Don’t simply call him an Introvert: Elliot Roger and Sexism as Killer.

I had to start writing as I found out why everyone is posting about #YesAllWomen . I watched the video, read some articles, read some tweets. I began writing. Commenting on the falseness of his speech style, I wrote, ” “If I can’t have you, girls, I will destroy you [laughs].” How is that not a line from Mojo Jojo to The Powerpuff Girls?” He was a malformed, incomplete, possibly unloved, man-child, refusing to take his meds, with no positive attachments. Enter Hollywood and Sexism.

There is a surprisingly enraging, Angel episode, (yeah, sorry, going there. had to.) “Billy” written by Tim Minear. A young, attractive, wealthy, white boy has the mystical power to pass on his deadly misogyny to other men, by touch. “Nice guys” start attacking and killing the women in their lives, after a brush with the Billy. Television has Shero moments and happy endings.

Elliott Roger was not a nice guy and there is no happy ending. He was both the messenger and the weapon of Sexism. And the real-life threads of support from other hateful men, are similar to the fictional spread of misogyny by touch. Because, regardless of his mental health, positive attachment or his access to weapons, it was Sexism that framed this act. His delusions could have manifested in some other way if he did not believe he was owed sex and love from random women.

Through his delusions, Elliot picked up a real message in our society; the pressure on boys to lose their virginity and become sexually active is real and strong. If they want to be seen as “men” by their family, friends or themselves, they must “man up”. Plus, Elliot, of red carpets and lavish dinners alone, may have eventually aimed for a trophy-wife. And the blond, sorority-type would be on Elliot’s list, along with a fast car and a beach house. He had no understanding of women at all, that we have more qualities than possibly breast feeding, cooking, putting band-aids on things and sex. He and others like him, think we were made, after all, to provide men, specifically, with, “sex, love, adoration”.

I once hung out with a dude who cried for almost an hour, like, hard, because he “still” hadn’t slept with a white woman. He was, like, 20. There was so much insult in what he was crying about, to every woman he had slept with, to all brown women everywhere, to white women with supposed magical vaginas. But his sobs were heartfelt. He wasn’t a murderous human but he shared that same societally informed desperation for Caucasian vagina that Elliot had for sex and girls in general.

The message they both received was clear; you’re not a man or worth anything until you have sex and if you’re brown, you’re not a man until you’ve had sex with a white woman. The psychological injuries of racist beauty standards and viewing women as property and breeders for heirs, continues to affect white, mixed, brown and black American men (and women).

Two intertwined histories of oppression against various ethnicities and women in general, Sexism affects everybody. The violence and murder at UC, Santa Barbara is one extreme example. When people say, “sexism does not affect me/men”, they accidently admit to denial. A poor father is angrily asking why his son is dead, after this shooting (and stabbing) incident. In his grief, he blames the NRA and weak gun laws specifically. And that is definitely part of it.

But this is what I see, in the bigger picture: Sexism killed your son. Attachment and Mental Health were the incubators. The car, gun and knife were the tools. Sexism/Misogyny/Patriarchy was the killer.

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Still, I find myself.

This past Spring, I had the exciting honor of being invited to The Burning Man Network’s Global Leadership Conference.  It was colorful, informed, professional, mind expanding and vision inducing.  I learned about Risk Mitigation, Art in Civic context, Grantwriting.  I enjoyed Ignite speeches and talks from the organization’s leadership. I was with leads from around the world, over 200 people representing their regions. Five of us represented Portland.

I had the following thought during my last workshop, which discussed service leadership and mindful practice. While experiencing a short meditation, this phrasing came to me…

Still, I find myself.

I came away from the conference admitting I am a “Leader”.  It is something I have done for years, just, differently.  Sometimes I am good at it, sometimes I am awkward.  I always associated leadership with seeking power or control. But true leadership does not operate that way. Those who follow or join you have to do so willingly, not because of a hierarchy.  The best leaders are reluctant and often see themselves as simply doing what feels right. Leaders do not always know their way, which is acceptable, so long as there is a Vision to aim towards.

During a speech, Marian Goodell, founder and current CEO of the new non profit version of Burning Man, made a startling and accurate assessment.  She reminded the entire room that most of them were introverts, that much of the art and sound on playa is made by introverted people, that Burning Man pushes us as we push it.  I teared up. Her talk made me brave, I gave her an Introvert Camp sticker after she spoke.  She read the tagline and her eyes glossed, her hand went to her smiling mouth-she totally Got It.  We hugged.  It was awesome!

Another VERY public introvert, a powerful Leader… who feels weird using her new “CEO” title. Aw.

Embracing my new inner title of Leader, I’m starting a new project: Presenting complex concepts of Introversion & Leadership as simple, inspirational memes. I’m making these for all my fellow Intro Leaders out there.  I’ll make some intro and attachment related images as well.

Societal Success is based on Introvert Success

I run a camp specifically for introverts. For this reason, some folks believe that my zealot-like desire to note and understand the intro/extro dynamics of a situation is because I want to grow or promote my camp. I am a wise girl and can understand why someone would think that-it’s the most obvious choice I suppose. Babble at every and anyone about introversion to promote a camp of people who meet a few times a year. Purely selfish.

People make this mistake with me all the time. All the time. ALL THE TIME. They assume my big, sweeping analogies and statements are only related to whatever small, local, itty-bitty trigger made me have the bigger vision or helped me see the small puzzle piece in stronger relation to the bigger puzzle.

Anyone who knows me well knows my role with Introvert Camp, quite quickly became one of Consulting and Guidance and copywriting. IC builds itself. After the first few waves of promotion, Introverts just find us. Sometimes their stellar Extroverted partners help them find us J but it’s not difficult for us to reach 20 people with almost no promotions, meetings or recruitment events. We don’t need too much facetime to put this thing together: Surprise, surprise 😉

I provide the synthesis space, the attitude, the philosophy: Participate. Recharge. Repeat. The camp members structure/dismantle their own experience, not me.

While I am very proud of Introvert Camp and like when people know it came from my heart, IC is not about me. It is a camp of service, actually closer to a staff camp than a theme camp.

I don’t feel a desire to facilitate the education of our entire society on the wonders, realities and myths of extroversion and introversion because I want my camp to be successful.

I feel the desire to facilitate the education of our entire society on the wonders, realities and myths of extroversion and introversion because I want my society to be successful.