Meghan Murphy on Elliot Rodger, misogyny and porn culture

On May 23 in Isla Vista, California, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger murdered six people and wounded 13 more. Rodger, in his blog as well as on Youtube, cited women for not giving him attention, sex and love as motivation for his attack. Most media outlets have talked up what happened as the act of a deranged young man. Yet the tragedy has also prompted a larger conversation about male entitlement in a world where women face escalating threats of rape and violence, not to mention persistent gender disparities in work, education and civil society, each day.

Meghan Murphy is a writer and journalist as well as founder and editor of the website Feminist Current. She has written on the killings committed by Elliot Rodger and the misogynist cultural messages we see today. Her journalism has appeared in a variety of outlets, and her work has won her global recognition.

 

Ernesto Aguilar is a writer and radio producer from Houston, TX. This interview originally aired on May 30, 2014 on KPFT 90.1FM.

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy, founder and editor of Feminist Current, is a freelance writer and journalist. She completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog. Follow her @meghanemurphy

  • http://dothedead.wordpress.com The Real Cie

    In today’s world, women are expected not only to be capable but to be hot and available, and to be happy for male attention. Women are not supposed to be human beings, we are supposed to be sexy Fembots, capable of taking care of all man’s needs. We are not supposed to have needs of our own, and if we do, we are supposed to suppress those needs in favor of taking care of men and their needs. A woman can’t just be a mother, she is supposed to be a MILF. She can’t just be a competent worker, she is supposed to look sexy while doing it.
    Heaven forbid a woman should say “no” to a man who is demanding her attention.
    As an example, I can recall the last time I went to a nightclub to see a local band that I liked. I dared to go alone. I am a plain looking, stocky, middle-aged woman, gray hair and all. This guy much younger than I am approached me while I was drinking my club soda, watching the band, wanting no company. When I politely turned him down, he wheedled for “just one dance.” I finally gave in. When I went to sit down after the song was over, he continually dragged me back onto the dance floor. I had to slip out the back door when he went to the bathroom to get away from him.
    It was implied by some people that I should have been “flattered” that a man was paying attention to me, not upset and somewhat frightened that this individual would not leave me alone and expected me to be flattered by his attentions.
    I can’t say that porn is to blame for the actions of a deranged individual. Most people do not see fit to kill others because they can’t get a date. However, porn does promote the idea of women as sex dolls rather than human beings.

    • proudwomon

      i totally understand where you are coming from – i too am an older womon who occasionally would like to be able to got out by myself without being harassed… i don’t find it ‘flattering’ if someone ‘deigns’ to approach me when all i want is to be left alone and enjoy what i went for – the entertainment… and then i want to go home – guess what, by myself!!!! consequently i don’t go out these days, it’s just too much hassle…

    • https://plus.google.com/103857844974912781491 Codi Johnson

      It doesn’t matter what your age is. The unwanted attention is just ever present. The only boundaries that are respected are men’s. So, the only way I can go out and not be hassled is to go out with one or more male friends.

      • Zachariah

        Men pursue women and not the other way around. Many millions of men who are shy and socially anxious find obtaining social interaction with women extremely difficult due to this cultural phenomena. Equally, millions of women seem to hate the fact they receive unwarranted attention and are subjected to the advances of men they don’t like. However, I to do see how this is to do with people respecting men’s boundaries more than women’s, women do not pursue men and feel men should pursue them first, on the whole. At the same time men know that they must impress and talk to women first, if they do not they will simply never receive any attention or stand a chance at striking up a relationship, most of the time.

        How do you propose changing this deeply entrenched behaviour and mode of thought? Not to abide by these cultural norms for men is to abandon any chance of a relationship and for women is to risk rejection, something most women would rather not risk when they need not take the risk.

        • https://plus.google.com/103857844974912781491 Codi Johnson

          I’m not saying men should just relegate themselves to a life alone. I just think there’s middle ground that some men understand exists, but most seem not to. They should try to be more alert to the individual situation. If a woman is politely resisting, THEN STOP PUSHING. Turn your attention elsewhere. Lots of men seem to encounter this resistance, then, instead of taking it as a refusal of company, think the correct response is to push harder. If you keep pushing, maybe you can turn that no into a yes. Yes, ask her to dance. But if she refuses, then move on. Period.

        • Morgan

          How do women propose changing this “deeply entrenched behaviour and mode of thought?” We’ve BEEN proposing. MEN need to change, they need to stop approaching women, they need to “get it” when we’re not interested, and they need to stop harassing and assaulting women when they get anwers they don’t like. That’s it. Full stop. If you never get asked on a date, boo hoo. That’s literally the worst thing that happens if men stop bothering women. I could care less about a bunch of guys feeling lonely. Women feel lonely too. Lots of women. Some women never receive any attention either, they manage to survive. Relationships (of a sexual nature) aren’t the be-all of everything. Yet you guys act like it’s literally the worst thing for women to say no to you, or that women request they be left alone and not be put in the position of saying no. We just want to be left alone!! That’s it! We don’t care what you guys feel about it! We’re creeped out, stalked, harassed, catcalled, warned about sexual predators and strange men, we take endless precautions to avoid rape yet are still raped, we’ve been in abusive relationships. WE DON’T CARE IF YOU FEEL LONELY BECAUSE YOU CAN’T HIT ON WOMEN IN PUBLIC.

          • lizor

            “Women feel lonely too. Lots of women. Some women never receive any attention either, they manage to survive.”

