[CW,TW] Who is really to blame for Elliot Rodger’s mass murder?
[CW, TW for pretty much everything from misogynist violence, racism, suicide, and every horrible other thing that MRAs on a “troll” site would post]
With all the news and speculation surrounding what would compel Elliot Rodger to commit murder, who or what could we POSSIBLY blame? Is it TV? Is it video games? Is it VIOLENT TV and video games? Is it Janet Reno?
I won’t keep you waiting, the answer is, yes, it’s Elliot Rodger as well as the pervasive misogyny that our culture not just accepts as permissible, but encourages and rewards. Blood is on the hands of everyone who didn’t push back when Elliot said something that was gross, who didn’t take him seriously when he talked about “revolutions” and “giving in to hatred” and a “reckoning”. It’s every authority figure everywhere that dismisses concerns coming from women that they are being threatened, or express a feeling of danger.
In Elliot’s case, there is another force that is clearly holding copious amounts of blame here, and their kneejerk protest to their immediate association with it is extremely telling: “The Manosphere”
While the manosphere’s defensive reaction to Elliot’s murder is rather telling, the most revealing segment of it is a forum called “PUAHate” that Elliot posted on prolifically.
The purpose of PUAHate is really meta, and as the entire site wouldn’t exist without the rest of The Manosphere to feed off of, its role is almost intentionally confusing to outsiders. It’s set up as a reaction to Pick Up Artistry (PUA) and is ostensibly something of an ex-PUA meeting place for people who feel left behind or dissatisfied with PUAs, and it desperately wants to be 4chan yet without any of the aspects of 4chan that make it a cohesive community. It’s rather known as a “troll haven” which is gross male code for people posting their unironic feelings ironically, yet unironically. In any case don’t be fooled by the name, it is not critical of pick up artistry the same way most of us are; most users are upset that it didn’t work for them, and instead seek to blame women for their own numerous and frequent failures in life. It’s the raging id of the rest of The Manosphere, the home for a special kind of awful virulent misogyny that the rest of the ‘sphere needs to survive yet must sweep under the rug to maintain a veneer of relevance and social justice.
Due to Elliot’s prolific posting history at PUAHate, the site has deservedly received a lot of negative attention after the killing. They’ve shut down the site, and if they do come back it will likely be after scrubbing their history of any record of Elliot because his posting history there clearly implicates PUAHate, its users, and the manosphere at large for being complicit in the caring for and nurturing of a spree killer.
Thanks to the magic of Google, however, we can view Elliot’s posting history on PUAHate, and today I’d like to do my part in preserving evidence implicating MRAs in encouraging Elliot in his delusions and misogyny.
To keep this story navigable, all posts will be in thumbnail format. On desktop I suggest middle-clicking to open the images in a new tab. Most mobile users should be able to long-press the thumbnails and select “open in new tab”.
Let’s start with one of Elliot’s own threads to get our bearings, “What’s worse: starvation from food or starvation from sex?”
This thread caught my attention because of how profoundly lacking in self-awareness the entire hypothetical is. The question isn’t even a hypothetical for many, many women, who have to chose between unhealthy eating habits or being seen as dateable or even human in the first place by others. PUAHate seems aware that the hypothetical is bad, but is unable to articulate why, even to do a “NOTALLMENwomen won’t date fat menNOTALLMEN” or something of the sort.
If you read between the lines of many PUAHate posts, you’ll see that there’s some sort of stockholm syndrome left over from being PUAs. The response to women not wanting to have anything to do with the people who post on this site is usually along the lines of “hit the gym” or otherwise blaming each others’ physical appearance instead of the fact that they’re raging misogynist assholes that nobody else wants to be around. There are a number of threads that I couldn’t include for brevity where the males of PUAHate do detailed analysis of each other/male strangers’ appearances to determine their desirability, presumably to women. It’s bizarrely homoerotic and usually incredibly racist, and if you click that link, I warned you.
Another common theme is that there is almost no comradery or solidarity among PUAHaters; rather than support each other they tend to call each other “fags” and otherwise try to emasculate each other to prove who’s the True Alpha Manz. This stems from a desire for the site to be a “troll haven” like 4chan, yet once again they have no idea what actually makes 4chan compelling or interesting so that combined with a bunch of males that believe in evopsych nonsense trying to be the “Alpha,” it gets very nasty.
