Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sodini shooting, misogyny, and the media

by Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux

Columns in the NYT usually leave me with mixed reactions. Not so with Bob Herbert's column yesterday. Writing in response to the horrific Sodini shootings, Herbert tells it like it is. On Tuesday, George Sodini walked into an all-female aerobics class and opened fire, killing three women, wounding nine others, and finally turning the gun on himself. Sodini's blog revealed deep misogyny and frustration toward all women. Basically, he believed that all of the "desirable single women" in the country were systematically and deliberately rejecting him. And he turned that frustration into a murderous rage toward a room full of women he had never met. There are a lot of guys like Sodini, who we've mostly dismissed as crazy - but let's face it, he got validation for his ideas from somewhere. The shooting was a hate crime writ large, but in America, violence against women is so normal that we need to be slapped in the face with a crime of this magnitude before we start to admit it.

This incident is getting a lot of coverage, and many people, including Bob Herbert, are drawing connections between this crime and the culture of misogyny, humiliation and violence that surrounds women. Herbert writes, "We have become so accustomed to living in a society saturated with misogyny that the barbaric treatment of women and girls has come to be more or less expected. We profess to being shocked at one or another of these outlandish crimes, but the shock wears off quickly in an environment in which the rape, murder and humiliation of females is not only a staple of the news, but an important cornerstone of the nation’s entertainment."

I was a little astonished by Herbert's column, but I shouldn't need to be - everything he's saying is true. Women are killed every day because they are women. There is no other reason. I do appreciate that the mainstream media is treating Sodini's crime for what it is - a crime motivated by hatred of women - but it's distressing that it takes the deaths of three innocent women for this column to be published in the NYT.

If you're interested, there's good coverage of the Sodini shooting at Feministing, Jezebel, WIMN's Voices, Feministe, and Pandagon.

9 Comments:

At August 10, 2009 at 8:12 PM , Anonymous AcademyWatch said...

The fact is that we NEED beta computer and engineering nerds doing what we do if we want our society to function; thus, society needs to socially reward their work, including giving them the opportunity to marry and have families. But my impression is that most women begin appreciating their virtues only by the time they reach their 30s, and the fear is that our continued slide into hypergamy and soft polygamy will push that age upward and multiply the Sodinis of the world. But other than whine about "misogyny" and guns, I haven't seen a single feminist solution to this problem.

The world worked in the pre-feminist era. Yes, many women found "Marriage 1.0" oppresive, but it did offer something for everyone and assured maximum buy-in by the majority of males. It may be true that the road home is not politically realizable, but its existence is not fanciful.

 
At August 10, 2009 at 8:15 PM , Anonymous Roissy said...

When men kill women, the underlying reason is almost always an unfulfilled psychosexual need. This goes for spree shooters, rapists, and serial killers. I’m not surprised Sodini hadn’t had sex in nearly 20 years. As I’ve written before, to men on the losing side of the desireability bell curve celibacy is walking death and anything is justified in avoiding that miserable fate.

Look at pictures of Sodini. He’s not a bad-looking guy and he’s in shape. There is nothing outwardly repulsive about him that would cripple his chances with women. But as we know the physical appearance of a man reveals little about the state of his spirit. A decent looking guy can harbor the sunken ship of a broken beta heart, and clearly Sodini was a beta, if not an omega, as his 20 year dry spell attests.

I agree with the gist of what commenter Whiskey has written — as the West reverts back to the ancestral sexual market that is currently in operation in sub-Saharan Africa, we are going to see a growing eunuchracy of involuntarily celibate betas and the marginalized men in their ranks decide that exiting in a blaze of hot lead beats living in loveless obscurity.

 
At August 10, 2009 at 9:58 PM , Blogger Amelia said...

@AcademyWatch:

You haven't seen a single feminist solution to the problem (and some of us would argue that serial killers are more than a fucking problem)? What about men start respecting women enough to accept that if women don't want them, it might have something to do with them (perhaps they are the serial killer type who would shoot up a gym) instead of filling themselves with such a murderous hatred that they kill women they don't even know. That murderous hatred comes from entitlement - from the idea that if they stay in shape and smell ok, the ladies owe them sex at least, if not "Marriage 1.0". How about we start treating women like they're people, rather than some pawn that can be used to "reward" men who you deem sexually defective but are responsible for your quality of life. I think that's a better solution than shoving women back into a life of servitude and intellectual decay.

@Roissy:

So basically, if Sodini just had been able to get women to sleep with him, we wouldn't be in this position? Believe me, Sodini had a bigger problem than his "20-year dry spell" - it takes more than celibacy to bring a person to the point where they're willing to murder three innocent people. Rather than a "beta", as you refer to Sodini, he was a deeply sick man, and anyone who justifies "exiting in a blaze of hot lead" because of celibacy is also possessed of a deeply warped and yes, misogynistic worldview.

