At first, I jumped on the bandwagon.
The #YesAllWomen campaign began in response to the recent Southern California shooting lead by 22-year-old Elliot Rogers. His misogynist ravings and 140 page manifesto outraged social media users. Using Twitter as a tool, women (and men, for that matter) took to the web to share their personal stories and draw attention to the sexism women can face daily using the hashtag, “#YesAllWomen.”
To date, #YesAllWomen has reached more than a million tweets and counting. And I am truly head over heels for the campaign.
The instant I saw the trending hashtag I was motivated to play my part in speaking up and speaking out in regards to the injustice and double standards women can face in society. Not only as a female, but as I human being, I hold a civic duty to advocate against what is wrong, and in favor of what’s right.
Initially, the campaign’s efforts appeared to be on point. It seemed to be aimed towards shedding light on the various forms of injustice against women, encouraging lasting cultural change, and inspiring positive action. And for the most part, it still is.
The messages and motives that #YesAllWomen originally presented? They are all too real, and all too often, overlooked. As I read tweets from women with the courage to open up and share their stories, my heart swelled in admiration of their strength. But, as I continued to follow the trend, I found myself equally as heartbroken….because as an incoming college sophomore, many of the #YesAllWomen testimonies made I see in the culture surrounding me.
Every. Single. Day.
“He’s a 19 year old freshman guy….that’s just how they are.”
“He only acts that way because you put him in the ‘friend-zone’…”
Two statements I would hear again and again throughout my freshman year- from both men AND women, and in regards to matters of all sorts. Having grown up surrounded by both peers and elders who set positive examples of how women should be treated, I still can’t quite grasp how we so easily rationalize some behaviors.
So, needless to say, I share the same passion for change that the #YesAllWomen campaign promotes.
But, what started as a call for action and a much needed conversation starter has sense become a BATTLE in ways, and wrongly so.
….que the also trending hashtag, #NotAllMen.
A defense of sort from the male community, who have been attacked by the, for lack of better term, uneducated and misguided #YesAllWomen campaign band-wagoneers.
#YesAllWomen isn’t about demeaning or surpassing our male counterparts, although it has arguably become such an effort in some aspects.
And now, the BEST thing to happen to feminists could also be considered the WORST, should we fail to clearly define the matter at hand.
Is equality a battle? Yes.
Does a double standard exist between men and women in today’s society? Yes.
Should we be working towards cultural change? Yes. Yes. Yes. YES.
….but not against one and other. And certainly not in some of the ways #YesAllWomen has begun to slowly take shape.
Because a gender movement is far more powerful than a gender war.
Their are, indeed, men who publicly support this effort. And they rock my socks off.
And overall, the #YesAllWomen campaign has already made incredible strides for women. But, if we look at women’s rights and feminism as a “Man vs. Woman” effort, we get nowhere.
#YesAllWomen is about cooperation, working hand in hand as a community to establish lasting and meaningful cultural change….not attacking one and other.
I look forward to the day where women are no longer labeled because they place a man in the friend-zone. To be selective is to be empowered.
I look forward to the day where being a “freshman college guy” is no longer an excuse. For anything.
But most importantly….
I look forward to the day where feminism can no longer be viewed as a competition.