How much does popular culture influence behavior? Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday says movies like the recent Seth Rogen flick Neighbors contribute to creating an environment of male entitlement and misogyny, leading to violence against women and ultimately horrific crimes like the UCSB massacre.
Rogen and the film's director Judd Apatow are furious over the comparison, but does Hornaday have a point? Here's what she wrote.
"How many students watch outsized frat-boy fantasies like Neighbors and feel, as Rodger did, unjustly shut out of college life that should be full of 'sex and fun and pleasure'? How many men, raised on a steady diet of Judd Apatow comedies in which the shlubby arrested adolescent always gets the girl, find that those happy endings constantly elude them and conclude, 'It's not fair'?"
The shooter, The Hunger Games' assistant director Peter Rodger's son Elliot Rodger, left behind a 141-page manifesto detailing how his rage was caused by years of rejection by women.
Hornaday went on to name other films like American Psycho, the James Bond canon and The Pick-up Artist as well as male studio executives for promoting a culture of "violence, sexual conquest and macho swagger.
"No one should be surprised when those impulses take luridly literal form in the culture at large," she wrote.
Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow were furious at the comparison and responded via Twitter.
.@AnnHornaday I find your article horribly insulting and misinformed.— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) May 26, 2014
.@AnnHornaday how dare you imply that me getting girls in movies caused a lunatic to go on a rampage.— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) May 26, 2014
Most of Earth can't find a mate-- someone to love. People who commit murder of numerous people have mental health issues of some type.— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) May 27, 2014
Not everyone agrees with Rogen and Apatow, namely the thousands upon thousands of people tweeting #YesAllWomen to share the blatant misogyny they experience on a daily basis. Some choice contributions:
Because we're taught "don't leave your drink alone" instead of "don't drug someone." #YesAllWomen— Phoenix Arn-Horn (@phoenixarnhorn) May 26, 2014
Because I shouldn't have had to send my daughters to college with pepper spray and a rape whistle. #YesAllWomen— Susan (@totalsuzmove) May 26, 2014
Because we are taught early on that if a boy is abusive towards you, it's just because he has a crush on you. #YesAllWomen— Tara Denise (@warontara) May 24, 2014
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