On Elliot Rodger, Isla Vista, Patriarchy

Posted: May 25, 2014 in Threat Quality
Tags: , ,

By now I’m sure you’ve heard about Elliot Rodger and his murder spree in Isla Vista, and how many, many signs point to the fact that this was motivated by a violent misogyny that had at its root a staggering entitlement complex.  You may have also heard of the many, many men who have been trying to dismiss his attitudes as “crazy”, or the idea that he was “a lone nut”, and not reflective at all of a toxic misogyny in American culture.  Maybe that’s true!  Maybe he WAS a lone nut, and it’s just a weird coincidence that his 140-page manifesto uses the same language and expresses the same ideas found in MRA and PUA writing around the internet, maybe it’s a just a coincidence that this lone nut fit right in on their message boards.  It’s definitely a coincidence that there’s a bunch of other lone nuts who think just like him and talk just like him and admire him.

No pattern, nothing to see here.  Just a bunch of completely isolated, unrelated individuals who, by catastrophic happenstance, think and speak exactly the same way, and maybe also hang out on the same message boards, and like each others’ youtube videos.  Lone nuts.

Look here, this is for the lone nuts out there, I am going to give you some red-pill information here.

Maybe you’re a lone nut, driven mad by celibacy, by the certainty that the world is cheating you.  Maybe you read the Myth of Male Power, where Warren Farrell argues that men are significantly disadvantaged in many ways — that men have lower lifespans, that we work the shittiest, deadliest, dirtiest jobs, &c.  Here, here’s the truth:  he’s right about a lot of that stuff.  We ARE systemically disadvantaged, we DO have shorter lifespans (once you discount the likelihood of dying in childbirth), we DO get stuck with dangerous jobs more often than women.  This is true, and it’s been true for hundreds of years!  Thousands, even.

Unlike feminism.

Right?  Feminism hasn’t been around for a thousand years, so it’s not feminism that’s fucking us over, is it?  Can’t be; three hundred years ago there was no widespread feminist equality movement.  Were men better off then?  Well, SOME men were better off, but some men are ALWAYS better off.  If you think all men were better off in 1714, maybe you should investigate the life of a coal miner in Cornwall.  Men have had it shitty for a long time.

But we are being systematically fucked over, and if it’s not feminism that’s doing it, then who is?

Here, I’m going to tell you the truth about something, for once in your lives.  You probably got an idea about what “Patriarchy” is, and you probably think that “Patriarchy” means that men have all the power and money, and women have nothing.  Someone probably told you this (who?), and they told you this because they think you’re stupid.  They think that you can’t handle the notion of nuance, that you can’t deal with a complex thought, and that if they give you some nickel-plated bonehead definition, it’s going to get stuck in your brain and keep all the real thoughts out.  That’s the plan — to give you an illusion to hold on to, that you’ll go back to every time someone brings it up.  Someone will say “Patriarchy” in an argument, and instead of dealing plainly with a complex set of issues, you’ll just go back to “Men have everything, women have nothing,” you’ll notice that you don’t have everything, and you’ll very reasonably conclude that “patriarchy” isn’t real.

That’s the idea — to keep you from thinking too hard about it.  That’s your easy answer, your blue pill.

Here’s the red pill, though — it’s harder to swallow, it’s complicated, it’s going to lead to some tough choices.  If you aren’t ready to look long and hard about the things you thought were true, then go back.  Take the blue pill, go home, pretend none of this ever happened.  The way forward is hard, it’s not your fault if you aren’t ready for it.

Here is what Patriarchy REALLY is:  it is a system of hierarchies, itself nestled in a larger system of hierarchies.  Hierarchies do two things:  they divide groups of people into two or more essential classes, and they start ranking them as classes, not as individuals, on a bunch of different scales.  So, “Men are better at soldiering, women are better at housework,” that’s a hierarchy, it’s actually TWO hierarchies.  One class is better on the scale of soldiers; one class is better on the scale of housework.  There’s a million of these things scales, lots of different ways to evaluate.

The question, though, is what is patriarchy FOR.  It’s not just for keeping women down, that’s the old, blue-pill thought that whoever told you about this wants you to swallow.  Patriarchy is for keeping EVERYONE down.  Patriarchy exists to keep YOU down.  You are part of a hierarchy, too, aren’t you?  Are you a beta, or an alpha?  Are you high T, or low T?  Do you know where you fit in the hierarchy?  Do you know who your superiors are, and who your inferiors are?