 
At September 2, 2009 at 8:06 PM , Blogger Rookh Kshatriya said...

One of the core problems with Game as a solution to the Sodini Problem is that the sexes have massive cognitive dissonance. UK Professor Glenn Wilson makes a profound observation in The Great Sex Divide - men and women think in completely different ways. He cites women's preoccupation with astrology and magic crystals as clear evidence of this - women are essentially very different to men in their mental make-up. What men think of as alpha traits pass women by completely. Most males would say Robert E Lee or Stalin were alphas with knobs on - but how many women would rate them as such? Probably none.

Further, recreational sex is not considered reproductive success in sociobiological terms. A male who sleeps with a thousand women without issue is less successful than a male who sleeps with one, producing four children. How much of Sodini's despair was shaped by a lack of sex, how much of it by the prospect of genetic extinction? If it were primarily the latter, all the recreational sex in the world would not have erased his rage.

There is also the issue of selective mating (wherein like mates with like). This is manifest across a wide range of factors - hair colour, eye colour, IQ, height, personality type - everything, really. High IQ, technical guys like Sodini are unlikely to find a mate because there are few females with those traits. If he had had a slightly lower IQ and a more rounded personality, Sodini would have had a far larger pool of females to relate to. The same is probably true of that Cho character at Virginia Tech (although he was more obviously psychotic than Sodini, further diminishing his potential mate-pool).

Roissy's comments are echoed by a British writer called Colin Wilson. He broadly divides humans into leaders and followers - leaders being those with IQs in the top 5%. The problem is, many of them have no real status and this is where the problems begin. In our culture, status is measured by sexual success, to which money is seen as an end. In Wilson's view, the dominant minority types become very dangerous if they are born out of the elite, as they feel an innate sexual entitlement as a function of their intellectual superiority. According to Wilson, high IQ serial killers are just taking what they perceive as 'theirs' - for example, the British high IQ sex-killer Ian Brady. Indeed, when on trial for serial child-murder Brady opined that many British Lords had better child porn collections than himself (the entitlement subtext is easy to read). The modern lower middle class serial sex murderer arose in the late Fifties, when western opportunities for social mobility began to close up, strongly confirming Wilson's thesis. So, while Roissy and Whiskey have a valid point, it is unlikely that many males outside this true dominant minority will become serial killers or declare war on women, as their sense of sexual entitlement is not really that insistent.

 
At September 3, 2009 at 9:54 AM , Blogger LSG said...

Let's be totally clear, here. Roissy despises women, and has come close to endorsing Sodini's actions on his pick-up-artist blog. Here, he very clearly does it again: "As I’ve written before, to men on the losing side of the desireability bell curve celibacy is walking death and anything is justified in avoiding that miserable fate." Anything. Not having sex, if you're a man, not only explains but justifies any action taken to alter that situation.

I believe he's making Herbert's point for him, again.

Between AcademyWatch and Rookh Kshatriya, you've racked up total ignorance of history, misuse of "sociobiology", the conviction that males make the world go round, complete misunderstanding of the phrase "cognitive dissonance," the citation of women's "preoccupation with astrology and magic crystals" as evidence of differences between the sexes mental makeup, really strange ideas about IQ, MORE ignorance of history, and hilariously ridiculous statements like "The world worked in the pre-feminist era." (As opposed to now. We broke it.)

Impressive.

Rookh Kshatriya: For people who are not interested in clicking through -- and I wouldn't bother, if I were you -- he writes a charming little blog called Anglobitch, devoted to explaining why Anglo-American women are the evilest of evil.

Incidentally, Rookh, I'm curious. Do you have a reason for using Kshatriya as part of your name, besides the celebration of caste and the proclamation of yourself as upper, warrior caste? Because that's really creepy.

 
At September 3, 2009 at 1:48 PM , Blogger Rookh Kshatriya said...

I thought all educated people were aware that male abilities always occupy the outer extremes of the bell curve, but clearly this well-attested fact has not spread as far as women's studies, yet. Check out the work of Professor Richard Lynn, whose research proves that the female IQ is on average 5 points lower than that of males. Steve Moxon is another fine scholar who supports this assessment.

It is also vaguely amusing that a movement characterised from its beginnings by racism and elitism (namely Anglo-American feminism) should be so hung up about my name and its associations. Is this the same 'caring' feminism that supported Nazism in the Thirties?

