The Value of Female Lives

NYTimes Op-Ed columnist Bob Herbert reflects this week’s killing of three women in Pittsburgh:

One of the striking things about mass killings in the U.S. is how consistently we find that the killers were riddled with shame and sexual humiliation, which they inevitably blamed on women and girls. The answer to their feelings of inadequacy was to get their hands on a gun (or guns) and begin blowing people away.

What was unusual about Sodini was how explicit he was in his blog about his personal shame and his hatred of women. “Why do this?” he asked. “To young girls? Just read below.” In his gruesome, monthslong rant, he managed to say, among other things: “It seems many teenage girls have sex frequently. One 16 year old does it usually three times a day with her boyfriend. So, err, after a month of that, this little [expletive] has had more sex than ME in my LIFE, and I am 48. One more reason.”

Herbert underscores how little fanfare was actually made of the women’s muders. If they were African American, Jewish, even Amish — the media would be camped out on the story. But in this case, the murdered were ‘only women’.

While I set up a channel for International Women’s Rights and try to organize support for trouser girl Lubna Ahmed Hussein and soon the women of the Congo — are some of the same principles operating in the hearts of the floggers also operating in our own national psyche?

Herbert’s essay gets at the very heart of my own ambivalence about female sensuality, here at Anne of Carversville.