This Memorial Day, I wanted to honor the unheralded heroes of our military. So, I went to the best place to be heard — Facebook, obviously — and pounded out this status:
A special shout out to military women who sacrificed in ways other than those most commonly envisioned, because a woman who signs up to protect her country is more likely to be raped by a fellow solider than be killed by enemy fire.
At the end, I included the hashtag #YesAllWomen.
In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, let me give you a quick rundown. On Saturday, a young man (who I will not reward by naming) went on a killing spree at a California university, murdering six people before terminating his own life. By Sunday, more than 1 million tweets appeared with the tag #YesAllWomen.
Because this troubled terrorist went on a shooting spree because he hated women. Yup. You read that right.
He actually created a manifesto that said, “Women represent everything that is unfair in this world, and in order to make this world a fair place, women must be eradicated.” Then he went on to recommend herding we of the female sex into concentration camps and killing us. After finishing his verbal tirade, he marched straight to a sorority house and started his assassinations.
Go ahead. Chalk this incident up to a deranged, mentally ill man who was failed by the healthcare system. Obviously, at least part of this is true, but the things he was writing ring a little too true, paralleling the misogynistic slant society often takes. As the New Yorker so elegantly put it, “(this man’s) hate of women grew out of attitudes that are all around us… perhaps more subtly, it suggests that he was influenced by a predominant cultural ethos that rewards sexual aggression, power, and wealth, and that reinforces traditional alpha masculinity and submissive femininity.” (Read the whole article here.)
Now, chill your Cheerios, folks. I know that some of you are reading this and cringing. You’re waiting for me to start yelling big scary words like “patriarchy!,” “heteronormative!,” or “misogyny!” Welp, I’m not even going to go there. Because there’s a bigger, badder word to tackle, and it starts with the letter “f.”
Don’t worry. I’m not talking about the F-word. Although, based on the reaction I get when I used this particular term, I might as well be.
I am a feminist.
Which brings me back to my initial anecdote. On Memorial Day, I typed what I thought was an innocuous Facebook status intended to raise awareness about violence against women. Within minutes, somebody snarked, “Written like a true feminist.” This was not a compliment. This person (a father of two daughters) oozed sarcasm. He clearly thought I had crossed a line, and apparently, I did, although maybe not the one he thought.
Here is the line, folks: If you have half a heart, you’re a feminist, too. That’s just pure fact, and I’m sick of people playing around when it comes to that word.
It doesn’t mean that you do this:
It doesn’t mean you feel this way about anything with male genitals:
It doesn’t mean that you are into ladies or that you want every lady you know to be into other ladies:
It doesn’t mean that you’re destined to end up like this:
Now. We’ve got that out of the way. We’ve got you to maybe, maybe, maybe start to think that the F-word applies to you. But you’re not quite there. Welp, let me give you some not-so-subtle encouragement.
Do you have a girlfriend? A mother? A sister? A daughter? A friend who happens to be a woman?
Oh! You do? Interesting…
So, do you want your daughter to go through college, find a great job, be superb at it, only to find out that she gets paid a mere 72% of what her male counterpart earns?
|Damn right, she does!|
Ok. That was a low blow, evoking both kittens and your kid. I admit it. But seriously. It’s a real question. Should women earn less?
Should women make up more than 50 percent (that’s right, MORE than 50 percent) of the world population but only fill less than 20 percent of political seats? Should girls be HIV-positive at a rate 5 times that of boys, because girls are more likely to be raped? Should women make up 80 percent of all refugees, largely because genocide uses sexual violence and rape as weapons of war? Should a woman die every 90 seconds, mostly due to the fact that gender-based discrimination prevents her from getting the proper education or care she needs? Should girls be forced to be sex slaves or child brides? Should 70 percent of the population of people living in absolute poverty be women? And finally, should girls actually be less likely to reach adulthood because they have been aborted, killed, undernourished, or neglected because of their gender?*
Should these statistics be so unsurprising that you barely even look at the next image, because you already know what it’s going to say?
I’m not kidding. I want an answer. Should women be treated worse than men?