A person only accepts a subordinate position in a hierarchy if they know that they have, or WILL have, someone who is subordinate to them.  You are taught to accept a subordinate position in a hierarchy, and in exchange, what you’re given is the promise that someone else will be subordinate to you.  You’re told this over and over; you’re promised, again and again, that women are your reward, your dessert, the payment that you receive…for what?  For being subordinate.  For following, buying, obeying.  For working shit jobs and going to war against no one, for suffering poverty and indignation, for giving up minutes, hours, days of your life in the service of someone else’s success, for all those things you are promised fucking.

In every way, your life is filled with messages that make this promise.  You’re taught that women are unreasonable, that they’re like animals, why?  So that you don’t feel guilty at the thought of passing them around like chattel.  You’re taught not to experience compassion, that the only acceptable emotion for you to express is anger, why?  So you’ll fight the enemies of your masters, so you won’t rebel against the oppression that you are being used to inflict on others.  You’re taught that you deserve as much ass as you can get, why?  So you’ll keep doing what you’re fucking told.

And who teaches this to you?  This is a serious question, who told you all this?  Who told you that you should be ashamed for feeling any emotion but anger or hate?  Was it women, was it feminists?  Who told you that you should risk your life in a pointless, racist, slog of a war?  Was it feminists?  Who told you to evaluate your life according to how much sex you’re getting?  Did feminists tell you that?  Was it feminists who told you that you’re worthless if you’re a virgin, that you should kill yourself if you aren’t fucking teenage girls, that the only measure of a man is how much ass he’s getting?  Is it feminists that tell you how ugly you are, or how gay you look?  Is it feminists who’re trying to sell you a cure for it?

I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking “what about prison rape?”  Well, who wrote the laws that put people in prison?  Who designed the prison system so that there’s no redress for rape or abuse?  Who taught society not to give a fuck about prisoners?  Who told us all that rape is something that criminals deserve, a just punishment for their crimes?  Who told us that it was weakness to experience emotion?  Was it women, was it feminists?

Now you’ll tell me that history shows that men had it better in the old days, but who wrote the fucking histories?  Next you tell me “evolutionary psychology says…”  who invented evolutionary psychology?

Who writes the movies, the books, the music?  Who produces the television shows?  Who makes the laws?  Is it feminists?

Of course it fucking isn’t.  It’s other men.  It’s always been other men.

Feminists are just women who say that they don’t want a part in this hierarchy, that they don’t want to be used as tools or trophies or rewards to manipulate you anymore, and who are you mad at?  Not the people that are shitting on you, but the people who you thought you were supposed to be able to shit on.

That’s exactly how the system is supposed to work.  You are doing exactly the thing that these hierarchies are in place to make you do.  When you suffer, you blame everyone else who’s lower in the hierarchy than you.  You blame women for not being sexually compliant, you blame black people for being uppity, you blame the poor for their ingratitude.  Every single person except the bastard who’s holding your face in the dirt.

And listen up, here’s the thing:  everything that they tell you about how to better your station?  It’s bullshit.  You’re never going to be in a hierarchy where there isn’t someone on top of you, grinding you down into shit.  Every time they tell you how to improve your life by getting more women, what are they doing?  They’re teaching you to accept the terms of the hierarchy.  How to get rich?  Accept the terms of the hierarchy.  Succeed within the rules that they’ve set for you, accept your eternal subordination, and you, too, can have money and ass and power — just not as much as whoever’s ahead of you.

You’re upset now, I can see that, and it’s because you’ve realized how much of what you’ve been promised is a lie, because of course it fucking was.  You can’t have women as a reward, because women are human beings with agency and lives and liberty.  They were never society’s to give.  You’ve been lied to, promised something that can never be delivered, and who are you blaming for it?  Who SHOULD you be blaming for it?

Patriarchy was never going to give you what you want, it was only going to promise you what you want, because this system is meant to fuck you over, too.  It does it in smaller, quieter, less obvious ways, but it’s here to fuck you over, just like it’s here to fuck women over.  The feminists are just the ones who are fighting back.

So there, that’s the truth, that’s the choice that you’re faced with.  And don’t let anyone fool you, no matter what else happens in your life, this is ALWAYS the choice you’re going to be faced with.  You can accept the rules, that dictate that all human interactions are about domination and submission, demand that people submit to you, because you’ve submitted to someone else.  You can, in other words, go back to the way things were, and continue getting fucked over in your life in exchange for the false promise of the power to fuck over women.

Or you can reject the rules.  You can refuse to be manipulated.  You can recognize that the idea that you deserve anything at all from women was a lie that you were told to make you subservient, everything that you’ve been told about what men are supposed to be is a lie, everything you’ve been told about your own history, your biology, your psychology, is fucking bullshit.

