Prejudice has always been and probably always will be a prominent issue in society. Specifically regarding the attitudes towards gender roles. Specifically the sexualisation of men and women. Misogynist views that women are ‘only good for one thing’, females always being portrayed as sex objects in the media, make up adverts only directed at women, no gut busters out there for beer guts but plenty of tight fitting underwear because heaven forbid we have a little flab after bearing all of those children and men suffer prejudice when they decide to take the 21st century view of choosing to stay at home whist their partners go out to work. All of this makes for a pretty uncomfortable world to live in. How we are supposed to win is beyond me.
Back in May of this year (2014) there was another mass shooting in California. Troubled Elliot Rodger rampaged through the streets of Isla Vista, California with a gun (which he had been given a license for but that’s another story) and killed 6 men and women, wounded 13 more and finally shot himself in the head, on a day he titled ‘The day of retribution’. Why? It basically boiled down to his want and need for love and sex from women, which he thought that he was ENTITLED to and his hatred towards those men who had the pleasure of a relationship.
He posted a few videos on youtube, one a few days before the shootings, talking about why he thinks his life is unfair because he has never had a girlfriend. But the final one, which he posted on the morning of the attack, was entitled ‘Elliot Rodger’s Day of retribution’. This video stated his reasons for his premeditated attack, such as… ‘[I will slaughter]all those girls 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’
‘Girls all I’ve ever wanted is to love you and to be loved by you’
‘you are animals and I will slaughter you like animals and I will be a god, exacting my retribution on all those who deserve it and you do deserve it, just for the crime of living a better life than me and it is a crime’
The reaction to this was staggering and sparked two worldwide media frenzies #NOTALLMEN and #YESALLWOMEN. #Notallmen was and is the hashtag to show that not all men share Rodger’s views, they are not all misogynists or chauvinists with the expectance of sex or anything else from women. However, #Yesallwomen identifies that although not all men may have that attitude, women suffer at the hands of misogyny and chauvinism every day regardless, in ways that we do not even notice. For instance, when a girl leaves home for the first time and say goes to university, she will be told to be careful, never go anywhere alone and perhaps be given gifts such as pepper spray or a rape alarm. A man, on the other hand, will be given a big pat on the back, told to take care and he will most likely take condoms in his suitcase. Not by any means because he plans to rape someone, but because in his head there’s no rejection filter to tell him that there’s a possibility nobody will want to. These things have become the norm in this society and are not even questioned. This is not a feminist blog post, just a realisation of the facts and that is not to say that men do not suffer similarly, I have heard too many cases of men being raped or abused, but Rodger’s was only concerned about the female of the species and his views were so extremely outrageous it made the entire world panic. How on earth did this happen? How could he be under the impression that he was owed sex? It is as if he expected every woman to find him irresistible and fall to his advances regardless of what he had or hadn’t done. Rodger was clearly a troubled man and his horrific actions are in no way reasonable. However, it does raise the question, what gave him this impression? I am actually unsurprised that this was his opinion, this is not in any way condoning his behaviour but why feel he had no other choice. This culture does make people uncomfortable and adds so much extra pressure to times such as puberty, when your body is already changing, that just don’t need to be there. We were all there once, when our friends were having sex and we weren’t, being teased because of sexual exploits or lack of them. None of us went on a killing spree but we did all suffer. How did society manage to become so fundamentally wrong?
Men and women even now are needlessly separated in everything. There are few things that can’t be done by both (unless you want to be the queen or king, those genders are fairly set in stone) but should someone deviate from the ‘norm’, e.g. a house husband for instance, he will be ridiculed and belittled, not only by his friends but also by his wife sometimes. Then there are the women who stay at home with their children, because frankly sometimes there’s no other option, who are ridiculed by their husbands, families and friends, some of whom have children and have done it themselves and some of whom haven’t. Everyone has their own impression of what ‘should’ be done and it clouds our judgement so much that we can’t see to help those who need it. A woman doing a man’s job gets paid less, a man doing a woman’s job feel inferior, why?? It isn’t too much of a stretch to think that some people will feel confused in such a world.
All of the thoughts we have stem from what we are taught, so I welcome you to change one thing, realise that things are not always black and white and teach your children not to live their lives in this narrow minded way.