If your answer is yes, then congratulations. You’re sort of a jerk. But if your answer is no, then you subscribe to the notion that women are equal. Holy crap, folks! That’s feminism. No, really,that’s straight out of the dictionary: “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.”
So, ask yourself: Do I care about my daughter? My mother? My sister? My partner? Am I a feminist?
Look at this, and then answer:
THAT is the whole point of the #YesAllWomen movement. It’s moment where women finally have a platform to stand and demand that folks pay attention to the fact that women are humans, too, and they don’t deserve to be treated the way they are being treated now.
No, not all men treat women poorly. Plenty of feminist men (some of them here in our research lab) work crazy hard to make the world a better place for women. But enough people do treat women terribly, thus creating a serious problem. Which is why these tweets (a collection of which I’ve included below) are striking a chord and raging across the Internet. And it’s why we here at Project Reset completely support the movement.
I wish I had a wonderfully fresh perspective that would make you change your mind and claim your inner feminist. But you and I both know I haven’t said one new thing in this post.
Because this conversation has been happening for more than a century, and it’s all been said before.
Lucretia Mott said it when she argued in the 1800s for equal pay for women. Sojourner Truth said it when she contested that all women — of any race, creed, ethnicity, religion — deserved to be treated equally among each other and among men. Susan Anthony said it when she demanded that women should have the vote. Elizabeth Cady Staton said it when she insisted that women should be able to own property. Margaret Sanger said it when she fought for women’s right to birth control. Margaret Atwood said it when she wrote about the weight of the patriarchy. Gloria Steinem said it when she decried sexual assault against women.
It’s all been said before. And it will be said again.
Now, it’s only a matter of people listening and deciding to act.
TWEETS WORTH READING:
— #yesallwomen because apparently the clothes I wear is a more valid form of consent than the words I say
–#YesAllWomen b/c when a woman is assaulted we ask what she did wrong rather than standing up for her
— Because society is still more comfortable with people telling jokes about rape than it is with people revealing they have been raped #YesAllWomen
— Because even a 140 page manifesto by a mass murderer isn’t enough to convince people that misogyny kills #YesAllWomen
— Because this is a society that still teaches its girls how not to get raped instead of teaching boys not to rape #YesAllWomen
— #YesAllWomen Because guys don’t have to text their friends telling them they got home safely
Please, please, please visit twitter.com and read more. Please.
- White guy killer syndrome: Elliot Rodger’s deadly, privileged rage by Brittney Cooper at Salon
- Let’s call the Isla Vista killings what they were: misogynist extremism by Laurie Penny at The New Statesman
- Masculinity, Violence, and Bandaid Solutions by Miri Mogilevsky at Brute Reason
- Misogyny is Poison, and You’re Drinking It by Jess Zimmerman at The Archipelago
- Elliott Rodger and the High Price of Misogyny by Danielle Paradis at Dispatches from Paradis
- What Elliot Rodger Said About Women Reveals Why We Need to Stamp Out Misogyny by Liz Plank at Policy Mic
- What a close read of the Isla Vista shooter’s horrific manifesto, “My Twisted World,” says about his values—and ours by Jeff Yang at Quartz
- Elliot Rodger and Men Who Hate Women at The Belle Jar
- Rightbloggers: Santa Barbara Killer Elliot Rodger’s Sexist Rants Have Nothing To Do With Sexism (Or Guns) by Roy Edroso at Runnin’ Scared
- How ‘Pick-Up Artist’ Philosophy and Its More Misogynist Backlash Shaped Mind of Alleged Killer Elliot Rodger by Amanda Marcotte at The American Prospect
- Pickup artists argue that “Game” is the solution to Elliot Rodger-style rampages. Here’s why they’re wrong by David Futrelle at We Hunted the Mammoth
- The Power of #YesAllWomen by Sasha Weiss at The New Yorker
- Elliot’s Entitlement by Cassie Goodwin at Brainy Femme
- Elliott Rodger and the Price of Toxic Masculinity by Harris O’Malley at Paging Dr. Nerdlove
- *All statistics used in this article came from the World Health Organization and RAIIN.