The Importance of #YesAllWomen

The Importance of #YesAllWomen

The hashtag #YesAllWomen came in a response to the mass shooting that occurred on May 23rd. Elliot Rodger, the man behind the shooting, released a YouTube video as well as a manifesto that included statements like “if I can’t have you, girls, I will destroy you” before the mass murder of six people near the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara. Many people are now discussing this violent rampage in many places both online and offline including twitter and major news sites such as The New York Times, Slate, and The Atlantic. However, when some identify as feminists, they are labeled as extremists, to the point of being shamed in their attempt to fight for equal rights. This is not to say that all men are sexist, but rather, all women – hence #YesAllWomen – experience sexism at some point in their lives.

The existence of misogyny and sexism in cultures worldwide has gone too far. That is why the hashtag #YesAllWomen is important. It represents a movement towards equality of the sexes. It is a movement that includes all women. #YesAllWomen is important because women still earn less than men. #YesAllWomen is important because women are not solely sexual vessels at the whim of the patriarchy. #YesAllWomen is important because many people don’t believe sexism exists. I can speak about my beliefs, but I think the community should speak for itself. Below are quotes and images from members of the University High School community.

“#YesAllWomen is important because it’s opening up necessary, unprecedented discussion about sexism and misogyny. It’s important because the quickest way to get a man to back off is to tell him you have a boyfriend, because men respect other men more than they respect women.” –Sydney Tomlinson

“Equal rights are an inherent part of our being, not an option that can be denied to us. Sexism and violence must stop being treated as norms.” –Olivia Hwang

“I find the defensive manner that many males are resorting to in trying (not trying?) to understand the larger issue at hand to be disconcerting. Getting angry at women for pointing these things out is like getting mad at your doctor when she tells you you’re sick. It serves no purpose other than to allow you to avoid facing an uncomfortable reality. As a man who makes an effort to be biased towards compassion whenever possible, it saddens me to see so many be so dismissive of what I think was a brilliant, thought-provoking use of social media. I feel that I am better for having read many of the #YesAllWomen tweets. It led to productive and invaluable conversations with female students, colleagues, and especially my wife/partner/best friend. These conversations would not have been possible if my first response was that of many men who can’t see past their own insecurities long enough to really understand the point of all of this. If you really didn’t care about this enough to check it out until you heard me (or any man) echo the sentiments of the women leading this movement, analyze why that is. You owe it to yourself.”–Jake Thurman

“#YesAllWomen because no one is entitled to another person’s body. What I wear and how I look say nothing about my person, nor is it provoking you to act. When are we going to start blaming the attacker rather than interrogating the victim, wondering what she did wrong?” –Liza Cohen

“Today I was reading the news and saw that two teenage girls were found hanged. Before being killed, they had been raped. One was 14 and the other 15. I was thinking about the passivity of even my language here and the language I often use to talk about violence, particularly surrounding women. A girl was raped. A girl was killed. A girl was hanged. Who is this anonymous actor, the implied subject of my sentences? Why, with all this effort to subjugate, to oppress, and to hurt, would he not stand up and claim this superior position? I try not to imagine the fear the girls felt, but I must. It is what I always imagine when I hear about violence against women. This powerless fear – like being tickled to death – is paralyzingly frightening. To feel this fear is what scares me the most. We women know and understand this fear well. It is the fear I would like others to understand. Women contemplate rape and murder. We consider the actions we would take if put in these situations. We consider the moments of knowledge of the inevitable – death. We plan accordingly. Some of us get tough. Some get married. Some get divorced. Some carry a knife. Sometimes we lie. We pretend we are on the phone with our boyfriend/husband/father. Sometimes we run. Sometimes we look for homes with lights on. We remember that we must yell ‘Fire!’

“I have pretended I only speak German and can’t understand what a man is saying to me on the street. I have ignored many. I have been scared. I have hoped men would think I was a man. In all of these situations, the man looms as a possible threat. We imagine the action being done to us, and passively we participate even in our imagination. In my imagination, I never win the fight. I only imagine one action: I make one last phone call. Maybe I’m just replaying the scene from every movie when the dying, raped woman calls her husband one last time, the killer’s footsteps clomping up the stairs toward her room a second time. The husband gets revenge. The husband is thrust into the violence and must kill the killer. Violence, we seem to be saying, belongs to men. I have thought a man was going to hurt me. I had 911 on my phone ready to dial. Some have had to dial. I did not. The damage this fear does to a person is astounding and deep. Margaret Atwood said so correctly, as she often does, that men fear women will laugh at them and women fear men will kill them. If only I could laugh at that.” –Kirstin Northenscold

“#YesAllWomen is important because it allows us to have these conversations as a group of people that, though comprised of very different individuals, hold continuities through gender identity and subsequent experiences that too often derive from oppression. Women and men partaking in #YesAllWomen is essential for the success of the women’s rights movement as it provides a harvester in which consolidation of shared experiences amongst the oppressed can build.” –Emma Troughton

“#YesAllWomen because women are not just entities that can be objectified” –Amelia Eskenazi

“#YesAllWomen: As a teenager, my parents wouldn’t let me run alone without an alarm. Not because I might get hurt. Because I might get attacked. I still run with an alarm today” –Ashley Crockett-Lohr

“‘Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.’ –Margaret Atwood #YesAllWomen” –Betsy Duck

“#YesAllWomen because no means no under all circumstances.” –Elizabeth Orians

“Because people assume that I wear makeup to please someone other than myself. #YesAllWomen” –Emily Zaniker

“#YesAllWomen because I belong to myself.” –Emily Gardner

#YesAllWomen because within my friend group, according to statistics, it is projected that at least two of us will have been victimized by sexual abuse by graduation.” –Emma Troughton

#YesAllWomen because when my son started crying, he was told to ‘stop crying like a girl.'” –Erica Adams

#YesAllWomen because society would rather tell women to show less skin, than to tell men to show more respect.” –Isabelle Shevitz

“#YesAllWomen because we are more admired for being the muse than being the artist.” –Katharine Ruegger

“#YesAllWomen because the dress code always targets us!” –Lexie Schulte

“#YesAllWomen because women shouldn’t be blamed because of what they were wearing.” –Lily Jervis

“#YesAllWomen because no one has the right to make another person feel unsafe.” –Liza Cohen

“#YesAllWomen because no man has ever had to lie about being alone.” –Nia Townsend

“#YesAllWomen because we shouldn’t have to anticipate harassment and assault. Gender does not justify mistreatment.” –Olivia Hwang

“#YesAllWomen because my shoulders should not be more important than my achievements.” –Sydney Tomlinson

“#YesAllWomen because women are beautiful and they shouldn’t suffer discrimination because of gender and the clothes they wear. It’s time for the world to be a little more accepting of all 3,523,843,881 of us.” –Zea Pakula

“#YesAllWomen because we are more than just sexual objects. Odds of someone being attacked by a shark: 1 in 3,748,067. Odds of a women being raped: 1 in 6. However, being afraid of sharks is rational, but being cautious of men is seen as misandry?” –Zoe Marks-Strauss

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