Entire context of second image: imgur, local mirror
Near the end of October of last year (2013), Elliot was posting about how a “revolution that needs to happen,” fearing that “incels” such as himself will be distracted by virtual reality pornography to the point where they won’t participate in an “incel revolution”. It’s worth noting at this point what an “incel” is for those of you blessedly unaware: it’s a portmanteau of “involuntary celibate” and is a preferred self-identification for many males that think that The Friend Zone is real and oppression. Usually (but not always) incels are virgins who are bitter about that fact, however for various reasons refuse to fix the issue by ceasing to be a repugnant misogynist or even patronizing a sex worker to build skills and confidence.
All incels believe they are owed sex, and Elliot’s certainly no exception. His videos and 141 page manifesto (which I am avoiding analyzing here for some semblance of brevity) call males who have sex “brutes” and he is otherwise under the delusion that he’s a “nice guy” who is owed sex. The fact that maybe women aren’t interested in a dude with hundreds of internet posts seething with misogyny and a real life-persona to match doesn’t seem to cross his mind once, never mind one that maybe it rubs off a little that he’s been planning a “revolution” in the form of a misogyny-fueled killing spree.
Another notable thing about Elliot’s posting is how abjectly racist he and the rest of PUAHate are. There’s another thread on the cutting room floor due to just how much work it’d take to unpack (with Elliot’s involvement being minimal) that states that only white women “8 or higher” “count” for having had sex, with other posters agreeing and lamenting that other men steal all the white women. For as long as the cache holds out, page 1 and page 2 is here, and it’s worth noting because it’s abundantly clear how much the racism in the MRM and especially on PUAHate fed into Elliot’s depressive spiral of self-hate for being half-Asian.
Tyger seems to be something of a fixture at PUAHate, and is mainly known for posting pictures of Asian men with white women, perhaps to antagonize Elliot yet also out of some kind of genuine fixation of his own. He enjoys Elliot’s negative reactions regardless, and in general PUAHate is NOT a nice place even to its own, with members digging on and trolling each other constantly, and if you notice in the thread screenshots the tags are, well, they’re not nice. The weird mixture of male bravado and a misunderstanding of how 4chan works come into play again here. Yes, channers are awful to each other, but there’s a fraternity of sorts, with trolling and ragging on each other considered part of a rite of passage into the in-group of Anonymous as the ultimate destruction of the ego, and its host of memes used to solidify the in-group that the rest of us become familiar with after they’re no longer current. None of those trappings exist at PUAHate; either posters are echoing each other whining about their supposed oppression at the hands of the matriarchy, or they’re clawing each other’s face out to assert who is the True Alpha of Betas.
With “friends” like that, it doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to figure out why this sort of bitter misanthropy would fester to the point where it’d produce a spree killer.
Full thread for context: imgur local
Let it be clear that Elliot wasn’t exactly shy about his violent tendencies, yet nobody ever took him aside to say “hey bro, that’s fucked up.” Bonus in the full context of someone asking if the car crash was because of a woman driver with the original poster feebly admitting that he hit a wall because he was so mad that women exist that aren’t having sex with him. Sadly, that’s probably how we know that this actually happened, as if he made up the story it would have been about some “cunt bitch female driver” that ran him off the road. Meanwhile, nobody does a double take at Elliot suggesting that vehicular homicide would have been an even better idea than totaling a car.
If anyone is wondering why insurance companies charge more to insure young males, there you have it. It gets expensive when they keep totaling cars because they see women who haven’t and probably won’t have sex with them.
Many times with mass killings, there is little digital record or if there are, it is immediately before the event. This is not the case with Elliot and PUAHate, note that this thread was more than a year ago. He didn’t just post a few weird “deranged” posts out of nowhere, he had a pattern of posting threats of violence and revenge yet nobody took his threats seriously or tried to intervene.
Since nobody here is very nice to each other; it wouldn’t have even been out of place to start mocking him for making violent threats, but nobody does. The misogyny is so palpable that a no-avatar poster with a weirdly real name posting threats of revenge and violence is just background chatter. It’s a buttress and welcome addition to the rest of the bitter misogyny that permeates every thread and every post.
