It’s hard to get good figures about gender-based deaths and injuries in war, but in America at least, most war casualties are male. Men accounted for more than 97 percent of the combat deaths in Iraq and a similarly high proportion of combat injuries. Furthermore, 93 percent of workplace fatalities are males. This is because men tend to take more statistically dangerous jobs, not because they’re all doing dares or something.
What We Can Do About It: Luckily, people have already been fighting for a while now on behalf of those mostly-male people who have been injured in wartime adventures overseas. For example, there’s Torrey Shannon, who along with a bunch of journalists, social workers, and volunteers helped expose bad conditions at the Walter Reed military hospital in Washington. On the less depressing side, there’s this woman who ran across America to benefit wounded veterans, or this woman who has spent the last eight years visiting veterans in hospital and raising truckloads of money for them. We looked around to see if any of the men’s rights activists complaining online about feminism had done anything to help soldiers or victims of workplace injury, and we couldn’t find much, but we’re sure they’ll get to it after reading this.
[Elliot Rodger doesn’t need to have been a madman. It’s enough that he was a man.]
It’s so easy to say that Rodger is something awful and strange, an alien metabolism that somehow processes everyday interactions into poison. It’s so easy that men you know are doing it right now, as you read this—explaining to the women around them that this is about mental illness, not about hate. They’re doing this because they don’t want to admit that the poison is real and they’re drinking it too. They’re doing it because they don’t want to acknowledge that they’re feeding others poison every day. They’re doing it because they don’t want to understand that saying “this crime of anger and hatred against women is not a crime of misogyny” is the same as saying “here’s a shot of the poison that just killed seven people. Drink up.”
Killing women because women reject you is the act of a monster, but that monster isn’t Elliot Rodger. The monster was whispering in his ear that women owe men sex, and that those who don’t comply should be punished (along, let’s be clear here, with those who do). It told him women did not have the right to make choices about their bodies, that for them to withhold access to those bodies is cruel and unjust. It told him that winning, or wresting, attention and service from a woman is the way to prove you are a man. But it told you that too, and your sons and brothers and fathers and teachers.