The disturbing killing rampage that took place on May 23, 2014, in the Santa Barbara County had the media blasting, and the nation in a state of shock. The twenty-two year old perpetrator, Elliot Rodger, killed seven random individuals, and injured another thirteen. The sequence of events that had led to these actions were explained, and described by the offender himself in a 137-page manifesto, and videos he had uploaded on several social media outlets. The main motive for the mass killing spree was geared towards women because of Elliot’s misogynistic ideology. Nevertheless, national debate began on familiar topics of mental health and gun control. Although these issues are common themes in the stir of such tragic events, this incident had a different outlook, and the media did not seem to be interested in addressing the real issue.
Elliot viewed women as mere objects to be conquered, used, and acquired. Even though these murders are infrequent, unfortunately these attitudes are not. All around the world, the subjugation and hatred of women cannot, and should not be ignored. The culture of misogyny is not just about sex, but the product of a generalized attitude of male supremacy, rooted from a patriarchal mentality. This ideology plays a central role in all social dynamics, and personal interactions in society today.
The majority of adult men, at some point in their lives, have sexually assaulted women – whether consciously or not, and regardless of its degree. Many women experience unwanted comments, undesired advances, demeaning messages, lewd looks, undesired touches, and violence executed by men. In fact, all women have been sexually assaulted, or will be at some point throughout the course of their lives. Hence not all men are misogynists, but all women have experienced some form of misogyny.
Elliot’s actions are not to be exclusively blamed on gun control or mental health issues, unless the purpose is to keep the truth unspoken. Elliot Rodgers was not a young man with a chemical imbalance that developed inside the womb, but rather a product created by society. Therefore, it is vital to understand the sociological impact that gender stereotypes and roles have had on cultures instead. Furthermore, this should not be categorized as a gender issue, but as what it really is: a problem on a human level that affects all of the world’s population.