#YesAllWomen is a Twitter trend and social media campaign in which users share examples or stories of misogyny and violence against women. The campaign attempts to raise awareness of the sexism that women experience every day. But of course, without fail, when there is a discussion of women feeling threatened by men, of rape culture or of misogyny, someone will jump in and say “But not ALL men do that!” No, not all men are sexist. Not all men commit violent acts against women. Not all men threaten, harass or objectify women. But yes, all women will at some point experience violence and unjust treatment at the hands of men. This campaign is not about shaming or accusing men, it is simply a movement to educate both men and women of all ages about 21st century misogyny.
At just 17, I have already been told 101 ways to ensure I don't get raped or sexually assaulted, but how many times have parents taught their sons not to rape? Why is saying "I have a boyfriend" easier to get a guy to back off than simply saying "no"? Why do men respect another man's "ownership" of me more than they respect my right to my own body?
If only we lived in a perfect world where we stop restricting the lives of women by telling them "wear something decent" rather than telling men to ACT decent. Where we don't have to tell women not to leave their drink unattended, and instead tell men not to drug women. A world where screaming "fire!" isn't more effective in getting help than shouting "rape!".
“We’ve been taught a woman’s body will cause men to sin. We’re told if a woman shows too much of her body men will do stupid things. Let’s be clear: A woman’s body is not dangerous to you. Her body will not cause you harm. It will not make you do stupid things. If you do stupid things, it is because you chose to do stupid things. ”— Nate Pyle, How to See a Woman: A Conversation Between a Father and Son
One in six women will be sexually harassed or raped. If a woman is wearing a short skirt, this is not an invitation for you to rape her, if a woman is drunk, this is not an opportunity for you to take advantage and if you have been married for 20 years, this does not mean she (or he!) is obliged to have sex with you. Rape can still happen in a relationship! And, by the way, in none of these scenarios, is a woman "asking for it". Rape is a crime. Sexual Harassment is a crime. Stop excusing men's criminal actions by blaming an already traumatized victim!
There's nothing I hate more than the fact that I am going to have to watch my little sister grow up in a world where she is told to take cat-calling and street harassment as compliments. Where she is told "when a boy is mean to you it means he likes you." I hate that her father has to put such a restriction on her social life because he doesn't trust her male friends, while my brother has so much freedom. I hate that somewhere in the middle east there is another girl watching her little sister being forced to marry a man three times her age. I can't stand that trans women and women of colour are so often excluded from feminist issues. Or that for some parent's in countries like China or India, the words "It's a girl!" carries nothing but disappointment rather than love and joy.
We as a society cannot fix this problem unless we work together. Feminism needs men, women, and anyone in between. This about equality. It is not about exclusion, or hate, it's not "anti-men". It's about seeing each other as human beings.