            Yup. And also women that men deem “ugly” or “old” – i.e. the vast majority of living females are also the butt of numerous jokes about how absurdly, desperately unfuckable they/we are. Still you don’t see women opening fire on strangers in public places.

            If men had to withstand that constant barrage of open contempt we’d all be dead.

          • Persephone

            To be fair, this man really was an outlier, most guys (yes, even those who can’t take a hint) never come anywhere near that level of psychosis, regardless of the number of rejections.

            Additionally, men DO withstand that constant barrage, it just so happens that machismo stands between them and doing anything about fixing it. Men also happen to get insulted about their age and appearance in real life and in media, and the fact that pedo-stache is even an expression that people use should tell you all that you need to know about men as the butts of jokes.

            I REALLY don’t want this to seem like I’m defending anyone’s behavior, much less Rodger, but I think that you are making way too many generalizations and assumptions about men’s privileges.

          • http://ewinsor.wordpress.com lizor

            “Additionally, men DO withstand that constant barrage, it just so happens that machismo stands between them and doing anything about fixing it. Men also happen to get insulted about their age and appearance in real life and in media, and the fact that pedo-stache is even an expression that people use should tell you all that you need to know about men as the butts of jokes.”

            This false equivalency is so ridiculous, it’s embarrassing. So is your assertion that Rodger is an “outlier” and not part of a pattern that is blatantly obvious to anyone who is not invested in maintaining the power structure as it exists.

          • FireWalkWithMe

            No, sex or a relationship is not an entitlement to anyone regardless of gender, and an Individual of self security and independence should be able to live without one, but our gender roles as far as romance initiation are hardwired and will likely not change within anyone living today’s lifetime. No feminist I’ve ever known in real life (I know several) has gone out of their way to pursue a man that did not show anything beyond friendly interest. The male, even if the two are friends who meet on gender neutral grounds, are nearly always deigned to set up events outside casual social interaction (dates) and definitely to initiate basically physical things like holding hands or sharing a kiss.

            Have you ever put your hand on man’s to hold it who you were romantically interested in who had never before done the same? A man you’d never kissed, did you, while taking in close proximity, lean into him and go for his lips, hoping he’d position his head in to receive it in response? I’d but 95% percent of the time any female I’d ask would say no, regardless or social and political beliefs. It’s very hardwired, like how feminists who advocate non objectification still wear make-up. It will not change anytime soon.

            If a man wants to have a female companion for either sex (in feminist opposition to slut shaming, I hope you’ll agree that there nothing wrong with a male just wanting a sexual relationship with a woman is wrong, I hope you’ll agree) or a romantic relationship with a woman, he must make many of the moves first. Everyone would like to have someone to love, or the comfort of a sexual partner you find attractive and wants you as well. No one is entitled, but if you seriously beat down men just do wanting that and filling a gender role that would otherwise 95% of the the time leave them single, you have no empathy or understanding of the opposite sex.

            IMPORTANT NOTE: I believe there is a line between harassment and flirting. This guys almost surely should have taken Real Cie’s initial behavior as a sign to back off. Her situation is not one I’d readily apply my previous argument, too. But you seem, with your argument to blanket all male-female gender reactions with this rule: that men can get over being single and just leave women alone in all cases.

          • Meghan Murphy

            “No feminist I’ve ever known in real life (I know several) has gone out of their way to pursue a man that did not show anything beyond friendly interest. The male, even if the two are friends who meet on gender neutral grounds, are nearly always deigned to set up events outside casual social interaction (dates) and definitely to initiate basically physical things like holding hands or sharing a kiss.

            Have you ever put your hand on man’s to hold it who you were romantically interested in who had never before done the same? A man you’d never kissed, did you, while taking in close proximity, lean into him and go for his lips, hoping he’d position his head in to receive it in response? I’d but 95% percent of the time any female I’d ask would say no, regardless or social and political beliefs.”

            I’m not sure I really get this… I’ve pursued men I’m interested in and I’ve totally made the first move before… It’s just that it’s not that big of a deal if someone isn’t interested. It happens. You move on. LOTS of women make the first move. And are sometimes rejected! That isn’t something only experienced by men…

          • Persephone

            While it is true that many women are comfortable with making the first move, many others are not, especially in smaller and/or less progressive cities/ backwards rural towns.

            I think that the point is that some of the comments here have an attitude which reads as “Anything a man does can and should be considered a threat”, which is totally in contrast with the apparent majority view of “The guy makes the first move” that we are all so very familiar with. Basically, Fire is saying that if every guy in the world were to suddenly stop “bothering” women by approaching them with their evil, evil affection, things would get awkward very quickly, because much like skirts and makeup, letting the guy make the first move is a deeply ingrained part of what we’ve been taught is feminine since we were old enough to comprehend relationships (if not earlier).

            Legitimate psychopaths aside, there usually isn’t anything wrong with guys expressing interest in you and acting on it. It just so happens that some people seem to believe that every man is out to get them because men are evil sex fiends (and yes, to be fair, some are). While it is true that you get people like Rodger occasionally, for the most part the sheer amount of venom being targeted at men is unnecessary, and part of the reason why many people think that feminism is ridiculous.

            It’s basically making a broad generalization about men based on the actions of guys like Rodger.

          • Me

            Lol.