There’s a point however where Elliot starts to get a little too racist for PUAHate to high five each other about, but more in the sense that they don’t want to be seen agreeing with such an abject racist statement and just let it go without any serious analysis or challenge. With the constant racism flowing through the board, how are any of them on any footing to challenge Elliot? Deep down (or not so deep down), do they really even want to?
This particular lukewarm reception to Elliot’s call to arms seems to have happened around the time “The Purifier” appeared on the scene, which is rather suspect. This thread might have been a pivotal moment; if PUAHate members had jumped in with “bro not cool” at this point maybe Elliot would have rethought his actions. Maybe he wouldn’t have, but PUAHate would have at least TRIED to stop the monster they created and earned some credibility when claiming that they had nothing to do with his eventual murder spree. However, a somewhat sarcastic [img-thatsracist.gif] is none of rebuke, criticism, or serious discussion on Elliot’s attitudes that he desperately needed.
Now here’s where things get a little weird. Around January and roughly 5 months before Elliot goes on to spree kill, an account named “The Purifier” that sounds suspiciously like Elliot and his manifesto (thanks @stillgray for pointing this out) arrives on PUAHate. Further solidifying that “The Purifier” is almost certainly Elliot, in this post he appears to either be sockpuppeting or replying on the wrong account. Either way:
- The Purifier is Elliot
- The Purifier is indistinguishable from Elliot, giving us a good study on how PUAHate handles violent members
For simplicity, I will assume The Purifier is Elliot. I’ve read enough of this horrible forum to where I can state with high confidence that they are one and the same.
Here’s another instance where Elliot and “The Purifier” post together in a suspicious manner, in case the correlation isn’t clear already. After the killing, there’s been some rabble from the MRM about how Elliot couldn’t have possibly been a misogynist because he mostly killed males. His video and manifesto, as well as posts here demonstrate that while it wasn’t for a lack of trying as the sorority house quite wisely didn’t let him in, his hatred for other males that get sex because they get sex is clearly stated and has been for some time.
On a personal note, I think it’s pretty adorable that whenever he DOES lash out against males like this, nobody ever chimes in with NOT ALL MEN to interrupt him and derail from whatever point he’s making. Funny how that works.
Here Elliot establishes his persona as “The Purifier” where he starts going full force on condemning PUAHate for being “gay” as something of a throwdown while trying to wake up the proverbial incel sheeple to arise in some sort of grand hikikomori revolution. PUAHate responds largely in trollish excitement, with silly image posts or reinforcing the main points of Elliot’s manifesto. There’s absolutely no challenge here. Elliot calls on PUAHate to “focus your hatred on women” which, although Elliot seems disillusioned with his PUAHate compatriots’ talk of virtual porn and lucid dreaming as a distraction for the Glorious Revolution, isn’t really something that PUAHate is lacking. Meanwhile there’s no challenge laid down to Elliot for starting to take his misogyny to a level where even PUAHate should be alarmed, but they’re just not.
A common thread among misogynists is to claim that women are “irrational” and “controlled by their emotions and impulses” while simultaneously having absolutely no self-awareness about themselves, like that maybe that someone who is posting reactionary misogynist crap on an internet forum while planning for a “revolution” is much more “irrational” and “controlled by their emotions and impulses” than a woman who told some creepy future mass murderer “no”.
In order for a spree killer to get to the point where they think spree killing is a good idea, their targets need to be sufficiently dehumanized to where the killer feels justified in slaughter. What is PUAHate doing here, if not reinforcing that Elliot is correct in believing that women aren’t people?
While Elliot did a lot of riling others up, we can’t lose sight of that he prowled PUAHate for ideas and ideology. This example is especially interesting as converting all women into sex slaves seems like something that PUAHate is Very Much For, but have no idea where to even begin to the point where they wonder if women would even resist said attempts to subject them to sex slavery. The fantasy world that the manosphere creates and that PUAHate lives in purposefully dehumanizes women to the point where they become completely unable to understand what might motivate women or that they might be capable of, say, mounting a response to a bunch of weirdo “incel” misogynists coming up with some Bond villain style scheme to enslave them. Even if he’s trolling, Elliot sure fell for it.
