You may have recently seen the hashtag #YesAllWomen floating around the internet. Like #BringBackOurGirls, this hashtag has gone viral to spread social awareness about an issue that has long plagued society: sexism and misogyny.
The hashtag #YesAllWomen was created in light of the recent tragedy near U.C. Santa Barbara, where a misogynistic lone male gunman opened fire, killing 6 students and injuring 13 others. His targets: women. Women he hated for “rejecting” him, stating in a video on YouTube, “I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it.” He also left behind a 141 page rage-filled manifesto detailing his hate for women.
However, this is just one incident in a string of tragedies that all share the same story: a lone male gunman who hated women and took his revenge on them and humanity. This was the story for George Hennard in 1991, Virginia tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho , Adam Lanza the Sandy Hook shooter, Timothy McVeigh the Oklahoma City bomber, and Dylan Klebold of Columbine. All of these killers had documented rage toward women. Spewed out in their interactions, personal journals, writings and online posts.
Misogyny as a driving force for murderous rampages is no mystery. Women have been dealing with sexual harassment, objectification, rape culture, victim-blaming, threats to their reproductive rights and societal repression as far as history goes back.
So what does #YesAllWomen stand for? #YesAllWomen is a hashtag created to counter the defensive notion (and hashtag #NotAllMen) that not all men are misogynists or killers. While that is true, ALL women do deal with sexual harassment and sexism at some point in their lives. #YesAllWomen touches on a fact that no one can deny: all women are targets for gender hate, sexual abuse and harassment.
The video below helps explain this further:
Everyday sexism is so embedded in our society that many don’t even realize they’re participating in it. Staying silent and ignoring the problem is no better than condoning it. Gender-specific stereotypes are placed on women and we’re faced with judgments (from both genders) everyday about what we’re doing or not doing with our vaginas. Single, pregnant, married, divorced or otherwise. As if society is the master of women’s sexuality, reproductive and lifestyle choices.
— semiotheque (@semiotheque) May 25, 2014
#YesAllWomen has allowed women to express the sexism and misogyny they have experienced in their own lives and the results are stunning. Just search the hashtag #YesAllWomen on Twitter and Facebook and you will find an outpouring of tweets from everyday women telling their personal stories. When it comes to social justice, awareness is the most powerful tool. Thanks to social media and the internet, hashtags like #YesAllWomen can effectively help raise awareness about issues that are often silenced. There’s no better time to put your own personal story out there. Hashtag #YesAllWomen and help continue to shed light on a very real, very deadly issue. Here are some of our favorites:
— ELLE Magazine (US) (@ELLEmagazine) May 31, 2014