The shooting at The University of California, Santa Barbra, has a misogyny component. While watching CNN and MSNBC for the past few days I have been reminded that violent crimes are more often than not committed by men. Does this mean that women do not commit violent crime? No, but women seem to be much less likely to use violence when compared to men.
After watching some of the coverage on the news networks the main arguments about what causes this violences seems to be media influences, guns, and male culture. As with any generalization there is a danger that we will over simplify what causes violence. It’s easy to blame video games or movies and use them as scapegoats. I feel that this detracts from the conversation about male violence. As a society we can talk about what effect fantasy violence has on children and adults, but we shouldn’t pretend that playing Grand Theft Auto will turn a person into a homicidal maniac!
Statistically it has been said that most violent crimes are done “in the heat of the moment.” Most violence is the result of emotions and rage. It’s better to express emotion rather than repressing it. Anger is an especially dangerous emotion to repress. Anger is often a factor in mass shootings.
I wonder why some of these shooters were so angry? In this latest tragedy, a hatred of women seems to be the prime motivation. The shooter was angry that he wasn’t getting sexual gratification from women. He felt like he didn’t deserve rejection and that women should have submitted to him. These are extreem ideas, but they are still common among many young men. It reminds me of when I was a 20-year-old, trying to understand sexual relationships. I would often visit dating forums in the web looking for advice.
Most of the men on these forums were mainly concerned with having sex. There were “tips,” many focused on acting like a jerk, though not being a real jerk. In one instance there was a debate about jerks versus nice guys. This is something we have all heard about at some point. “Nice guys finish last” and “women like the bad boys.” I have heard men argue that being nice is a turn-off. I have heard men complain about rejection. I have been rejected and I know what that is like. Thankfully, I learned to deal with it.
Sexual entitlement is silly as having sex with someone is not a necessity. There are ways to handle sexual desire without seeking a partner. I don’t think it’s bad for people to seek sexual pleasure in a consenting partner. What people do in private is their business. However, forcing or tricking someone into sex and justifying it is disgusting. If sex is so important to you and you can’t find a willing participant, just go solo. It may not be as fun as the “real” thing, but it’s better than crossing the line.
I think the main problem with mass shootings is that the shooters don’t feel comfortable talking about their problems. There is still a stigma with sharing one’s feelings among many men. While women tend to be more open and willing to share their feelings, men still seem to hide them. Many do not think it is manly to share negative emotions out of a fear of showing weakness. This relates to the need for a strong gender identity. If we tell men that they can determine what masculinity means for them, they may not feel pressure to adhere to a stereotypical image of manliness. Being a man doesn’t mean sleeping with as many women as possible. To me it means being a good person and standing up for what you believe in.