Disclaimer: If you're the type of person that's been complaining about the #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter, you might want to stop reading here. You should also probably stop being my friend and find some girl buried deep enough under a rock to still want an MRS degree.
#YesAllWomen is truly one of the most powerful things I have witnessed in a long time. Today, I spent hours reading through the stories being tweeted with this hashtag, and subsequently spent hours thinking about all of the ways women are made to feel objectified, judged and overall less-than simply because we live in a world where men are valued more than we are. There have been so many powerful contributions to this movement (and of course, the bitter idiots that I addressed in my disclaimer), and I am deeply impressed by the conversations that have been catalyzed by the Santa Barbara tragedy. Despite being raised in an environment that empowered me as a female (seriously, my mom took me to see Maya Angelou live when I was 10), the poignancy of these tweets have made me all too aware of how much oppression #YesAllWomen face on a daily basis.
Despite being fortunate enough to live in a society where I can vote, hold the same job as a male coworker, pursue higher education, control my own body and look up to women like Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling, the conversations surrounding #YesAllWomen are a reminder that we have much, much farther to go. As the stories my mother tells me about facing gender discrimination take me aback, I hope one day that the stories I tell my daughter(s) about facing gender discrimination take them aback. My grandmother has stories to contribute to #YesAllWomen, my mother does and so do I. In a society where gender discrimination is so deeply ingrained in the social structure, and where we have indeed made strides in gender equality, it can be difficult to recognize the systematic oppression we encounter on a daily basis.
We have made progress, but we must not forget that there is still more to be made. This is the good that has come from the horror of the Isla Vista shootings, and this is the reason that #YesAllWomen exists.
Here are, unfortunately, only a small selection of the experience I've had and witnessed that apply to #YesAllWomen:
- Because when I was harassed by an intoxicated man in Italy in the middle of the day, none of the 10 men in the subway car with me said anything.
- Because my best friend was once told she's lucky all she'll ever have to do in life is to stand around and look pretty. And it was meant as a compliment.
- Because until the #YesAllWomen movement, I didn't realize that my fear of putting down a drink, walking home alone or denying a man my phone number should not be normal.
- Because a male middle school teacher once forced me to perform push-ups in front of the class in exchange for him accepting a late assignment.
- Because I had to add a disclaimer at the top of this article.
- Because I've been called a retard, b*tch, narcissist, crazy and more -- yet I'm still most upset by the time a guy called me fat.
- Because I watched my single mom struggle to earn respect, make friends and convince married women that she was not, in fact, around to pursue their married husbands.
- Because despite being one, I've come to fear the label 'feminist.'
- Because when I was abroad accosted by a male bus driver, I blamed myself for getting on the bus.
- Because I'm more scared of riding the subway, walking home at night or leaving work after dark alone than I am of cancer, a heart attack or old age.
- Because it took my mom over 30 years to finally be allowed to deliver an Aliyah.
- Because there are so many more.