The Media Is Failing Women

[Content Note: Toxic masculinity; violent misogyny; disablism.]

Today, I read this AP headline [video may autoplay at link]: "In Writings, Ore. Gunman Ranted about Having No Girlfriend." And I thought: I'm glad at least one mainstream media outlet is finally going to dig into the toxic masculinity underwriting this shooting. But of course that did not happen.

It's instead all about how Christopher Harper-Mercer was "crazy." The sum total of commentary regarding the entitled toxic masculinity that underwrote his violent rage consists of: "The gunman who killed nine people at an Oregon community college said in writings he left behind that everyone else was 'crazy' and ranted about not having a girlfriend" and "Harper-Mercer complained in writings about not having a girlfriend, and he seemed to feel like he was very rational while others around him were not."

That's it. There is not even the most cursory connection drawn between Harper-Mercer's actions and the culture of male entitlement that has underwritten other recent mass shootings. There's not even a mention of Elliot Rodger. Or Ben Moynihan. Or Marc Lépine. Or Seung-Hui Cho. Or George Sodini. Or Anders Behring Breivik. Or Jaylen Fryburg. Or Mark Dorch. Which is not even the complete list of misogynist mass killers.

The media refuses to connect these dots. And the women who do are called man-hating hysterics, despite the fact that many of these men, like Christopher Harper-Mercer, participate in a public culture of violent misogyny in which entitled men blame women's failure to fuck them for their woes and for their dysfunction and for their abusive behavior.

Even when a media outlet obliquely, or overly, references the "beta uprising"—the nomenclature for which is rooted in this bullshit about how (desirable) women will only fuck "alpha males," and thus "beta males," who often identify as "unwilling virgins," are denied sex service to which they believe men are entitled—they fail to connect that dot to all the other dots.

This, from [video may autoplay at link] a USA Today article, for example: "Investigators say the gunman appeared to be involved in a loosely-affiliated online community known as the 'beta boys' that glorifies mass shootings, similar to the Oregon attack, the official said."

Yes, it's true that the "beta boys" community "glorifies mass shootings," but the reason they glorify them, which is right in their fucking name, is because so many men who commit mass violence share their vision of male entitlement and their vengeful frustration that women don't fuck them on demand.

Connect. The goddamn. Dots.

And this, from the New York Times:
The gunman who killed nine people on a college campus set out on his rampage armed with six guns, a flak jacket and enough ammunition to do far more damage — an angry, isolated young man whose rage was fueled by animus toward religion and resentment at how his life was unfolding, law enforcement officials said Friday.

..."He didn't have a girlfriend, and he was upset about that," said a senior law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. "He comes across thinking of himself as a loser. He did not like his lot in life, and it seemed like nothing was going right for him."
It's interesting, ahem, how routinely "he didn't have a girlfriend" is treated as synonymous with "no women were fucking him, and he felt entitled to women fucking him, and so that enraged him."

The Times piece also notes the official adding "it does not appear like he was part of some larger group."

Yeah. I guess it wouldn't appear that way, when you deliberately refuse to connect the dots.

It's the same refusal we see regarding anti-choice terrorism. Just a series of unconnected events, each of which happens in a vacuum! So we're meant to believe.

That similar failure is no coincidence. It's all violence done against (primarily) women, targeting women who are exercising sexual and reproductive agency, who want control over our own bodies, who insist on deciding for ourselves who we fuck and whether we birth (their) babies.

Violent, entitled men who subscribe to narratives of a profoundly toxic masculinity are waging a terrorist campaign against women's autonomy, agency, and consent. They are killing us (and other men in the process) in order to terrorize us into yielding our independence.

And the media is complicit in their terrorism, because it flatly refuses to call these acts what they are. The media is failing women by refusing to connect the dots.

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