What started as a small and seemingly insignificant Tweet has exploded into a tour de force social media campaign against the perpetual misogyny that exists in our society. Mere days after the 22 year old – who will remain nameless – with a grudge against women went on a murderous rampage in Santa Barbara, the hashtag #YesAllWomen is still trending in the Twittersphere.
The point that perhaps some have missed about this particular campaign, is that although not all men are guilty of crimes against women, all women after affected by misogyny. Women are conditioned to fear things that men do, and you only need to search the hashtag #YesAllWomen on Twitter to see the countless men and women who have joined the conversation.
While watching the video on the news of the shooter, there were many things he said that i felt needed attention, but these two really hit home for me:
“Girls, all I’ve ever wanted was to love you and to be loved by you”
When taken out of context, this sentence almost echoes of longing. But this sentence highlights the sense of entitlement that some men feel towards Women’s affections; this leads not only to incredulity at its absence but far too often can lead even further to violence. I am a rape survivor, and the memory of those events rate as my most violent experiences nonetheless. By spurning a man’s advances, it is shocking how quickly actions can turn violent. Not all men, but still too many, but why then did I never say anything? Why then, did I blame myself like so many other rape victims?
It does not have to be that all men are “like that”, it merely needs to be some men, and in the current political climate it is too many men. Of course women realise that not all men are women hating, rape culture propagating asshole misogynist, but that does not diminish the fact that sexism and rape culture remain firmly entrenched and institutionalised with our culture. Our culture wants us to believe that there is a normative model of human, that normative model is a man. Everything that diverges from that source is seen as “the other”, the distraction. This divergent is women. Privilege, is not a mere illusion that people use as an excuse to make themselves feel better about being used by others; it is a true and real fact of our society and men hold the monopoly
“This world is so twisted. It’s so cruel. And you girls make it cruel”
You might not realise it now – or possibly ever if you are truly blind – but the anonymity of the internet paints a very correlational view of the links between male privilege and misogyny, even for those of you who deny that it exists. The barrage of replies to the shooter’s youtube clips such as “Keep that in mind next time you friendzone some one girls!” or “see girls this is what you get for treating nice guys like shit”. So which is it? Did he make it all up, or can some of you admit to feeling this way as well?
It is not all men.
But still too many men.
Consider the hashtag #YesAllWomen as a space to gain insight into the vast spectrum of sexism and rape culture that is perpetuated in our society in both lay and active ways; through aspects of everyday life such as “because we are taught early on that if a boy is abusive towards you, it is just because he likes you” or “because people question why women stay in abusive relationships rather than question why men are abusing women”. We need to stand back and reassess the societal climate in which we have birthed and raised people like this; even if some refuse to call it out. This seemingly anomalous event has a strong undercurrent of commonality that – if we want equality – we have to break through, together.