I’ve been pretty cut off from the real world lately to say the least. However, something has been continuously popping up on Twitter this week and it’s caught my attention. The #YesAllWomen campaign has gone viral to say the very least, and not everyone is happy about it. If you’re as clueless as I was at first, here’s the low down. The #YesAllWomen campaign caught fire in the wake of the recent tragedy at the University of California Santa Barbara in which a young man went on a rampage, killing 6 people and injuring more than twice as many. This man cited his anger at women as the reason for his murders. As a result, the issues of misogyny and male entitlement have been brought to light.
My opinion? The fact that these issues are brought to light is a problem in itself. They should never be cast into the shadows.
Feminists everywhere are outraged, and I can’t say I disagree. Uh oh – the F word. Men, do you think your mother should receive less pay for her job because she is a woman? No? Congrats – you’re a feminist! Men (and women) have taken to Twitter claiming that #NotAllMen are perpetrators of violence against women. Fact. However, this where #YesAllWomen comes in play. I can say with 110% certainty that every one of my female friends and family members have been a victim of male entitlement. Whether it is, god forbid, something as physical as rape or whether it is just an unwelcome comment or invasive look, we’ve all experienced it. When (not if) it happens, many women are afraid to speak up for fear that the man will retaliate. THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM. Has every man victimized a woman in this way? Absolutely not. But I would be genuinely surprised if #NotAllWomen can identify with what I’m talking about.
So what do we do about it? If you ask me, it starts at a very young age. As children, we are taught that if a boy is mean to us or pushes us on the playground it is because they have a crush on us. Why aren’t young boys taught instead to treat girls with respect? As a teenager we are forced to abide to a lengthy school dress code because if not, it may be distracting to our classmates. Why aren’t young boys taught instead that a woman’s body is not theirs to stare at? As a young woman we are taught to watch our drinks at all times. Why aren’t young men taught instead to, hmm, I don’t know, NOT DRUG YOUNG WOMEN? Why do we have to clutch our keys inbetween our knuckles when walking in a dark parking lot? Why do we inherently know to avoid eye contact with men on the streets? All women have been taught these things. Yes, all women. Why are we all so familiar with the saying “boys will be boys”? I hate that. Boys will not be boys. Boys will be what they are taught to be.
This issue is way bigger than a couple of hashtags. While this debate is important, it won’t stop angry men from going on rampages and women from hovering over their rum & Coke’s. I do believe that gun control is a huge issue here as well, and I do hope that government officials can find a way to compromise with responsible gun owners and do so soon. But if we could see a full fledged societal change, we would essentially be unloading all of the guns.
Not all men are violent. Not all men are angry at women. Not all men have made passes at women. But some are. And some have. And #YesAllWomen have been on the receiving end of the weapon that is male entitlement. I encourage all men to look into the #YesAllWomen campaign. Warning: it will make you uncomfortable. But maybe that’s what our society needs – a little discomfort to disrupt the status quo.
I’m sick of these acts of violence, and the fact that this one was caused by misogyny is truly heartbreaking. All PEOPLE need to come together…because at the end of the day, male or female, we’re all people.
Ask yourself – what if it were your son behind the gun? What if it were your daughter in front of it? What could you have done differently?
Do differently today, because tomorrow may be too late.