2014: #YesAllWomen

January 5, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us



San Francisco. Photo: Steve Rhodes



When Elliot Rodger unleashed his murdering retribution against women in May 2014—which also took the lives of four male students in Isla Vista, California—students held a small protest which, together with a Twitter campaign, sparked an outpouring of grief, rage, and soul-searching discussion about rape culture on campus and in society at large.

Two young women started the hashtag #YesAllWomen to answer the all-too-typical response epitomized by a Twitter account titled “Not All Men”—which objected to attributing the massacre to misogyny (woman hating) and claimed this was portraying all men as sexist aggressors when this was just an act of a mentally deranged individual. The #YesAllWomen tweets stepped off with messages like “Not all men harass women but ALL women at some point have been harassed by men.” Within a few days, #YesAllWomen had over a million posts with an international following that included celebrities, news reporters, and authors weighing in.

The outpouring gave voice to emotions normally shoved down and silenced—where what women too often put up with as “normal” is starting to give way to anger and a collective strength of spirit that women shouldn’t have to live like this. And it’s about time! These are the kinds of cracks in the normal routine that people have to step through and pry open so that there are real alternatives to how women at great cost accept and internalize their oppression. ‘Cause let’s face it—it’s been fucking degrading and disheartening that the highest young women can shoot for in the 21st century is “owning” your own sexuality so you can “get yours” out of the dominant social relations that are saturated in patriarchal privilege and firmly embedded in the capitalist dog-eat-dog commodity relations that shape every choice you can make—no matter how free you think you are to make them. (See "Reflections on '#YesAllWomen'" at www.revcom.us.)

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