For those of you who are unfamiliar with Elliot Rodger, he is (was) the 22 year old son of Hunger Games second unit director Peter Rodger. Elliot has recently carried out his predicted slaughter of women and sexually active men (7 killed in total) and then himself. Elliot submitted a 140+ page personal manifesto which chronicles his life and loneliness in incredible detail. Gawker has published Elliot’s YouTube threat(s) as well as his full manifesto.
Why did he do this? Because he was lonely. Because he was a 22 year old virgin and had never kissed a girl. Because he had a deep hatred for women who rejected him and for men who were sexually active. Because he saw himself as the perfect man, the “true alpha male” as he says in his videos – and yet all women rejected him.
Why do we need to discuss this? Because some people will actually sympathize with him. Because some people will actually say that if he had been sexually active or gotten what he wants, this wouldn’t have happened. What is the underlying message here? Women: Give yourselves to men you’re not attracted to, because if you don’t, he may fly off the handle.
This is a massive problem. Perpetuating even the thought of statements such as this are precisely why we still have a fight for equality.
No man is entitled to any woman. No man inherently “deserves” a woman’s attention, body, or heart. But the entitlement complexes deeply rooted in boys like Elliot easily create a Patrick Bateman-esque (American Psycho) love/hate relationship with women.
This discussion needs to be had because no sympathy for a boy like this should be given. An American boy from a wealthy family going to an expensive school, driving a BMW, is still not entitled to any woman. We have all been rejected. We have all had feelings for someone who didn’t have them for us in return – yet we do not develop an irrevocable violent hatred towards others simply because they are not attracted to us.
It should also be noted that Elliot considered himself a “failed” pickup artist – a community I am familiar with. A community that often (not always) treats women as “targets” or objects to be obtained, not humans to build mutually beneficial relationships with.
I’ve decided to reveal a personal piece of information about myself in this article for this reason – I was also a virgin when I was 22. Up until a week before my 23rd birthday, actually. For awhile this was by choice as I didn’t think I was ready to take the step, but for awhile it was also because of finding myself in situations similar to Elliot. Experiencing the “friend zone” (for lack of a better term), no returned attraction, etc.
But never, not even for a flicker of a millisecond, was this a trigger for hatred towards women or the possibility of violence. We need to instill in our youth that their value comes from within and not from whether or not those they desire approve and accept them. We need to teach our youth what healthy relationships look like and what toxic relationships look like.
Most of all – we need to teach our boys that women are equal to us and they are not entitled to force her hand in decision making – especially when it comes to sex or relationships. And, we need to teach our girls that they have absolutely no obligation to accept any invitation from any man whom they do not desire in return. Additionally, that their self worth does not come from the acceptance of others, but from within. That’s why it’s called *self* worth.
We need to have this conversation because hateful misogyny and violence still exists in people of all races and social standings, and absolutely cannot be ignored. We need to have this conversation because people like Elliot are literally publishing their threats and tendencies all over the internet with no action taken against them until it’s too late. We need to have this conversation because of apologists and sympathizers who stand up in his defense.
Warning signs are very real and out in the open more today than ever, given social media. Cries for help cannot be ignored.
We need to have this conversation because enough is enough.
**Edit** It’s important to note that I had a statement in this article about how Elliot had potentially been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome but was repeatedly corrected by members of the media saying the family had retracted this statement, so I removed it. This has caused many people to question why I did not mention his psychological condition in this article, when in reality it was here in the first place but then taken out. I have not heard any “official” diagnoses so I choose not to comment on what I am not educated nor qualified to discuss.
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