            “if every guy in the world were to suddenly stop “bothering” women by approaching them … things would get awkward very quickly”

            Or maybe, just maybe, if we all stopped bothering and “approaching” women (including, obviously, assaulting women), they might after a while give a big sigh of relief, we might all listen in wondrous awe to the silence of no more male violence, and gradually women could figure out what initiative outside of the threat of male violence means. Hint: I doubt it means reverse predation, which is essentially your and Zach and Fire’s pornographic fantasy of women’s “initiative”, no wonder and all very well that so few women are into that.

          • Persephone

            Slow down there speedy, you’re putting words in my mouth.

            I never said anything about reverse predation or assault. It’s not a matter of one extreme or the other. What I did say is that we live in a world where most people expect men to make the first move, a reality which contrasts greatly with what some people seem to think should be.

            What you seem to be saying above (and please do correct me if I’m wrong) is that men should not approach women who they have any sort of interest in, and that we would all be better off for it.

            This would make no sense due to the fact that society expects that to be the beginning of a relationship (in most places) and more than that, acting as though every gesture of interest is a threat of violence is an absurd thing to do, the idea that a man, through simply having the possibility of being a physical threat, is destroying anyone’s initiative just because he happens to have been born with dangly bits is, once again, one of the reasons why most people (male and female) assume that all feminists are crazy people. Your assertion simply makes no sense.

          • C.K. Egbert

            The problem is that the context of violence, harassment, and male sexual entitlement structures how and why men express interest in women. Perhaps I’m too idealistic, but I think there’s a fundamental difference between approaching someone in a respectful manner and approaching someone in a typical heterosexual way (consider that romantic comedies usually contain the trope of a man “pursuing a woman” in spite of the fact that she shows no interest).

            If men don’t want to be seen as threatening, then they actually need to not BE threatening. Men often feel entitled to sexual access, they don’t care about mutual pleasure and respect, women don’t feel safe refusing their advances, women don’t have full social support and protection from violence. If men want to be able to approach women without being seen as a potential predator, then they need to change themselves and help change the conditions so that is not the case.

          • amongster

            i don’t fear men’s “dangly bits”, i fear the toxic masculinity men are fed from birth which can turn those bits into weapons against females.

            you seem to have no understanding of feminism at all and it’s exactly people like you who would call feminists “crazy” or “extreme” simply because you are ignorant of what is acually being said.

            also, “persephone”, you sound like an entitled male who only cares about his right to make women available to men at all costs. i really have other things to do than giving men an how-to guide about being decent human beings who are able to recognize when boundaries are crossed.

          • Persephone

            @amongster

            To clarify, I use crazy as an adjective to describe a position or opinion which takes reality, then warps it into something absurd and beyond what is reasonable to believe based on generally accepted concepts. The argument that you seem to be defending of “all men are dangerous by virtue of being raised as men.” Sure masculinity can be dangerous, but that’s hardly grounds for assuming all men to be automatic threats.

            Additionally, a large portion of your comment was accusing me of being a man. Asside from being wrong, you are doing an excellent job of proving the old saying about assumptions. But I suppose you have to type something when you run out of actual things to say.

            @C.K.

            I understand your point and basically agree, but I simply don’t understand what “approach respectfully” is supposed to mean. I mean, obviously we know what it means, but apparently there are people who will take anything and everything as a threat, everyone has their own perception of what constitutes a threat it’s a basic part of being individuals, so how would you describe a non-threatening interaction if anything can be described in some way as threatening or coercion? I just can’t think of a universal definition that is reasonable and possible.

          • amongster

            generalizations are important to organize one’s life and it is not crazy for women to be wary of men when statistics show that the own male partner or relative can be the greatest threat to a woman’s life. to state that is neither crazy or absurd. nobody says all men are threats but unfortunately you can’t tell which of them is before finding it out.
            you obviously find it better to deny that reality and let women find out just so society can tell them that they asked for it, being so trusting or stupid.

            i said you sound like a man the way you are defending male privilege here. if you are a women it makes me even more sad.

          • Me

            “acting as though every gesture of interest is a threat of violence is… once again, one of the reasons why most people (male and female) assume that all feminists are crazy people.”

            In my experience, the vast majority of women appreciate not being bothered, appraised and “approached” by men. I mean, DUH.

            There have to be other reasons entirely for why so few women think of themselves as feminists, and why so many distance themselves from feminism and what they think it stands for.

          • Me

            …and you do understand, do you, that you’re making these completely trivial and uninteresting arguments supposedly about male to female courtship, in comments to an interview discussing a man who murdered women as well as men, and wanted to murder many women more.

            Does “commenting in remarkably poor taste” mean anything to you? Or are you willing to admit that you’re here just to stand up for violent men? It is either or.

          • FireWalkWithMe

            Reverse predation? What the actual fuck? I don’t want anyone to ‘prey’ on me, and in case you didn’t see it, I actually replied to Meghan on here saying how much I loath porn and the way it warps gender interactions.

            Are you considering all current gender relations predatory? I do see the unfairness and imbalance of the male-pursuer, female-pursued dichotomy of it all, but men always being predatory because they do something that if otherwise they didn’t would leave them without a sexual or romantic partner nearly all the time? That’s madness.

