Photo: Courtesy of Facebook.
Following the UCSB shootings on Friday, the media is setting its focus on Elliot Rodgers, unpacking his motives for such a planned, violent rampage. The shooter's 141-page manifesto and chilling YouTube video have served as a horrific roadmap, outlining a life of privilege, seemingly loving parents, and loneliness that turned to hate. Though many fingers point toward the shooter's Asperger's Syndrome as a root cause of his crime, Mara Wilson — a child-star-turned-writer — took to social media this weekend to argue Rodger's actions were a product of misogyny — not his spectrum disorder.
To many, including Wilson, blaming Rodger's shootings on his Asperger's is a lazy option, and one that unfairly categorizes all mentally ill people as potentially dangerous. Instead, Wilson argues his brutal outburst was directly related to the systematic misogyny he espoused, plus his bone-deep belief that his male privilege entitled him to sex and love. She notes that, after reading the shooter's manifesto, "Most of it was about how badly he wanted a woman (typically 'hot' and blonde) to have sex with him or be his girlfriend. He never once mentioned a woman's personality or interests, only what she looked like and what he'd do to her." Wilson chalks up this male entitlement to a lack of education. "Please, teach your sons women are people, with lives and personalities and interests. They are not objects, they are individuals, and NO ONE is entitled to another human being's body or time... Yes, this guy had problems to begin with, but this kind of attitude of entitlement and objectification certainly did not help."
If you have the time and/or emotional wherewithal to wade through the over 3,000 comments on Wilson's post, you'll see an array of reactions. Wilson says she was hesitant to post her thoughts, since she worried the comments could "get ugly." But, in the end, she decided to share her opinion.
The UCSB shooting may feel like an isolated, singular incident, but Wilson has taken this opportunity to remind her followers that widespread misogyny is anything but singular. The social campaign against gendered violence (#YesAllWomen) that sprang up this weekend is a testament to that. Regardless of how you interpret the events at hand, the unifying factor here is a call for better education about the dangers women — yes, all women — face every day.