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Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: pop culture

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May 28, 2014 at 8:59 AM

Discussion: Isla Vista killings, #YesAllWomen and male privilege

Isla Vista gunman Elliot Rodger’s disgusting, misogynist rants point to a seriously disturbed young man who lacked coping skills. The 22-year-old’s chilling sense of entitlement is outlined in startling detail in a 141-page manifesto I have no interest or time in reading. Thankfully, writer Jeff Yang did (reluctantly), and his analysis for Quartz is a must-read on the roles that race, class and gender possibly played in the motives of a mass killer.

Here’s an excerpt from Yang’s op-ed:

According to Rodger, this is what underscored to him the degree to which women were markers of status:

“Because of my father’s acquisition of a new girlfriend, my little mind got the impression that my father was a man that women found attractive, as he was able to find a new girlfriend in such a short period of time from divorcing my mother. I subconsciously held him in higher regard because of this. It is very interesting how this phenomenon works…that males who can easily find female mates garner more respect from their fellow men.”

Rodger grew up in the shadow of Hollywood, a place where terms like “trophy wife” and “arm candy” and “casting couch” are thrown around with glib abandon. It’s a culture that has mainstreamed the notion that women are accessories, party favors, tools for sexual release, not just behind the scenes, but in front of it, particularly within the genres most likely to shape the worldview of young males.

Now let’s take a look at the storm brewing on Twitter over the #YesAllWomen hashtag. Here’s one example:

The #YesAllWomen hashtag isn’t so much about labeling all men as woman-hating, mentally deranged killers. It’s about acknowledging that at some point in many women’s lives, they have suffered emotional or physical harm at the hands of men. They have every right to name how they felt in those moments. Guys, listen to what they’re saying before you launch your own attacks about how women are just as mean as men. That might be true in some cases, but history matters. Women’s collective voices have largely been squashed in a society dominated by men.

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Comments | Topics: elliot rodger, gender, isla vista

September 9, 2013 at 6:30 AM

Detangling the hair wars fought by African Americans

My recent column sticks up for 7-year-old Tiana Parker, an Oklahoma girl forced to choose between her school and her hairstyle. The Tulsa girl was sent home from school, on the first day no less, because her hair was styled in dreadlocks. She kept her hairstyle but switched to a new school that will hopefully be more interested in what’s in her head, rather…

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Comments | Topics: African Americans, Afros, children

August 13, 2013 at 7:50 AM

Ashton Kutcher on what he learned from Steve Jobs

This week’s biggest surprise: Actor Ashton Kutcher gives a surprisingly inspiring and smart speech at the Teen Choice Awards. In a brief acceptance speech, Kutcher channels Apple founder Steve Jobs and champions nerds with three pieces of advice. Juju Chang of Good Morning America posted it on Facebook, calling it “remarkable.” I could not resist…

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Comments | More in Video | Topics: Apple, pop culture, technology

March 20, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods, Facebook: Stars, they’re just like us

Even though the unveiling of Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods’ relationship on Facebook was as carefully orchestrated as a Broadway musical, announcing the relationship on Facebook actually makes them more like the rest of us. Who hasn’t gone “awwwww” over the Facebook update that a friend “is now in a relationship?” That’s a prompt for me…

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Comments | Topics: pop culture, sports

March 14, 2013 at 8:28 AM

Pi Day. Call it what it is: Nerd Appreciation Day

I understand that we are a city of nerds. Between the software engineers and the aerospace engineers in this city, there is nothing we love so much as an elegant proof, clean code and Seattle Repertory plays about troubled, genius scientists. Today mathletes unite in celebrating Pi Day. It’s March 14, or 3.14. Please call it what…

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Comments | Topics: pop culture