No really, this is in response to a justin bieber fan: imgur and local mirror
A fitting last image of our whirlwind tour of Elliot’s posting on PUAHate, as I don’t beliebe I could come up with anything better than Elliot posting cartoon villain bravado in response to a Justin Bieber fan. There is no context in PUAHate, nor the vast majority of The Manosphere really, where anyone will call out anyone else going too far over ridiculously trite events, as long as they’re not a woman. This is a recurring pattern in the bizarro Man O Sphere World, where belief in the patriarchy is as laughable as believing in gOD (with apologies to those of faith who read this, this IS on a skeptic blog network and Soros won’t pay if I don’t toe the line) yet somehow the draft and the amount of estrogen in soy is a convoluted plot by The Matriarchy. And for those asking, no, the last sentence is unfortunately not hyperbole.
It’s time we start holding people accountable for what they post on the internet. We’re in the unfortunate position of having the vast majority of internet communication and online community software being designed by and for privileged white males with little thought for the needs or safety of those who are not, and it shows in the lax moderation, poor moderation toolsets, and almost aggressive lack of privacy options that plague nearly every social community on the internet. Even so, software can’t solve social problems by itself. We need to internalize that it’s not “just the internet” anymore, we live here, too, and we need to start acting like it.
Perhaps more importantly, it’s time that men start to hold each other responsible for their words and actions. Instead of interrupting exasperated women with “NOT ALL MEN!” garbage, explain to your bros what rape is, and how to not rape by explaining what consent is. Spend a few seconds on your preferred social media saying “no, actually” to toxic misogynist douchebags, even if they don’t listen at first. Stop spreading misogynist garbage that treats women like objects or asserting that other mens’ worth is wrapped up in how conventionally attractive their wife or girlfriend is.
The way to stop the next Elliot Rodger is to stop this cultural feedback loop of dehumanization of women and virulent misogyny. We don’t need to wait for someone In Charge or for the media to tell us what to do, we don’t need to wait for others to change, we just need people on the ground with a well timed, emphatic “bro, chill.”
As for “The Manosphere,” it’s time to “man up” and take responsibility for your actions, words, and deeds.
The rest of us will be busy keeping you mad until you do.
With a special shout out and thank you to all my fellow bad cops, who probably haven’t learned a damn thing from this article but enjoyed it anyway and I love you for it. Keep ’em mad.
I going to go out on a limb and say it was Elliot Rodgers fault.
cram it male
I don’t really understand the link between Elliot Rodgers and Men’s Rights Activists. The Men’s Rights subreddit’s purpose is for “Advocating for the social and legal equality of men and boys” according to the page’s description. Even the connection between TheRedPill subreddit and PUAhate seems like a leap considering the former’s community is criticising the latter’s in addition to Rodgers himself.
For one thing, he mirrored many of the talking points of the so called “men’s rights” activists, even if he did not consider himself one.
Men’s Rights groups are not advocating for the rights of men and boys. You can’t be that naive? Where are men and boys losing their rights to do anything in society based on their gender? Men’s Rights groups are advocating taking away rights from women to go back to some their idealized past of the 1950s, when women and girls were under their thumb. It seems some of them want to go back to the 1850s when slavery was legal and turn all women into sex slaves. I think its high time people who suffer from sexism, racism and homophobia get classified with a personality disorder which is essentially a mental illness.
Are you talking to me? I never said that “men’s rights” groups were fighting for the rights of men. Why do you think I refereed to them as them as so called “men’s rights activists” and put “Men’s rights activists” in quotes.
its almost like there’s a difference between a stated purpose and what a group actually does sometimes or some shit
Anna, Fake Robot Gamer,
Here’s a pretty good youtube video on this subject that I found. ( adult language warning. )
Elliot Rodger: If it looks like a misogynist…
The interesting thing is, some of these MRAs have claimed feminists were going to outlaw fleshlights before. So, Queereka members, what should be said to heterosexual males afraid of their sexuality being outlawed? (I assume it rhymes with “fedorable”.)
I’ve started calling these communities wanna/b/s. PUA sites, Bodybuilding.com, basically a huge intersection with the manosphere. Except /b/ gave us Anonymous, and Anonymous takes rapists to task. (Well, except Julian Assange.)
Besides the stupidity of ‘without food or without sex’, there are also trafficked women who need to make money by…yeah. Again, the sheer lack of self-awareness in the incel community is ridiculous. And you know? Being a virgin isn’t that bad. I honestly wish I could’ve waited a few more years.
