Undead Sexist Cliches: It’s women’s fault that murderers walk among us

As I’ve mentioned before in this series of posts, a standard anti-woman trope is to explain that if men screw up, it’s because women don’t know their place (see also here). So perhaps it’s unsurprising someone applied that to mass murder too.
Echidne of the Snakes spotted a New York Times piece which blames the recent school shooting on the fact young men “are in decline.” No longer seen as heroes or shining knights. No longer indispensable because women can support themselves. “Can you imagine being in the shoes of the one who feels his power slipping away? Who can find nothing stable to believe in? Who feels himself becoming unnecessary?” The solution? “A more deferential attitude on our part”—our being women—to reassure men of their importance.
Short response: Bollocks.
Longer response: Even assuming writer Christy Wampole has diagnosed the cause of violent shootings correctly, the logical response is not for women to defer to homicidal men so that they don’t feel the need to embrace the way of the gun. It would make much more sense to a)work on fixing the economy so men don’t feel quite so inadequate or unemployed (not because of their feelings—an economy where everyone can find work is simply a better system) and b)try to wean men off the idea that they’re only worth something if they’re doing a job women don’t or can’t do.
And as noted in comments, if the killers are in agony because they’re no longer treated as heroes (I’m not sure for what—just being the big strong man, I guess), the sensible response is to go off and do something heroic. Firefighting. UN Peacekeeper. Soldier. Feeding the homeless. Not to go mowing down innocent children.
And as Echidne notes, the recent Chinese school assault takes place in a culture that’s way more patriarchal and male-dominated than ours is, but a young man still went meshuggah.
This line of thinking is not unique. After the Virginia Tech shooting a few years ago, anti-feminist Camille Paglia proposed one reason for the shooting was that the campus was stuffed full of slutty women who were sleeping around and didn’t let him have any, so what can you expect? Someone made a similar argument online after the Newton shooting which led to one delicious online riposte (“Perhaps we should have a caste of women willing to satisfy men they aren’t attracted to. We could compensate them for defusing the tension, calling them, hmm … PROSTITUTES!”) that I no longer have the link to.
Also on the Newton shooting:
•Digby rips into the general right-wing response. And here’s another shot, at former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee explaining God wanted all those children shot because we’re too anti-God. Another blogger points out that horror happens even inside churches (e.g., sexual abuse by clergy).
Here’s a brilliant insight: If only instead of pathetic, bureaucratic, unionized teachers we’d had a strong man like George Zimmerman—the same George Zimmerman who shot Trayvon Martin—those kids would be safe! Because nothing keeps kids safe like someone willing to shoot innocent black teenagers.
•Megan McArdle concludes that the rifle used at Newton really wasn’t very powerful, and we can’t stop gun violence anyway, so we should just teach people to charge the shooters (again, not a new argument—John Derbyshire made it after Virginia Tech). At the Atlantic, Elspeth Reeve points out that McArdle, National Review writers and other big-city conservatives are not, in fact, gun experts, nor do they speak as they imagine for the simple country folk of rural America. Use my blog’s search feature to find more of McArdle’s idiocy.
•Roy Edroso looks at a right-wing post about the shooting and supposed liberal contempt for the common man that defies synopsis.


Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

13 responses to “Undead Sexist Cliches: It’s women’s fault that murderers walk among us

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