Michael Ransom, Contributing EditorLast Modified: 03:43 p.m. DST, 29 May 2014
ENTER THE "MANOSPHERE" at your own risk. This community of blogs and user forums are think tanks of misogyny, where expert womanizers share their secrets and angry 'alpha males' disparage the opposite sex.
The various websites within the loosely affiliated "manosphere" often operate under the guise of gender equality. In the minds of the site administrators and talking heads, so-called equality means that 'alpha males' take back what is rightfully theirs: ubiquitous sexual opportunity, decreasing political power, and American gender roles reminiscent of the 1950's.
Objective organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center have classified many of these websites as hate blogs.
Interesting, the young 'alpha males' that populate the "manosphere" were not alive in the age they so long for. As an antidote to their perceived feebleness in the eyes of women, they are nostalgic for the decades and the gender roles within which their grandparents abided.
At the very least, you would think that the "manosphere" reporters would be well-versed in the history and the context of their declarations. Instead, reading through the "manosphere," one would think that these men come from an alternate reality, a science-fiction story, where men have been recently liberated from a society of domineering, authoritative, and suppressive women. Women who had historically disenfranchised them, used them as sexual objects, and restricted their self-sufficiency through calculated discrimination.
If you were unaware about these backwards breeding grounds, you are like me. Knowledge of these websites is very self-selecting; you are unlikely to frequent them if you do not share or condone the values they espouse. The readership of the "manosphere" is united in the mission to stop the feminist "agenda," many even declare that feminist ideologies are akin to terrorism.
To the world, Elliot Rodger is the gunman in the Santa Barbara massacre earlier this week, but to many websites throughout the "manosphere," Rodger was a contributing commentator. The vile dogma in his viral videos is representative of what you might read on many of the sites--women owe men sex, and men who are denied intercourse have a responsibility to remind women of their subservient place in society. Of course, not all participants of "manosphere" outfits are evil, potential killers. But it just so happens that Rodger had a reciprocal relationship to the community--he was both guided by thinkers of the "manosphere" and contributed to the hatred published therein.
The discussion of the mass-shooting in Santa Barbara and the rationale of Rodger are comparable to the study of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. Following the tragedy, reports surfaces that shooters Klebold and Harris worshipped musician Marilyn Manson. The press crucified Manson, and he became all but an accessory to the 15 murders at the school. The public reaction also condemned violent video games such as Grand Theft Auto as a conspiring force in the massacre. These are important factors to consider, but certainly as a society we cannot believe that extreme music and games are causal to the slaughter and deny the role of gun laws and mental health.
In a similar vein, we can look to the "manosphere" for answers to the uncertain mindset of Rodger. Plenty of people play violent video games, listen to disturbed music, and have hateful views towards women and do not go on a killing spree. What pushed Rodger over the edge? We will never know. But we do know that with a serious review of the laws related to gun ownership [his choice of weaponry was purchased legally, just miles from the scene of the crime], and greater psychiatric support, the young victims in Santa Barbara would still be alive today.
It is noteworthy that the voices of the "manosphere" are equal-opportunity detractors. Unless you are a so-called 'alpha male,' regularly practice the aggressive pursuit of women, and claim an elevated genetic position over the opposite sex, expect to be belittled. Showing the nuances of the faction, Rodger is highly criticized throughout the social community, degraded as a 'beta male' and sometimes 'devalued' to a gay man. Please, ever-so-thoughtful men of the "manosphere," don't degrade the gay community, or anyone for that matter, during your journey to find yourself, love, and self-acceptance.
- Elliot Rodger Massacre: Family Releases Statement, New Details Emerge (thehollywoodgossip.com)
- "Alpha Male" Elliot Rodgers' Retribution (skepchick.org)
- Anti-woman website predicts more Elliott Rogers if society doesn't provide them with sex (rawstory.com)
- Elliot Rodger and Poisonous Ideals of Masculinity (theatlantic.com)
- Santa Barbara shooter had history of posting racist, misogynist comments on hate site (rawstory.com)