On the night of May 23rd, 2014, a familiar tragedy played out in the affluent community of Isla Vista, California. 22-year-old Elliot Rodger went on a murderous rampage which left six dead and thirteen wounded.
In his 140-page manifesto, which he titled “My Twisted World,” Rodger laid bare his reasons for slaying his three roommates before gunning down several more innocent women and men. Bubbling beneath his well-crafted, preppy façade were feelings of inadequacy, envy, and murderous rage.
He railed against the upper-class popular kids who snubbed him; the jock “brutes” who bullied him mercilessly; and, above all else, the “spoiled, heartless, wicked bitches” who never gave him a second thought, forcing him to “rot in bitter loneliness” as a “kissless virgin” without any romantic or sexual experience to speak of.
In a final video uploaded to YouTube shortly before his killing spree, Rodger announced to the world that he would soon “punish” the women who were never attracted to him. In a chillingly calm tone of voice, he declared: “On the day of retribution, I’m going to enter the hottest sorority house of [UC Santa Barbara], and I will slaughter every spoiled, stuck-up, blonde slut I see inside there. All you popular kids, you’ve never accepted me, and now you will all pay for it,” he said with a sneer.
“And girls, all I ever wanted was to love you, and to be loved by you. I’ve wanted a girlfriend, I’ve wanted sex. I’ve wanted love, affection, adoration. You think I’m unworthy of it. That’s a crime that can never be forgiven.”
This latest bloodbath – like George Sodini’s in 2009, Marc Lépine’s in 1989, and Richard Farley’s in 1988 – revealed, yet again, the extent to which toxic masculinity and aggrieved male entitlement continue to threaten the lives of women everywhere.
Yet beyond Elliot Rodger’s “twisted world” lies something far more sinister. His violent, misogynist rage is but a microcosm of a dangerous anti-woman mentality that festers in the loosely-connected network of Internet forums and blogs which comprise the so-called “manosphere” – a digital world inhabited by Men’s Rights Activists, Men Going Their Own Way, and “incels” (shorthand for “involuntary celibates,” a term used to describe men who, try as they might, remain virgins).
Much like Elliot Rodger, the folks who own and comment on these websites not only believe they are entitled to attention from, and sex with, beautiful women — but they also view violence as an acceptable means to get what they desire.
CoAlphaAntiModernistIncelBlogger, for example, is a blog run by a Croatian man and self-styled “incel” who once proposed that governments procure dates for male virgins. “Caamib,” who admits to having propositioned his own mother “a couple of times” when he was “frustrated and sex starved,” wrote in a February, 2014, post that he was “genuinely sorry” for not murdering a teenage girl he was once attracted to.
Following Elliot Rodger’s rampage, he wrote that while Rodger was “scum,” so were the women and men he killed. “Stupid, spoiled, brats,” he wrote. “I have no pity for, as one commentator said ‘blonde sorority sisters in Isla Vista.’ These girls were bad, immoral trash. And so was he.”
Commenters on CoAlpha Reactionary Forum similarly revel in the torment and murder of innocent women. The forum, which carries a dedication to Elliot Rodger, is owned and operated by “fschmidt,” a proponent of “Biblic Judaism” who believes that American women are “worse” than Nazi Germany. In one comment thread called “Observations on How Women Dress,” a user with the online handle “Drealm” wrote:
As you can imagine, my university town, Berkeley California, is one big liberalized hypersexual runway show. I’m forced to stare at hundreds if not thousands of women a day, all of whom bring sluttiness to all new pinnacle…I’ve discovered only my base urges are awakened when I see sluts. It’s as though I’m operating on autopilot and anything short of sex, goes off the radar. Simply put, I cannot on a primal level get passed my sexual urges when looking at sluts. I can argue with myself intellectually all I want, but ultimately my actions will be dictated by primal urges. So I’m only able to view sluts as sexual objects. This means as far as actions go, that at best I just want to exploit them for casual sex and at worst I want to rape them.
And on a thread about the Isla Vista massacre, commenters were generally supportive of Elliot Rodger. “As a fellow incel, I agreed with most of Rodger’s criticisms of: women, society as a whole, and the messed up male/female dynamics that are rampant today,” wrote one.
Another commenter who goes by the name “Cornfed” wrote, “Had Elliot shot up a sorority house like he said he was going to, I don’t see why anyone should condemn that because 99.9% of his victims would have deserved it and any that somehow didn’t would be acceptable collateral damage.”
