This Blog is Entitled.

#YesAllWomen

I’m sure I need not recap the general story of Elliot Rodger and his recent murders and possible suicide.  Most of us have probably seen the Youtube video where he details his reasons for his murder spree. I find it to be both cold (because of his views) and comical (because of his cartoon villain laugh) in equal parts.

Now, for some reason I seem to attract incredibly intelligent readers dotted with closed-minded ones who don’t think for themselves, spout what they’ve heard before and put their personal emotions over logic.  The latter can leave now.  However, if you do stick around, for you…I will state the obvious.  Elliot Rodger was a misogynist.  If you came here to have that confirmed, or to see your thoughts in my writing, yeah, you really can just leave now.

As for what I’d like to discuss, first of all, it will be a current pet peeve of mine.  The downside of intellectual pursuit is essentially everyone falls into the trap of forming camps, teams and gangs.  Then they sit and wait. They wait for something to happen.  Then when it does, they pounce.  Everyone seems to feel the need to co-opt every event, into their cause.  There’s a readiness to diagnose the problem and funnily enough it’s always the same diagnosis.  There are the race camps, the gender camps, the sexuality camps, the abortion camps, the political camps and even at times the conspiracy camps and whilst they all serve their purpose in society, they build loyalty to a camp rather than reasonable thought.

Now my place in society as a comedian is to observe and report.  That is not to say I don’t have my own opinions but I get a chance to challenge myself everyday and hold the mirror up to society also.  That is what I’d like to do regarding the case of Elliot Rodger.  The undisputed winning camp here has been the feminist camp.  It has automatically become a singularly gender issue in which this man’s hatred of women, has helped women all over the world to jump up and say #YesAllWomen! The hashtag is a reply to the defence that men use of “not all men”, in order to show that every woman is always at danger because of rape culture, workplace sexism and male entitlement. The hashtag really took off.

We could argue whether the term rape culture is even warranted considering at times I think the term “rape culture” does more to give people the feeling of danger than actually highlight a huge percentage of men raping women.  Workplace sexism again, is a whole blog in itself.  What I really want to go deeper into is entitlement.

This is where I have the problem with the #YesAllWomen campaign and the general trend of co-opting tragedies to further your cause.  It completely narrows your view of the wider implications.  In this case, because of the fervour in feminists to look at everything through the same lens, it seems like we’ve missed the fact that as a generation WE’VE ALL BECOME INCREASINGLY ENTITLED!

Every entitlement, starts with a lie.  Once the lie is accepted and society pushes it, hopes and plans are built on shaky ground.  They collapse. Anger and hurt ensue.  The lie is identified as the cause.  However, there’s very little accountability.  The moment we can pinpoint the person who lied to us, then we want to make them pay.  It plays out so often in society I’m surprised we don’t see it.

We are told so many lies by society that are perfectly acceptable to us.

  1. Santa Claus delivers presents to good children.
  2. If you work hard, you will win.
  3. If you go to university, you will get a good job.
  4. If you’re nice to girls, they will want to sleep with you.
  5. If you’re mean to girls, they will want to sleep with you.
  6. Girls, you deserve the best.
  7. You are a princess.
  8. Racism is over.
  9. The police are there to protect everyone.
  10. If you’re gorgeous, he won’t cheat on you.
  11. Our burgers contain 100% beef.
  12. Let me just put you on hold, I’ll be right back.
  13. If you vote for us Liberal Democrats we’ll scrap top-up fees.
  14. Immigrants are coming over here, they’re lazy and they’re claiming benefits
  15. Immigrants are coming over here, taking all the jobs.

So you can see it starts young.  You’ve seen a child’s heartache the first time they find out that Santa isn’t real (I apologise to my 4-year old readers).  Now take that hurt and put it in a grown adult who has other pressures, a greater propensity to cause pain and access to weapons.  You can go through that list and probably identify with some lies you’ve been told and possibly believed.  Let’s look at how things play out when the facade falls on some of these things.

We have a generation of university graduates with spiralling student debt, low job prospects and increasing fees.  So we had student riots. A black man named Mark Duggan was shot by the police. The police lied many times about the circumstances.  We had the UK Riots. Halle Berry stays getting cheated on, so if it’s about beauty, what chance does the conventionally average woman have?  The lies being told about immigrants mean the far-right party, UKIP has won the UK European Parliamentary Elections.  They’ve made a real presence be known in the Local Elections.  It’s almost as if we haven’t learnt from the cycle of voting far-right during hard times.

Every single group who has been lied to in that list can be described as entitled.  Some rightly and some wrongly so.  The real problem is the underlying lie.

Elliot Rodger was also lied to.  He was told that ascribing to a set of rules will earn you the title of “gentleman”.  Once you earn this title, women will want you.  Once you have expensive things, women will want you.  What he learnt eventually is that it was a lie.  He was looking for the liar.  These lies are so widespread in society from playground banter through to corporate advertising that the only person he found to be responsible were the women themselves.  Now some women benefit from this lie and so they like to perpetuated it. (Where are all you #YesAllWomen campaigners on that sentence?) However, those of us who seem to be sane know that not all women are like that and so we develop more realistic understandings of the variety and diversity of women that exist.

I know it can hurt your emotional sensibilities to imagine Elliot as human and not just an evil monster.  It may even scare/offend you to think the raw base emotion that existed in him, exists in all of us, including you.  What is important to note though, is that by treating this simply as a patriarchal misogyny issue is to narrow the scope so much that you’re treating chicken pox with a laser focused on one spot.  We have to develop more realistic pictures of the world so as not perpetuate the lies that fuel wrongful entitlement.

Yes, you are entitled to a due process, a fair legal system and to not be unduly harassed/brutalised/shot by the police.  Yes you are entitled to hold your political leaders accountable for their promises in a functioning democracy. Yes you are entitled to equal pay if you are in fact equal in a job.  However, you are not entitled to a job because you went to university.  You are not entitled to riches because you are white and you were “born here”. You are not entitled to have your food and drink paid for because you are a woman and he is a man. You are not entitled to slap a man because society won’t let him slap you back.  You are not entitled to put your emotions at the forefront of everything.  They are just that, your emotions. You are not entitled make everyone think the same as you, or demand that they lose their jobs because you don’t agree with their views (except for a few situations such as Racist Policemen).  Finally, in this case, you are not entitled to sex because you have a BMW, $300 Armani sunglasses and you are “polite”.

So when a terrible thing happens, please lets stop trying to score “struggle points” and lets at least try to objectively explore the entirety of the situation.  I only recently found out that Elliot Rodger actually killed twice as many men as he did women. The two blogs where I saw this mentioned were trying to gloss over the male deaths as just part of the misogyny narrative.  This the problem with cropping every picture.  The day you find yourself trying to explain a man killing 4 men as simply just hatred of women, is the day you give up thinking.

Now share this.

It’s the least you can do.

Ola will be taking his first Solo Show “The Comedian and His Future Wife” to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014.  To catch a preview, get a free ticket for the Comedy Cafe, 5th June.

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