#YesAllWomen

This is the hashtag making the rounds on Twitter right now.  Yes, sorry, back to back quasi feminist rants.

The Gilded Cage

The Gilded Cage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The hashtag and tweets are in response to this atrocity. A young man went on a rampage and killed seven people, including himself, in Santa Barbara, California.  First and foremost, my heart goes out to the victims and their families, including the family of this young man–who reportedly saw his rantings/manifesto, tried to get him help, reported him to the police.  I’m not sure how this still happened, and I’m not blogging about this to speculate re who dropped the ball.

No matter how many episodes of Criminal Minds I watch I’m not a psychiatrist, not his therapist, not an expert in human behavior, I can’t say if he was a sociopath or plain old crazy.    What I am is a woman.  And this young man’s harmful delusions centered around himself and women, their rejection of him.  His sense of entitlement to “get” hot (or whatever the current catchphrase is) blonde women, and their lack of interest in having sex with him.  Gee, can’t imagine why, his videos make him seem like such a charmer.  #YesAllWomen have said no at some point. If you’re an asshole, you’re going to hear no a lot.

The problem as I see it, the reason #yesallwomen is the hashtag and not something tied in to gun control, or “affluenza,” is that he was so easily able to find his peeps, other men who feel their dangly bits entitle them to say insulting things to and about women, have sex with whatever women they want.  In addition to his 140+ page manifesto, he left a hell of a cybertrail, rants on misogynistic websites.  No, I’m not going to link them, I’m not going to help give them more hits and traffic so easily.

It’s the same sick fountain of bullshit that allowed the man I wrote about in my last post to not see any jail time, for his ex-wife/victim to be told instead she should forgive him. #YesAllWomen are still individual beings with the right to say no, even if we get married

How many women, whether they’re twenty or fifty, can say they’ve never had the experience of being called a bitch or a tease because they didn’t want someone touching them? Or commenting on their bodies?  Because, yanno, we should all be flattered–it’s a compliment, someone wants you.  Yeah.  #YesAllWomen have experienced that moment of fear and tension, hoping the man making kissy sounds and following them will leave them the fuck alone.

Of course, this isn’t limited to misogyny, this young man’s rants had a heaping dose of racism and self hatred (he was half Asian).  Because it all goes together.  Hatred is hatred.  I do believe, I have to believe, that he was mentally ill.  But I don’t believe everyone who agreed with him, egged him on, everyone who is trolling by making provocative and hateful comments in response to the Twitter hashtag, is mentally ill.

Like every other social issue, I don’t think there is one answer, one solution.  So many things feed into these attitudes, beginning with children, teaching little girls to hate their bodies and at the same time teaching them their bodies, their faces, and how they display them are the most important part of who they are.  What? You would never feed into that! Never teach your little girl to objectify themselves, or teach your little boy to objectify girls/women.  Of course not.  So how come there are padded, push up bras in minuscule sizes in the girls’ department of clothing stores?  I’m a shoe gal, I admit it.  Heels are sexy, they make me feel…I dunno, powerful, in a way.  Women are and should be entitled to dress however they’d like.  Women.  Not girls, women old enough to have learned their bodies are a part of who they are, not the sum total.  Sure I’m uptight, sure I’m not an expert, but what is the reasoning behind these types of things beyond objectifying girls?  #YesAllWomen don’t look like the ones in magazines, and it can be a hard battle to find self acceptance.

Children are still told that when they’re shoved to the asphalt on the playground, it’s just because he/she likes you.  The same pressures put on girls are put on boys.  Stop it. Being a man has nothing to do with your girlfriend–who she is, what she looks like, or if she exists.

Women are still attacking each other for individual choices. What do you mean, you don’t want to have children/be married/have a career/use cloth diapers/breastfeed/formula feed? #YesAllWomen are being told they not only can have it all, they have to do and be it all.

With all my waiting on agent replies, I’ve been doing a lot of obsessing thinking.  One of my thoughts (and I’m sorry, I can’t remember how much I blogged about this and I’m too lazy to read my old posts) is about those romance novels that I wrote.  I’m wondering how much our society’s emphasis on romantic love contributes to these delusions.  I know, the romance heroes (mine or anyone else’s) aren’t misogynistic assholes–or if they appear to be at first, they quickly realize the error of their ways and come around to worship the heroine.  On the writer’s forum I’ve seen several instances of people being told by agents or editors they need to add in or increase the romance in their stories to make it more marketable.

