Stocksy

#YesAllWomen: How One Hashtag Is Encouraging Women To Rise Above Everyday Sexism

By

It was an innocent accident. She had only meant to set the wine glass down on the table, not intentionally knock it over, shattering the crystal and sending bright red wine splashing onto the white, downy rug.

He looked at her with escalating rage as she shakily tried to clean up the mess. He had just mentioned that those glasses were his mother’s housewarming china. The expensive rug was imported from an exotic market. Wine soaked right through.

“Get over here.”

He had summoned her. And with a swift flick of the wrist, he grabbed her face and backhanded her as she approached.

#YesAllWomen because there is something to be said that in a room full of women and men, each female raises her hand when asked is she's been objectified regularly, while most men can’t recall even one instance.

The movement, popularized on Twitter in response to the horrific shooting rampage in Isla Vista, California (I’m intentionally omitting his name. He shouldn’t be glorified.), aims to empower every woman who has ever been reduced to a sexual conquest or has ever received abuse for her failure to comply with a man’s demands. In other words, this includes a frighteningly overwhelming majority of females.

#YesAllWomen isn’t about putting men down. It’s about pointing out the everyday, hidden acts of misogyny that are rampant in our society. Things that are so commonplace and yet so completely chauvinistic that it’s shocking people still accept this behavior.

Like when I write almost any article in the women’s section, only to receive hateful, ignorant commentary like this:

“The only reason a girl puts up with this is because she loves fellating him because he is so dreamy so in the end that's all that matters. The rest of this justification is rubbish. thestinky.com.” Or this, “Impression from this sh*tty article:: this is a mean , self centered annoying sadistic woman with mental tendencies and intentions of sleeping with all of your friends..”

Why must my gender always come into play when describing my character, writing style or talents? Why am I taught to take up less space as a woman, while men are taught to grow outward with experiences? #YesAllWomen who have repeatedly been called a “bitch” when they really should be called “the boss.” Women who, as young girls, are taught to become beautiful Disney princesses and thin movie stars rather than powerful, heroic princes and able-bodied superheroes.

And to all the men who are aggravated by this post or who cannot seem to understand why we’re still talking about this issue, ask yourselves why you feel so angered? Perhaps you are blindly engaging in misogynistic behaviors and don’t even notice it.

Like the time you got drunk, threw your arm around a girl and whispered in her ear, insisted on getting her number and wouldn’t take "no" or “I have a boyfriend” for an answer. Maybe you didn’t even realize she was trying to let you down gently because she was afraid anything more stern would set you off as an aggressor.

Of course, we know not all men are like this and there are, in fact, good guys out there. But the surprising backlash from the guys’ side claiming that #NotAllMen are rapists or misogynists or harassers just shows their inability to grasp both the campaign and the everyday, “excusable” forms of female objectification.

Furthermore, it’s extraordinarily hard to understand what discrimination looks like when all your life you’ve been a caucasian, average middle-class guy. We need to change our perspective when approaching matters of sexism.

And so what, not at all men are like this? How is a woman supposed to know that the guy following behind her on her walk home alone is actually looking out for her and not trying to harm her?

Even female intuition has a few false positives. #YesAllWomen have been taught to defend themselves instead of #NotAllMen have been taught how not to rape someone.

#YesAllWomen is a call to awareness, not a call to arms. We’re not attacking men or encouraging women to fight. It’s educating even the most enlightened on the actions we might not immediately recognize as misogynist. It’s suggesting that we start teaching men how to behave instead of teaching women how to react.

#YesAllWomen is for every time a girl is called “loud” or “attention-seeking” instead of “outgoing” or “approachable.” It’s for every time a coworker says something inappropriate at an off-duty happy hour. It’s for the girl who accidentally spills a wine glass and gets a slap in the face.

#YesAllWomen. That means your girlfriends, your daughters, your sisters and yourself. There are faces to these women and they could be yours.

So go on, put down your comments on this article. I’m ready for the worst. Which is exactly why we need this hashtag in the first place.

Photo Courtesy: Tumblr