Was Elliot Rodger a Misogynist?
One week ago, a rather unusual murder spree occurred in Isla Vista, California. The person who carried it out, Elliot Rodger, as well as six others died that day and many more were injured. For reasons that I will go into in more detail later, this story grabbed the attention of national and international media. It has also caused quite a stir in social media and the blogosphere. Much has been written about this incident and Elliot Rodger from a number of often mutually contradictory viewpoints. At this time, I have no interest in listing all of them- suffice to say that pretty much every interest group and ideology is using this incident to further their agenda. This incident has however raised many interesting questions, and based on a search of google news and twitter, it appears that one of them is dominating the public conversation about Elliot Rodger and the Isla Vista killings.
Was Elliot Rodger a Misogynist?
Now many women, especially those in media, seem to have made up their mind about his question- regardless of the rather obvious fact that he killed 4 men and 2 women. I, however, am going to take a methodical approach to this question and try to answer it with the available evidence.
As of today, we have three main sources of evidence about what was going on in Elliot’s mind. They are-
1] His 141 page manifesto (downloaded within minutes of it appearing on scribd.com).
2] His YouTube video (again, downloaded within minutes of his name becoming public).
3] Archived postings on a few message boards.
Of these three, the first two are the most useful as they are the most extensive. With that in mind, let us first define the concept of misogyny. While many people now define misogyny in a very broad and nebulous manner to encompass almost everything they want to, the original and more compact definition is more illuminating.
Misogyny = hatred, dislike or mistrust of women.
With this in mind I decided to perform a text string search of Elliot’s manifesto for words such as “hate”, “hatred”, “dislike”, “mistrust”, distrust” and a number of synonyms for those words such as “bitter”, “bitterness”, “contempt”, “disgust”, “detest”, “envy”, “fear”, “loathing” “loathe” and “revulsion”. I wanted to find out the context of his use of those words.
Here are the results (for the manifesto).
“hate” = uncomfortable socks, sitting cross-legged, Maddy Humpreys, Soumaya, Soumaya, attending Bay Laurel elementary school, going to summer camp, Matt Bordier, Soumaya, skateboarder kids, skateboarder kids, grade 6 classmates, Oren Aks, Lucky Radley, Soumaya, finding about sex, his father being away, Monette Moio, all tween girls in his playcircle, Soumaya, everyone in grade 9, Soumaya, Crespi school, Jesse, going to summer camp, cruel girls, his father’s house, Leo Bubenheim, Polina Bubenheim, Leo Bubenheim, telling where his mother lived, injustices of the world, Soumaya, the world, Addison, Addison, Addison, his father and Soumaya, everyone without anxiety, sexual lives of other people, life, his classmates, Chance (black guy), popular-boy types, people asking him why he was so quiet, a couple at the camino real marketplace, Angel (guy), others realizing how pathetic his life was, others realizing how pathetic his life was, Spencer, guys with beautiful girlfriends, university history class, Vincent, Brittany story’s boyfriend, kids born into wealth, Gary Ross, Gary Ross’s friends, Alexander Ludwig, fraternity jocks, Spencer, being the shameful grandson, obnoxious and boisterous men, girls who liked such men, feeling trapped and lost, guys at a party, the world, Samuel, sorority girls at UCSB.
Did you notice something odd about that list? The major targets of his hate are men who are sexually successful with women and his step-mother, Soumaya. The closest he comes to saying that he hates women are when he talks about girls (or women) who teased and/or ignored him. Curiously, he also mentions several times that he knew or felt that girls hated him. Moving on..
“hatred” = Riley Anapol, Lucky Radley, skateboarding, boys around him at fourteen years of age, Leo Bubenheim, people with a sexual life, people who have sex, people who have sex, seeing young couples, seeing young couples, four thugs who egged him, towards the world, towards life, towards the world and society, Addison, jocks with hot girlfriends, Leo Bubenheim, online people who brag about their girlfriends, towards the world, a young couple, towards the world, a young couple, a guy with a hot girlfriend, Alexander Ludwig, everyone especially women, over not finding a girlfriend, towards all women, behavior of women around him, women, women attracted to other men, female gender, women rejecting him, spoiled and rich USC girls, Samuel, all those women who rejected him.
While he now talks a bit about hating women- he is actually quite precise about what type of woman he hates. Moreover he still hates men who are sexually successful with women far more than he hates women. Also note that he often talks about the hatred towards the rest of the world brewing inside him. My point is that, so far we have not seen any evidence that he hated women (as a group) more than the men who were sexually successful with them. Moving on further..
“dislike” = Keaton Webber, change to his life, staying at his father’s house, being at his father’s house, going to Morocco, low-class students, a teacher, some hotel.
What about girls or women? Isn’t it odd that he spends more time talking about his dislike at staying at his father’s house.. Anyway, let us go to the next word string.
“mistrust” = 0 hits
“bitter” or “bitterness” = irony of his first american friend being a girl, growing up, growing up, not being popular, being teased, WoW players, his father losing money, not meeting women, Addison, struggle against other men, hatred towards the world, at being lonely, online argument, envy of rich kids, not being able to bring a date, Lemelson’s Christmas party, Jazz (guy), Addison, talking to his father’s friends.
Well, not much about girls or women. But he sure hated this Addison guy- he is almost all of the word association lists. Anyhoo. on to the next word string.
“contempt” = Vincent, some couple.
“disgust” = cool kids, Addison, boisterous jocks, girls who like boisterous jocks, humanity.
Addison makes an appearance in another word list. He also talks about how girls probably find him disgusting. and onwards we go..
“detest” = 0 hits.
“envy” = dominate his life, Matt Bordier, Robert Morgan, Julian, Neil Davis, other boys at school when he was 14 years old, Leo Bubenheim, Jeffrey, Leo Bubenheim, Max, anyone with a sex life, Addison, Leo Bubenheim, jock with pretty girlfriend, anybody with a sex life, teenage couples, Julian Ritz-Barr, Julian Ritz-Barr, Vincent, Jazz, jazz, Philip and Addison,
I don’t see any girl or woman in that list.. but I can see Addison.. again! Holy shit.. this guy must be some prick.
“fear” = play, school, cool kids, middle school, middle school, middle school, seeing pictures of naked girls for the first time, of humiliation, around two girls, of girls, of girls, of girls, of getting nervous, never being able to drive, life in Santa Barbara, living independently, never being able to join in on the fun, of couple he threw coffee at, his inability to attract women, going to Isla Vista without friends, of a woman’s judgement, that some one might find out about his plan, fear of not winning the lottery, fear of being caught, lottery result, death but less than living like that, might get into trouble, operation on his ankle, starting college still crippled, of killing his father, of committing mass murder, that cops might discover his plan, cops showing up again.
So he was afraid of women, rather than wanting them to be afraid of him. Isn’t that a bid odd for a highly misogynistic killer. Oh well.. moving on
“loathing” and “loathe” = himself.
“revulsion” = working hard each day for twenty years to make a million or two.
So, there you have it! There is not much in his manifesto to suggest that he hated, disliked or mistrusted women- in any context other than those who rejected him and were having sex with boisterous and popular guys. Also, his hatred for women is far more individual than his hatred of other men. Perhaps more importantly, he has far higher levels of hatred for all those men who are sexually successful with women. If anything, his manifesto suggests that Elliot was misandrist, not misogynist. But who care about that..
Since this post is already almost 1500 words long, it is best to not add to it. Therefore, I will discuss his videos in an upcoming post.
What do you think? Comments?