If you haven’t had your head buried in an US Weekly trying to figure what happened at Kim and Kanye’s wedding, you know that Twitter was taken by storm these past few days by the hashtag #YesAllWomen. The hashtag came to fruition after the weekend’s senseless tragedy committed by a troubled and overwhelmingly creepy individual (whose name I refuse to use as it does not deserve to be remembered). It has since been attached to over 1.5 million tweets, and is increasing at an exponential rate. Women from around world have contributed their thoughts under one banner highlighting a societal problem that is as far-reaching as it is disturbing. It wasn’t until I really started to peel back the layers of this, albeit incredibly stinky and complex, onion that I started to realize what the movement was really about, and the impact it should have on both genders. Let’s start from the beginning.
Like most of us, I saw the news reports of the atrocities that occurred in Santa Barbara, and felt the sadness we all probably felt. It’s an indescribable pit in your stomach that makes you hang your head. For lack of a better term, it’s a total and absolute tragedy. However, it wasn’t until Monday night as I was scrolling through a mess of weekend tweets that I noticed Catie Warren feverishly tweeting out using the hashtag #YesAllWomen. “OK, I’ll bite”, I thought to myself as I started to paw through what was already 500k worth of tweets. Anyone who knows me will tell you, that when it comes to the Twittersphere, very little happens there that I am not compelled to learn and read about obsessively, at least until it becomes socially irrelevant anyway. This was something different, there was more going on here.
I found myself experiencing a wide range of emotions, but out of the gates, I was angry. Angry because I felt as though I was being lashed out against even though I had done nothing wrong. I couldn’t believe some of the hate that was being put forth. These women were angry. Like, viscerally pissed off. On some level, I understood that this was the internet and by that virtue it’s basically a breeding ground for anger and opinions without accountability, and I should have taken it with a grain of salt. Instead, I got angry, too. I have spent my whole life viewing women as nothing but equals because that’s how I was raised. I had 3 sisters growing up, two of which were older, and anyone in that boat knows that if there isn’t the utmost respect there, you WILL NOT be happy. Not to mention my father had a zero tolerance policy for any sort of violence, be it physical or verbal, toward them as I was growing up. So why the hell was I essentially being blamed? I had never considered a woman property. I had never hit a woman. I don’t even think I am capable of doing something like that. So, naturally I started to view this as a feminist, man-hater movement with no bearing on my life. Their anger is so misdirected, I thought. How fair is it, that the actions of one guy can bring down the wrath of an entire gender on people who are unsuspecting and, for all intents and purposes, innocent? So for two days I stomped around my office rolling my eyes every time someone brought it up. I’m not saying it was right, but it was what I did. The whole time, however, I kept reading the tweets. Trying to get a grasp on where all this anger was coming from. When it finally dawned on me that I had been looking at this completely wrong and in a self-serving fashion, I sat down and started writing this.
While some of the tweets attached to the hashtag are, without a doubt, hateful and without basis, the majority are outlining a massive inequality in how we view each other as humans. I realized that, while some of what I was looking at was definitely offensive and said for shock value, to live in a world where a woman would have to stop and think about saying something because it might offend some men doesn’t exactly sound like the Land of the Free, it sounds like North Korea. The deeper I dove into the conversation I thought about future generations and how I would want to show my daughter someday these writings of women who decided that enough was enough, as well as the story behind it. Then I came to realize that it would be far more important for me to save these tweets and show them to my son (if and when I have one) because that really what this whole thing is about. It’s about highlighting an inequality that is so prevalent in everyday life it’s almost like it’s not even there. It’s about how we are the same, but unique at the same time and unfortunately, I don’t think the English language has word for that.
That being said, be patient with us, ladies. Most men are good and want exactly what you want for yourselves, even though it may take a while for some, but not all, of us to fully understand what that is. I support #YesAllWomen movement, but at the same time fully realize that is a small step toward a daunting end goal that’s going to take a collaborative effort across genders to complete. Ironically, appears that the exact opposite has happened from what this nut job had intended. He set out to punish and destroy women, but in actuality, he awakened a sleeping giant.