On Happier Abroad — a forum comprised mainly of American men who seek foreign women — “Cornfed” elaborated on his final solution to “the woman problem”:
I can think of a couple of potential solutions. One would be to perform a kind of triage on the female population. Those of breeding age deemed to have good genetics would be ensconced in body fitting cages and kept permanently pregnant via artificial inseminationl [sic] like other breeding sows. Those not used for this purpose but who were physically attractive would be sent to state brothels where worthy men could use them for sexual release, and they might also be farmed out to cook and clean for men. The remainder of the Western female population would be shot. Once the generation of post-feminist females being cranked out by the breeders came on stream, they would be apportioned to men as wives and the remaining feminized females would be shot.
Another solution would be for Western women to be declared wild animals and dealt with in a similar manner to how certain animals are under the wild animal control statutes of various countries. Hence the owners of women would be required to brand, tether or tag them, or they would be considered “wild”, in which case men would be free to claim them or hunt them or whatever. There would be a limit to how many women a man could own at any given time (excluding daughters), and husbands and fathers would have first claim. Women allowed to roam around unsupervised and cause trouble by irresponsible owners would be impounded and destroyed.
This kind of fantasy is, without question, absolutely nightmarish for most people. Yet it remains the norm for men trapped in an ideological echo chamber of toxic masculinity and aggrieved entitlement. Compare this to the rhetoric used by Elliot Rodger in his manifesto concerning what should be done with women:
The ultimate evil behind sexuality is the human female. They are the main instigators of sex. They control which men get it and which men don’t. Women are flawed creatures, and my mistreatment at their hands has made me realize this sad truth. There is something very twisted and wrong with the way their brains are wired. They think like beasts, and in truth, they are beasts. Women are incapable of having morals or thinking rationally. They are completely controlled by their depraved emotions and vile sexual impulses. Because of this, the men who do get to experience the pleasures of sex and the privilege of breeding are the men who women are sexually attracted to… the stupid, degenerate, obnoxious men. I have observed this all my life. The most beautiful of women choose to mate with the most brutal of men, instead of magnificent gentlemen like myself.
Women should not have the right to choose who to mate and breed with. That decision should be made for them by rational men of intelligence. If women continue to have rights, they will only hinder the advancement of the human race by breeding with degenerate men and creating stupid, degenerate offspring. This will cause humanity to become even more depraved with each generation. Women have more power in human society than they deserve, all because of sex. There is no creature more evil and depraved than the human female.
[. . .]
The first strike against women will be to quarantine all of them in concentration camps. At these camps, the vast majority of the female population will be deliberately starved to death. That would be an efficient and fitting way to kill them all off. I would take great pleasure and satisfaction in condemning every single woman on earth to starve to death. I would have an enormous tower built just for myself, where I can oversee the entire concentration camp and gleefully watch them all die. If I can’t have them, no one will, I’d imagine thinking to myself as I oversee this. Women represent everything that is unfair with this world, and in order to make the world a fair place, they must all be eradicated.
A few women would be spared, however, for the sake of reproduction. These women would be kept and bred in secret labs. There, they will be artificially inseminated with sperm samples in order to produce offspring. Their depraved nature will slowly be bred out of them in time.
The similarities between the two are striking, and become even more disturbing when one takes into account the fact that the post on Happier Abroad is from 2012 — two years before the Isla Vista massacre and the release of Elliot Rodger’s manifesto. On websites where so-called “incels”, “MGTOWs” and MRAs congregate, this same type of hatred burns white hot, and may have lethal consequences for innocent women and girls.
Take, for instance, the writings of Eivind Berge, an anti-feminist blogger from Norway. The bespectacled Berge, who for years identified as an “incel”, blames women and feminists for his plight and that of other Norwegian men. In his desperation for sexual intimacy, Berge wrote that sex “is a female resource,” and that if women refuse to have sex with men, men should respond by taking what they want.
“Remember that due to the hypergamous nature of women, men get less sex as women get more money and power. Women are generally incapable of feeling attraction for men who are not better than they are, and soon men are no better than equal,” he wrote. “So it is about time men in feminist countries such as Norway stop thinking of rape as wrong.”
