#YesAllWomen – feminism, rape culture, shouting back against gendered violence.
This weekend, a tragedy took the lives of many and it was the direct result of misogyny – an act of gendered violence. There is no question about this. A young man (who I refuse to name and give focus to) took it upon himself to kill people because of something he thought he was entitled to – to get laid. Because he was ‘friendzoned’ by women, as the term goes, he felt it was totally acceptable to murder people because he was rejected. And the wave of support he’s gotten from Men’s Rights Activists is sickening.
This is 2014, and this is happening. Every day, misogyny and hatred and violence affects women everywhere. As a result of this awful thing that happened, a wave of responses came out over social media thanks to the hashtag #YesAllWomen – in response to many men who often come out with the comment “Not all men..” when faced with the brutal truth of how terrible misogyny and sexism can be. Because yes, all women have been affected by the misogyny of men, even if it’s not all men. It’s not about you, men. And that’s what strikes me most of all. On Saturday evening, I was reading over some of the overwhelming number of #YesAllWomen tweets. I did not have a particular moment or story to share, but I did want to get this message out there.
It struck a chord with people, and I’m glad. If you’re trying to help the cause, then don’t make it because of what a woman is to you – make it because all women deserve that love and respect. I know there have been a lot of trolls and assholes responding to the #YesAllWomen trend (I wasn’t a target, thankfully) – but at the same time there has been an incredible amount of sharing, and a fantastic amount of guys listening to it and understanding, and signal boosting and taking part in the conversation without it all coming back to “but not all men are like that, i’m not!” – because that is passing the buck. I think this says it best:
I’d like to share some more of the powerful, positive and inspiring things I’ve seen shared coming out of this weekend, in hopes that you will read and learn and also be inspired – or if you’ve gone through the same sorts of things, that you could feel a connection and know you’re not alone. I’ll try to alternate embedding tweets with links to make it not such a giant wall of text.
Link: Son, It’s Okay If You Don’t Get Laid Tonight – a very smart mom who raises her son teaching him not to rape, but is frustrated that because the world at large doesn’t do this as well, that her son still has in him the capacity to rape. Her smart and common sense tips at the end for ensuring safety and consent when hooking up should be everywhere in high schools. (Although I’m still not fond of “treat a girl with the respect you’d treat your sister” sort of commentary, as it should be a blanket “treat this woman, and every woman, with respect.) If only every son had this guidance in their life, we wouldn’t be living in such a rape culture.
Link: Not All Men Are Dangerous, But Yes, All Women Live With The Fear Of [Shooter’s Name]’s Fury… (title truncated to remove the shooter’s name for). This XO Jane article does speak a lot about the shooter, but it’s done in a very sensible and not sensationalized way. It looks at the background of his attitudes, and shows that they’re not isolated – the very end of the article is especially troubling in this regard.
Link: a series of tweets by Imran Siddiquee, Director of Communications for The Representation Project, the organization behind Miss Representation all about street harassment/cat calling and its implications for women.
Link: tongue in cheek but angry post about how equating mental illness and violence is not only unfair, but being used to excuse the actions of a killer.
Link: Not All Men! An angry response to this term, including this excellent point: “It’s gotten so bad that we have to be afraid of even telling you we are afraid. We can’t ask that you please stop talking to us. Because if we do we run the risk of being labeled a “stuck up bitch” and blamed for murders and rapes in which we are the victims.”
Link: a few tweets that really hit home how selfish and disrespectful it is to have the “not all men” attitude.
There are so many more things I could share – which is at once both heartening and disappointing. It’s fantastic women are speaking out about their experiences and their anger; it’s sad to know that there is so much of that to share. If you are a male-identified person who truly believes women deserve respect and to be safe, start calling out others who don’t believe that. It’s the only way we can move forward. “Not all men” will leave all women where they are right now. I’ll leave you with this Jackson Katz video which I think is more appropriate than ever – about how it’s the responsibility of men to stop violence against women. Teach men not to catcall, harass, rape, murder – don’t expect women to be the ones who avoid it.