A hashtag intended to promote women's issues has also brought out those in opposition.
In the wake of Elliot Rodger’s lethal and misogynistic rampage #YesAllWomen began trending on twitter. Powerful statements have been made about the horrors women regularly experience. It was eye-opening. Naturally, it was immediately attacked by the boorish and hateful. But why?
Every woman I know has a story where, if she wasn’t assaulted, then was nearly assaulted. All have been stalked, at least once. My wife, my mother, my female friends, all have been subjected to fear in a way I can’t relate to. Every woman I know has a story where they didn’t feel safe because of something a man said or did to them. And no, not all men are bad. We’re not all “like that.” But how is anyone supposed to know that just by looking?
Let’s say only one in every 5 or 6 men are dangerous, potential rapists or killers. That’s still way too much. That means you know one of those guys, don’t you? His picture just flashed in your head. Maybe a few pictures of guys. You’ve sat next to one of those guys in a restaurant, on the bus or subway, he’s stood next to you, walked right by you. Just today. Maybe right now. You work with him, or he’s in your class at school. Maybe you’re married to him.
Yet these are the fears that get dismissed. “Oh, come on,” we say, “It’s not that bad! Only one in five or six guys will hurt you! The majority of us are good!”
Okay, well if one in six isn’t so bad, then take this pistol. It’s a revolver with one bullet in the chambers. Give it a spin, then hold it to your head. Pull the trigger. Now do it again. And again. And again. And again. Every time you go out to a bar. Spin. Click. Meeting a blind date? Spin. Click. Riding the bus home alone tonight? Spin. Click. Oh, you’re walking? Spin. Click. It’s only one out of six. How bad can that be?
As a man, I have no equal experience to this. I have never been afraid to walk home alone at night. Nobody has ever hit on me repeatedly, refused to take “no” for an answer if I am not interested sexually, followed me all over the club, including the bathrooms, catcalling and groping me. I have never been called a “dirty whore” because I wasn’t into the person I was talking to. I have never been raped once, let alone multiple times. I am clear that #YesAllWomen isn’t about me.
Is this why women’s issues are not taken seriously by many, because it’s not about them? It seems to be about different perceptions, not just of fear, but of realities. Critics raging against #YesAllWomen aren’t dealing with what’s actually happening to women, but fear a loss of control over those same women.
To put it another way, plenty of people are terrified of flying, but have no issues with driving. Air travel is statistically very safe while driving is the most dangerous daily activity we engage in. It’s because we feel in control when we’re driving and don’t when we fly. Others are in control of the plane, a vehicle we know less about than our cars. Plus, the possibility of crashing in an aircraft is more terrifyingly final than a car accident. This is why many of us feel flying is more dangerous than driving.
But it really only boils down to not being in control. We don’t know enough about how planes work, we don’t like putting our lives in the hands of people we don’t know, and there’s the remote possibility of a fiery horrible death. Driving? Yeah, it’s more dangerous, but that’s life, baby! Suck it up, buttercup! Sure I get caught in traffic a few times a week because of other car accidents,but that won’t happen to me, I’m in control! #NotAllCars
A major point of the #YesAllWomen trend was to show how women have to frequently deal with situations they aren’t in control of. This is lost by those opposing it. Some of them ironically say that these women are “out of control.” And that’s exactly what they fear.
This also ties in to how people (men) think false accusations of rape happen frequently. The notion being that the woman is in control. All she needs to do is say it, right? “He raped me!” These men simply assume that this is easy to do, so it must happen all the time. Therefore, women are clearly lying about rapes.
Except they aren’t. Every woman I know has a story of harassment, or assault, or stalking. All have been victimized by men in the past. They are actually very strong and brave for adapting, rolling with it, and moving on with their life, resigned to the fact that something awful will happen again soon. #YesAllWomen was meant to remind everyone of what women go through every day. It’s a way for them to take more control of their situation.
Those speaking out against it, such as Todd “Liberal Bitches” Kincannon, Rush “Feminazis” Limbaugh, or the laughably pathetic MRA are afraid of losing control over women. Period. Don’t believe this? Fine. Let’s look at the policies regarding women that they do support:
Prevent access to birth control for women and restrict abortion, make it illegal if possible. Limit job opportunities for women, pay them less than men, and refuse paid maternity leave. Deny healthcare, unemployment benefits, and food assistance for women and children while bemoaning that single mothers are why the economy is in the toilet.
Tear down feminists. Accuse women who were raped of lying; say they were drunk; say they were asking for it by what they were wearing; say they are just sluts. Excuse the men who rape by saying “boys will be boys” and that you can’t rape your wife. Make sure to support misogynists by saying they are “victims of a feminized culture.”
Don’t worry about getting pregnant from rape, that’s “God’s plan” and a woman’s body has ways of shutting that whole thing down.
You want to know who says “No” to #YesAllWomen? The ignorant. The egotistical. The cognitively dissonant. The chauvinistic. The assholes. The rapists, the criminals, the liars. The misogynists. The monsters. Those who support hurting women.
“The truth is, no one of us can be free until everybody is free.” ~ Maya Angelou