A recent killing spree at an Isla Vista, California college campus left seven people dead, in a crime that apparent murderer Elliot Rodger claimed was motivated by the "unfulfilled desires" of a self-proclaimed "kissless virgin."
The killer's massive manifesto provides both a disturbing look into his mind, and into a culture that—despite perceptions of gender equality—continues to deeply objectify women and normalize attitudes and actions of harassment.
In response, the social media hashtag #YesAllWomen drew thousands of responses from women expressing experiences and attitudes toward harassment, abuse, and even rape, and prompting conversations about sexuality, gender, and perceptions of virginity.
As such a deep-seated, sensitive issue comes to the forefront of cultural conversation, here are a few provacative reads. Leaders, are you ready to listen and love well with the humanizing, counter-cultural, truth-speaking love of Christ?
Her.Meneutics: "An Open Letter to Male Virgins."
"What do you tell the male virgin in a sexed-up 21st-century 'bro culture'? Is there anything an older sister of sorts could say to encourage men frustrated by their unwanted celibacy?"
The New Yorker: "The Power of #YesAllWomen"
"Rodger's fantasies are so patently strange and so extreme that they're easy to dismiss as simply crazy. But, reading his manifesto, you can make out, through the distortions of his raging mind, the outlines of mainstream American cultural values: Beauty and strength are rewarded. Women are prizes to be won, reflections of a man's social capital. Wealth, a large house, and fame are the highest attainments. The lonely and the poor are invisible. Rodger was crazier and more violent than most people, but his beliefs are on a continuum with misogynistic, class-based ideas that are held by many."
The Guardian: "#YesAllWomen reveals the constant barrage of sexism that women face."
"The reason women mobilized so quickly after the shooting is because we recognized immediately the language and ideology in Rodger's videos and manifesto … Regardless of Rodger's mental health issues - which we still don't know much about - his ideas were not "crazy" by the standards of the world today. They are the norm."
Copyright © 2014 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
Click here for reprint information on Leadership Journal.