The Misogyny of Mass Murderers

Last year, after the horrible mass murder targeting Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, I wrote about the misogyny and obsession with masculinity that underlies this and other such violent acts. Later, more information was revealed about shooter Jared Lee Loughner and his pervasive fear of women in power.

The same sort of thing seems to have influenced the alleged killer in Norway, Anders Breivik. As Michelle Goldberg writes at The Daily Beast in a really thorough article parsing the mass-muderer’s manifesto to find the hatred of women right on the surface of his ideology.

Goldberg continues:

By logical extension, it can be inferred that terror of feminization and desire to prove some sort of outsize manliness probably fed into the violence, just as it did with Loughner.

On the same note, Nona Willis-Aronowitz writes at GOOD magazine about the horror of seeing her mother, writer Ellen Willis, mentioned in the document and what it made her realize about the killer’s hatred:

If the routine harassment and murder of abortion providers and the callousness displayed towards rape victims isn’t enough, let incidents like these remind us of the hurdles still facing the push for gender equality.

I truly believe that feminism, in its purest end goals, is wonderful for the male-identified among us: it liberates them from the oppressions of socially-constructed masculinity. But on the way there, like all social justice movements, it takes away certain levels of entitlement, the idea that they are somehow better or stronger.

Breivik may have been some sort of sociopath to begin with, but as the violence of so many white Southern men during the Civil Rights era, and the violence both threatened and real of xenophobic European neo-fascists, and countless other examples prove, when entitlement and privilege is undermined by equality, people can turn to rage very quickly. The results are too often deadly.

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The Misogyny of Mass Murderers

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