PODCAST: Soraya Chemaly on Elliot Rodger, PUAHate, and #YesAllWomen

On May 23 in Isla Vista, California, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger murdered six people and wounded 13 more. Rodger had written a 140-page manifesto and produced a number of videos on YouTube outlining his motivation for the attack. He was angry at women.

It was discovered that Rodger frequented PUAHate forums which writer, Erin Gloria Ryan, describes as such:

PUAHate, as other outlets have discussed, is an offshoot of the Pick Up Artist community populated by men (and, allegedly, women) who believe Pick Up Artistry to be a sham waste of money not because women are more than “targets” and “prey,” but because women are fucking hopeless cunts who can’t be convinced to give nice guys a chance. Women, argue PUAHaters, will only go out with good looking alpha males and would never look twice at anyone who isn’t a musclebound dreamboat with a six-figure income, and most men will never be those things, and so the world is against them and life is unfair. From an observer’s perspective, PUAHate is a group of self-pitying babies who believe they’re entitled to women who are much more attractive than they are.

Rodger complained that he had not received the attention, sex and love he felt he deserved. He wrote:

For the last eight years of my life, ever since I hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires. All because girls have never been attracted to me. Girls gave their affection and sex and love to other men, but never to me. I’m 22-years-old and still a virgin. I’ve never even kissed a girl. I’ve been through college, for two and a half years, more than that actually, and I’m still a virgin. It has been very torturous.

College is the time when everyone experiences those things such as sex and fun and pleasure. But in those years I’ve had to rot in loneliness. It’s not fair. You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me. But I will punish you all for it. It’s an injustice, a crime because I don’t know what you don’t see in me.

The hashtag, #YesAllWomen trended on twitter. Writer Jessica Valenti explains that “in addition to being a response to the frustrating ‘not all men’ narrative that preceded Rodger’s killing spree, #YesAllWomen tried to illustrate the ubiquity of sexism in women’s lives.”

I spoke with writer and feminist critic, Soraya Chemaly, about the shooting and about #YesAllWomen over the phone. You can read her article, “When do we talk about ‘unpleasant’ truths in the wake of Elliot Rodger’s destruction?” at xoJane.com.

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://subversify.com stacy

    MotherJones just published some new details about an earlier encounter Elliott had at a party, he ended up getting a broken ankle and getting his ass kicked. This guy was so hateful that I doubt the PUAs could have helped him conceal it.

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/santa-barbara-shooter-elliot-rodger-police-report

  • http://gravatar.com/rengeko rengeko

    well, seems to me that since he’s a pretty good looking guy and has money, he must have rung an 11 on the creep-o-meter. i think most girls and young women will make some effort to stay out of that orbit.