Disclaimer. This is straight-up a home/diy/lifestyle blog but this site is just an extension of me, not an accurate picture of the whole. Today, I wanted to breakdown a little of that wall by talking about the recent shooting in California and the conversation it spurred on Twitter. I don’t want to do this because it’s the topic du jour or to stir the pot. I want to talk about it because it’s important. Not just to woman, but to a successful society.
I refuse to contribute to the growing amount of exposure dedicated to a sick, sick individual so I will not mention the shooter’s name. What this person did was reprehensible and it has weighed heavily on my mind since last weekend. As is protocol after events like these, people delve into the well-rehearsed “why did this happen?” conversation. Things we’ve all said and heard and read before. “It’s lack of gun control.” “It’s a testament to the crumbling state of the mental health system in our country.” People argue until they are blue in the face and their keyboards are shattered. But the hashtag #yesallwomen that has emerged in the past week is an interesting (albeit unfortunate) conversation that, in the light of tragedy, may birth a new conversation.
Plain and simple, the shooter hated women. Hated them for not lusting for him. Hated them for not chasing after him, but instead being with other men. Hated them for having choice over their own bodies. His plan was to seek out as many woman (and men they chose to be with over him, “the ultimate gentlemen”) and make them pay. Pay for the freedom of choosing.
The purpose behind #yesallwoman is to bring the topic of the misogyny and oppression that all woman experience into the harsh light of reality. It’s not just the hot ones, or the 20-somethings. It’s all of us.
Because I always carry my keys primed as a weapon in parking lots and on sidewalks.
Because I always get nervous walking past men alone.
Because even though I have never personally experienced sexual assault or violations, I know not to drink from a glass I’ve put down in social situations.
Because I lock my doors immediately after getting in my car, and then check the lock again any time I come to a stop and someone is standing relatively close to my vehicle.
Because sometimes the only hint an aggressive “flatterer” will take is “I’m married,” which translates into “I’m already someone’s property”.
Because for every moment of self-loathing I’ve experienced over my weight, I’ve had a moment of thankfulness that being fat is probably a deterrent to aggressors.
Because porn is a fantasy. Woman who choose to be in (reputable) porn have protection. They have signed detailed contracts and have a safety net of professionals around them. Forcing yourself on a woman without her consent is assault.
In rapid response to #yesallwomen, #notallmen has surfaced as well filled with defensive messages about men’s own individual behavior. And it’s important to note that we know. We know not all men are rapists and sexists. We are 100% aware. Our population would be a whole hell of a lot smaller if they were. The point of #yesallwomen is not to disparage the male gender as a whole, but to share experiences and simply let men know the other perspective.
My husband is a great man. He is kind and loving and a proud feminist. But he’s also a middle-class, white male. I would guess he couldn’t personally relate to any of the experiences I listed above. Because as a white man, he is susceptible to the smallest amount fear. He has no reason to do some of the things I’ve been taught to do since middle school. To him, I might even seem a little paranoid.
So, to women out there, you should now that you are not along and your voice does matter and even if there are no sweeping changes brought about by this tragedy, don’t think that the conversation isn’t important. And to the good and gentle men out there, we are not trying to paint the entirety of your gender as the crazies. It is simply an opportunity for you to listen and gain a new perspective, because even though you might not experience these issues first-hand, they do happen and they are relevant.
Feminism is for equality between the genders. Not for female superiority. Sure we have our fair share of crazies too, but the majority of us out there engaging in #yesallwoman only want to be equals and to live free from fear of other human beings.
Two other great articles on this topic:
- Not All Men: How Not to Derail Discussion of Women’s Issues
- Let the Record Reflect by Elizabeth at REWM