Monday, May 21, 2018

Jessica Valenti - The recent mass shootings in the US all have one thing in common: misogyny

The massacre at Santa Fe high school last week that left 10 people dead – most of them students – seems to have something in common with so many other mass shootings that happen in the US: misogyny. The shooter, one victim’s mother claims, targeted her daughter as the first victim because she rejected his continued harassing advances. How many more tragedies have to happen before we recognize that misogyny kills? 

The longer we ignore the toxic masculinity that underlies so many of these crimes, the more violence we’re enabling. Sadie Rodriguez told the LA Times that her daughter Shana Fisher “had four months of problems” from the Santa Fe shooter. “He kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no.” A week before the shooting, she says, her daughter stood up to the shooter and “embarrassed him in class”. 

This comes not even a month after the van attack in Toronto that killed 10 people and injured 13 more – violence enacted by a man who was reportedly furious that women wouldn’t sleep with him. Before that there was the 2015 shooting at an Oregon college by a young man who complained of being a virgin with “no girlfriend”. In 2014, there was Elliot Rodger, who killed six people and left behind a 140-page sexist manifesto and videos where he warned: “I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me but I will punish you all for it.” In 2009, George Sodini killed three women at a gym in Pennsylvania after lamenting online that younger women wouldn’t date him.

Even in the mass shootings where the stated motive isn’t disdain for women, there’s often a history of domestic or sexual violence from the killer. Since the attack, we’ve heard Republican leaders blame the violence on everything from Ritalin use and video games to lack of religion in schools and even abortion. (Never guns, of course – despite the fact that this is the 22nd school shooting in the US just this year.) And even though feminists continue to raise the alarm about the common thread of sexism and misogyny in these crimes, too many people seem to be missing the point... read more: