Pennsylvania shooter targeted women


On Tuesday, George Sodini opened fire in a gym outside Pittsburgh, killing three women at injuring at least ten others. It was a crime he had planned for months – and it was a crime that targeted women.
The New York Post has published the full text of Sodini’s blog (read with caution), where – in addition to racist ramblings – he writes about his disdain for women and his plan to kill them.

Time is moving along. Planned to have this done already. I will just keep a running log here as time passes. Many of the young girls here look so beautiful as to not be human, very edible.
…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. Thirty million is my rough guesstimate of how many desirable single women there are. A man needs a woman for confidence.

This isn’t the first gender-based misogynist shooting in recent years – in 2006 a gunman went into an Amish schoolhouse (also in Pennsylvania), sent the boys outside and opened fire on a dozen girls, killing three. That same year in Colorado, a shooter sexually assaulted six female high school students he had taken hostage, before killing one of them. When these shootings happened, the only person making the misogynist connection was Bob Herbert at The New York Times.
I’m at least glad to see that the mainstream media is reporting this as a crime against women. The Christian Science Monitor even discusses misogyny as a factor in the crime (can’t remember the last time I saw that word in a mainstream news outlet):

While the gender-equality movement has made strides in the past century when it comes to some of the more blatant forms of societal misogyny, such as banning women from academic and professional settings, misogyny persists in American and other cultures around the world, according to historians.
“This killer fits into a long pattern of males who harbor hatred towards all women, the image of ‘woman,’ and towards individual real women, and who take out their frustration on a female scapegoat,” says David Gilmore, an anthropology professor at Stony Brook University in New York and author of “Misogyny: the Male Malady.”

It’s also important to remember that Sodini’s crime is not so different from the misogynist violence that women face every day. As Amanda writes:

George Sodini was angry at the entire world of “desirable” women for not up and volunteering to have sex with him, and every day anonymous men around the country and world beat, rape, and even kill women because said women were also considered insufficiently compliant, often to unstated demands that women were supposed to just anticipate and fill without complaint.

As ill as Sodini may have been (and it seems clear from his blog and videos that he was indeed sick), we can’t separate this from the larger culture of misogyny and sexism. And also like Amanda, I find it disturbing – and downright frightening – to see how similar Sodini’s writing is to a lot of MRA/NiceGuy ramblings we see so often online. Anna at Jezebel even finds some bloggers in the “pick up artist” world who say if women would have just fucked Sodini, he never would have killed.
So yes, let’s continue to talk about this horrible shooting as a crime against women. But let’s also make sure that we’re discussing this not as an isolated crime – but as one part of an incredibly dangerous, culture-wide problem.

More at The Pursuit of Harpyness, WIMN’s Voices, and Feministe.

Image via Jezebel

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201 Comments

  1. beckeck06
    Posted August 11, 2009 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    another consideration is that many men and young boys would not be likely to follow a woman’s feminist masculine depiction, whereas they might a man’s feminist masculine example… so much of the feminist work that needs to be done for men needs to be supported by feminist men who are willing to “be a missionary unto their own people.” knawmsayin?

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