The first one is easier, no doubt.  The second one is better.

  1. Emily Moore says:

    I swear, if I were still teaching Gender Studies, this site would be required reading. Nailed it again.

  2. Joshua says:

    The thing that rocks this on its rails is that when patriarchy is entirely in control of society, women *are* disadvantaged to the point that they can be economically and socially manipulated into being given (by other men, or by women in the service of this society) as rewards. Feminism *did* eliminate that.

    As well it ought have. What good does it do for men to accept meekly what others have given, when they lack the understanding or power to earn for themselves.

  3. […] On Elliot Rodger, Isla Vista, Patriarchy Chris Braak […]

  4. Janet Tucker says:

    Thank you.

  5. Xavier says:

    (about feminism) The expression “machism” was labelled as something wrong in the 60’s. No dictionary before that ever expressed the word as being something bad.

    Telling that women never had any voice through history is something very naive.

    Calling “patriarchy”, for instance, is alluding to a hate towards men that no one deserves. You’re commiting the same mistake that you’re accusing men of: oversimplifying a complex problem. It was never “men” that told men the “prizes os sucess”, it was society as a WHOLE. Men AND women.

    A rich and sucessful man has WAAAY more acess to good treatment of the opposite sex. It IS a genetic objective of men to pass along their genes.

    Your RATM logic “fuck you I won’t do what you tell me” is cool, for a teenager. We NEED to act in society, that’s basically what keeps us from putting a knife in each others throats for everyday problems. You keep the logic as being something that men, or any person, CAN fight.

    The disposability of men through history strongly disagrees with you.

    The idea that, if you’re not a skilled member of society (lawyer, doctor etc), you’ll be MISSED by someone is laughable. That’s just the way it is.

    feminism constantly bashes women that act as wives (not working out, taking care of children etc), putting the same pattern to both genders (financial backing of the family).

    In the end, have this text. It explains what you wanted to say, without putting the blame on anyone.


  6. braak says:

    Ugh, I guess I ought to say something about this. I knew that I’d get some illiterate knucklehead here. I’d hoped it’d be someone with basic fluency in English so that I don’t look like I’m picking on someone with a developmental disability, but I guess you go to war with the dummies who show up.

    “The expression “machism” was labelled as something wrong in the 60′s. No dictionary before that ever expressed the word as being something bad. ”

    Oh, well! A good point, right off the bat. If something wasn’t bad BEFORE the 60s, how could it be bad AFTER the 60s? Oh, wait, hold on…I just realized that whether something is bad or not is actually independent of how we label it — like how we used to call Pluto a planet, and then we stopped calling it a planet, but Pluto itself has not changed at all in any way. So, I guess this isn’t a good point, but actually an utterly irrelevant point. Discarded.

    “Calling “patriarchy”, for instance, is alluding to a hate towards men that no one deserves.”

    No, it isn’t. Patriarchy has nothing to do with hate, it’s a description for a complex system that privileges the power of men in a society.

    “You’re commiting the same mistake that you’re accusing men of: oversimplifying a complex problem.”

    Wrong, dummy. YOU’RE oversimplifying a complex problem, by incorrectly arguing that labelling a thing as “patriarchy” (and I assume, by extension, being feminist) is somehow equivalent to “hating men”.

    “It was never “men” that told men the “prizes os sucess”, it was society as a WHOLE. Men AND women.”

    Wrong again! Let’s make a list of the way that society conveys its values to itself! 1) Religion. 2) Law. 3) Art — poetry, painting, the novel, &c. 4) Educational institutions. 5) History in particular. Now. Let’s name one of those things that was not dominated entirely by men until the 20th century — oh, oh hey look at that! Every one of those things is actually STILL dominated by men! And up UNTIL the 20th century, women’s participation in any of these activities was practically unheard of!

    But even if you were right about this — even if you were correct that male and female participation in the system of educating a society about its values was equal — you’d actually still be wrong, because at no point has any serious theorist ever said that patriarchy is MADE of men. It PRIVILEGES men, and to do that it teaches both men and women how to behave in society.

    The idea that men are the only participants is the kind of thing that you’d believe if, instead of reading actual feminist theory, you’d only ever read boneheaded rebuttals to feminist theory, and the only reason you’d do that is…well, I know the reason that you’d do that, I’m going to get to it.

    “A rich and sucessful man has WAAAY more acess to good treatment of the opposite sex.”

