Let’s have the courage to face misogyny in our society

Yousuf Fahimuddin,

Last Friday there was a mass shooting at University of California, Santa Barbara that left six innocents dead, and several injured.

I wanted to honor the people who lost their lives. Chris Martinez, Katie Cooper, Veronika Weiss, Chen Yuan Hong, George Chen, and Weihan Wang didn’t deserve what happened to them, and we owe it to them, and to the others who could potentially be victim to hate crimes and mass shootings, to figure out why this happened.

I don’t buy the argument that the shooter did it because he was insane. I think his mental condition may have driven him over the edge, but it wasn’t the reason why he did it.

It’s ridiculous to say the cause was because he had Asperger’s Syndrome. We may all know people who have Asperger’s, and to blame it on that is nonsensical.

It’s almost humorous that we are so scared of admitting there is inherent misogyny in our society and parts of our culture that we’re blaming it on his Asperger’s. Anyone who takes a minute to think about it realizes the fault in that.

What brought him to commit this crime is his ideology of what we could call “extremist misogyny.” He is a terrorist.

He shouldn’t just be called “crazy,” far from it; this man is as much a terrorist as anybody else. The only difference is that his terror is targeted at a specific group: women. We ought to recognize that.

I think within the greater context of the issue of misogyny in our society, it’s irresponsible to say that all men are misogynists, but I do think this issue of misogyny is more inherent in our culture than we would like to believe. It’s something we need to have the courage to confront as a society.

I’ve known some guys who eerily remind me of this kid. I have zero sympathy for these kinds of people. We have to seriously sit down and think why these kids are working on this, and how we can stop creating monsters.

These guys I’ve known have everything I could have ever wanted in life; they drive BMWs, they buy expensive Diesel clothes, and their parents buy them a new iPhone every year. They live in very nice houses—when we were kids they used to mow their parents’ lawns for $40 an hour.

But as we all grew up, some of us had sex and some of us didn’t. Like all young people we wanted to find love, and some of us found it right away, and others took until they were midway through college to find what they were looking for.  Some of us were into casual sex and some weren’t; some of wanted sex and others wanted a relationship.

But it takes different time for everybody, everyone is different and wants different things in life. But some of them got hung up on it; it was all they could talk about.

They never let it go, and it always ate at them and I never really understood why. Why did it matter so much? I didn’t understand.

The reason why people get hung up on this sort of thing is because there’s pressure for guys to get laid. It’s like our rite of passage almost. What makes a boy a man? Well, it’s if he’s had sex.

But all these cultural expectations create a climate of need for false empowerment for boys who want to become men, and the entitlement to men of access to women. In order to become a man, a guy needs a girl who’s willing to have sex with him.

And why should he be denied that?

That’s a mindset some guys, definitely not all, get. And it becomes this vicious cycle, and like with all psychoses it’s difficult to understand, because to the rest of us sex isn’t a big deal.

That’s the problem. This kid was a terrorist, plain and simple, he said that he was doing this to “punish” all women for ignoring him. That’s a big problem, and it takes an ideology to allow a person to do such terrible acts, not just mental illness.

Let’s sit down and take a hard look at our society and ourselves. I think this is a discussion we all need to have; it’s not the kind of thing where “I’m right and you’re wrong.” We need to have a dialogue about this.

People have died or have had their lives irreversibly ruined through sexual violence because we didn’t have the guts to take a long hard look at ourselves and advocate for change. We have to face the darker parts of our culture.