On May 23rd, Elliot Rodger murdered six people and wounded 13 more, at random, in Isla Vista, near the University of California Santa Barbara. The supposed reason: Women. In a 135-plus page, misogynist, autobiographical manifesto and multiple YouTube videos, he blamed all women and their disdain and sexual rejection of him for his rampage. His ideas are terrifying.
Yes, Elliot Rodgerâ€™s manifesto is extreme and thereby easy to dismiss as the rantings of a madman. But …â€œreading his manifesto, you can make out, through the distortions of his raging mind, the outlines of mainstream American cultural values”….”Rodger was crazier and more violent than most people, but his beliefs are on a continuum with misogynistic, class-based ideas that are held by many.â€ Sasha Weiss, The New Yorker
Amazingly, though, Rodgerâ€™s horrific actions and madman rantings have given rise to something wonderful and cause for hope: #YesAllWomen.Â Women have again found their voices.
For years many of us have struggled to find ways to get a broader spectrum of women involved in our struggle, the womenâ€™s rights struggle. This is not about humanism, but about feminism.Â Well, Elliot Rodgerâ€™s distorted views and violent random acts succeeded. He galvanized us in a way that has been long in coming.
â€œIn response [to Rodger], the hashtagÂ #YesAllWomen began to race across Twitter TWTR +1.48%. By [yesterday] afternoon, the tag had been used more than 1.8 million times according to tracking service Topsy. It linked stories of sexual violence, sexual harassment, and sexual fear across the networked world, as women reacted viscerally to both the horror of the crime and its commonality in their experience â€“ at least in its motivation. The hashtag was a harsh and unsubtle pushback against the pat and simplistic â€œnot all menâ€ rejoinder so often flung about when feminism threatens male sensitivities. And frankly, #YesAllWomenÂ was a vital moment in the still-growing power of loosely organized and decentralized feminist networks that are changing the landscape of social culture using platforms like Twitter and Facebook.â€ Tom Watson, Forbes
Please join the movement #YesAllWomen. Put it in your search engine and see what comes up.
There is another great feminist power field to tell you about: Know Your IX, founded by female college students who have been rape victims and were denied the protection guaranteed by Title IX.Â VisitÂ KnowYourIX.org and/or like them on Facebook. These women are shaking it up.
I want to yell, â€œTHANK YOUâ€ from the rooftops to all these women.
Read the following articles and share.
The Power of #YesAllWomen, by Sasha Weiss, The New Yorker