Just Hours After the UCSB Shooting, Another Violent Act of Misogyny Occurred in California
The news: On Friday evening, the nation was rocked when 22-year-old shooter Elliot Rodger claimed the lives of six people in Isla Vista, Calif., as "retribution" for years of rejection by women.
Then, just hours later in the same state, another man opened fire on women in a similar misogyny-fueled shooting.
The alleged incident took place in Stockton, Calif., where 21-year-old suspect Keith Binder had a gathering at a house with his friends. They propositioned three of the women there with sex; when the women refused and tried to leave, the host opened fire on them. Luckily, the women were able to escape uninjured and call the police, with authorities still searching for Binder as of Monday.
Why this is important: The Stockton shooting had a more fortunate outcome than the Isla Vista rampage, but as Jezebel's Isha Aran points out, "It's absolutely ridiculous that yet again we have to ascribe someone's safety to luck."
Unlike Rodger's well-documented history of bigotry and mental illness, the details of Binder's shooting are still emerging. Still, you can't ignore the two incidents' common denominator: Violence was perpetrated by men against women due to the pervasive notion that men are entitled to women's bodies, and that women who claim their own agency and refuse unwanted sexual advances deserve to be punished.
In a video recorded before the rampage, Rodger laid out his misogynistic worldview: "On the day of retribution, I will enter the hottest sorority house of UCSB, and I will slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up blonde slut I see inside there. All those girls that I've desired so much, they would have all rejected me and looked down upon me as an inferior man if I ever made a sexual advance towards them. While they throw themselves at these obnoxious brutes. I'll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you." He evinced the same disturbing philosophy in his 141-page manifesto, titled "My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger."
"The same pervasive idea of entitlement to sex that gave Elliot Rodger the space to 'punish women' also gave Binder the space to do the same to those three women," writes Aran. "Women facing gunfire, let alone any repercussion, for not wanting to have sex is scary enough, but the fact that these are not entirely isolated incidents is even scarier. This is a culture of violence, it's very, very real, and we need to dismantle it."
The response: The Isla Vista shooting has inspired the creation of #YesAllWomen, with the purpose of dissecting this "culture of violence." The hashtag, which didn't exist before May 24, led to 1.2 million tweets by Monday, with average women and celebrities alike sharing stories of male entitlement.
This tidal wave of solidarity has been rebuffed by #NotAllMen, the popular hashtag for people who believe that such thinking is reductive — after all, "not all men" are rapists, murderers or mass shooters, right?
While that's true, this argument misses the point of a communal space like #YesAllWomen. These discussions are not meant to perpetuate sexist stereotypes of men, but to acknowledge the sad truth that women are often victims of crimes perpetuated by men, and that the misogyny factor in gendered crime cannot be ignored.
More than half of American women are physically assaulted in their lifetime, while nearly 20% are sexually assaulted. That's not a reality that any of us should be comfortable living with, yet sadly, it takes unfortunate events like the Isla Vista and Stockton shootings to get the country to talk about it.