Masculinity, aggrieved entitlement, and violence: considering the Isla Vista mass shooting

Christopher Vito, Amanda Admire, Elizabeth Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Mass shootings have become an important topic of scholarly research; however, few studies examine the relationship between masculinity and violence. This study investigates how masculinities are constructed using a thematic content analysis of the Isla Vista mass shooter's manifesto, My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger. Our analyses reveal how the shooter constructs and ‘does’ masculinity in adherence to masculine cultural ideals. Rodger reproduces hegemonic gender ideologies through his construction of masculinity in relation to physical embodiment and sexual prowess. Those who displayed these traits are constructed as superior men, characterizing men who lacked them as inferior. Interestingly, Rodger presents himself as lacking in these areas. As such, he draws on alternative masculine presentations to illustrate his manhood. When he does not receive societal confirmation of his masculinity, he experiences a crisis of masculinity and feelings of aggrieved entitlement wherein he directs his anger at racial minorities and women. He eventually adopts a violent masculinity and executes a violent retribution when his experiences do not live up to culturally defined gender expectations. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-102
Number of pages17
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies


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