Isla Vista killer Elliot Rodger was an on-the-record misogynist whose hatred of women stemmed from their sexual rejection of him and hatred of men stemmed from their relative sexual success. Does that make the aftermath of the tragedy he wrought the perfect time to talk about the broad spectrum of violence against women?
That’s been the overwhelming response from women who have used the Twitter hashtag #yesallwomen to relate their daily experiences of misogyny and sexism: navigating the slut/tease dichotomy, being asked by strangers to smile on the street, saying you have a boyfriend because you know men respect another man’s territory more than your professed disinterest. The hashtag is a play on #notallmen, a joke about defensive male interjections to feminist discourse (“Men are mass murderers,” but “Not all men,” etc.). #Yesallwomen took off, I think, due to women’s collective horror upon reading about Rodger’s manifestos. It was like watching your worst nightmare come true. You weren’t imagining all that vaguely threatening resentment in the men whose advances you rejected. It was part of something real, which, in its most extreme expression, is fatal.