The feminist movement in general gets skewed a lot of different ways, but the #yesallwomen movement on Twitter after the UCSB shooting is an important event of which to take note.
Over Memorial Day weekend, a 22-year-old named Elliot Rodger unleashed his growing anger about being consistently stuck in the “friend zone” by going on a shooting rampage on the University of California Santa Barbara campus. Two women and four men were killed in the shooting. Rodgers had written a long manifesto outlining and explaining his actions, some of which were much more dangerous than those he was able to commit. Although some may argue that Rodgers had only “lost grip on reality” and suffered from a mental illness and nothing more, the main idea behind his rampage was his hatred of women and every “spoiled, stuck up, blonde slut” that had ever, according to him, wronged him.
Many women, including myself, recognized his actions and words as something that is not all that uncommon and, in fact, something that is looked out for day after day.
Thus, the hashtag #YesAllWomen on Twitter was adopted as a way to expose the pervasiveness of sexualized violence against women through various forms of misogyny.
Millions of tweets have been tweeted using the hashtag since the event. “Because more people are concerned about why women stay in abusive relationships rather than why men are abusing them,” said one. Another read, “Because all women at some point have blamed themselves or wondered what they did to cause the inappropriate actions of others.” And a third stated, “Because apparently the clothes I wear are a more valid form of consent than the words I say.”
It is important to not only be aware of these tweets but to also take them seriously. I have known many women that have faced some form of sexualized harassment, and it is not okay. Feminist or not, every person should realize the importance of protecting people from sexual harassment. It is not okay to continue to let women live in a world in which they hold their keys as weapons as they walk down the street, a world in which women buy pepper spray as preparation for college while men buy condoms, a world in which blaming women and what they wear as a cause for inappropriate actions is more common than blaming the men who do them. Women are taught to “protect themselves” from men early in life. Instead, men should be aware that their actions can make women feel unsafe and work to make a change in their own behavior.
Of all the issues addressed in the feminist movement, this one is perhaps the most important. Sexualized harassment affects people in a way that can damage their very essence of being. It is so ingrained in American society that it is time to wake up and smell the roses and make a change. No more “boys will be boys.” No more “Lookin’ good, sweetheart!” out of car windows. No more of any of that.
Now, before I get a bunch of comments about how “not all men are like this,” let me just say, no, not all men harass women, but yes, all women have, at some point, been harassed by men. It needs to stop “because this is about more than just the right to be able to keep our bodies unharmed. It’s about respecting every individual. #YesAllWomen”