National Edition

Some blame movie culture for California killings

Published: Wednesday, May 28 2014 4:30 a.m. MDT

People gather at a park for a candlelight vigil to honor the victims of Friday night's mass shooting on Saturday, May 24, 2014, in Isla Vista, Calif. Sheriff's officials say Elliot Rodger, 22, went on a rampage near the University of California, Santa Barbara, stabbing three people to death at his apartment before shooting and killing three more in a crime spree through a nearby neighborhood. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Jae C. Hong, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

On his YouTube page, California mass murderer Elliot Rodger spoke of being angry toward women at his college who didn’t want to date him and about his frustration at being a virgin at 22 as justification for the killings.

"I feel so invisible as I walk through my college. Your revealing shorts, your cascading blonde hair, your pretty faces. I want one for a girlfriend," Vox quoted Rodger in one of his videos. "You girls never give me a chance. I don't know why."

In the aftermath of the killings, many have turned to the Internet to make sense of Rodger's motives.

Hash tags like #yesallwomen have popped up on Twitter “in response to a twisted narrative that the women who didn't date were to blame for Rodger's actions,” Vox reported.

#yesallwomen because I live in a world where my 'no' signifies the beginning of a negotiation that shouldn't have to take place,” Twitter user Natasha Scripture tweeted.

But Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday theorized that men like Rodger harbor hostility toward women because film ingrains the idea that they're missing out on something fundamental. Hornaday wrote that the mass killings were a reflection of Hollywood's "escapist fantasies (that) so often revolve around vigilantism and sexual wish-fulfillment."

"Rodger’s rampage may be a function of his own profound distress, but it also shows how a sexist movie monoculture can be toxic for women and men alike," Hornaday said, making a specific example of Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow movies. "How many men, raised on a steady diet of Judd Apatow comedies in which the shlubby arrested adolescent always gets the girl, find that those happy endings constantly elude them and conclude, 'It's not fair'?"

Rogen tweeted that Hornaday's op-ed was "misinformed and insulting."

The Huffington Post took a more moderate approach to Hornaday's point, saying in its headline, “Men must learn from the California mass murder,” and that the killer’s feeling that girls go for jerks instead of good guys is common among single men. Author Davide Mastracci called it “The Nice Guy Trope.”

“We should not think of the murderer as an alien with no similarities to the average man,” Mastracci wrote. “The implication here is that women aren't smart enough to make their own choices, and that they're doing an evil deed by withholding something these 'wronged' men supposedly deserve.”

Email: chjohnson@deseretnews.com

Twitter: ChandraMJohnson

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS