With understanding comes compassion. Life begins when you ask the right questions.
These are two “isms” that often fall from my mouth, and when something happens that shakes our belief systems we need to take a step back and apply these two principles, hopefully before having knee jerk reactions to what we see and hear. Remember, always question Mother Culture.
The incel culture has come front and center recently, when a man decided to mow down a bunch of pedestrians on a busy Toronto street. His victims? Mostly women. His intent? To kill, and be killed.
The media was quick to find and expose his radical views. Women suck. Trump rules. And women need to let men have at them, instead of resisting men like him.
On the face of it, I agree that this mentality is extremely damaging to women, with the consequences going further than Facebook pages and underground subculture venting about an inability to connect with the opposite sex in any way. What this perpetrator did, and what any person does towards a woman that’s violent in any way, is wrong wrong wrong.
But I’m a sociologist, and a philosopher at heart. So I’m always walking around with questions in my head and in this case the question is, Why? Things like this don’t happen in a bubble, and social scientists agree that end results are just that – so we need to look backwards through time to find what has to change so stuff like this doesn’t keep happening.
Why are there men who hate women so much? What is the root cause of this Incel community? How did this happen?
Violence is nothing new to our species. I wrote a chapter in Dating 101 where I point to our closest genetic cousins on this planet of animals, both of whom share a common genetic code with differences that measure less than 5%, and ask I an important question – since our behaviours are as capable of being as violent as chimps or as peaceful as bonobos, which monkey will we ultimately choose to be?
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So far, we’re choosing to be chimps. Dominated by sexual control, violently possessive and extremely aggressive, we’ll fight and kill and eat the hearts of our enemies, all in the name of supreme dominance. I mean, maybe not you in particular, but have you watched the news lately? Seems to me not a day goes by there isn’t a bombing somewhere on this planet. People are killing people at every turn, from war in Syria to gun violence in the US, and between the lines lie fringe websites giving voice to the disenfranchised, letting their inner violent thoughts come forth to rounding applause. Because hey, violence is all around us so why not, right?
But I’m not laying the ultimate blame on our media’s support of the “if it bleeds, it leads” way of operating. They’re selling advertising space, and if it gets our hearts pumping then we’re likely going back for more, even if the thrill is tinged with the blood of real people.
No, we need to go even further back to find the true culprit. Our loss of the Village.
It takes a village to raise a child.
It sure does. But who raised these men? Some perpetrators of violence towards women come from loving homes doing their best to support their children with difficulties connecting in a functional way. The Toronto driver who killed 10 people seemed to have such parents. They sought out organizations to help their child (him?) integrate into society despite suffering with Asperger syndrome. His father showed true compassion and apologized for his son’s behaviour. Sometimes, it’s not the life at home that’s amiss, it’s the lack of a community as a whole that’s the root cause. And in my opinion, when it comes to a culture of men who grow to hate the world, it’s the world that’s at fault.
Not the world as individuals, but the world as it’s evolved in our modern times. A world that divides instead of unites. A world that holds hierarchy and patriarchy and separateness as its standard. A world that has lost its ability to take children under its wing and show them they belong to a group, not just a family. A world where everyone feels they have a place.
Sure, the incel culture is filled with hatred towards women. Their language is gross, I won’t deny that for a second. But again, this didn’t happen in a bubble. What happened to them during their formative years? You know, in school? Those words they spew, where did they come from? Your sons. Your daughters. And if your kids aren’t the ones bullying these shy, socially awkward kids in school, are they doing anything to counter the hate and terror these kids experience day in and day out, just because they don’t make eye contact like the others? Wear the right clothes, like the others? Speak with confidence, like the others?
Being a social outcast starts when children are young, and being a perpetrator of hate crimes against anyone starts well before the day a gun was drawn or a van was rented. People who belong and feel loved usually don’t become people filled with so much hate against the world and themselves that they want to go out in a hail of bullets, taking as many people as they can with them. Even those with brains showing the signs of sociopathy don’t end up being predators when raised within a loving community.
We need the Village to come back. We need to work harder at acceptance, and at giving everyone a place at the table. We need to teach, uplift, and support, and we need to show children how to stop tearing down those who don’t conform 100% to societal norms.
If we’re going to protect ourselves from something like this ever happening again, then we need to get better at protecting children. Before they become monsters.
Chantal Heide is an Author and Motivational Speaker, focusing on dating and relationship building. Her books Dating 101, Comeback Queen, Fake Love Need Not Apply, No More Assholes, After The First Kiss, Fix That Shit, Say Yes To Goodness, and Custom Made (available on this website, Amazon, and your favorite online book retailer) help her readers attract the love they're looking for, regardless of their starting point . View her BOOKS page for more information. Be sure to check out more free advice on Facebook, YouTube, and Itunes, as well as fun tidbits about her life on Instagram and Twitter.