Getting angry at women who don’t fulfil your expectations


A 48-year-old US man who opened fire in a Pennsylvania gym, killing three women and himself, appeared to have written about his plans for the attack.
Sodini appeared to have planned the attack since at least November 2008, the Associated Press reports. Other entries on the blog described struggles with alcoholism and an inability to form relationships with women.

There’s been quite a lot revealed already about how this man felt about women not wanting to be with him. Deep resentment that built to murderous rage. Because dammit, he deserved a womanthing. Why weren’t the womanthings doing what they were supposed to do, which was make him feel good by being available to him? Stupid womanthings. Thinking that what they wanted (men who were not him) mattered when he was all lonely and he could see them all around his neighborhood taunting him with their unavailable womanthing bits.

There’s been some feminist commentary on tumblr as people react, and there’s been some kickback. Pandorasmittens quotes three tumblrers who talk about how the shooter’s feelings of sexual entitlement are normalised for men in our society, so that it’s hardly surprising when the occasional bloke reacts with deadly violence to women not giving him what he wants – all his life he’s felt safe expressing the opinion that women owe men attention and companionship just because that’s what women are for, so that it’s obvious to him that if he is not getting attention and companionship from women it’s because the women are defective and broken, and defective and broken things should be trashed. It is noted that already news stories are focussing on his isolation and loneliness because that’s relatable and sympathetic, instead of examining how he ended up hating women enough to cold-bloodedly kill them. “Because, in the end, it is easier to hate and blame women than to hate and blame yourself.”

Pandorasmittens then says:

It’s easier to blame anything or anyone, than yourself. Women just happened to be the recipient of this man’s ire.

I’ve bolded that sentence because it leaped out at several other tumblrers too. Their reactions:

Sarah MC:
Re: the bolded part. I don’t think it’s accurate to say that women “just happened” to be the recipient of his ire. Misogyny is cultivated in our society. It is rewarded and encouraged and normalized. Men are taught to feel entitled and they are taught to get angry at women when women don’t fulfill their expectations. Nothing accidental about this.

Our society tells men that women exist for men’s purposes. Our society tells men that violence is an acceptable means of achieving their goals, asserting their dominance, establishing their identity.

Domestic violence is the prime example: you can’t say it’s just bad apples. Because women die every day because of this entitlement. Women suffer violence every day because of it.

We don’t tell men: “It’s ok to beat a woman.” But we do tell them: “She probably provoked it. She shouldn’t have dressed like that. She shouldn’t have mouthed off. She shouldn’t have rejected you. Who does she think she is? She’s just after your money. Stupid bitch.” And we tell them: “You aren’t a real man if you don’t present as tough. If you aren’t willing to fight. You aren’t a whole person if you aren’t a ‘real man.’ You have to perform violent masculinity if you want to be taken seriously and retain control over your own life.”

And then we act surprised when men take 2+2 and end up with 4.

Amandaw’s comment was reblogged at tumblr by sylviasrevenge, who tweeted it, which made me go and read the news pages and find out about the shooting and then go and follow the tumblr trails above.

I could have had better news to wake up to when I get up early to take my kids to a day full of Rock Eisteddfod. It’s this shit that makes me just want to run away to the mountains with them and keep them away from our fucked up society entirely.

Categories: gender & feminism, violence


9 replies

  1. I’m not sure if I agree with that.
    All you have said regarding his depression and angst due to his inability to ‘obtain’ a woman for himself can be applied to him blaming himself for his shortcomings.
    ” so that it’s obvious to him that if he is not getting attention and companionship from women it’s because the women are defective and broken, and defective and broken things should be trashed”
    It seems instead that he accurately identified himself as the broken and defective one, when he speaks of his lack of friends and female companionship. From a males perspective, it is not just a woman who belongs with a man as you said, but also a man who belongs with a woman. For him to even consider the opposite gender at fault, he would have to have accepted that he himself is also complicit in his failings. I don’t think is so much is associated with ‘entitlement’ as it is with ‘purpose’. He felt as if he lived a shallow and empty life, and decided to lash out at others, not that he necessarily prescribed all blame to them for not giving him that which you say he believed he deserved. Nothing I’ve read regarding this case indicates that he saw the companionship of woman as something he did in effect deserve, perhaps the cause of his behaviour.
    As a post note, this is merely an attempt to understand this damaged individuals motivations, not in any way an excuse for his despicable actions.

  2. Oh my God, this shooting has me in a total scattered mess. It’s ten minutes away from me; this man could very well have been walking around eyeing me. Not in the theoretical sense, but in the “oh my God, this is right here” sense.
    I’ve been rambling here including my tumblr reactions (there was also some clueless nitwit who read what you quoted and told me to “fuck off”, which is at my tumblr). I also have the guy’s diaries reproduced in images (I grabbed them earlier this morning, before the story really caught fire) for those who don’t care to link directly to his website.
    It had me all shaken up last night when all I knew was four people were dead and up to 15 wounded at a Bridgeville gym. And I wondered what the motive could be, and was scared, in the back of my mind, it could be this. And I woke up to…

  3. Vbetov: if you were right he would have just killed himself. You are completely ignoring his choice to make women his targets.

