Thirdeyemom

The Power of Social Media in Making Change: #YesAllWomen

Last Friday was a beautiful, summer day in Minnesota. After a long winter, bright blue skies and warm weather had finally arrived and I was looking forward to a lovely, three-day holiday weekend that would launch us into summer. Then I read the news and my heart sank. Another devastating killing spree had shocked our nation. Another disillusioned young white man by the name of Elliot Rodger had taken out his displeasure on the world by killing six innocent others near the campus of University of California in Santa Barbara . Yet this time, he had another motive: Misogyny, the hatred of women and girls.

Screenshot of a tweet. Photo source: CNN

Screenshot of a tweet. Photo source: CNN

His disturbing YouTube video illustrating his utter hatred of women has shocked and angered people across the globe. And his shooting rampage has sparked a global feminist outcry of anger, rage, grief and sadness in social media with many women sharing their own stories of harassment, sexism, violence and rape.

An exempt from the transcript of his video is enough to make you sick:

“Hi, Elliot Rodger here. Well, this is my last video. It all has to come to this. Tomorrow is the day of retribution, the day I will have my revenge against humanity, against all of you.

For the last eight years of my life, since I hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires, all because girls have never been attracted to me. Girls gave their affection and sex and love to other men, never to me. You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me but I will punish you all for it. I take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am, in truth, the superior one, the true alpha male. [laughs]

 

The social media hashtag #YesAllWomen that has been used on Facebook and Twitter since last Friday has been trending worldwide and continues to rush out a torrent of tweets at breakneck speed. On Sunday, the hashtag peaked at 61,500 tweets per Twitter and continues to run strong with continuous tweets about life in a sexist world. The hashtag which didn’t even exist before May 24th has been attached to over 1.2 million tweets and isn’t showing any signs yet of slowing down per Mashable. Similar to the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls that was invented as an outcry over the Nigerian school girls kidnapped on April 15th by extremists,  #YesAllWomen has become a social media phenomenon as a way for people to use their collective voice to promote change.

Photo of a tweet. Source: CNN

Photo of a tweet. Source: CNN

Some of the most powerful tweets I’ve read on #YesAllWomen are a powerful reminder that women are not safe, no matter where they live. I’ve written extensively on my blog about women’s rights and violence against women in poor, developing countries however obviously violence against women and sexism continue to be blatant even in our own country.

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There is no woman that has never been touched by sexism. The lucky ones live their lives without being harassed while many live their lives with the painful dark nightmare of being hit, groped, abused or raped.

35 comments

    • So glad you enjoyed. I’m happy to see that the hashtag is still going crazy and I can hardly read all the tweets! That is good news. Let’s hope it makes change eventually.

    • So glad you found this piece helpful. I feel sometimes like I need to rant and don’t want to. But this issue just drives me crazy. Too many people close to me have been raped or abused. Thankfully I’ve been safe. It just is plain sad.

  1. Thank you for writing this, Nicole. It’s so vital that people understand that this was not “just another” case of mental illness. Clearly misogyny and entitlement played a HUGE role. As evidenced by the fan pages and absolutely horrible comments I’ve read in comments sections of articles, there are many, many men in America who sympathize with Elliot and think that it’s women’s fault for not “putting out” enough for the nerdy antisocial types. Revolting… a girlfriend is not a reward to be won, or a currency to accumulate as you climb the alpha-male ladder.

    (Also, great that you linked to the Freshly Pressed post on the blog “We Hunted the Mammoth.” It’s such a great read).

    Here’s a great article from a “nerdy guy’s” perspective: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/27/your-princess-is-in-another-castle-misogyny-entitlement-and-nerds.html

    • Thanks for your comment Meghan. This issue is one that angers me so incredibly much. There is so much to say about it that it is hard to put it into words. Iw ill go check out the article you mentioned below. Thanks again. We must never give up the fight!

  2. Nicole, one of the contributions that we each can make as parents and grandparents or anyone that is involved in raising boys is to teach them to honor and respect females.