            You are acting like approaching a woman a guy might want to sleep with or maybe even just flirt her up and ask her out for later meeting always reeks of entitlement. ‘Oh I deserve this!’ ‘I’m bothering you cause I think you owe me sex.’ ‘I should have your number!’ NOOO that does not characterize all of those scenarios at ALL. I despise this often misogynistic (and insanely futile) concept of the ‘friendzone’ vomited around our culture by morons. It’s espoused by immature people who can’t get past that some relationships don’t work and just wanna be bitter and resentful instead of moving on. Hell, I recently heard Jeff Goldbloom talking about it in a movie and I cringed at how far my Ian Malcolm had fallen from his discussions about the ethics of reviving an extinct era of planet life into some petty quip about the fact some woman wouldn’t date his friend because of being friends ‘too long’.

            Anyway.

            This is an unfeasible reality you purport to happen in our age, especially with the lack of people who know anything about feminism or care (and aren’t horrible people for it). The biggest example for me is my last girlfriend, a feminist herself. We had been friends for two or three years, while she dated someone else, before one time, after they broke up, we were hanging out and I touched her and kissed her, initiating further physical intimacy. We just kept it sexual for several weeks until we decided to date. I know you probably don’t care about my life story, but it is evidence to my perspective. I would BET MY LIFE had I not touched her we would have never had sex or dated. Had I not done anything besides sat beside her on a couch while watching a movie, nothing would have happened. For me, that’s undeniable reality. And it was SEXUAL at first, so I guess I’m predatory for sexually pursuing her, ha. What a bastard I am!

            This young woman, only about 8 months younger than me, far more experienced sexually and romantically than I at the time, writes (casually) online about disgust with sexual harassment and objectification by men, was NOT harassed and victimized by me just because I kissed her without her ever touching me in an advancing way. And though I would like my next long term partner to care about our perverse and oppressive gender culture, I would bet you a lot I’ll be growing my ties with her in the same way because that’s just nearly always the case.

          • Me

            Ha, because I don’t care about your creepy ass stories about how much sex and smooching you’ve had in your life so far–and let me guess, you’re pretty fixated on keeping count–it must mean I don’t care about your “life story.” What-EVER! Glad your last girlfriend figured you out and dumped you! What a douche.

          • marv

            Persephone, male power produces how sexual relations inhabit the world so they are socially determined. There is a natural attraction between the sexes but it can’t be separated from the social meaning society ascribes to it. Similarly in a milieu of race inequality the social meaning of race can’t be readily distinguished from natural complexion. Both arrangements are political systems that do not exist autonomously from natural differences. The culture/nature divide exists in theory not in actual life. You and Fire are positing a theory of nature that pretends its gender politics aren’t present.

          • Persephone

            YyI’m not pretending that the gender politics aren’t present, I’m saying that assuming that 100% of males are like Rodgers because we live in a patriarchy, or deciding that every gesture of attraction has coercion hidden right below the surface, are ridiculous generalizations which do nothing but look scary and outlandish at the same time.

            Patriarchal systems certainly have profound effects on our daily lives, particularly when it comes to interaction with men, but it can hardly be cited as the only factor in the issues we face.

          • marv

            “letting the guy make the first move is a deeply ingrained part of what we’ve been taught is feminine since we were old enough to comprehend relationships (if not earlier)…….Legitimate psychopaths aside, there usually isn’t anything wrong with guys expressing interest in you and acting on it. It just so happens that some people seem to believe that every man is out to get them because men are evil sex fiends (and yes, to be fair, some are)…..Patriarchal systems certainly have profound effects on our daily lives, particularly when it comes to interaction with men, but it can hardly be cited as the only factor in the issues we face.”

            I read you saying that we are socialized into male initiation and female passivity though you don’t see anything problematic with that arrangement if no ill-treatment is involved. But can’t you see that it is this political context that causes the abuse to arise “though it is not the only factor in the issues we face”. It brainwashes us into thinking non-violent male instigation is normal and acceptable. The male class runs the world’s institutions and we only complain when it becomes psychopathic. The essence of the dilemma is male dominance period no matter how seemingly benign or benevolent it can be, or what other social factors are at play. One essential way for subverting the established order IS therefore for men to back off with initiating sexual relationships.

            Moreover, patriarchy prioritizes male and female social relations as sexual relations. Under this regime feminist platonic equality seeking collective connections have little to no value in mainstream life. How much more unliberated can we be when our visions are made so restricted and dull?

            When I look at the world I don’t think people want too much in life. They are trained to settle for so little. We accede to the crumbs the system throws to us not just because our imaginations are stifled but also because we even lose the desire for true freedom and greatness.

          • FireWalkWithMe

            This is actually a reply to marv. I don’t know if they’ll see it, but it wouldn’t let me add another RE: in that staircase of comments.

            @marv
            “One essential way for subverting the established order IS therefore for men to back off with initiating sexual relationships.”

            This is what is the problem though; in nearly all cases a man would stay single for long, indefinite periods, probably being chided by his surrounding culture, even female friends that he needed to ‘take a chance’ and ask a female out on a date. Next to no females would flock to him, they would date guys who would have actually asked. It’s a fruitless predicament.

            If women shouldn’t be slut shamed, if they are allowed to have no strings attached sexual relationships as part of their liberation, why can’t men continue to do so? You are purporting that every sexual interest a man has in a woman he isn’t emotionally interested in must be a misogynistic urge.

            This is such an insane belief to expect men to form this movement of eschewing assertiveness/forwardness (NOT AGGRESSION OR HARASSMENT) and it to change society. If the situation is: men nearly always seek women, and women are expected to be passive and receiving, never pursuing, then the next step for equality is obviously women’s. And guess what? Women with this thinking are SCANT, especially in more conservative places. The school I go to, the biggest in my state, may be PC as fuck about race and sexuality, but it’s pretty much in step with society in gender equality.

