The Dangers of (Ignoring) Misogyny: #YesAllWomen Starkly Highlights Everyday Sexism
The Isla Vista shooting was about misogyny not easy access to guns or lack of access to mental health care, despite the narrative the news media usually tries to construct around these events. Yet, because even “the news” seems to get their news from Twitter, women across the world united in a bit of “hashtag activism” that should firmly place most detractors’ complaints against the practice firmly in the “kids these days” section of criticism.
#YesAllWomen was a spontaneous response to the underreported misogyny involved in the Isla Vista shooting. According to Matt Pearce of The Los Angeles Times, the Twitter user “who created the hashtag has declined to talk to reporters” because “she did not want the media spotlight.” However, over the past couple of days #YesAllWomen flooded social media feeds with personal stories of misogynies great and small.
One user tweeted about how after revealing that she’d been sexually assaulted, the first question was almost always “Were you drunk?” Another wrote that when she was 15 and got her first job in a restaurant, the manager told her to write her name and phone number on the wall in the men’s bathroom. Yet another person tweeted about the time she was dancing in the club and men kept grabbing her crotch (and no other men stopped them).
Of course, in our hyper-polarized society, nothing like this can just “be.” The hashtag has since garnered a lot of criticism. Most of it comes from insecure males seeking to “defend” their gender or offended that (for once) they are being treated with “discrimination.” This is something we will look at in a later post.
The criticism worth noting right now, however, comes unsurprisingly from the right. Twitchy, a site founded by conservative-rage panda Michelle Malkin, ran an article featuring tweets from “conservative” posters (more male than female) calling the hashtag sexist or reducing it to simple “complaining.”
Yet, this negativity is in the distinct minority. There is a time and place for digging into the nuance of certain feminist positions, certainly. #YesAllWomen, however, is best left as a moment for women to speak with unity about the injustices (from the incomprehensible to seemingly inconsequential) they face every day, simply for being who they are. The great thing about social media is that it gives everyone a voice, but there’s also a time when it’s appropriate to just listen. That time is now.
Photo via Twitter