Tuesday 20 March 2018

Entitlement and misogyny – a theme playing out from California to Pakistan

Last week's gang rapes, stoning and mass shooting all boil down to sour male self-pity

A deli that was one of nine crime scenes after series of drive-by shootings that left seven dead
A deli that was one of nine crime scenes after series of drive-by shootings that left seven dead
This image from video posted on YouTube shows Elliot Rodger
A student leaves flowers at a tribute for victims
Students write chalk messages as a tribute for victims
A student wipes away a tear at a memorial for the victims of Elliot Rodger

Julia Molony

In America, a 22-year-old virgin opens fire in a public place as an expression of rage against all the women who have sexually rejected him. In India, two teenage girls are tied to a tree, gang-raped and then hanged. In Pakistan, a pregnant woman who married against her family's wishes is attacked by 20 relatives with stones, batons and bricks and beaten until lifeless.

This happens in front of the highest court of the land. It's been a bad week for women. And though the cultural, social and personal conditions that surround all three of these cases are different, they have one thing in common – they are all an expression of inchoate male rage.

In America, a culture that invented the post-adolescent vengeful shooter, the media is saturated with analysis, urgent attempts to explain. It has been called "aggrieved white male entitlement syndrome". A status-obsessed society gets a status-obsessed killer. Elliott Rodger, a rich, image-obsessed, California-dwelling son of a famous Hollywood director would probably have been horrified to think that he had anything in common with, for example, the rural police officers who have been arrested on suspicion of rape and murder of two adolescent girls in a small village in Uttar Pradesh. But at base, he responded to the same, sexually motivated, murderous impulse as they did.

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