          • amongster

            “While it is true that you get people like Rodger occasionally, for the most part the sheer amount of venom being targeted at men is unnecessary, and part of the reason why many people think that feminism is ridiculous.

            It’s basically making a broad generalization about men based on the actions of guys like Rodger. ”

            do you really think it is healthy for women to make a broad generalization about men based on the total dilusional self-perception of entitled guys who deny their privileged position, the existence of patriarchy and rape culture, and are oh so quick to shout “not all men!” before they have even tried to understand and sympathize with what has been stated by victims of male violence?
            cause that is what you are basically demanding: women should give all men the benefit of the doubt.

            you know what though? despite of what men do to women on a daily basis, women still give men the benefit of the doubt ALL. THE. TIME. mainly because it is impossible to live in this world without having to interact with men on some level.

            it’s actually your “venom” that is unnecessary. we don’t need more people defending male egos.

          • Persephone

            No… once again words are being put in my mouth.

            I’m not saying to make ANY broad generalizations, it may surprise you that, much like women, men are individuals. Much like assuming that all black people are thieves, or that all Muslims are terrorists, it is generally wrong to assume that because some members of that group do terrible things, they are all evil. By your logic any group which has produced evil elements should be instantly criminalized. Perhaps all white people should be assumed to be racist monsters?

            Of course men deserve the benefit of the doubt. Being careful is one thing, but assuming that every man should be treated as if they were Rodger is exactly the type of Orwellian nonsense that makes people think that feminism is a joke. Before deciding who gets the benefit of the doubt, remember that guilty until proven innocent was the slogan of the Salem witch trials, KGB unpersonings, 70’s African American trials,etc.

            I’m not defending male egos, it only seems that way because I’m not calling for crucifixion, I’m *gasp* assuming that men are people with individual thoughts and behaviors, rather than a scheming hive mind who spends all of their time thinking of new ways to be sexist. Since they all think and act differently, lumping them all into a pile that says “misogynist ” makes no sense.

            Unless of course I just totally misunderstood what you replied, in which case a clarification would be much appreciated.

          • amongster

            as i said above: generalizations are important. we all make them every day. your individualism doesn’t help anyone.
            you know, you sound like those apolitical people who think that if we were all just a bit nicer to each other things would work out. no. they won’t, because we don’t deal with just some assholes and psychopaths but with a system of oppression that isn’t changed by your individual choices and behaviour.

            your analogies don’t work. black people are oppressed, as are muslims. men as a class are not oppressed. women are. there is no reverse sexism as you seem to suggest. black people have every right to be wary of white people cause most of them are still racist as hell, even if just in subtle ways. women also have the right to be wary of men. because being raised in patriarchy they (and we) have all internalized sexist thinking.

            instead of accusing oppressed people of being ‘prejudiced’ you should start calling out the oppressors and we might actually come to the point were women didn’t have to think badly about men as a class.

    • Zachariah

      You’re blaming this man for wanting another dance after you had already danced with him. You owe the man nothing but it does not sound as if he was trying to annoy or threaten you, he merely liked you and enjoyed your company. You state that from the beginning you didn’t want his attention, this being the case the first thing you said should have been to assert your desire to be left alone at the gig. Men pursue women and not the other way around. Many women wish it wasn’t the case and many men wish it was the other way round but it is the way things are and are likely to be for a very long time to come.

      Most people are flattered when another person enjoys their personality or finds them attractive.

      “not upset and somewhat frightened that this individual would not leave me alone and expected me to be flattered by his attentions”

      You danced with him and did not state your intentions and emotions clearly. It seems to me that you failed to communicate with this man, his intentions and emotions were obvious enough. Or have I got this wrong and his behaviour was far more sinister and threatening than your first comment made out?

      • Rchen

        She did clearly communicate her desire to be left alone by politely saying no when he first asked her to dance. The creepy problematic thing is that the interaction did not end there, instead he continued to pester her. If you can’t see why that is a problem then you have a lot to learn.

      • Morgan

        Right from the start, she turned him down, politely. He then proceeded to coerce her into dancing with him. She clearly states this in her comment. Her rejection should have been the end of the interaction. It’s all very clear:

        “This guy much younger than I am approached me while I was drinking my club soda, watching the band, wanting no company. When I politely turned him down, he wheedled for “just one dance.””

      • Morgan

        This is the exact same crap women get told when they are raped. “You weren’t clear, you should’ve said no, you should have said no louder, more aggressively, you should’ve fought him off, you should have screamed, you shouldn’t have led him on, were you being nice to him though, are you sure it was rape, you’re lucky he wanted to have sex with you at all, you should be flattered.”

      • http://djupgron.wordpress.com Henke

        “Most people are flattered when another person enjoys their personality or finds them attractive.”

        That depends entirely in HOW those things are expressed and so often fails from us men towards women because its loaded with shallow, sexist bollocks.

      • Ellesar

        What you appear to be oblivious to is that very firm refusals are often not safe for women to make, even in public places. So she said yes because he was persistent, because she did not want him to ‘turn’, which unfortunately is not uncommon. If women totally refuse some men it will ruin our night because we will receive a barrage of sexist abuse, and may even be physically assaulted.

        I am guessing that THAT was the reason that she said yes the first time. Her nipping out while he was in the loo was her way of avoiding any more unpleasantness – she went out to enjoy herself, she doesn’t want to spend her evening getting into arguments with men who have been taught that persistence in the face of refusal is appropriate, even desirable.

