Serial killers and the matriarchy


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14 April 2006

Feminists often love to mention serial killers and serial rapists as examples of men being horrid misogynists, forgetting that murderers and rapists make up a tiny fraction of a percentage of all men. Furthermore, they seem to forget that most serial killers suffer abuse from the hands of violent mothers and/or rarely have fathers present. At the very least they invariably have a dominant mother and weak father. If feminists want to start throwing about anecdotes of serial killers and rapists to criticize men, then I think we can do the same to criticize them back.

For example, Edmund Kemper was belittled and abused by his thrice-divorced mother and not allowed to see his father. Pissed off at getting regularly locked in the basement for disobeying his mother, Ed blew his grandparents away at the age of 15 and, after six-years in a mental asylum, he was released, albeit back into the custody of his shrewish nagging mother. He subsequently chopped up a load of college girls before decapitating his mother then turning himself in to the police.

Ed Gein – the model for Norman Bates in Psycho – was raised by a mother who told him women were all evil whores (except herself of course) and after mummy died he proceeded to dig up dead women and make lampshades and vests out of them. He got nabbed after turning a couple of living women into dead ones.

Then there was Eddie Cole, whose mother dressed him as a girl, beat him and threatened to kill him if he ever uttered a word about her adulterous escapades with local bad-boys when her husband was busy being shot at by the Japanese during World War II. Cole spent his adult life drifting around bars, picking up women and killing them if they turned out to be sluts just like his mum. He once throttled to death a woman during sex when she happened to admit she was married.

These are just three examples of killers whose tortured psychopathology’s roots lies with their mothers.

In his book Serial Killers, Joel Norris highlights the strong link between serial killers and other violent individuals with the breakdown of the family which, in turn, leads to children being abused more often (children are more at risk from abuse when their father is removed) and with more unstable home lives. He doesn’t explicitly mention feminism, but certainly feminism is the leading reason for the rise in single-mother households, the rise in divorce, children being dumped in childcare and having multiple ‘fathers’ as mummy goes from one thug-lover to the next:

Over the course of the twentieth century, families have been getting smaller, they have become highly unstable, with children going through serial families of pseudo fathers as a result of multiple marriages. Now, in the middle of the final quarter of the century, families are in danger of breaking down and the very concept of parental responsibilities is undergoing redefinition in the courts as a result of surrogate parenting. Children are routinely placed in child-care programmes at age two, often under instense pressure to qualify, and the parents themselves are more often than not involved in serial sexual relationships with multiple partners even while they are married. There are now more children living in homes with divorced parents than there are children living in the same home with both biological parents. In other words, the family structure is undergoing a massive restructuring, especially in the postwar period…

In single-parent [read: single-mother] homes, the situation can be even more devastating for the child. An entire generation of children will shortly emerge for whom there are no normal, supportive parental relationships…they represent the largest area of population growth of our society, and they will in turn give birth to a succeeding generation of children out of control, who will carry the disease of generational violence well into the next century and well beyond the borders of the United States.

The above was written in 1988 and the spiraling rise in violence in Western societies by alienated youngsters from broken homes can be seen in events like the Jamie Bulger killing or the Columbine shootings.

In the early 1980s the FBI conducted a study of convicted sex-murderers and thrill-killers and found that 47% did not have a father present throughout most or all of their childhood, and of those that did have fathers present, 71% reported that their mother was the dominant parent.

In his 1997 book, Of Men and Monsters, Richard Tithecott explains how female-dominated or female-only households are more likely to produce violent criminals because the matriarchy, on any scale, is chaos and non-logic, compared to the patriarchy, which is order and rules. Tithecott does use the terms “perceived” and “according to common wisdom” which may imply he may not accept the ideas he is putting down here (although this may be simply a way of distancing himself from such criticism of women to avoid being condemned for being ‘sexist’) but he makes some fine points. After all, you don’t have to study serial killers to see that the matriarchy and feminism are as far from logic, fairness and order as you can get.

The dysfunctional family unit is largely figured as a place lacking the father. With patriarchy absent, matriarchy rules, and the results are perceived as monstrous: “Serial killers are almost invariably found to have experienced environmental problems in their early years. In many cases they stem from a broken home in which the parents are divorced or separated, a home with a weak or absent father-figure and dominant female, sometimes a home-life marked by a lack of consistent discipline.” (Wilson & Seaman, The Serial Killers, 1990)

With the family figure as the originator of the meaning of our lives, the amount of structure in our lives depends on the type of family from which we come. And we have come to expect that to defy the law of the father is to disperse meaning, that martiarchally produced narrative is inevitably chaotic. Like Jeffrey Dahmer, whose life, in the words of Oprah Winfrey “spun out of control” (Oprah, 4 September 1991), the individual growing up in a female-dominated family (Dahmer lived with his grandmother after his parents were divorced) is commonly perceived as an unpredictable figure whose actions appear motiveless.

Jefrfrey Dahmer’s father, a chemist, spent a lot of time at work, leaving Jeffrey and his brother with their mother. She was a hysterical hypochondriac who spent most of her life in bed popping pills. She divorced her husband because he dared to work long hours and practically cleaned him out. She fought for custody of her youngest son, but not Jeffrey, who was eighteen at the time of his parent’s split and who committed his first murder not long afterwards.

Tithecott continues:.

Do we fathers or potential fathers-to-be feel anxious about the possibility of father a monster? According to common wisdom, if we do, it should be because of our absence [from our child’s life], not our active participation. While Lional Dahmer [Jeffrey’s dad] feels guilty for not spending enough time with his son, masculinity’s involvement in the “creation” of Jeffrey is represented negatively, as a “good” force not implemented. From the perspective which sees men as the originators of structure, of a sense of place, of visibility, the serial killer, the archetypal purveyor of meaninglessness, can only be the product of femaleness.

The struggle between our law-enforcers is represented as the struggle between the law of the father and the disorder of the mother, between post-Oedipal language spoken by the police and heard nightly on crime shows, and pre-Oedipal language spoken by the killers, by “mummy’s boys” who never grew up to be real men. Our policing discourses, implied to be valorized as masculine, conflict with feminine discourse, discourse lacking motive and logic.

Tell that to a feminist next time she starts banging on about how women are the nurturing sex from which comes all civilized behaviour.

posted by Duncan Idaho @ 5:12 PM

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