Let Us Discuss What Qualifies As Hatred

Hello. I’m a woman. When I was born, I had biologically female parts. And while I’ve never really fit into many of the roles and trappings assigned to women, I continue to mostly identify as one. I include in this imprecise group, anyone else who chooses to join me. To over-simplify using stereotypes: Though I fell in love with a man, I am attracted to both men and women. Though I like dolls, I dislike dresses. Though I love having a beer with the boys, I really don’t understand the appeal of baseball (now soccer – there’s a sport.)

All of this is to say that I am not part of a binary, but a flexible, flowing, irregular and wonderful spectrum.

None of this matters, though, when confronting misogynists. They rarely see the multifariousness. What is misogyny? Simply put, it’s a hatred of women, but, like gender, it’s part of a spectrum that ranges from assumptions and micro-aggressions to events like the recent shootings in California.

Websites like Everyday Sexism and Fat, Ugly or Slutty can provide a sort of running tally of the everyday occurrences of gender based transgressions. The bigger events, like the shooting, should speak for themselves.

But they don’t.

Every article I’ve read has had quite a few male identified commenters trying to either dismiss or justify the misogyny in the shooter’s statements. Many (but #notallmen, don’t worry kids) have tried to steer the conversation away from what the shooter has stated and how he specifically targeted his victims. What they are trying to say is that this wasn’t targeted hatred, but (insert excuse here – I suggest vague hatred, justified hatred, madness, ASD, spoiled rich boy syndrome, etc.)

Which has prompted me to provide this side by side comparison. Please read and tell me whether the second lines would have garnered online debate or a visit from the FBI or homeland security and possibly a trip to Gitmo:

What he really said:
I will punish all of you for it. [Laughs.] On the day of retribution, I am going to enter the hottest sorority house of UCSB and I will slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up blond slut I see inside there. All those girls that I’ve desired so much. They would have all rejected me and looked down upon me as an inferior man if I ever made a sexual advance towards them.

What might have made people acknowledge it was a hate crime:
I will punish all of you for it. [Laughs.] On the day of retribution, I am going to enter the church and I will slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up Christian I see inside there. All the fellowship that I’ve desired so much. They would have all rejected me and looked down upon me as an inferior man if I ever made an attempt to join their congregation.

See what I did there? Is it suddenly less vague to you?

Let’s try another.

What he really said:
I’ll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am in truth, the superior one. The true alpha male. [Laughs.] Yes. After I’ve annihilated every single girl in the sorority house, I’ll take to the streets of Isla Vista and slay every single person I see there.

What might have made people acknowledge it was a hate crime:
I’ll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am in truth, the superior one. The true white man. [Laughs.] Yes. After I’ve annihilated every single Black person in the building, I’ll take to the streets of Isla Vista and slay every single person I see there.

I mean, it’s pretty clear that this crime was focused. That one man committed a crime is not  proof of misogyny. The attempts of people to dismiss it and belittle it are. The idea that we’re not thoroughly horrified by targeted hatred when the targets are women – that is the proof. That a man who responds to these stories by presenting women as deserving of mistreatment is not immediately eye-rolled and mocked and is, in fact, supported by others is our proof.

Before dismissing this as a lesser crime or a one-off case of madness (which would ignore several other targeted murders of women) try swapping the context. If the crime suddenly seems more egregious when the targeted victims are part of another group, it is time to reassess why you are not treating this as a hate crime on par with those. Is it because of the facts, or is it because of a lifetime of small (and more overt) messages telling us that women are innately less valuable?

(I have not named the shooter or quoted the people defending him because here, in my space, that hatred is not welcome. The same will apply to the comments. Well thought out comments that do not use threats or ad hominem attacks and maintain good debate etiquette are welcome, even if they disagree with me. Others will be removed or Lego-ed.)

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