In 2011, following Anders Behring Breivik’s gruesome terrorist attacks at Oslo and Utøya — the deadliest attack in Norway since WWII with 77 fatalities — Berge wrote that he had been planning a similar assault, but aborted it when he finally obtained a girlfriend: “At the time I wrote my last blog post, I believed I would probably become Norway’s first modern violent activist in peacetime. Celibacy enforced by a feminist regime had driven me to the point where I saw no other option. I would target the pigs who enforce feminist law, knowing I could realistically at least kill one of them before I would be captured or killed myself. Thus revenge would be assured and if I lived, my reputation as a violent criminal would make me attractive to some women.”
This disturbing mentality, like that of Elliot Rodger, cannot remain trapped within the confines of blogs owned and frequented by sexually frustrated, misogynist men. At least, not indefinitely. After all, Elliot Rodger was not the first killer of his kind, and he will certainly not be the last.
For months, a dateless man named George Sodini ranted about his inability to get a date or get laid. On his personal blog he expressed astonishment with his own predicament: “Who knows why. I am not ugly or too weird. No sex since July 1990 either (I was 29). No shit! Over eighteen years ago. And did it maybe only 50-75 times in my life. … Women just don’t like me. There are 30 million desirable women in the US (my estimate) and I cannot find one.”
Thus, he planned an “exit strategy,” designed to take out the people whom he believed denied him what was rightfully his. On August 4th, 2009, Sodini stormed a Pittsburgh-area gym and opened fire, killing three women and injuring ten others before turning his gun on himself.
On April 25th, 2014, students at Jonathan Law High School were gearing up for their junior prom. The celebration was cut short when a student named Christopher Plaskon encountered his classmate Maren Sanchez in a school stairwell. Using a knife he smuggled from home, Plaskon slashed her throat, chest, and face. She succumbed to her injuries shortly thereafter at Bridgeport Hospital. According to Jonathan Law students, Plaskon had invited Sanchez to the prom prior to the attack. Sanchez, who recently began dating another boy, had turned Plaskon down.
In October, Mary “Unique” Spears, a Detroit resident and 27-year-old mother of three, was approached by a 38-year-old man as she was leaving a relative’s funeral. “Can I get your name, your number,” he asked. “I have a man I can’t talk to you,” Spears replied. Unable to take no for an answer, the man continued harassing her. When the man grew violent, Spears’ fiancé intervened, prompting the man to pull out a gun and begin firing at Spears and her family. A wounded Spears attempted to flee until the man fatally shot her in the head.
And in the same week as the Detroit murder, a 26-year-old Queens resident found herself the target of unwanted advances when a strange man asked her out on a date. When she declined, the man grabbed the victim from behind, slashed her throat and fled the scene.
On October 24th, 2014, Jaylen Fryburg entered the cafeteria at Marysville-Pilchuck High School and fatally shot four students, three of whom were girls. One of the victims, Zoë Raine, had recently turned Jaylen down when he asked her out on a date.
Most recently, a British teenager named Ben Moynihan has been found guilty of attempted murder after he stabbed three women in Portsmouth, Hampshire. The reason for the attack was Moynihan’s hatred of women. “I was planning to murder mainly women as an act of revenge because of the life they gave me, I’m still a virgin at 17,” Moynihan wrote in his diary. “And why do women have to be fussy when choosing a boyfriend, or cheating on them with others. I attack women because I grew up to believe them as a more weaker part of the human breed.”
And on and on it goes. Men feel slighted when they don’t get what they want. They feel emasculated. And the only way to rid themselves of these feelings of humiliation and rejection — the only way to reclaim their masculinity — is through violent retribution. It can manifest itself in a typical schoolyard fight, the kind that parents and teachers still claim is “just boys being boys.” Or it can manifest itself in much more horrifying ways, such as the brutal rape, torture and murder of women.
And when men like Elliot Rodger and George Sodini seek out and kill innocent women, they are sending a very clear threat to women and girls everywhere: You can feel free to reject a nice guy like me, but you do so at your own peril. Each time you refuse to smile back, turn down a date, or refuse to have sex, you’re risking your life.
As Elliot Rodger once wrote to other online misogynists, “Start envisioning a world where WOMEN FEAR YOU.” And while Elliot Rodger is dead, his spirit will live on in the hearts of men who hate women, from Men’s Rights Activists who believe intoxicated women are asking to be raped, to violent catcallers and street harassers, to murderous domestic abusers, to every self-proclaimed “Nice Guy” who feels like women owe him sex.