Sports Illustrated’s 2015 swimsuit issue cover shows a model pulling down her bikini with a come hither smile on her face. YAY! We get to see this image with our kids while paying for our groceries at Safeway. Yet another drop in the bucket to a mainstream, American culture that tells men they are entitled to women. Think it’s harmless fun?
Last year 22 year old Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree after posting a video on YouTube and writing a manifesto describing his hatred of women, his anger for being rejected by them, his frustration and not being able to get a girlfriend, and his jealousy of sexually active men. All these signs were ignored. After the violence, most of the media cast Rodger as a crazy guy, a glitch in the system when in truth, he’s a product of it. Here were some exceptions:
Suffice it to say that the killer was a misogynist, and that lots of women have reacted to his rampage by reflecting on how women are denied full personhood.
Rather than seeing Elliot Rodger as a product of society, the media has depicted him as a bloodthirsty madman, a mere glitch in the system.
The ideology behind these attacks – and there is ideology – is simple. Women owe men. Women, as a class, as a sex, owe men sex, love, attention, “adoration”
The Daily Beast reported:
If the Santa Barbara shooter had been Muslim, and left the same sorts of video screeds and more, our government and media would undoubtedly be labeling this incident as terrorism. Just as an Islamic fundamentalist terrorist sets out to kill American infidels simply because they are “American infidels,” the Santa Barbara shooter set out to kill women simply because they were women. You tell me the difference. To fail to label the latter terrorism suggests a politicized use of the term, one interested in defending Judeo-Christian Americans and values, but not women.
The fact of misogyny America is not an accident. It is as deliberate as the shooting in Santa Barbara Friday night. Those who seek to perpetuate misogyny, to actively further the subjugation and suffering of women, are not just nut-balls but adherents of a very specific and very ugly social and political ideology. And those who take up weapons and kill large numbers of people in furtherance of that ideology? They’re terrorists.
Facebook posts popped up commemorating Rodger. On a page titled “Powerlifters Against Feminism” I read this:
Shoutout to my boy elliot rodger. He did the best thing us men could do. And paid the ultimate price. Let his death be a memorial day in which we hate against the subhuman species called women.
I contacted Facebook, asking them to shutdown the page, and I got this reply:
After hundreds of Reel Girl fans contacted Facebook, the page was finally taken down, never explaining why they were so slow to label “that subhuman species called women” hate speech.
In the USA in 2015, we don’t take violence against women seriously because misogyny is normal here. Men are taught that they are entitled to women. Please look at the pictures in this post: Why do men in America feel entitled to women? A gallery of reasons.
If you think SI is breaking ground with the plus size model featured in the 2015 swimsuit issue, please read Memo to the world: Objectifying fat women is objectifying women.