As she analyzed the 1,500-page manifesto and videos produced by Anders Breivik, the man who has confessed to Friday's attacks in Norway, journalist and GOOD associate editor Nona Willis Aronowitz spotted something really odd: Anders Breivik had it out for her mom.
Her late mother, the feminist activist, writer and icon Ellen Willis, was singled out, she writes:
Breivik mentions her in the same breath as Simone de Beauvoir (go Mama!) and blames them for the "skyrocketing divorce rates" and "plummeting birth rates" that created a "cultural and demographic vacuum" in the West. According to Breivik, this vacuum led directly to the Islamic takeover he cited as justification for Friday's bombing and shooting spree.
Ms. Willis Aronowitz gets to the heart of why his critique of feminism is so relevant:
Breivik's spiteful commentary on feminism isn't too different from the hate mail that appears in my own inbox on a regular basis. As some have noted already, Breivik's rhetoric echoes a fairly common conservative argument about feminism—that selfish Western women aren't producing enough children to keep up with Muslim world, and therefore opening up their nations to the possibility of Islamic extremism.
The rest of her post is really worth a read, as are the analyses of Anders Breivik's writings done by two investigative journalists: Religion Dispatches senior editor Sarah Posner and "C Street" author and frequent TRMS guest Jeff Sharlet. Scroll back to what they wrote on Sunday, and read it all the way through. Also, check out Ms. Posner's excellent blogging on the topic here.