It happens every day. In fact, it is pretty hard to avoid it. There are some things that can only be understood with a slap on the forehead. Things so mind-boggling that one wonders how humans managed to evolve thumbs while being this mentally inept. Case in point:
On August 4th, George Sodini killed three women and himself at a gym. The news has covered this fairly well and surprisingly balanced. Perhaps the reason for this is because Sodini appeared to be an average guy who should have been capable of attracting women. While he specifically targeted women and projected much on his anger onto them, it appears that Sodini desperately wanted a relationship with them. With the release of two videos he made on YouTube, it certainly appears that Sodini was more than conflicted in his thinking. Based on his writings, it also appears that he was far from being too out of control to stop himself. He managed not to on go with his plan before, and apparently left a message in the HTML on his site claiming that he might not have gone through with his plans for the right woman.
Sodini’s isolation and possibly conflicted family history probably played the major role in is his. Ultimately, however, the responsibility lies with him. No one else can be or should be blamed for the decision he made.
Given the situation, one would think people would refrain from scapegoating others. After all, wrongfully placing blame on others is part of what led Sodini to go into that gym with guns. One would think that, however… one would be wrong:
But… here’s a list of some of the worst quotes I’ve seen from (people I think are) MRAs and anti-feminists, commenting on George Sodini, the woman-hating racist who shot 12 women, 3 of whom died, in a health club earlier this week. There’s a bunch of quotes here, but I’m sure I could have found 2 or 3 times as many if I hadn’t gotten sick of reading.*
This is not the first time feminist blogger Ampersand has had a knee-jerk reaction to a specific situation. However, the above is one of the most intellectually dishonest statements he has made.
The comments on the blogs he mentioned are disgusting. If he wants to criticize them, he is more than entitled to do so. Yet, to unfairly, with no evidence, blame MRAs and nonfeminists for those comments is quite unjustified. Sure, from a feminist standpoint those two groups make easy targets. Feminists like Ampersand do not like MRAs or nonfeminists and consider their concerns — be it domestic violence against males, male rape or father’s rights issues — completely idiotic and inconsequential. These same feminist use the two terms as pejoratives , so one can see their temptation to apply them to the other comments, just for the extra kick to the groin to those groups.
Nevertheless, the post is a tactless, distasteful, absolutely exploitative display of projection that has nothing to do with the comments or Sodini. What Ampersand did on the thread would be akin to several women mocking and excusing female-on-male physical abuse or rape, and then some male victims’ advocate calling those women feminists (because that person thinks feminists are bad people and condone those acts), immediately adding a caveat claiming that he is not saying all feminists are like that.
Of course, such backtracking never lasts long:
Nonetheless, most of these views are, in a way, accepted within those communities. No one is shocked to see these views posted; no one is banned or modded for posting these views; and the disagreements are, in many cases, rare and mild, if they come at all. In other words, the most vilely misogynistic garbage, even to the point of sympathizing with murder, is part of the spectrum of ordinary opinion, within these movements. And that’s both a cause for concern, and illustrates what’s so fucked about about the “men’s rights” movement and community.
It would help if the person making that argument had not written dozens of posts dismissing, minimizing and sympathizing with the rape boys and men to such an extent as to consider male rape negligible, harmless and inconsequential (later including this on a checklist that is used in some Women Studies courses), along with characterizing adovacy for those victims as misogynistic and wholly unnecessary. Such a person would be in no position to make any comments about a political movement, particularly not a person who is allied with a movement in which the most vile misandrous garbage is part of the spectrum of ordinary opinion, and especially not when that person’s blog provides and links to excellent examples of the latter.
Rather than look at what Sodini did and try to understand it so that it can be prevented, feminists are taking cheap shots at men, men’s groups and projecting their anger on those groups using various feminist conspiracy theories.
Real people were hurt. Real people died. Yet, instead of even trying to discuss that in a rational way, feminists resort to the typical “blame it on teh menz” nonsense. It is beyond disrespectful to the victims to do that, just as it is beyond conceited to view oneself in a “holier than thou art” grandiose manner. The victims deserve much better than to have their injuries and deaths reduced to an infantile attack on people who had nothing to do with Sodini’s actions.
That is, by far, the greatest irony of this. Sodini reached his final point by scapegoating and blaming an entire group of people for all his problems while demanding quite a lot from them. Yet some of his critics seem, rather stupidly, content to engage in the same ill-conceived logic.
* By no means do I suggest that the linked to post represents the most common, centrist views in the feminist community. In most of the forums where I read these posts, I did see occasional disagreements with the kind of thing I am linking — although all too often, not — and of course many condemned those feminists. And, obviously, I have cherry-picked the most offensive post, not the most typical post.