“Societies in which women have lots of autonomy and authority tend to be decidedly male-friendly, relaxed, tolerant, and plenty sexy. Got that, fellas? If you’re unhappy at the amount of sexual opportunity in your life, don’t blame the women. Instead, make sure they have equal access to power, wealth and status. Then watch what happens.”
I am a man; a veteran; a writer; and I love women. Since I was a small boy, I have loved women. I have loved them on different continents; I have loved them in different shades and sizes. I have loved women of diverse ethnicity. I will love women until I no longer draw breath.
Based on this lifelong love of women, I am appalled at the viciousness spewed into the airways by the 22 year old wretch in Isla Vista. Elliot Rodger poured out his venom in a 137 page diatribe that described a planned “war on women.” He vowed to “attack the very girls who represent everything I hate in the female gender: The hottest sorority of UCSB.” In a self-indulgent video, Rodgers complained of being trapped in virginity because the various women he lusted over failed to share themselves with him. In true paranoid fashion, Rodgers saw himself as the victim of undeserved scorn and persecution. In his last video, he declared: “This is the story of how I, Elliot Rodger, came to be, “It is a dark story of sadness, anger and hatred.” Then: “I will punish everyone. And it will be beautiful. Finally, at long last, I can show the world my true worth.” In the warped mind of this deranged son of privilege, a murderous rampage was evidence of his “true worth.”
Elliot Rodgers did not come to these violently misogynistic views by himself. He lived in a culture with veins of a pernicious, hostile vision of masculinity and a despicable, dangerous perspective on female-male interactions. This does not absolve Rodgers of the blame for his atrocious actions, but it does give the rest of us a place to launch a constructive response.
Now is a time that tests our mettle. Every man worthy of the word’s most honorable connotations must stand by our sisters now. The Butcher of Isla Vista is not a true stranger among us; he was not a ravenous predator ravaging a herd of innocent grazers. He is creature formed by ideas and specious ideals we have heard or seen and left uncontested. The time for silence and shyness has ended; we must speak boldly and clearly. We must stride forth repeatedly and relentlessly. We must set about “trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.” We cannot palm this task off on whatever gods may be or anyone else. This responsibility is on us! We will either rise to the challenge or sink into a deserved infamy. The chance and the choice are entirely ours.
As a start, we must convey to every younger male within our sphere of influence the fundamental premise that women are full-fledged human beings who have every right males claim for themselves. There must be no ambiguity or equivocation in our message. We must not listen silently to disparaging comments; we must not condone patriarchy in any of its guises. Women, though wonderfully distinct from us, are our equals without question or qualification!
Nest, we must go on a crusade against “slut shaming” and any semblance of the concept that women or their bodies are dirty, sinful, or otherwise something to fear and hide. The image that heads this article was deliberately chosen to  show off a woman’s body,  present a dynamic, valiant ideal, and  convey a hopeful message. I love women and I lust for them. I revel in their beauty and will never deny that I thrill to the sight of them. No matter how captivating their attire, no raiment is more becoming or alluring than their natural garb. Women are far more than their physical form, but their form is a wonder to be celebrated not a contagion to be quarantined or a curse to be escaped. As responsible adult males, we must make this clear at every opportunity. We must challenge the scorning and disdaining of the female form whenever and wherever it arises. Beauty is a joy forever and its own excuse for being. Those among us who would seek to intimidate our female counterparts by impugning their physicality or their sexuality must be disputed and refuted in no uncertain terms. For every woman whose body still turns heads and elevates pulse rates, it should be the joyous quest of all males to ensure each woman that her beauty is welcomed and cherished, not resented and scorned. For every woman who is more beautiful in spirit than appearance, we must see that beauty and treasure it as well.
Third, we must forge an open road for ability in every field of endeavor. Whether it is business, a profession, performance, or athletics, females must be assured the same opportunity as males take for granted. Females and all human beings must be able to advance as far as their abilities and good fortune can take them. Whatever level they attain, females must be equitably rewarded. There can be no discount or penalty imposed due to their gender or genitalia. Human beings, in justice, must have the opportunity to realize their inherent potential to the optimum degree. In the most basic terms, humanity cannot afford to waste any of its potential or foreclose any of its possibilities. Not only humankind, but every living being on the planet needs all the good that can be brought to bear. Again this means, we males must “man up” and quit being bystanders or beneficiaries from the unfair treatment of women. We must demand fairness, openness, and unrelenting equity in all contexts, arrangements, and interactions. By and large, we have set the rules and called the shots for centuries and in all circumstances and places. Now is the time to call for a transformation of the way things are done around here. We don’t merely need an equal rights amendment; we need an equal rights covenant enforced by an adamant commitment and intrepid action.
It is truly said: “Whatever you are physically…male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy–all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All those other things, they are the glass that contains the lamp, but you are the light inside.” Now is the hour, the day, the week, the month, the year, the millennium for us to prove the luminosity of our light and to let it shine forth. Let us be warriors for a heavenly cause and if need be storm the gates of power even of Hell itself. Let our fight and our light summon the best within us and let us ensure that when the fight ends and the light flickers and dies, our last thoughts will be of the good we have done and the people we have helped.
The recent events in Isla Vista have shocked the nation. So have many tragedies before it. As a grieving father said, it is time for all men to resoundingly say: “Not one more!” Action in service to this pledge can ensure that those who died in Isla Vista did not do so in vain. As a hymn to the needed transformation, I close with this:
Excruciating, Appalling, Shocking
Culture, Divisive, Insight, Progress
Healing, Reviving, Unifying