      • marv

        @FireWalkWithMe.

        “This is what is the problem though; in nearly all cases a man would stay single for long, indefinite periods, probably being chided by his surrounding culture, even female friends that he needed to ‘take a chance’ and ask a female out on a date. Next to no females would flock to him, they would date guys who would have actually asked. It’s a fruitless predicament.”

        Good lord the Republic may even fall if men become submissive. Seems like a greater threat to civilization than climate change. Your reasoning is quite defensive, making you look self-serving.

        “You are purporting that every sexual interest a man has in a woman he isn’t emotionally interested in must be a misogynistic urge.”

        No, I am contending that a retreat by even well meaning men would benefit women and our culture as a whole. Surrendering nice dominance privilege as individuals and groups is necessary to change the malicious social climate of a society.

        “This is such an insane belief to expect men to form this movement of eschewing assertiveness/forwardness (NOT AGGRESSION OR HARASSMENT) and it to change society.”

        That is because many men are ideologically rigid and institutionally conformist. Men are educated that way. Women are frequently socialized too in their unassertiveness to approaching men. Despite how unrealistic it is to you, we are calling on men to become revolutionaries, to worry more about creating emancipation and equality for all than hooking up. I guess you are out of your element here.

        “The school I go to, the biggest in my state, may be PC as fuck about race and sexuality, but it’s pretty much in step with society in gender equality.”

        Political correctness is a pejorative term usually meaning extremism, made by members of the dominant classes against the lower ones. I hope you knew that. I will put a spin on the idiom, charging male-first-moves doctrine as politically correct by conventional thinkers. It’s time to put the Fire out, instead of Walking With it.

  • FireWalkWithMe

    This is like the first feminist thing I’ve like 100% agreed on. Good work, Meghan.

    I’ve def experienced a male culture that epitomizes sexual access to women as the signifier of man hood. It’s so fail and destructive. Causes certain men so much misery. Including myself in the past and incrementally now, though not nearly as severe. We live in a culture that disdains male virgins (the fact they made a movie called the 40 Year Old Virgin is testament to that) and even once you’ve lost the verboten ‘male virginity’ (who knows when I ‘lost that’, does sexual touching count? Mutual oral sex? PIV penetration?) you can still suffer from ‘beta’ status by still not having regular sexual activity with women. This culture needs to die.

    Also, was raised on porn as an essential part of male sexuality. It is disgusting and soul draining, and am still in the process do quitting the horrid stuff. It is in no way a reflection of how I believe the genders should interact. For sure, I saw the conquest of women as a part of the arousal and it had effected me as well. Still working to fully look past that,

    Question: do you think without a misogynistic culture Elliot Rogers would have not have gone on a massacre? Myself, I’m not sure. I’ll give credence to mental illness, but it think it was a combination of factors, not just one or the other. I def can understand his disdain of women and society; he was raised to believe he wasn’t a man unless he was having sex.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I don’t think he would have if we didn’t live in a patriarchy, no… And the reason I say that is because it is only men who go on these mass shooting sprees. I think it very much has to do with masculinity/male violence and the entitlement men are taught to feel in a patriarchy.

  • marv

    @FireWalkWithMe further up the thread.

    “This is what is the problem though; in nearly all cases a man would stay single for long, indefinite periods, probably being chided by his surrounding culture, even female friends that he needed to ‘take a chance’ and ask a female out on a date. Next to no females would flock to him, they would date guys who would have actually asked. It’s a fruitless predicament.”

    Good lord the Republic may even fall if men become submissive. Seems like a greater threat to civilization than climate change. Your reasoning is quite defensive, making you look self-serving.

    “You are purporting that every sexual interest a man has in a woman he isn’t emotionally interested in must be a misogynistic urge.”

    No, I am contending that a retreat by even well meaning men would benefit women and our culture as a whole. Surrendering nice dominance privilege as individuals and groups is necessary to change the malicious sexist social climate of society.

    “This is such an insane belief to expect men to form this movement of eschewing assertiveness/forwardness (NOT AGGRESSION OR HARASSMENT) and it to change society.”

    That is because many men are ideologically rigid and institutionally conformist towards sexism. Men are educated that way.
    Women are frequently socialized too in their unassertiveness to approaching men. Your cynicism is evident: it has always been this way so it always will be. Despite how unrealistic it is to you, we are calling on men to become revolutionaries, to worry more about creating emancipation and equality for all and less about hooking up. I guess you are out of your element here.

    “The school I go to, the biggest in my state, may be PC as fuck about race and sexuality, but it’s pretty much in step with society in gender equality.”

    Political correctness is a pejorative term usually meaning extremism, made by members of the dominant classes against the lower ones. I hope you knew that. I will put a spin on the idiom, charging male-first-moves doctrine as conventionally politically correct. It’s time to put the Fire out, rather than Walk With it.

  • FireWalkWithMe

    RE: Me

    I have a good memory, and if you are harping at me for particularities and attention to detail that’s pretty sad considering how many women on here and xoJane do the same when describing their mishaps involving harassment and lack of consent, or very recently hiring a male masseuse to pleasure them sexually . Expect mine was involving consent between longtime friends, and being particular helped illuminate the story.

