Anyone on the Twittersphere will have noticed that #YesAllWomen is trending worldwide. Why? The hashtag is a reaction to the ranting misogynistic YouTube videos of Elliot Rodger after his recent US killing spree.
The 22-year-old son of Peter Rodger, the assistant director of The Hunger Games, went on a shooting spree on May 23 in Isla Vista, near the University of California Santa Barbara, killing six people, and wounding 13, before allegedly turning the gun on himself and committing suicide.
In the weeks leading up to the killings, Rodger posted a series of disturbing YouTube videos in which he declared his hatred of all women for the rejection and disdain he claims they dealt him throughout his life. The self-confessed virgin even went on to specifically name the women who rejected his advances in a 137-page manifesto.
In one of his videos, Rodger warns of a “day of retribution”, vowing to “destroy everything I cannot have,” and blaming the “cruelness of women” for his actions.
The comments inspired #YesAllWomen which many women, and men, have been using to share their own thoughts and stories of misogyny, objectification, and inequality. Why should women be punished for rejecting a suitor? Why must women be objectified? Why should unsavoury or provocative fashion choices be a reason to rape? These are just some of the questions asked and explored in the thousands of powerful tweets using the hashtag. Follow them here.
#YesAllWomen is a response to the “NotAllMen” meme that was used to deflect feminist arguments after the killing. Many men took to social media to proclaim their innocence and ask society to recognise that not all men are the same. However, in doing so, they simply sidetracked the main issue at hand.
Author Phil Platt aptly said in an article on slate.com: “The discussion isn’t about the men who aren’t a problem. Instead of being defensive and distracting from the topic at hand, try staying quiet for a while and actually listening to what the thousands upon thousands of women discussing this are saying… When the hashtag #YesAllWomen started. It was a place for women to counter the #NotAllMen distraction, and to state clearly and concisely what they actually have to deal with. All the time.”
Referring to the tweets in which women around the world have opened up about the hardships and prejudices they face each day, Platt added: “It was the everyday sexism, the everyday misogyny, which struck home. The leering, the catcalls, the groping, the societal othering, the miasma of all this that women bear the brunt of every damn day.”
If you want to have your say, do it now, and don’t forget to add #YesAllWomen. It’s time to be heard. It’s time to remember that life isn’t cheap.