Today, I heard a horrific story. It was about a drive by shooting which happened on Friday 23rd May in Santa Barbara in California, where 7 people (including the gunman) were killed, and 7 others were injured. The identity of the killer was 22 year old Elliot Rodger who had previously posted a video on Youtube called “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution”, explaining his motives. What were his reasons, you ask? The fact he never had a girlfriend. Yes, you read that right.
In Elliot’s video he rants about women who supposedly rejected his advances and unleashed a tirade about his ‘loneliness, rejection, and unfulfilled desires,’ and blames women for preferring ‘obnoxious brutes’ to him, ‘the supreme gentlemen.’ Here are some of the quotes said in the video:
‘I’m 22 years old and I’m still a virgin. I’ve never even kissed a girl,’
‘College is the time when everyone experiences those things such as sex and fun and pleasure. But in those years I’ve had to rot in loneliness. It’s not fair. You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me. But I will punish you all for it,’ He repeatedly promises to ‘punish’ women and lays out his plan for ‘retribution.’
‘I’m going to enter the hottest sorority house of UCSB and I will slaughter every single spoilt, stuck-up, blonde slut that I see inside there. All those girls that I’ve desired so much, they would’ve all rejected me and looked down on me as an inferior man if I ever made a sexual advance towards them,’
‘I’ll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am, in truth, the superior one. The true alpha male,’
‘Yes… After I have annihilated every single girl in the sorority house I will take to the streets of Isla Vista and slay every single person I see there. All those popular kids who live such lives of hedonistic pleasure…’
Sadly, this case of murderous revenge for being rejected by girls is not the only one. On April 25th, a 16 year old high school student named Maren Sanchez from Connecticut was pushed down the stairs in the high school hallway before being stabbed in the neck, because she turned down his offer to be her date for junior prom which was to be held later that evening. The killer, 17 year old Christopher Plakson who is diagnosed with psychosis and faces up to 60 years in prison, the minimum charge is 25 years.
Why do these tragic stories cause concern? Because of the concept “the friend zone” . According to Wikipedia this refers to a platonic relationship wherein one person wishes to enter into a romantic or sexual relationship, while the other does not. It is generally considered to be an undesirable or dreaded situation by the lovelorn person. It has been used as a plot device in many TV shows and movies such as the Ross/Rachel plotline in “Friends” and the 2005 film “Just Friends” starring Ryan Reynolds. Many people who end up in the friend zone (commonly men) find this frustrating because they often believe that girls only go after the douchebag boys, while they claim to be sidelined for being the “nice guy”. This “friend zone” concept is bad for many reasons (don’t worry anti-feminists, misogyny is only one of them):
- It is extremely sexist: The friend zone is commonly seen as “boy asks girl out but girl turns him down and only wants to be friends”. It places the blame on the girl, purely because she has no sexual or romantic attraction to the boy. It is wrong to pressure a girl into liking you and trying to kiss, touch or have sex with a girl without consent is sexual assault. Not only that, the idea of girls only going after douchebag guys is a huge misogynistic stereotype that needs to stop.
- It devalues what friendship really means: If a guy is friends with a girl and one of them only wants to be friends, you must respect their decision, not stalking them, or barraging them with messages, or guilt trip the person, or verbally/sexually/physically abuse them. Because THAT IS NOT WHAT FRIENDS DO TO EACH OTHER. For many, they value their friendship with that person so much, they do not want to put that at stake, just for a relationship that might not even last. And for others, they realised they were better off friends than lovers (which happened to me) and it works out fine.
- It doesn’t take into account how love and attraction actually works: The myth of “girls only go after douchebags” is a common argument to rejected guys in the friend zone. That is completely wrong. Girls only go after people they are attracted to. You can’t choose who you’re attracted to, just like you don’t choose to be gay. Girls have the common sense to be attracted to those who are nice to them. Unfortunately, the nasty side of his personality rears its ugly head later on in the relationship and shit hits the fan. You are not owed anything to being nice. You are not owed a relationship for being a nice guy. When it comes to love, you have to be patient and let it happen naturally.
- It shows how love is seen as self-worth for many: In this current society, we constantly see, hear and read things about how important love, sex and relationships are, and you’re not worth jack until you’re with someone. People are afraid to die alone. People want to love and feel loved. And many would sell their kidney to lose their virginity. It scares me how so many people use other people and love as a measure of their self worth. If they are single and/or a virgin, they feel that something is wrong with them. They question why they are the only person ever who’s single. (I actually thought I was too “ugly” and “retarded” so that’s why boys didn’t like me, which was wrong) This causes people to hate themselves, harm themselves, starve themselves, pretend to be someone else. The message I have is this: There is more to life than sex and love. Relationships do not define who you are or your value as a person. Do not rely on others to make you feel good as a person. Because it will cause you a lot of pain in the long run.
To the families affected by the Santa Barbara tragedy and the family of Maren Sanchez: I wish you consolation in your time of sadness and I am sorry for your loss. Rest in peace.