I’m beginning to wonder whether the Elliot Rodger story, in the long run, might be a more important moment for men than for women. I don’t mean to devalue or diminish the collective display of female outrage, and female solidarity, that we have experienced in the aftermath of the Isla Vista shootings. Quite the opposite. But it is overwhelmingly – indeed, almost exclusively – men who commit mass murder of this kind and on this scale, and the poisonous misogyny of Rodger’s worldview is a distinctively male phenomenon. Is it possible to find women who genuinely hate men? No doubt it is; our culture is a big place. But I am unaware of any Internet communities where women gather to demean and stereotype men in the most vile and reductive terms, or openly indulge in fantasies about raping, humiliating and enslaving them.
All men are implicated in a culture of masculinity that allows such things to happen. It’s a culture that looks away from misogynistic crimes, or proclaims them to be isolated and untypical events rather than extreme examples of things that happen every day. It’s a culture that does not ask whether it’s our responsibility to love and nurture our sons and brothers such that they grow up knowing that women and girls are not the enemy, not an alien species, not vessels for their lust or displaced self-loathing or misguided veneration but complicated and wonderful and exasperating human beings not unlike themselves.