    First of all, I can tell you from experience that this is false. Poor artists get the most sex, actually. Second of all, the idea that getting “good treatment of the opposite sex” is a legitimate life goal is EXACTLY THE FUCKING THING I AM TALKING ABOUT, YOU IDIOT. You have been trained to think that THIS is the important thing, and have rearranged your entire conception of the universe in order to believe it and look — look! When you discover that you aren’t getting good treatment (I assume because you are poor and unsuccessful, and are also borderline illiterate), who do you blame? Not the men at the top of the system who are profiting from your oppression, but the women who are trying to end it.

    How considerate of you. You resent your place in the hierarchy, and rather than blame the hierarchy, you shovel the shit that falls on you to whoever’s on the next rung down. Just like you’re supposed to.

    “It IS a genetic objective of men to pass along their genes.”

    It’s a genetic objective of women to pass along their genes too, stupid. This statement is functionally meaningless. Simply getting a woman pregnant is insufficient as an evolutionary advantage; an adaptive, supportive society is imperative in ensuring that our offspring produce offspring, which any day of the week is going to be better than whatever “I have to bone chicks, it’s evolution!” imperative you imagine society ought to revolve around. Get out of here with that shit.

    “Your RATM logic “fuck you I won’t do what you tell me” is cool, for a teenager. We NEED to act in society, that’s basically what keeps us from putting a knife in each others throats for everyday problems. You keep the logic as being something that men, or any person, CAN fight.”

    I don’t understand what this means. Are you telling me I can’t reject patriarchy because that would be the same thing as rejecting society? That’s stupid, but it wouldn’t be surprising — you’re taught that patriarchy is teleologically good — i.e., that patriarchy is good because it suits the purpose of organizing society, and therefore is irreplaceable. But this is plainly nonsense; just because we don’t want society organized in a way that privileges men at the expense of women doesn’t mean we can’t have any society at all.

    Have you considered the possibility that we might not put knives to each other’s throats when we have problems because we could have compassion for strangers? Have you considered the possibliity that the only reason that you think that putting a knife to another person’s throat is a good way to solve a problem is because you have been trained from birth to believe your identity revolves around you capability for violence so that you can be of use in the patriarchical hierarchy?

    No, you haven’t. You’ve absorbed the lessons of the culture you live in, and when it came time to challenge them you chickened out, and found a bunch of people who told you you were already doing the right thing.

    “The idea that, if you’re not a skilled member of society (lawyer, doctor etc), you’ll be MISSED by someone is laughable. That’s just the way it is. ”

    That is the stupided thing I’ve ever heard. What, you think only doctors get funerals? Maybe YOU won’t be missed by someone, but I guarantee if you died and no one missed you, it wouldn’t be because you aren’t a “skilled member of society”; it’d probably be because you’re an asshole.

    “feminism constantly bashes women that act as wives (not working out, taking care of children etc), putting the same pattern to both genders (financial backing of the family). ”

    Wrong. Feminism does no such fucking thing, and I challenge you to find me a contemporary feminist writer who constantly, or even intermittently, bashes women for staying home with their children. As a feminist, I can tell you flat-out that I do not believe that there’s anything wrong with a woman staying home to take care of her children, but rather with a society that pressures women to do THAT particular thing, instead of some other thing, and that similarly pressures MEN into believing that they’re weak or that they’ve been emasculated by staying home while their wives work.

    The objection of feminism is not that some people do some kinds of work, and others do different kinds — it is the division of that labor into “male” and “female” labor, and the privileging of male labor as being more essential to society such that men won’t undertake female labor.

    Which, again, you’d know if you ever read any actual feminist theory, instead of a bunch of straw-man attacks on it.

    “In the end, have this text. It explains what you wanted to say, without putting the blame on anyone.”

    I am disinterested in the kind of philosophical cowardice that seeks to diagnose a problem but is unwilling to accept responsibility for its perpetuation.

    I am a man; I have no problem admitting that my participation in society as it is has contributed to the problems caused by the patriarchy. I am not afraid to accept my share of the blame. Why should I contort myself with some kind of mental gymnastics in order to avoid direct responsbility? Patriarchy isn’t a thing solely inflicted on us, it’s a thing that we are given and that we then choose to propagate.

    Choose better.

    Also, don’t come back here.

  7. […] that is severely underfunded and under-reported. After those same shootings, Chris Braak defined the reason they happened in an argument far better than I’m capable of making right […]

  8. […] and critic Chris Braak, who wrote not just one, but two of the best articles of this past year, broke the question down into categories: which is […]

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