Toxic Masculinity Claims Life of Another Asian American Woman

Anna Bui, in a photo posted to her social media.
Anna Bui, in a photo posted to her social media.

Last week, toxic masculinity claimed its latest victims. In Mukilteo, Washington, 19-year-old Allen Ivanov has been arrested after driving to a house party where several of his high school friends were gathering, and shooting to death his ex-girlfriend, Anna Bui, along with two fellow classmates, Jordan Ebner and Jake Long; a fourth unidentified friend was also injured in the attack.

Ivanov killed Bui, Ebner and Long, with a legally purchased AR-15 which he appears to have bought specifically to carry out the attack. Pictures of the long-gun were posted to Ivanov’s social media in the days prior to the attack, along with cryptic messages about his plans to carry out the murders. After shooting Bui and their friends, Ivanov escaped and was arrested in his car nearly 100 miles from the scene of the attack. Both Ivanov and Bui were identified as students at the University of Washington, and over the weekend, the school sent out an email mourning the shooting and encouraging students to attend grief counseling.

Friends say that Bui had broken up with Ivanov either a month ago and/or in the week prior to the attack (depending on whom you ask), and she seems to have been the primary target of his assault. One friend told the Daily Mail that Ivanov had been “depressed” after his relationship with Bui ended, and that minutes after the shooting, Ivanov sent a text saying “I just killed my ex-girlfriend” and contemplated suicide. Other friends described Ivanov as incapable of such violence; but, in contrast, that he “often had a jealous side” and that he acted as if he had “something to prove”.

Anna Bui is the latest name in a heartbreaking list of women whose lives were taken by men who resort to violence in the wake of the ending of an intimate relationship — like Bui, many of those women are Asian American women. The role of toxic masculinity and misogylinity, and its assertion of male entitlement over female sexuality, in violent killings such as these cannot be ignored.  According to the White House, 40% of mass shootings in the United States begin with a shooter targeting a current or former romantic partner, while intimate partner violence is four times more likely to involve a female victim than a male one. Put another way: 70% of victims killed by an intimate partner are women.

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The Marysville-Pilchuck School Shooting and the Intolerable Price of Misogylinity

14-year-old Zoe Galasso died from injuries sustained in the Washington-area mass shooting Friday afternoon.
14-year-old Zoe Galasso died from injuries sustained in the Washington-area mass shooting Friday afternoon.

Last Friday, it happened again; and a nation where school shootings have become terrifyingly commonplace struggled once more to rouse ourselves out of our cynical numbness to muster the same level of horror, outrage and self-reflection that characterized the early responses to Columbine. But, with news of mass school shootings seemingly a permanent fixture in today’s headlines, it seems increasingly difficult for America to recognize that this “new normal” is anything but.

Yet, we need to find the energy to remain outraged and horrified. We need to keep questioning not only why these shootings are happening, but how pervasive and pathological our ideas of “normal” really might be.

Last Friday, 14-year-old Jaylen Fryberg brought a legally purchased gun to the cafeteria of Marysville-Pilchuck High School and opened fire on a table of classmates including two male cousins and three female friends — none of them older than 15. All five sustained gunshot wounds — most to the head — and as of this morning, two students are dead along with Fryberg (of a self-inflicted gunshot). Although Fryberg’s motives  remain largely unknown, early coverage from Fryberg’s classmates reveal hints of a story all-too-familiar: yet again, a young man was so angered and devastated by having his romantic advances rejected that he turned to violent retribution, and yet again, it is young women and men alike who pay the price.

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