Massa-schietpartijen en vrouwenhaat: de gewelddadige ideologie die we niet kunnen negerenaugustus 7, 2019
Alia E. Dastagir USA TODAY
Published 4:16 PM EDT Aug 6, 2019
In the past week, three separate mass shootings have led to national discussions about racism, xenophobia and white supremacy. The other violent ideology animating these attacks has gotten less attention: misogyny.
The president said Monday “our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy” and vowed the country would respond with “urgent resolve” to the recent tragedies. But experts say sexism and toxic masculinity must also be part of any conversation about America’s mass shootings. Gun violence, after all, is disproportionately committed by men, data shows, and misogyny can be a precursor to other forms of extremism.
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According to statements from authorities and media reports from people who knew the alleged gunmen, the three mass shooters in Dayton, Ohio; El Paso, Texas; and Gilroy, California, either explicitly expressed hatred for women or embraced forms of extremism connected to a disdain for them.
“Leaders should be condemning all of these toxic ideologies that are part of an inter-connected belief system that leads to these tragedies,” said Keegan Hankes, a senior research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups. “A lot of people trade in anti-feminist rhetoric … before they ultimately go on to something like white nationalism or other white supremacist ideologies. It’s frequently a gateway.”
Misogyny the ‘connective tissue’ for many white supremacists
High school classmates of Connor Betts, 24, the gunman who killed nine people Sunday in Dayton, say he was suspended for compiling a “hit list” of people he wanted to kill and a “rape list” of girls he wanted to sexually assault, according to the Associated Press.
Taylor Ford went to summer camp with Betts and said he remembered a violent incident at a school playground when he watched Betts choke a girl he was dating. Eva Lewis, a former classmate, told The Cincinnati Enquirer Betts had threatened to kill her multiple times when they were in a school musical as seniors.
One of Betts’ victims was his 22-year-old sister, Megan Betts. While authorities are not clear on whether she was an intended target, her death has drawn attention to the link between domestic violence and mass shootings.
According to an analysis by Everytown for Gun Safety, the majority of mass shootings between January 2009 and December 2017 were related to domestic or family violence.
On the day Santino William Legan, 19, killed three people at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, an Instagram post attributed to him recommended the 19th-century book “Might Is Right,” which is filled with racist and misogynistic rhetoric.
Investigators believe Patrick Crusius, 21, who killed 22 people in El Paso, posted a racist screed online before the shooting, suggesting “race mixing” is destroying the nation. While authorities haven’t mentioned any specific references that indicate Crusius’ antipathy toward women, experts say white supremacy and misogyny are closely linked.
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“While not all misogynists are racists, and not every white supremacist is a misogynist, a deep-seated loathing of women acts as a connective tissue between many white supremacists, especially those in the alt-right, and their lesser-known brothers in hate like incels (involuntary celibates), MRAs (Men’s Rights Activists) and PUAs (Pick Up Artists),” read a report from the Anti-Defamation League.
Hankes said while it hasn’t been reported that Crusius’ screed had a specific gender component, there is within it the idea that white men are losing their standing.
“Anything that is given to any other category of people is theft from white males,” Hankes said, describing the notion. “I think gender is of course wrapped up in that.”
For many of these shooters, hatred toward women and racist sentiment weave together, said Jennifer Carlson, a sociology professor at the University of Arizona who studies gun politics and gender.
“Some of these murderers explicitly detail hatred toward women in their manifestos; for others, a sense of gendered aggrievement centered on masculine entitlement – what some call the ‘real men get revenge’ attitude – is clear in the way these mass killings unfold,” she said. “And importantly, this is often intertwined with racism and white supremacy – a number of active shooters have explicitly linked their misogynist views about women to racist resentments regarding other men’s access to women’s bodies.”
Hateful rhetoric breeds online
The connection between ideologies is emphasized online, where many young men are radicalized. It’s believed the El Paso shooter posted on the online community 8chan prior to the attack, which is rife with racist and sexist content. Hanke said in these forums, there is no clear demarcation between toxic ideologies.
“If you look at 8chan, there are all sorts of white supremacist ideologies, misogynistic ideologies, all built into one space. It’s chaotic. There are not clear, defined boundaries,” he said.
8chan, which has been linked to three mass shootings in 2019, will be terminated, its parent announced late Sunday night.
Gun violence a male problem
Of the 52 shootings since 2013 in which at least three people were killed, only three were committed by women, according to a database from the liberal-leaning news outlet Mother Jones.
Experts say cultural forces equate being a man with violence, and men are taught early on that violence is a more masculine alternative than seeking help.
Given the rarity of female shooters, the saying “guns don’t kill people; people kill people” would be better revised as “guns don’t kill people; men and boys kill people,” wrote Michael Kimmel and Cliff Leek in the book “Gun Violence and Public Life.”
Masculinity does play a role in these crimes, and dangerous ideologies cannot be ignored, but access to guns can’t either, said Adam Lankford, a criminal justice professor at the University of Alabama who studies mass shootings.
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“There are cultures that are far worse in their misogyny and treatment of women than the United States … places where spousal rape is not illegal, genital mutilation is common, women don’t have equal rights,” he said. “But they have less access to firearms, so far fewer public mass shootings.”
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Contributing: Keith BieryGolick, Anne Saker, Kevin Grasha and Rachel Berry, Cincinnati Enquirer