#YesAllWomen Are Speaking Up: How the Hashtag Has Started a Much-Needed Conversation

    The meme, though not new, was one of the most popular images to be tweeted under #YesAllWomen.Twitter

In the aftermath of the horrific Isla Vista slayings, which some have speculated were fueled by misogynist extremism, women in the Twitterverse have decided it’s about time they talk about male privilege.

There has been backlash, of course, in the form of more hate speech and also a new oblivious hashtag. News flash: Yes, all women know that #NotAllMen are misogynists. But — the fact that this needs to be said is exactly why a conversation about sexism is in order — this isn’t about all men. It’s about women being able to express the frustration, fear, angst and myriad other negative emotions they have to experience on a regular basis by virtue of being female. It’s about women wanting these injustices to stop, and in order for that to happen, #YesAllMen have to try to understand where they’re coming from.

Elliot Rodger was no doubt a troubled young man, but his actions, judging from his manifesto, seemed to have been based on a sense of entitlement that is rampant in our society and beyond. If his brutal attack has sparked a much-needed conversation about what women have to endure on a regular basis from men not so unlike him, it’s not for nothing. “Though the terrible violence of last weekend is the proximal cause of this outpouring,” Los Angeles Times columnist Robin Abcarian wrote Tuesday, “the cultural moment seems especially ripe for a discussion of how women’s lives fundamentally differ from men’s.”

In other words, the hashtag is more about saying “#Yesallwomen and men, let’s talk.” And, for the sake of us all, let’s make it count.

Los Angeles Times:

#YesAllWomen has become the contemporary version of the 1970s consciousness-raising movement. Maybe it will have some of the same long-lasting results…Today, Facebook announced it had taken down a page extolling Rodger as a “hero” in the “struggle against feminazi ideology.”

But #YesAllWomen is going strong. As recently as Tuesday morning, the topic was still generating passionate tweets:

From the novelist @JoyceCarolOates: “Why does the suggestion that half the human race be treated with respect by the other half arouse such fury in the latter half?”

From @ArielFilion: “’I have a boyfriend’ is the easiest way to get a man to leave you alone. Because he respects another man more than you.”

From @peeg13: “Because when girls go to college they’re buying pepper spray and rape whistles while guys are buying condoms.”

Read more

To see more tweets under the hashtag #YesAllWomen, click here.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

Natasha Hakimi Zapata
Assistant Editor and Poetry Editor
Natasha Hakimi Zapata holds a Creative Writing M.F.A. from Boston University and both a B.A. in Spanish and a B.A. in English with a creative writing concentration from the University of California, Los…
Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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