These days, it seems that mass shootings and hate crimes are inundating our news feeds. Hearing about two mass shootings in one week’s time and the continuing rise of hate crimes against Asian Americans is overwhelmingly heartbreaking. And the truth is, many of these hate crimes are rooted in male supremacy, hatred of women — and feminism in particular — and these types of crimes are rising.
Unfortunately, this isn’t new. According to an F.B.I. report released in November of 2020, hate crimes in the U.S. rose to the highest level in more than a decade. And many advocacy groups claim that hate crime numbers are grossly underreported. According to The Southern Poverty Law Center, an estimated 204,600 people are victimized by hate crimes each year in America.
Many hate crime perpetrators are young men that are often associated with male supremacist ideology. Moreover, Statista.com documented that there have been 119 mass shootings in the United States since 1982. An astonishing 116 of those mass shootings were carried out by male shooters. And in 2018, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) began to include male supremacy amongst the ideologies they track.
What Is A Hate Crime?
As defined by the F.B.I., a hate crime is a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”
In other words, a hate crime is a two-part legal concept. There must be a criminal act, and it must be proven that the motive behind the crime is biased against the victim’s protected attributes, such as race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender. And hate crime laws protect victims based on their actual or perceived attributes.
Usually, punishments for those that have committed such a crime are more severe. But, because hate crimes have these certain legal requirements, they are hard to charge and can be difficult to prove in court. Although hate crime laws have been passed at the federal level and in 47 states, the laws can differ from state to state. For instance, not all state laws include gender, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. And Arkansas, South Carolina and Wyoming do not have hate crime laws.
What is ‘Male Supremacy’?
Male supremacy is an ideology based on misogynist beliefs. It is driven by a push to return to “traditional” gender hierarchies, the practice of blaming women for the ills of (primarily white) men, and the belief that men are superior to women and are entitled to sexual access to women. Essentially, male supremacy is driven by fear and anger at the perceived loss of white male status.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, several communities have been identified within the male supremacist movement. These groups include:
- Men’s rights activists whose focus appears to be defending men’s rights while claiming infringement by women.
- Red Pillers, who claim there is a feminist conspiracy running society.
- Pick-up artists (PUA), whose goal is to lure women into sleeping with them while constantly degrading them.
- Involuntary celibates, also known as incels, who, having failed to find women either willing to have or to be coerced into sex, turn their anger into calls of violence.
- Men going their own way (MGTOW), who present themselves as male separatists and have chosen to remove themselves from the negative influence of women entirely.
‘Male Supremacy’ Hate Crimes
Sadly, these ideologies have been used to justify some of the most horrific mass killings. Elliot Rodger attempted to attack a sorority house and killed six people, and injured fourteen others by gunshot, stabbing, and vehicle ramming near the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). In his 140 page manifesto he posted online he stated, “My orchestration of the Day of Retribution is my attempt to do everything, in my power, to destroy everything I cannot have. All of those beautiful girls I’ve desired so much in my life, but can never have because they despise and loathe me, I will destroy.”
Alek Minassian killed 10, eight of whom were women, and injured 16 in a vehicle-ramming attack in Toronto, Canada. A Facebook post made by Minassian made it clear he identified himself as an incel (“involuntary celibate”). The post read, “Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161. The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”
Scott Paul Beierle opened fire in a hot yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida, killing 3, including himself, and injuring 5. In YouTube videos posted by Beierle, he identified as an incel and also sympathized with mass murder Elliot Rodger. And most recently, self-identified sex addict Robert Aaron Long killed 8 and injured 1 at three different spas in metro Atlanta.
The scary part is these men aren’t lone wolves. They were organized and radicalized in online spaces such as Paul Elam’s “men’s rights” website “A Voice for Men” and the website “Return of Kings,” founded by PUA Daryush “Roosh” Valizadeh. These sites embrace an extremely misogynistic worldview and encourage forms of violent subjugation of women.
Hate Crime Data Collection and Reporting
Surprisingly, gender-motivated hate crimes make up only about 1% of the hate crimes recorded by the F.B.I. But organizations that study and track hate groups and violence have warned of a rise in what they refer to as “male supremacy terrorism.” And the Southern Poverty Law Center states that the F.B.I. hate crime records “vastly understates the extent of the problem for several reasons.”
Some of the problems are that law enforcement agencies are not required to report hate crimes to the F.B.I. Also, many law enforcement agencies are poorly trained in collecting and categorizing hate crime data which is reflected in the fact that 87.4% of agencies that participated in the F.B.I. hate crime report reported zero hate crimes. Finally, in about half the cases, victims never report the crime to the police.
Whatever the case, violence motivated by extreme misogyny is a major problem in this country. We need to tackle this ASAP — because it’s only going to get worse.