  4. Vbetov: if nothing you’ve read has indicated that this man hated women/blamed women for the state of his life then you need to take a look at his diary entries. It really doesn’t take long. I’m shaking from what I’ve read. (And thanks to Amandaw who has made these available as images at her site).
    (Trigger warnings)
    Self pity/woman blaming example the first:
    Every black man should get a young white girl hoe to hone up on. Kinda a reverse indentured servitude thing. Long ago, many a older white male landowner had a young Negro wench girl for his desires. Bout’ time tables are turned on that shit. Besides, dem young white hoez dig da bruthrs! LOL. More so than they dig the white dudes!
    Self pity/woman blaming example the second:
    Just got back from tanning, been doing this for a while. No gym today, my elbow is sore again. I actually look good. I dress good, am clean-shaven, bathe, touch of cologne – yet 30 million women rejected me – over an 18 or 25-year period. That is how I see it.
    From self pity/I am broken to everyone else is to blame:
    I guess some of us were simply meant to walk a lonely path. I have slept alone for over 20 years. Last time I slept all night with a girlfriend it was 1982. Proof I am a total malfunction. Girls and women don’t even give me a second look ANYWHERE. There is something BLATANTLY wrong with me that NO goddam person will tell me what it is. Every person just wants to be fucking nice and say nice things to me. Flattery. Oh yeah, I am sure you can get a date anytime. You look good, etc. Pussies.
    If those words are not enough to convince, then perhaps a quick recap. Guy did not have sex for a long time. Guy blamed society and particularly ’30 million’ women who ‘rejected him’. Guy walks in, switches off lights and kills women cos they ‘rejected’ him.
    Two things here. I was unwillingly celibate for 8 years. I wanted to be having sex, I wanted to be in a relationship, but for a variety of reasons I was not. Like him, I also thought about why – why not? I’m great! I’m smart, funny, sexy, I look good, I’m a nice person. Like him I started to feel I had a problem – that there was something defective in me. Unlike him I didn’t decide that 30 million men out there had all personally ‘rejected’ me, and unlike him I did not decide that men should die for my ‘rejections’.
    Second thing. However many people who are in this world right now? Well a handful less than that have not slept with me. Not now, not previously, not during my eight year drought – I’m not making light of it, it’s not just sexual frustration but an utter need for affection – however those people in this world who did not sleep with me even in my years of ‘need’ did not ‘reject me’.
    Why do we make it as if his lack of relationship/lack of sex makes his murderous hatred ‘understandable’? How is it that we can possibly find his murderous hatred to be about his feelings that *he* is at fault – he clearly finds women to be at fault – we can see this via his words and his actions.

  5. @vbetov – this was a gendered hate crime plain and simple- if you can’t see that then that’s probably YOUR sense of entitlement showing. Splitting hairs and side-stepping in order to minimise gendered violence is in fact giving tacit approval.
    YOU dude, are part of the fucking problem.

  6. Just in from The Slog: Sodini was a dues-paying patsy of the “seduction community” and had fully fallen for the idea that he should be able to “have” not just a female companion but a hot young babe companion. There are videos of him on YouTube that clearly show the books and how he had fallen for their “guarantee” that he could learn how to have all the hot babes he wanted:

    Sodini clearly felt that he was entitled not just to sex and a romantic relationship, but to sex and a romantic relationship with a much younger woman. And he was following the advice of a love-and-romance guru who encouraged him to hold on to that belief and filled him with false hopes. Not normally a problem, I supposed. But Sodini wasn’t just another socially maladapted schlub furious with the world—and with women—for denying him all the 22-year-old ass he felt he deserved. He was a nut. And he couldn’t understand why, if he was doing everything right, he wasn’t finding the success that was Steele guaranteed him. He was employed, dressed nicely, in good shape—he even bought a matching sofa set. (“Couch and chair—they match, the woman will really be impressed.”) But none of it worked—and his failure couldn’t have been his own fault, since he was doing everything right, doing it all by the book. Unfortunately the book was Date Young Women: For Men Over 35. Someone needed to get Sodini a book that explained that settling down requires settling for and that young women are usually interested in young men and that we can’t always have what we want and that there were probably women out there who would date him—maybe women closer to his own age—but only if he got his shit together and stopped obsessing about college-age women.

    So, other men had told him that if he followed all their rules he could have young women on his arm that other men would envy. The women weren’t doing what the other men said they would. Clearly the women were broken.

  7. Why didn’t he just shoot Steele? Oh, yeah that’s right Steele is a man and men are never wrong. I hope Mr Steele is taking a good hard look at himself now.

  8. One thing I noticed in looking through the images of his diary/blog over at Amandaws, is that at one point he *has* a date right? And he says where they first met, and where he went and then…NOTHING. Not a single thing about her, who she is, how the date was, if she was nice/funny/interested in him, he goes straight back into self pitying ‘OMG it’s been SO long since my last date’. Which by the way was in fact only one year earlier. But he doesn’t even pause to see her as a person, it’s ALL about him and how he’s been DENIED by WOMEN: mass homogenous group of judgmental sex-withholding (from him) sluts. He also liked to read all about the sexual habits of teenage girls. More than a little creepy. But for all his sex sex sex life is all about sex, the minute he hears of a girl/woman having sex she’s a ‘hoe’ (his spelling), yeah that’s right, the ‘things’ he suggests be ‘given’ to ‘brothers’ to ‘hone up on’. Bad women, evil women, won’t go on a date with me women – then they do and he can’t get his head out of his own arse for five seconds to realise he’s ON A FUCKING DATE, the thing he’s prepared to murder over NOT having.

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