August 9th, 2009

breaking bad

Misogyny and loneliness

There has been quite a lot of Internet comment on a murder-spree/suicide in the USA. George Sodini shot 12 women working out in a gym, and three of them died. His online diary, which he made public before the act, reveals a severely disturbed individual with extreme misogynist (and racist) views, who - I believe as a consequence of this emotional disturbance - hadn't had a relationship with a woman for about twenty years.

Immediately following the murders there was a spate of blog posts saying that Sodini wouldn't have killed if he had had regular sex, and that women were thus collectively 'to blame' for the act (yes, really). There is a movement in the US called PUA (Pick Up Artists) who say that older men can get sex with young and attractive women by following certain rules (called 'game' or 'the game'). You can go on seminars and buy books. Why oh why, they said, didn't Sodini use our techniques of manipulating women. I was going to post saying 'this attitude to women is the problem not the solution'. However while there were lj problems the case has proved itself;this Pandagon post presents evidence that Sodini was a veteran of the PUA movement.

Ampersand's post here collects a range of 'Men's Rights' (MRA) and PUA reactions to Sodini's act (don't click if you are feeling tender today). Here are a couple of the less offensive to illustrate the point.
The problem is, our feminized society has given every woman the power to hold out for higher quality men than they deserve. This creates an imbalance that leads to tragedies like the one in PA.

A decent looking man who earns a good living and does not abuse women DESERVES to get laid. Period. The fact that so many do not, is a crime. And in a just society, all crimes are eventually punished.
I could write a long post about the link between this attitude to women, the inability to build a relationship with a woman, and extreme violent misogyny. However, I think it's pretty obvious.

There's a social skill which you might call 'match up'. You make a reasonably realistic assessment of yourself, and if you want a sexual relationship you seek it with people who you feel equal to - in attractiveness, I suppose, broadly defined to include all sorts of things. You don't get together with someone who makes you feel inferior, or who you don't value as highly as yourself. Once you are in love with someone you stick with them through thick and thin, but relationships IMHO tend to start out from a position of equality - or at least parity.

I think the MRA/PUA movement mess up men's lives, because they ruin their 'match up' ability. The underlying premise is that women are not as good as men. It's possible that an even deeper underlying feeling is that women are not really human, but sort of meat robots that can be manipulated by the right tricks. In any case, this fucks up their ability to do 'match up' because they don't value women. More crudely they think they 'deserve' hot young chicks, and that's not realistic.

Sodini was a few years older than me, and probably earned about the same as me. But he was not looking for single (say widowed) women a little younger than him, with similar interests. He was looking for very young women with perfect bodies. Literally nothing else would do, and that's why he was so lonely. I don't know whether the misogyny came before or after the loneliness. What I'm saying is that the MRA/PUA movement makes men unhappy and lonely, as well as devaluing women.
breaking bad

Single Handed

Quick note - I watched the first episode of Single Handed last Sunday on ITV, and I would recommend trying to catch it if you can. I thought it might be Horlicks-TV like Heartbeat or Ballykissangel, but actually it's a well written, desperately sad, crime drama set in contemporary Ireland.

The first episode a disgraced policeman comes back to work in his home town on the isolated west coast and finds his father and the local old boys have been wallowing in casual abuse and cruelty for decades, and expect him to go along with it. It was a bit Jacobean I thought.

I don't know what happens this week, but it's probably worth checking out - 9-11 tonight.