Quick hit: Michael Kimmel on Anders Behring Breivik

Michael Kimmel has spent the last several years conducting research on the role of gender in white supremacist movements in the USA and Scandinavia. For this reason, his analysis of the writing and actions of Anders Behring Breivik, the man responsible for one the most deadly acts of violence in Norway’s recent history, is indispensable. At Sociological Images, he writes about what motivates Scandinavian misogynist white supremacists like Breivik:

First, the feel that current political and economic conditions have emasculated them, taken away the masculinity to which they feel they are entitled by birth. In the U.S. They feel they’ve been emasculated by the “Nanny State” through taxation, economic policies and political initiatives that demand civil rights and legal protection for everyone. They feel deprived of their entitlement (their ability to make a living, free and independent) by a government that now doles it out to everyone else – non-whites, women, and immigrants. The emasculation of the native born white man has turned a nation of warriors into a nation of lemmings, or “sheeple” as they often call other white men. In The Turner Diaries, the movement’s most celebrated text, author William Pierce sneers at “the whimpering collapse of the blond male,” as if White men have surrendered, and have thus lost the right to be free.

Kimmel also compares the actions and motivations of Breivik and of American terrorist Timothy McVeigh, who planned and carried out the Oklahoma City bombing. There’s no American better placed to explain the connections here between misogyny, nationalism and violence – and to make the cross-cultural comparisons between the US and Norway.

It’s a must-read. Go read the whole thing here.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at chloesangyal.com

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/smiles/ Smiley


    Parallels where none exist? And where is the evidence that Anders Behring Breivik is a misogynist?

    I haven’t read his 1500-page opus; maybe there is evidence of misogyny, but none has been highlighted in the press coverage of his volume.

    The paragraph you quote makes no mention of Norway or ABB – is it supposed to?

    Are you simply assuming that someone who kills 100 people is necessarily a misogynyst? If so, why? Or are you saying that since American supremacists are misogynysts, then Norwegian supremacists are also mysogynysts? Where is the logic or evidence of that?

    • http://feministing.com/members/treefinger/ Candice

      Well, then maybe you should read it. Feministing IS the place where one would get press coverage of Breivik’s misogyny, as if any mainstream outlet would concentrate on that above the other shit. Or you know, just read Kimmel’s piece for the relevant quotes from his manifesto. Perhaps your first reaction when you realize you don’t know if there is any evidence for what Chloe has said should be to look for the evidence yourself first in the source that you demonstrably know it would be found.

      You’re the one who has had a knee-jerk reaction. Even people like Boris Johnson throw out a sentence like “he wasn’t a fan of feminism” in their articles about him. He holds pretty much every violently conservative view, from anti-feminism to islamophobia to climate change denial.

  • http://feministing.com/members/tetercreek/ Jay

    Another one of their big issues is the issue of modern white women’s unwillingness to breed and bear children to these Nordic heroes. They are really concerned that the birthrate of white Europeans is so much lower than the darker immigrants. If some poor woman had been willing to be Breivik’s girlfriend it might have spared the world a lot of trouble.

    This low birthrate thing comes up all the time, sometimes in the most surprising places. For example here is an op-ed in our local paper from a Monsignor who seems to be saying that people should be having more sex than they are now. (Only in the right circumstances, of course.)

    “More deaths than births in West Virginia . . . Charleston population stalled at 50,000 . . . average age in Charleston rises . . . . number of households drops . . . outlook for insufficient number of caregivers for elderly. . .Compare low birthrates in the West with the high rates of birth in other parts of the world. Is it just a matter of time before the West is overwhelmed by the East?”


  • http://feministing.com/members/seagarden295/ Mary

    You know, Scott Adams kind of saw himself as a victim of feminists in all his vicious replies to comments about his “analysis” of rape. And even his Dilbert character is an alienated white “guy.” How should feminists address the issues raised above? Maybe the metrosexual, gay men and women, black men and women, other people of color, need to band together to …… what? Reassure these scaredy cats? Why should we reassure? I don’t know, but I think this is going to be a really interesting and important conversation.