Tuesday, May 27, 2014

#YesAllWomen


Read what people are saying with the #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter.


I wrote a fairly intense blog post yesterday, but after reading it again today I'm starting fresh - stream of consciousness writing isn't my forte and the other post was slightly incoherent and not quite salvageable.

I could say that I've "cooled off" enough in the past 24 hours to write with less hyperbole and emotion; but that would be a lie. I haven't changed my feelings, but pushed them back down, deep inside, because I would be too irate to function on a day to day basis if I let myself even think about my anger. #YesAllWomen have been taught to hide their anger - but just because the hashtag is trending now, it doesn't mean it will go away when the next internet firestorm sweeps through.

The millions of stories and confessions and statements being shared through the #YesAllWomen Twitter hashtag are frightening but encouraging. Frightening, because this hashtag even exists; encouraging, because it reminds us we're not alone.

#YesAllWomen have been told by society to doubt their capabilities, talents, and image.

#YesAllWomen were taught at a young age to hold their keys between their fingers while walking at night to use as an impromptu weapon if needed.

#YesAllWomen struggle to explain what "feminism" means to them - it's not misandry, nor arrogance, nor professional whining; not a political party, religion, or movement for female supremacy.

#YesAllWomen have women in their lives who have been abused, assaulted, raped, threatened, &/or stalked by men.

#YesAllWomen know that female victims are asked, "What were you wearing?" as if the crime is the responsibility of the victim, not the perpetrator.

#YesAllWomen knew better than to be surprised when we learned the whistleblower in the Steubenville rape case faces charges that could land him up to 10 years in jail. Meanwhile, Ma'lik Richmond and Trent Mays, the two rapists, were sentenced to one and two years respectively. Richmond was released after serving just 10 months.

#YesAllWomen in the Peace Corps experience sexual harassment.

#YesAllWomen in the U.S. can expect to be paid less than their male peers for the same job, regardless of their performance level.

#YesAllWomen in Albania have experienced street harassment their entire lives - and almost no women (at least in my experience, having discussed this with female coworkers) think that they're allowed to be offended, because that's just the way it is.

#YesAllWomen know it's safer to turn down a guy by saying, "Sorry, I have a boyfriend," instead of simply saying they're not interested. Which leads me to...

#YesAllWomen have been taught to apologize before saying anything that might offend anyone at all - even when there is literally no fault in the statement. (see above.)

#YesAllWomen reading this know that somewhere, a mansplainer is shaking his head and saying, "But not ALL men!"

A hashtag won't change much, but it's a start. I'm sure Twitter will soon return to it's scheduled #Kimyewedding or #Shitgirlssay coverage, but for now, it's pretty cool to think of all the conversations going around and those who maybe, just maybe, might have the courage to finally take a stand.

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