I love the “self-proclaimed ‘social justice warriors'” part. I’ve only heard ‘social justice warrior’ used as an insult.
The logic here is a little off to me. Rodger recounted several people, including his best friend, telling him that basically he sounded too violent and they didn’t want to be friends with him anymore. The idea that if some random people on the internet also told him that, he would have been “cured,” seems a little silly. Rodger was quite used to people telling him he was wrong, an outcast, being bullied, etc. The advice that what we really need to do is take these people and be even meaner to them is not something that I think works.
Edward your post is very ignorant. The globe has experienced a ton of terrorists attacks and the US alone has experienced a ton of mass shootings. Terrorist attacks and mass shootings do not exist in a vacuum as isolated incidents. This is not the first time that a male shooter has singled out young girls and women in a mass shoot either. You have unstable people telling other unstable people to go around and hurt the object of their anger. You sound just like the idiots at Fox News who spread hatred of the government and liberals in general everyday but are always shocked when for example a Democratic Congresswoman gets shot in the head, a nut attacks a government building or shoots up a church full of liberals. They spread hatred every day and than deny the consequences. What Fox News and other right wing media outlets are guilty of is a thing called stochastic terrorism. Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to stir up random lone wolves to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable. Its why Al Qaeda and other terrorist release videos to stir up their followers. Propaganda works and all the proof you need is Nazi Germany starting World War 2 and holocaust. In the case of Rodgers he was posting violent thoughts on a forum where no one told him to stop because he was sounding crazy. They were passively validating his beliefs. Nothing in society happens in isolation. There are always causes and effects. Spreading hatred of any one group leads to hate crimes, mass shootings, terrorists attacks and genocide. Stop being so damn ignorant in the future and denying there is any connection because the connections are screaming in your face every day in mass media.
I don’t think you read what I wrote. My point is that this guy had been bullied and isolated his entire life. This probably contributed to his mindset more than some random people on the internet. The idea that people could have prevented this attack by expressing even more hatred for him seems illogical.
people really couldn’t be meaner to elliot than pua was to him, so if you think that’s what im arguing for here you’re really, really missing the point
Anna thanks for documenting Rodger’s posts. Sorry you had to sludge through the gutter to do it. Until this mass shooting I had no idea this sub-culture on the web existed. I never imagined there were con artists that existed solely to steal money from desperate insecure male virgins and a whole forum dedicated to the backlash against said con artists. Instead of the desperate insecure male virgins realizes they have been duped out of their money they double down and hate on women even more. I guess we can be grateful for one thing, we never have to worry about these women haters reproducing because they will remain desperate insecure male virgins the rest of their lives.
I was telling my boyfriend (a very nice but shy geek who, at 28, had never even kissed anyone before we started going out) about this article, and in the course of that explaining the whole “incel” concept. His response: “Have these guys never heard of porn? I seem to remember there being rather a lot of that on the internet.”
The thing is, sex isn’t about pleasure or getting off for them. It’s about possession of women, social recognition from other guys, power. They don’t want to LOOK at beautiful women, they don’t want to have sex with women they don’t perceive as beautiful, etc. Their reasons for wanting to have sex with specific kinds of women (those seen as beautiful by other men) are much more about seeing themselves as powerful and deserving of some sort of ideal.
Porn doesn’t fill any of those desires. This is also the reason these guys often are really insulting of customers of sex workers – paying for sex means you’re not really “alpha.”
Thank you for documenting this, Anna, and now that I’ve thought about the article in its entirety, I do have to debate over if he could patronize sex workers. Outside of human trafficking, sex workers generally try to get a feel for a john to see if he (or she, but usually he) will murder them before going off.
And of course, as we’ve seen, he wouldn’t consider that “real” sex.
i could have made this clearer, im sorry
if the root of their problem was really that they are “involuntary celibates” and having sex would cure them, then sex workers would be a great way to solve that problem
however elliot is proof that “incel” isn’t a real thing or that the solution to his problem is sex. he had the means to patronize sex workers, but he wasn’t interested in just having sex, he was more upset that he wasn’t entitled to a specific/small group of women, so yes keeping people like him from sex workers is really in everyone’s best interest, especially the sex workers