The Internet has been up in arms about the Elliot Rodger incident, and it’s sparked conversations concerning some heavy topics. If you haven’t (for some reason) heard of it, you can Google it; I won’t be placing any links to it here because I’m so disgusted with the situation. I myself have read several news articles wherein they label Elliot as a victim of bullying in the past or try to stake some last hope claim that he was mentally ill. However, if we simply reduce this boy-who-called-friendzone to a mentally ill person, then we completely sidestep and erase the true problem here: Male Entitlement.
I do not mean this article to differ from the current discourse, and I am in no way stating that the entitlement certain men feel to women and their bodies is any less important. My point here is an addition to all of everything that’s been said. But male entitlement is not simply limited to the sphere of heteronormativity.
I’ve had past boyfriends think that just because they spend a lot of money on me (something that I actually really loathe, and something that makes me feel uncomfortable), that it means they’re good boyfriends. I’ve also had ones think that because they spend that money, they have the right to my body. I’ve had past boyfriends text me months or years after calling it quits for that late night hook-up, thinking that because we dated in the past that they can call upon my body at their beck and call, and I’ve had those same boyfriends fly off into a rage when I denied them. This would oftentimes result in a slew of texts begging me, or an onslaught of calls that would tire out my ‘ignore’ button.
My point is, is that this weird macho-masculine ideology of entitlement, that your very existence automatically guarantees you access to sex/another person’s body, is not simply rooted in heteronormativity. Both women and gay men must constantly be cautious of a man’s belief that they deserve to possess their body, and we need to work n short-circuiting this belief system: Claiming to be the “perfect gentleman” does not mean everyone must sleep with you.
And, as a male, I don’t feel right saying “all men,” but at the same time there have been staggeringly more than enough of these situations where I feel alright saying that most men, are hardwired with this peculiar ideology: We as a society as a whole, under this patriarchal institution, have found some way to teach, either intentionally or unintentionally, most boys and men (gay and straight) that they have all the rights in the world, that other people are not allowed to exist outside the sphere of pleasing them, and that if they are rejected or if their advances are declined, they are allowed to rampage and take it by means of violence.
Mental illness is one thing; not all mentally ill people kill women, and not all people who kill women are mentally ill. Maybe we should all review our Psych 101 notes: Correlation does not imply causation, and by reducing this tragic act of violence to a mental illness completely covers up the true problems of the Perfect Gentleman Ideology and misogyny, both of which are problems that the media seems too wary to even utter, as if they’re taboo; the media is afraid to acknowledge the existence of these problems, and choose simply to cover them up, and so we come full circle, reinforcing these ideologies ad nauseam.