Finally, what makes you think Roissy hates women? He is clearly an obsessional LOVER of women. Indeed, it is this boundless love that partly clouds his view of their countless personal failings.

 
At September 3, 2009 at 4:05 PM , Blogger LSG said...

While many would like to believe intelligence is an easily quantifiable trait, that is unfortunately not the case. The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould is an excellent look at the history of the study of intelligence, from measuring the volume of skulls to I.Q. tests, and I highly recommend it to anyone who's interested. The book is written partly in refutation of the famous book The Bell Curve, which suggested that women and certain racial minorities, especially African-Americans, were less intelligent than white and East Asian men. He also addresses Richard Lynn's work, and its glaring problems.

In the course of my excellent education, I have certainly heard the "more geniuses and idiots" theory of male intelligence versus female cognitive abilities, and I have also seen how scanty the evidence is in its support. There is some, and it's an interesting topic for scientists and psychologists to explore, but it's hardly a well-attested fact -- still less does it suggest that sexually frustrated men of high intelligence are naturally liable to start shooting up gyms.

While your invocation of Nazism is silly (particularly in light of your endorsement of Professor Lynn, who argued that races had different levels of intelligence and supported eugenics), I'm still going to respond for the sake of others who are reading along. It is true that feminism has often been restricted to white, upper-middle class women, and to this day feminists struggle with addressing other forms of oppression inside and outside the movement. I certainly do not fault those who feel they have been disregarded by the feminist movement, and do not consider themselves feminists because of these failings. Anyone who's interested, check out Renee at womanist-musings.com -- she identifies as a womanist rather than a feminist, though she believes in and writes about many of the core principles of feminism, in part because of traditional feminism's "erasure" of women of color.

Rookh, the feminist movement wasn't inquiring about your name, I was. I'm not thoroughly familiar with Indian culture, so I thought that perhaps I was doing you an injustice and there was an explanation of your name I hadn't considered. From your reaction, I'm guessing not.

 
At September 9, 2009 at 5:11 AM , Blogger Rookh Kshatriya said...

*It is true that feminism has often been restricted to white, upper-middle class women, and to this day feminists struggle with addressing other forms of oppression inside and outside the movement.*

But that's what makes feminism a joke to most self-aware people. Upper-middle class women are the most advantaged people in contemporary Anglo-American culture, and by a huge margin. Ever heard of PWG Syndrome? You know, the tendency of the media to move mountains when a young, white, middle class girl goes missing, but treat everyone else with complete indifference (something carried through into law enforcement, for which we all pay taxes). Anglo-American feminism has no teeth anymore because black men or white working class men are obviously far more exploited and oppressed than middle-class white women. How many war-damaged women veterans do you see wandering the streets? That's why we have a growing men's movement. If the matriarchal Anglo-American state doesn't like us (and it doesn't) it should stop claiming our taxes. No taxation without consideration, it's as simple as that. At present men in general don't get enough back for the investment demanded of them by the Anglosphere. My own agenda is to promote the withdrawal of male consent from the matriarchal hegemony until principled change occurs or the system falls apart, preferably the latter.

Those who argue that IQ tests don't test anything invariably rely on high IQ individuals for things like medical care, financial advice and so on. People in occupations widely considered to require high IQ - medicine, software development and scientific research ALWAYS have high IQ, usually very high. The idea that IQ 'tests nothing' is clearly a joke. How many grads from Harvard medical school have underclass IQs of 90, do you think? The question answers itself: none.

There is no differentiation in the female 'hive-mind' - all women act together in their collective self-interest (read Moxon). Speaking to you IS speaking to Anglo-American feminism, although you might claim otherwise.

 
At November 2, 2009 at 10:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It is true that feminism has often been restricted to white, upper-middle class women, and to this day feminists struggle with addressing other forms of oppression inside and outside the movement".

Yeah.

We all know how oppressed upper-middle class white women are these days...

Am I the only one NOT NAIVE enough to want to declare shenanigans against feminism?

Women are basically blameless no matter what they do these days - Regardless of class or race.

They can act as irresponsibly as they want these days - socially or sexually - without fear of recourse.


I wish I could say that it surprises me that people still defend feminism in spite of the destruction it has wreaked on our society.

But honestly, it is no surprise.

Ignorance and idiocy - like fire - spread rapidly and without a force of will.

This man is not the first person to kill multiple people out of frustration.

He certainly will not be the last either.

Keep up the good work ladies!

Whatever you do, do not stop and actually use the brains in your heads. Keep acting like blameless entitlement princesses with the intellects of spoiled brats.

And remember: Nothing is your fault.

LOL...

After all - Its not like feminist politics have been shaping our society for the last 50 years. No, its still, "A Man's World".

 

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