On Friday the 23rd of March a 22-year-old man named Elliot Rodger brutally murdered six people in a shooting rampage in Santa Barbara, California. This shooter and the short video he produced just hours before the killings have rapidly become worldwide news. In this video Rodger explained the motives that led him to undertake these multiple homicides. Although sickening and horrifying, the ideas contained in the video are not just the product of a deeply disturbed mind. Here I will talk about “The Nice Guy Syndrome”. This idea, which was consistently mentioned in Rodger’s video, is also constantly reproduced in our society.

According to Geek Feminism Wiki the term “Nice Guy Syndrome” refers to those adults or teenage males that believe they are victims of women’s irrationality or cruelty, as women say that they want “nice guys” but in fact prefer to have relationships with “jerks” or “alpha males”. These “nice guys” are actually not nice at all. According to a “nice guy” he deserves a woman just because he is nice. “Nice guys” believe that being nice to a woman should be rewarded by sex or a relationship, and use the term “friend zoning” as the utmost cruelty towards men when a woman just thinks of a man as a friend, as friendship is worthless unless it leads to a relationship, or sex. Some of these nice guys consider themselves “nice” just because they haven’t raped or taken advantage of a women when they’ve had the chance. These “nice guys” are obviously very different from truly nice guys who don’t expect to be rewarded by women for being nice.

This “Nice Guy Syndrome” was self-evident in Rodger’s explanation of his reasons for becoming a murderer. In both the video and the manifesto he wrote about his life Rodger expresses over and over again his anger and frustration after failing to be loved and wanted by women: “I am the perfect guy, yet you throw yourselves at obnoxious men instead of me, the supreme gentlemen”. As a “nice guy”, Rodger is incapable of understanding why women are not attracted to him, and he’s angry because of it. “I don’t know why you girls are not attracted to me but I will punish you for it”.“I will slaughter every single spoiled stuck up blonde slut”.

This anger at women’s rejection is not uncommon amongst “nice” guys. In a picture posted on Facebook by a group named TheKillerTruth the same sentiment is expressed. This picture states the following:

Dear “Females”

I’m fed up. Done. Finished. I always hear stories about girls not being able to trust guys because they’re cheated, or treated them bad, or hit them. I always hear stories of girls saying they just don’t want to be with guys because of past relationships. Say that you’re waiting for a good guy etc. But why the fuck when you get a good GREAT guy you ignore him. Call him your best friend or some shit like that and when he falls for you, you give him some bullshit how you’re not ready for a relationship… then two hours later you’re fucking some asshole who clearly didn’t give a fuck about you before. Dear females… you constantly wonder where the good guys are. They’re out there… you constantly wonder where the good guys are. They’re out there… I’m just letting you know that you’re the ones making us scarce. Sincerely, Good Guy…. Or rather New Found Asshole.

This “nice guy” also believes he is entitled to a woman or “female”. He considers friendship with a woman to be worthless, and he is so angry at women for rejecting him despite his niceness that he decides to turn into an asshole. This decision to turn into an asshole is remarkably similar to Rodger’s conclusion that he will punish women for their indifference. The similarities between the ideas expressed in the picture and Rodger’s video are striking. They both express a sense of entitlement, they both consider themselves to be “nice guys” who have been mistreated by women and they’re both angry at “females” in general for dating other people who are not as “nice” as they consider themselves to be. This picture got more than 30,000 likes on Facebook.

This indignation towards women results from a sense of entitlement. I find this idea to be very interesting. Why do “nice guys” think they are entitled to a woman? According to David Wong in an article written for Cracked Magazine, this sense of entitlement and its subsequent anger when it is not fulfilled is a direct reflection of society’s promise to men of a beautiful woman. This idea is told by movies, television shows, video games, comic books and songs. The lessons from blockbuster movies such as Transformers, Iron Man, Avatar, Matrix and so on is that the main character (a guy) will get his preferred female at the end of the movie. When the hero accomplishes his goals he is awarded a beautiful woman. As we are all the main characters of our life, this idea is easily transferred to the everyday world. The fact that women are regularly objectified in movies and mainstream media in general only helps to contribute to this sense of entitlement.

Obviously I am not saying that all “nice guys” are potential murderers. However the “Nice Guy Syndrome” expressed in Elliot Rodger’s videos and manifesto is a prevalent idea in our society, and it needs to be contested. According to Jessica Valenti in a comment piece written for The Guardian, the role misogyny played in this crime is obvious and by failing to recognize it we fail to address the cultural roots that led to the murder of six innocent people. Rodger, like most young men around the world, was taught that he was entitled to sex and was angry when he couldn’t get it. This needs to be recognized, and further talked about.

The links below are all great sources of information on this topic, and I recommend them to anybody who is interested in further exploring this issue.

 

 

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/05/24/elliot_rodger_the_pick_up_artist_community_s_predictable_horrible_response.html

http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Nice_guy_syndrome

 http://community.feministing.com/2011/11/13/regarding-nice-guys-and-why-women-only-date-jerks-a-critique-of-a-masculine-victim-cult/

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=273413842680609&set=a.185835064771821.40630.130983066923688&type=1&theater

http://feminspire.com/nice-guy-syndrome-and-the-friend-zone/

http://www.yourfriendshouse.com/2013/the-friendzone-doesnt-exist-dickhead/

http://www.salon.com/2014/05/25/elliot_rodgers_fatal_menace_how_toxic_male_entitlement_devalues_womens_and_mens_lives/

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/24/elliot-rodgers-california-shooting-mental-health-misogyny

http://www.newstatesman.com/lifestyle/2014/05/lets-call-isla-vista-killings-what-they-were-misogynist-extremism

http://www.cracked.com/article_19785_5-ways-modern-men-are-trained-to-hate-women.html/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=fanpage&utm_campaign=new+article&wa_ibsrc=fanpage