Yesterday, 21-year-old Kelsey Annese and 24-year-old Matthew Hutchinson were murdered by former student Colin Kingston, who had previously dated Annese.
After slipping into the home where Annese lived and stabbing both her and Hutchinson to death, Kingston called his father to say that he had harmed Annese and was considering killing himself. The father called 911, but by the time authorities arrived, Kingston had killed himself.
The victims were likely asleep at the time of the attack, as there was no sign of struggle. Annese was the captain of the Geneseo basketball team; Hutchinson played on the school hockey team and served as a volunteer firefighter.
This is a tragic, senseless loss of life. And it reflects a larger problem in society. Who read about this double homicide and didn't think about this:
Or this (which I recently posted in 6 Things Men Think They Know About Women... That Are Totally Wrong):
Or, most chillingly, this:
Please note: in the wake of his mass murder of innocent young people of both genders, a Facebook fan page was erected in his honor, and online forums praised his actions against the "female species."
Louis C.K. is right. There is no greater threat to women... than men. Due largely to the weird, pervasive sense of male entitlement to women.
Even men who aren't necessarily going to go shoot and stab women to death for the crime of not wanting to have sex with them display this sense of entitlement. Every time you hear some dude whine about the "friend zone," you are witnessing male entitlement to women. Because, as it turns out, no! Just because you spent time with me or did something nice for me, does not mean I owe you something sexual or romantic.
Another thing to watch out for? Guys who complain that they can't get a girl because they're "nice guys." If you call yourself a "nice guy," this says one of two things about you:
1) You are, in fact, a boring guy. "Nice" doesn't mean shit. I have never, ever, EVER dated someone because he was "nice." It's, like, a very basic prerequisite of dating someone. But it's not WHY you date someone. You date someone because he is brilliant, astonishing, silly and romantic. You date someone because he is sexy, compassionate, empathetic and fun. But, trust me. No one has EVER dated someone because they were "nice." Perhaps if you feel no one will date you "because you're a nice guy," the problem is that you have nothing else to offer but niceness.
2) You are, in fact, not a nice guy. Your kindness is not authentic. It is a ploy to get (or guilt, or manipulate) sex out of women.
THIS is the EXACT mentality that drives people like Kingston to murder women for rejecting them.
Guns are not the problem, as no gun was used in these murders. Obviously, different gun control laws could reduce the number of murders that happen at the hands of jealous, entitled psychos. But it would not eliminate them.
This isn't to say that guns are not a problem -- particularly for women. According to Futures Without Violence:
But, again, guns are clearly not the problem.
Detecting mental illness isn't the problem, either -- in the case of Elliot Rodger, there were warning signs. That guy was clearly sick and fucked up. But most of the time, these murderers aren't. Friends and family always tell the media, "He is the last person I would have expected to do this!" Or, in the case of Colin Kingston's basketball coach, ""He was one of my favorite kids... I loved his attitude... I really liked him a lot. He was one of my favorites, easily."
Moreover, research shows that the vast majority of people who are violent do not suffer from (or have not been diagnosed with) mental illnesses (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). However, as I wrote in my secret, unpublished blog post, "Mental Illness is, Like, Totally Trendy," the way our pain and dysfunction manifests itself is often based on social and cultural cues.
Like, you know how we don't sit in ashes when we're sad anymore? And cutting and burning have largely replaced pulling out your hair? It's because there is a similar underlying pain/neurological mechanism... but our emotional response is learned from the world around us.
The example I often give is this:
I went to Phillips Exeter, a very competitive boarding school in New England. I absolutely loved the experience -- but there were definitely stressful times. And very occasionally, I found myself thinking...
"I need a cigarette."
For context, I had never, have never, and will never smoke a cigarette. Which is why, immediately after having this strange thought, I'd think,
"EW! Why would I even think that? Smoking is so gross!"
And I realized.. it was social learning. I'd seen on TV that smoking is a thing people do when they feel stress. So some small part of me was like, stress = solved by smoking.
Just like men learn from movies and TV that if they are "nice" to a girl, she will eventually have sex with him.
That if the girl you find attractive is dating someone else, that guy is an "asshole." (See also: Cal from Titanic, Zack "Sack" from Wedding Crashers, Andy from Wet Hot American Summer.)
And, via hateful blogs and forums on the "manosphere," they acquire antoginistic attitudes about women, sex and dating. Their core basic philosophy, in the words of the Washington Post, rests on two principles:
1) feminism has overrun/corrupted modern culture, in violation of nature/biology/inherent gender differences
They're the same pushy, manipulative "pickup artists" who use pathetic little "tactics" like "negging" (insulting a girl to shake up her confidence and "get her to seek your approval. This one guy tried to neg me once by telling me I was a bad singer, so I told him, "Fuck you. Give me back my frisbee, and never talk to me again." #BeRude). They don't see women as autonomous people, with preferences and values, but as objects to be conquered.
The "manosphere" is bad enough that the Southern Poverty Law Center, which identifies hate groups, even went so far as to publish a report on it in 2012.
This culture of entitlement, as much as guns and mental illness, is why Kelsey Annese and Matthew Hutchinson are dead.
Right now, in the wake of the mass attacks against women that were perpetuated by migrants and refugees in Cologne, there is this weird battle going on between the Red Tribe and the Blue Tribe. Blue Tribe members ignorantly and preposterously claiming that "all rape is the same," and we should treat it the same way, whether it was committed by a white guy at a Frat party against a girl who was sort of consenting, but also a little too drunk to give consent... or a gang of migrants from a misogynistic culture in which there is no law against spousal or statutory rape, and sexually assaulting women in public is seen as a fun game.
This is obviously wrong. Anyone who's taken more than, say, a week of introductory psychology should know that cultural differences matter -- and if you want to prevent a negative social behavior, you need to fully understand the culture and motivations behind it. White guys at frat parties don't rape with the same frequency, or for the same reasons, or under the same circumstances, as brown guys who don't understand western culture. To pretend otherwise is beyond ignorant.
(Not to mention: back in September, the Huffington Post reported that female refugees, too, are afraid of male refugees. Many reported being attacked and raped. Others report waking to find strange men staring at them. Several aid organizations wrote in a letter to female politicians in the Hessian parliament,
"Women report that they, as well as their children, have been raped or sexually assaulted. Many women sleep in their regular clothes. Many women report that they won't go to the restroom at night because of the many reports of assault and rape in, on the way to, the facilities. Even during the day, walking through the camp is a terrifying situation for many women.")
However, we've also got the Red Tribe claiming that "rape culture didn't exist in the Western world until the migrants imported it." This is also stupidly wrong. Have we already forgotten about Elliot Rodger and his six victims? Have we already forgotten about basketball captain and student-athlete Kelsey Annese? Have we already forgotten about the college rape epidemic in America? The left makes a good point about the right: "Why do you only care about women's rights when their attackers are brown?"
Ending violence against women will be difficult. But one thing we can all do, starting right now, is reject the notion of the "friendzone" and the "nice guy." Reject the notion of being a "pickup artist." Respect that women are big girls who can make their own choices about who they date and when to have sex -- rejection can be painful, but it's a natural part of life. Talk about consent. Care about consent. Be direct about your intentions.
And never, ever, ever assume a woman owes a man something, just because he smiled at her/demanded that she smile at him/bought her a drink/dated her/married her.
About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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