    I didn’t say she dumped me; we were both ready to end the relationship because it had run it’s course. We weren’t right for each other. She reached out to me to remain friends before I did to her. And I’m glad to still be her friend, it’s not weird or anything and I still enjoy reminiscing on our relationship together in my head. You are so assuming it’s incredible.

    Keep count? Funny you should ask that. Last woman I slept with asked me if I was a virgin (without me bringing it up) and later asked me how many women I’d been with (nothing to do with health cause we used protection). I never asked her either thing, and yet you purport I’m some obsessive bastard who tries to get more and more women, yet a woman thought she would be frank enough to ask me. HA, it’s hard to imagine in your world where men are just waiting to violate women, over step boundaries, slut shame them, make them reveal personal sexual information that a female did it to me.

    You are consistently spiteful on this blog and have no faith in individual men. The women who write it are way more open minded than you and actually have some confidence that some of us hate porn, cat calling, slut shaming, objectification and degradation, and general sexism.

    Who knows, this comment prolly won’t get approved cause you are a regular and I’m calling you out for your incongruence with the site’s message and general respect for people.

    • Me

      Sorry, I thought that comment of mine got deleted back when I posted it. I shouldn’t have made it either way.

      Why do you keep falsely equating women’s behavior with sexism?

      When women talk about their “mishaps involving harassment and lack of consent”–a bit of an euphemism there don’t you think?–it’s not at all the same as men talking about these things, especially when men talk about them as if these things were done to us as a class, to us as men, as they are done to women. The closest thing men can come to this is to talk about other men’s homophobia, gender policing, male rape (obviously done by men) and so on. Notice how men are the perpetrating sex class?

      If things were the other way around, if women were the dominant sex class and men the dominated one, it would make perfect sense for us to talk about our experiences–whether drastic or “trivial”–to hopefully come to an understanding of how they flow from our treatment and expectations we face based on our sex, i.e. sexism. Hopefully we could understand how we were affected as a class instead of individuals. That is, if it were the other way around, but it isn’t.

      When you as a man seem to hold the attitude that basically your and our bad experiences as men in heterosexual relationships with women are equal to women’s experiences, what am I supposed to think? Every time I’ve met men who talk like this, it’s been to justify receiving some “equal” treatment from women, “equal” treatment that at once denies the reality of a sex class system. In other words, it’s been entitlement masquerading as equality. You prove me wrong and make a case how this isn’t where you’re coming from.

      How about you make your argument to be about liberation instead of equality? Make it to be about men’s liberation as a sex class in relationships with women. Thing is, if you framed it like that, you wouldn’t have an argument for men’s unequal treatment based on our sex to start with, and that would be exactly as it should be. You could make an argument against a lot of shitty things, sure. Against the way a hyper-individualistic and instant gratification-based society makes for shitty relationships, for example. I, for one, am pissed at how difficult relationships can be under patriarchy, including how difficult sexuality can be and how it may be best left out of a relationship for reasons other than a lack of attraction, but I’m nowhere near as pissed about those things as I am about the real atrocities, like pornography and pornographers, the big deal. I don’t like the money economy, I don’t like a lot of things. I’d very much prefer just be happy, trusting of men and men’s institutions, optimistic about the future and so on. I hate the system, not the individual men. Do I need to name the individual men I have faith in and whom I love, to make that a real thing? I don’t love what masculinity represents, period. At what point do I get to hate “men”? How much systematic hurt and cruelty based on this toxic masculinity before it can be named so that someone won’t come forward essentially demanding that the equivalent is being done to men by women? That point is the point when toxic masculinity is nearly a thing of the past and it’s common cultural understanding for everyone why we all fought like hell to rid our societies and this planet of this plague.

    • http://ewinsor.wordpress.com lizor

      Shoot. I meant to link my July 27th, 2014 at 5:12 am comment to this one.

  • http://ewinsor.wordpress.com lizor

    “Who knows, this comment prolly won’t get approved cause you are a regular and I’m calling you out for your incongruence with the site’s message and general respect for people.”

    Well that speaks volumns about your manipulative strategizing and your self-serving position. You simultaneously “praise” Meghan in a patronizing tone [“This is like the first feminist thing I’ve like 100% agreed on. Good work, Meghan.” (I’m sure your approval just made Meghan’s day, FWWM!!)], then you accuse her of censoring the comment thread to supposedly protect regular commenters from any sort of a challenge grounded in fact-based analysis and argument. That accusation is way out of line, all by itself, besides the fact that you add it into an already incoherent response to Me’s comment. If Me presumed wrong, then you might have simply said so without showing how self-centred you are by proposing that one woman asking you if you have had previous sexual experience is proof positive that “your [sic] world where men are just waiting to violate women, over step boundaries, slut shame them, make them reveal personal sexual information” has no foundation. Again your choice to write “your” world – not, you imply, REALITY shows us that you are happy enough to deny the ubiquity of bodily threat and the very real and alarming rate of male violence against women. All because someone figured you were new to the grown up world of exchanging sexual pleasure.

    Then you conflate your personal stories of what a Terrific Guy™ you are because you understand some critique of porn and you like to be friends before having sex, with female commenter’s examples of what you call “mishaps involving harassment and lack of consent”. You know that a “mishap” that involves “lack of consent” is usually rape and that a good quarter or more of us have experienced such a “mishap” – often with someone we know and have already consented to having sex with? Don’t you get it? THOSE STORIES ARE EVIDENCE OF THE HARM DONE BY MALE SEXUAL ENTITLEMENT COMBINED WITH MALE CONTEMPT FOR FEMALES. Your little stories of being a good guy and your very clearly articulated fear that if men collectively fucked off with the predatory gamesmanship, no one would touch your wee wee are not comparable to stories that people who are less valued in a social hierarchy, and who live with a constant threat of violence because of the particulars of that hierarchy, tell in fora put in place to discuss exactly that.