Is this true, readers will be unsatisfied without romance in their thriller/fantasy/coming of age story?  Yes, we, as women, have come far.  As a society, we’ve come far.  Most people will at least pay lip service to lifestyle choices. But.  How often do you hear people asking a single woman when they’re going to get married? How about hearing someone ask your 10/11/12 year old if they have a boyfriend/girlfriend yet–and if the answer is no, why not?  And I’m not referring to Great Grandma asking these questions. If we believe a story is not complete without strong romantic elements, and we are partaking in a steady diet of these books and movies, how far away are we from saying people are not complete if they don’t have a significant other?  Hmmm, somehow this isn’t sounding as far removed from the days of “old maids”  as it should be. #YesAllWomen need to feel good about who they are, not just who they’re with.

Not all men are aggressive, entitled, driven-by-their-gonads jerks.  I believe, at this point, those men are the minority, especially as we look to the younger generations.  But too many still are.  And too many more are given a pass, because oh, well, that’s just men.  No, it isn’t just men.  It’s us, male and female, what we’re willing to say is ok and close our eyes to, and what we’re willing to stand up and say no to. Enough is enough.

#YesAllWomen because

everyone gets rejected. Deal with it.

rape jokes aren’t funny.

we still hear, “all she needs….”

we still hear, “well, what was she wearing?”

men need to know we value those who treat us as human beings, not objects.

you _____ like a girl shouldn’t be an insult.

love doesn’t conquer all.

 

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19 comments

  1. He was crazy, Mrs Fringe. The kid was insane, I have to believe that. Not an excuse. Maybe an explanation, part of one, anyway. As for who dropped the ball, yeah, that’s a discussion for another day.

    I found myself shaking my head, simultaneously pissed and horrified. Then I see the hashtag twitter feed you posted. I knew nothing about that until I read this post so I checked it out. My god, tweets are pouring in 20, 30 a minute, seems like. Like some sort of grassroots uprising, a tidal wave of righteous indignity and rage that’s been boiling under the surface and just found an outlet. It’s a shock, eye-opening and it got me thinking of times in my own life when I was afraid, overpowered, denied, misread, misunderstood, attacked, because I was female.

    Only reason.

    It isn’t fair. We need a paradigm shift in how we think about power and sex and politics and religion and equality and the way we raise our children and the fallacies we cling to. Maybe this is a start. I don’t know.

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    1. If the tweets are 20-30 a minute, they’ve slowed down. Because every woman I’ve ever known has at least 50 stories of her own, and yes, it feels like a tidal wave.

      When I first read about this tragedy, I thought how?! How could it be so close on the heels of that non-sentence that rapist received in Indiana the other day? Don’t we get to take a breath in between? But maybe, just maybe, it can be something positive comes out of this, that it isn’t just one afternoon’s discussion around the water cooler. Maybe it will get this conversation to become part of the fabric of awareness, and therefore yield change.

      I hope, and I raise my voice, shake my fists, and feel certain Husband and I have done everything possible to raise our boys differently. And then I think about the many, many stories women have, that they continue to experience every day, and I wonder if any wave will be enough against the tsunami of boys will be boys. :/

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  2. No, Mrs. Fringe. Friends aren’t what’s at stake. Truth and honesty and the next generation are. That’s what matters.

    And I agree with kk…it’s a paradigm shift that’s needed, rather than “progress.” That’s what’s so upsetting. That it has to be so monumental.

    I’m so glad you took a position here.

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  3. Monumental just about covers it. Global. It simply can’t be acceptable any more, especially considering that almost half of the world population is female. But this isn’t a women’s rights issue, it’s a human right’s issue. Inequality/Discrimination/violence against women is just part of that larger equation.

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  4. Thank you for this post, Fringe. As the father of four daughters, the oldest of whom moves out to go to college and start her own life in a matter of months, these issues and mindsets terrify and anger me to my core.

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