Shootings & Misogyny: Can Men’s Rights Activism be associated with human rights?

Flowers fill bullet holes from the May 25 shooting in the Californian community of Isla Vista.

In the wake of America’s latest mass shooting, Madeline Link questions the validity of Men’s Rights Activism.

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PHOTO: Flowers fill bullet holes from the May 25 shooting in the Californian community of Isla Vista. 

Men’s Rights Activist and notorious virgin Elliot Rodger is responsible for the murder of six people in a Californian community last Friday.

Rodger’s association with men’s rights groups has been largely disregarded in the mainstream media.

Instead he has been labelled ‘mentally ill’ and is known to have regularly visited trained mental health professionals to control his erratic behaviour.

In cases such as this it is difficult to pinpoint the motivation behind the ruthless killing of innocent citizens.

However, Rodger’s manuscript, titled ‘My Twisted World’ sheds 140 pages worth of light on the forces that he claims drove him to exact his “Day of Retribution”.

In his mind, that force was women.

“The Day of Retribution is mainly my war against women for rejecting me and depriving me of sex and love. If only one girl had given me a chance, tried to get to know me, let me take her out on a date… None of this would have to happen,” he wrote.

It cannot be ignored that Rodger was a frequent visitor to Men’s Rights Activism (MRA) pages, subscribing to their ideals and posting regular content to their forums, and his own personal YouTube account.

One of these forums was PUAHate.com. Now deleted, the site described itself as “the forefront of the anti-pickup-artist movement”.

The site has since been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SLPC) as a magnet for misogyny.

“The self-pitying participants frequently identified themselves as ‘incels’ [involuntary celibate] and engage in misogynistic attacks on women,” SPLC spokesman Josh Glasstetter said.

Men’s Rights Activists have since distanced themselves from the attacks, claiming the association between Rodger’s actions and the groups are ‘unfair’.

However, Rodger claimed the sites were forums full of men who, like him, were starved of sex.

“Many of them have their own theories of what women are attracted to, and many of them share my hatred of women… Reading the posts on that website only confirmed many of the theories I had about how wicked and degenerate women really are,” he wrote.

But what is the goal of MRAs in an already male-dominated, patriarchal society?

It seems there is an MRA website out there to suit every taste, including the tactlessly-named Pussy Pass that claims female criminals are let off more lightly than men.

One post on the page asks, “Shooter Elliot Rodger: Could prostitutes placate wrath of lonely male virgins?”

A good question, the post continues to argue that peer reviewed scientific research has “conclusively proved” that access to porn and child porn take the edge of natural or perverted sex drives and thus, “clearly reduces sex crimes”.

It cannot be ignored that Rodgers frequented these sites, engaged with their content and felt a sense of solidarity with other members.

The inextricable link between the killings and Rodger’s association with MRAs has to be recognised as a meaningful contributor to his actions, or at the very least an environment that encouraged his harmful viewpoints.

It has to be asked, at what point did outright misogynistic hate groups become synonymous with human rights organisations?

Read more: Jackson Langford takes a look at the fuel to America’s latest university shooting.