    The first step in being a “good guy” is acquiring some emotional maturity, some self-awareness (a very different species than self-absorption), a capacity to overcome your culturally-ingrained denial of the mechanisms of gender inequality and finally taking some responsibility for countering that inequality. Your comments here demonstrate that, while you may be well-intentioned, you really have a long way to go.

    • Insidious_Sid

      “Your comments here demonstrate that, while you may be well-intentioned, you really have a long way to go.”

      I think if I were him I’d be safely assuming that ‘going any further’ would be a very poor time investment.

      • FireWalkWithMe

        I’m not sure if you are implying that it would be a waste of time because 1. you disagree with the ethos of this site and think my behavior is rational/fine or 2. you think I am a lost cause. Which in the later cause you are literally encouraging a man to resign himself to behavior/thinking others which you and others here consider to be unhealthy and destructive, which really is damning to your own movement to tell someone they can’t help but to be part of the problem. Again, this is if you are part of the movement and alleging this. I can’t tell what you mean.

    • FireWalkWithMe

      I have seen people be warned and even blocked for things that others, who are regular commenters on this site, have done and aren’t even warned about, like how Me (though he/she did apologize, which I appreciate and accept) called me a douche, called my story about having consensual sex with my last girlfriend reflected the need for men to act forward if they want to secure a relationship in most situations (there are lots of women who make moves, sure, but much more don’t) as indicative that I’m a creep, all mine being written in a non hostile tone, and yet people who are arguing with the regular commenters get banned a lot. Ex: On James Franco and internalized patriarchy a user named PunkRoctorok was told to ‘fuck off’ by the user Me (after PunkRoc did not insult Me at all), a much harsher statement than that which PunkRoctorok followed up with, calling him/her an uncivil monkey or primate or something. Yet for his follow up PunkRoctorok was apparently banned, according to Meghan and the fact he never replied to anyone on the thread after that. I respect that people want control over their own sites, but playing user favoritism with rules to people who agree is an example of bad and tyrannical admining and makes people not likely to comment or read articles on the site.

      A lot of the males commenting on these kind of forums get called the scum of the earth, ultra misogynists, creeps, losers, douchey, etc and some very rightly so, like those who come here acting like most rapes are made up, women are just as guilty of prostitution as men, and others BUT as we know, and you said, it’s not these allegedly socially inept loners ala Elliot Rodgers who do this, it’s the guys women know for the most part, who are more passively misogynistic. I think a lot of the men who comment here are a lot less likely to rape than men who don’t, cause the later kind of men don’t give a single fuck about debating and reframing the gender order, they are just fine and arrogantly confident with their position as men, and you would never catch them in an internet debate like this. They are the ones who esteem sex as a gateway to manhood, pursue women much more often and aggressively, and have more success and frequency dating and having sex with women. It’s they who think it’s okay to keep their hands on a woman even if she’s resisting, to take sex from her because she’s ‘just playing hard to get’ or ‘wants the man to be in control, go after what he wants with resolve and determination’. Okay, I doubt any machismo slave rapist would put it like that, but that what they are thinking, I believe.

      I’ve known a lot of men with this general mode of thinking, such as my recent two roommates at uni They are not and probably won’t be rapists, but one said you have no right to call out man for unmanliness who’d had more women, and the other would yell to women that they were hot a lot when I was out and about with them, (cat calling). I think both these guys would be much more likely to violate a woman than I ever would, because I have a natural inclination to back off from people who are becoming upset with me in person (arguing on the internet I am stubborn). Most guys and some women would call me a ‘spineless pussy’ because I don’t believe in fighting over stupid things or hurting people, yet that coolness is also linked to me not imagining myself violating a woman repeatedly resisting me.

      And one last thing: women are VERY complicit in discrimination. That first roommate’s girlfriend was homophobic and racist toward African Americans, and came from a rich privileged family. The three of us guys are middle class, one from an immigrant family from a developing country. I’m a bisexual/biromanitc male, and I doubt any of them would see me the same way if they knew about it. In fact, lots of women will think bisexual experimentation for women is fine (because women are ‘sexy’ and ‘compassionate’) yet would not tolerate it at all in a male they might date, because they can’t see him as anything but a macho straight guy or an effeminate gay one. Also, that female who asked me about my virginity, not wanting me to be one is like a guy wanting a girl to be a virgin cause ‘dudes should be promiscuous, and chicks modest’. I’m not one of those commenters here to argue who has it worse and that feminism has no validity, I’m saying that pursuing women is not reprehensible because lots of women aren’t very progressive thinking, as lots of men aren’t.

      • Meghan Murphy

        “Yet for his follow up PunkRoctorok was apparently banned, according to Meghan and the fact he never replied to anyone on the thread after that. I respect that people want control over their own sites, but playing user favoritism with rules to people who agree is an example of bad and tyrannical admining and makes people not likely to comment or read articles on the site.”

        Well, my goal is to create a space where productive, feminist discussion can happen. I do that as best I can and at my own discretion. If some people don’t like the way I moderate the comments here, there are lots of other spaces they can go to discuss things online in a way that suits them…