I want to ask: why does the recent popular Twitter hashtag #YesAllWomen exist? Is it, as we would initially say, because of men's rapes, battery, stalking, harassment, and murder of women?
That's certainly what the hashtag is filled with: 140-character-or-less stories of daily terrorism and violence. No doubt, the hashtag and other writing surrounding the UCSB shooting has been inspiring women to air their thoughts outside Twitter as well, when normally, they'd have to expect their speech to be met with responses like.. well, like this comment I recently read from a man to a woman who shared a picture online:
"Wow. I've been taking in a lot of what you've posting [sic], and being cool about [it], agreeing, etc. But this is downright militant, extremely offensive, and probably the exact opposite of what you want to put out there in support of the cause.
If us men for the last half-century hadn't been standing guard, making sure our judgement of women's thoughts and speech about male violence and gender gets heard and taken into account, what would women's oppression be like today? Without the gaslighting and the tone-policing and the movement-hijacking, would women have been able to tolerate several more decades of the rapes, battery, stalking, harassment, and murder discussed daily on the internet and tabulated in all of the statistics, over the last 50 years?
No one can say for sure. But I believe not: Women wouldn't need a hashtag if it weren't for the kind of things we men did and still do to interject into women's movements to tell women how to run them. I think things would have changed between last century and today.
I dedicate this work (“Why does #YesAllWomen exist?”) to the public domain using the Creative Commons 0 declaration.