phenomenon. But after the UCSB shooting and learning of Rodger’s motives and who he was talking with online, I felt a need to dig deeper.
Apparently after Rodger’s affiliation with them came to light, the MRM forum that Rodger had been a part of, PUAHate (short for Pick-Up Artist Hate) had been shut down by their former webhost. Through doing some reading, I found this article by a woman who tracked down the new message board where the members of PUAHate had re-congregated. The writer created a profile and lurked there silently for eight hours, documenting the highlights of what she saw written by the community.
Fair warning, the article is a difficult one to stomach. For those who’d rather not feel like their brain needs a shower today, or for those who’d simply prefer to avoid giving a click to a Gawker site (understandable), I’ll briefly summarize the main “points” made by the PUAHate members below:
- They believe that they are entitled to an attractive woman with whom they can have sex.
- “Attractiveness” is apparently not in the eye of the beholder, but rather measured by a series of physical measurements and invented metrics that would be more at home in benchmarking computer parts than in discussing another human being.
- If a woman is sexually active (or perceived to be sexually active), then she should be servicing all men everywhere. If not, she is a “slut” and “parading” her sexuality in front of lonely men.
- Men who are not having sex (“involuntarily celibate” or “incel”) are an oppressed group, and the entirety of modern society is a feminist construction that exists for the purpose of cock-blocking them.
- Rape is a dominant alpha male behavior, particularly date rape, and is to be encouraged and admired.
- All men feel this way whether they’ll admit it or not, and killers like Elliot Rodger and Richard Ramirez are simply taking the next logical step and should be emulated.
To paraphrase Alan Moore, if that last bullet point fills you with an intense and crushing feeling of fear and disgust, don’t be alarmed. That indicates only that you are still sane.
PUAHate is only the tip of the iceberg. There are many forums out there just like it, separated only by the thinnest of ideological differences, and all of them spewing the same drivel and hate. All of them are full of lonely men who, rather than take charge of their own lives, accept responsibility for their own failings and becoming somebody worth loving and who can love in return, prefer to externalize their insecurity and self-loathing, blaming others for causing their problems and embracing hate instead of love.
And that’s all it is. In the entire ideology of the “Men’s Rights Movement,” there isn’t anything about what it means to be a man, about what men should be able to do, about fatherhood, about courage, about building and creating and growing. There is nothing but hate for women. It is misogynist in the truest sense of the word, and it all stems from these men believing they are not receiving what they are owed. They were taught that they deserve an attractive sexual partner, and they’re not getting what they feel they were entitled to.
This problem of perception is very real. It’s not going to go away on its own. And as long as it’s around, there will be more people like Elliot Rodger. More innocent people will die, and these “activists” will lurk in their dark corners of the Internet and cheer the killers on.
So I must re-iterate my call to action; writers everywhere, we need to make a change. We can’t, in good conscience, take part in warping another generation of men into these hateful creatures that applaud the deaths of innocents.
Our stories will teach the next generation, and we need to make sure they’re being taught better values than the belief that women are a debt that’s owed to them. We need to teach that worth comes from self-improvement, not the possession and destruction of others. And most importantly, we need to teach that hate is not a substitute for love.