Just over a week ago, Elliot Rodger opened fire on students in Santa Barabra in a demonic plea for help. This mentally ill individual acted out of rage fueled by a false sense of entitlement and his own maniacal indignation. His rage took innocent lives, lives that likely had a very bright future before they were ripped from our twisted, internally ill world.
Elliot Rodger was a man who, despite seeing a number of therapists, had gone off the rails and become a victim of his own hell on earth. He is the subject of a much larger debate on mental health that we ought to be having, instead of the dangerous argument being spun by feminists online. Elliot Rodger was mentally sick (Mashable ran a great profile on him and his manifestos), and as a result he lashed out in particular towards women. Unfortunately, what has begun following his crimes was not an important debate about mental health, but an opportunistic expose of unrighteous indignation spearheaded by feminists who somehow believed that they were on the same level as those who lost their lives. Enter in #YesAllWomen. As a response to this event, millions of women across the world kick-started the hashtag to share stories of their mistreatment and the process of being a victim of other’s crimes.
Many stories were humbling, and I don’t doubt that many were true. However, sexual assault issues should not be politicized or become opportunities for individuals to climb a ladder and step over real life victims in the process. We cannot have an honest debate about violence against women, although we need to, because the self proclaimed gatekeepers of that conversation would rather limit who can sit at the table by maintaining their position as “speakers for all.” In the process, feminists would rather use the opportunity of violence against innocents to throw a hook at other political opponents or people groups. Brittany Cooper, the “Professor Crunk,” penned a piece titled White Guy Killer Syndrome: Elliot Rodger’s deadly, privileged rage. In her piece, she argues that Elliot Rodger falls into the same category as Adam Lanza and James Holmes: white, heterosexual, middle class, and male. What do all of these men have in common? All of them are mass murders. Her argument? All of these men killed innocents because they believed they were all entitled to money, attention, and women.
This is the type of garbage that spills down into the rest of #YesAllWomen. Those who actually have stories to tell, women who have truly been hurt and need the help, are drowned out by the other 1.5 million individuals who tweet stories of when men simply looked at their chests, because #YesAllWomen. The result of this thinking is that if #YesAllWomen are victims of some sort of discrimination, then are all men the discriminators? According to Brittany Cooper, all white males are. Does that mean that I discriminate?
#YesAllWomen had a bright future, for about a minute. But never before has a criminal stopped because a hashtag was between him and his victim, and he never will. At the end of the day, the reason these crimes keep happening is because we as human beings are inherently corrupt and, apparently, are also inherently incapable of doing anything to solve these problems.
Except send hashtags to the rescue.
The “Hashtag Cavalry” never ended any battle, but it was never meant to. This cavalry does not end battle, but takes the battles to other places online. This specific response to a mass shooting was not meant to send condolences to families, or crusade for mental health. It was finger pointing at Seth Rogen:
How many students watch outsized frat-boy fantasies like “Neighbors” and feel, as Rodger did, unjustly shut out of college life that should be full of “sex and fun and pleasure?” How many men, raised on a steady diet of Judd Apatow comedies in which the shlubby arrested adolescent always gets the girl, find that those happy endings constantly elude them and conclude, “It’s not fair”?
I saw Neighbors, and I definitely was not thinking that. But somehow, as a culture, we’ve come to believe that we have to fight each other. For every crime, the criminal is not the perpetrator, but some other third party that can be attacked even after the damage from the physical crime itself has been done.
This is what debate looks like when our debates are done via Twitter hashtags. Hashtags, oddly enough, that focus on first world sexual crimes, and not the stoning in countries like Iran or the mutilation of young girls in Muslim countries.
Feminists, where’s the hashtag for that?