  3. Although I feel safe with the men in my family, I know that is not the case with many women. Also outside the home, women must take precautions such as locking themselves inside the car, avoiding dark and secluded places and the like. It is part of almost all cultures. We need to teach our sons and get help for those that are having problems.
    Leslie

    • Yes so true Leslie. I think back to my younger years and am amazed I survived. I know a lot of people close to me who had very very bad experiences and it frightens me. I just wish our culture would stop objectifying women. It doesn’t make it any easier to lessen the violence and view of women as sex objects. Media, movies, ads, music are all full of this garbage which just reinforces the battle. It really makes me sad.

  4. Sas

    A similar topic has been all over the news in the UK recently too. Many once popular television personalities from the 70s and 80s have been on trial for crimes against women, and young men and children, such as rape and sexual assault. It has highlighted just how sexist this industry once was, and has allowed a lot of women who worked in the media at the time to speak out about the horrendous culture that they had to face on a daily basis. It has also, eventually, given the many victims a voice. It’s shameful that we as a society allowed these monsters to do what they did for so long unchecked, but I hope that we can learn from it and prevent future abuse.

    • Wow thanks for sharing Sas. I have not heard about this as sadly our news here doesn’t always have a lot of international coverage. I probably could have read it online but I’ve been busy. Anyway yes it is very very sick. It happens way too much. Right now in our news it is all about the priests who have abused boys for years but were left in power. So sick and so wrong. I wish things would change.

    • Thanks Sue. It is so sad. Two sad issues: Violence and hatred of women and our love of guns (and anyone who wants one can have plenty). It is overwhelming to me.

      • I will say that we have a lot of problems in Canada but I am grateful for less access to guns. I know it happens here too none the less. Terrible stuff.

      • I would much rather be Canadian than American. Our guns laws drive me absolutely crazy and there is a lot that really really frustrates me about it here. Yes we have freedom and opportunities but sometimes I worry so much about the direction of our country and its citizens. Of course there are still many good people here but when election time comes and things like mass gun rampages arrive, I really worry. Oh well.

  5. Reblogged this on mgtrrz's Blog and commented:
    We Always Attempt to Assign the Ugliness And Ills of the World to ANYTHING and ANYONE ‘OUTSIDE’ Our Little Universe—The TROUBLE IS…That It’s ALL Around US…MANY Times It’s In The MIRROR !!!

  6. It makes me absolutely sick that in this day and age, we STILL need to concern ourselves with this stuff… What’s the worst that happens to a guy when a girl turns him down? He gets laughed at. The worst that can happen to a woman? Rape and murder, apparently. It’s 2014, how much longer will it be before people can treat each other with dignity and respect?? Super important piece, thanks for sharing.

    • Yes, so incredibly true. It makes me very angry, disturbed and sad. I just don’t understand why nothing seems to change. hopefully someday it will. I worry about my daughter.

  7. vastlycurious.com

    Thank you for speaking for all of us Nicole! I tried not to watch the coverage as it just saddened me. I also recently left a position working for a full blown misogynist so we need do need to create awareness of the unacceptable.

  8. I’m sitting up all night inthe Quito, Ecuador airport reading your posts that I’ve saved during my month in Ecuador. This one particularly hit home with me. I was researching the Quechua women of Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, when I found 2 articles referencing the forced sterilization of the Quechua women, without their knowledge, in the 1960-70s. What shocked me was that these programs were funded by the U.S. and administered by the Peace Corp!!! Hard to believe. Thousands of women have been forcefully sterilized! I am so sick about this. I had no idea!

    • Wow, that is so sad. I have heard of forced sterilization before and know we’ve supported it in places. What a tragedy. All this stuff makes me so sick and sad. I hope there is someday change. It is 2014 yet rape, violence against women and abuse, and sexism still exist very much. At least we have laws in place now but that still doesn’t always help.

    • Thank you so much Claire for sharing this article. It is excellent and well said. I completely agree. There needs to be so much education with young men and women about what sex is. It isn’t a conquest. It is a mutually loving and compassionate thing. Not something to “get”. Thank you again.

  9. anotherjennifer

    A beautiful piece, Nicole. It’s amazing what we can do using social media. I hope some good will come out of this terrible tragedy.

    • Thanks Jennifer! 🙂 BTW, I didn’t forget about writing for Philanthropy Friday. Just will have to do it sometime in July after the madness of Ethiopia and end of school year stops! 🙂

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