Following the Isla Vista shooting nearly three weeks ago, when a young man influenced by extreme misogyny unleashed his anger toward women by killing 6 people and wounding 13 more , Twitter erupted with a new hash tag trend. #YesAllWomen* continues to dominate many circles of the Twitter-sphere as people write about their own experiences of gender violence, sexism, and harassment.
Since 27 May, Micah J. Murray has used his blog Redemption Pictures to house and share 8 stories of women who have tasted first hand the bitter reality of hatred and harassment aimed at all women across the globe.
#YesAllWomen will eventually disappear from the 140 character creations that litter the Internet but the women and men represented by those posts will not disappear.
They will continue to bear the wounds of past abuse. They will continue to face harassment and gender-discrimination. They will continue to live amidst a culture of sexism.
But they will also continue to fight for a better, safer culture. Their voices have been heard and their stories matter. Because they have seen the affects of violence and harassment and have stood in solidarity to say, “Enough”.
Because they recognize that the number one threat to women should not be the other half of humanity.
You will find all 8 of the currently posted stories chronicled by Redemption Pictures linked above. Be sure to explore the other pieces Micah has written on a variety of topics, all looking toward redemption. Many of his posts have been featured on this blog and by way of the blog’s Twitter feed (@PurposefulScars). He will occasionally use the art of satire to stress the importance of an issue (e.g. How Feminism Hurts Men and What I Wish Women Knew About Men). To better understand his story – particularly why he chose to highlight #YesAllWomen stories – read his post How I Became a Jesus Feminist.
You can follow Micah on Twitter (@micahjmurray). Also, check out his wife’s blog! Sarah shares her own stories and thoughts at A Lovely Frame.
Laurie Penny writes:
Why can we not speak about misogynist extremism – why can we not speak about misogyny at all – even when the language used by Elliot Rodger is everywhere online?
We are told, repeatedly, to ignore it. It’s not real. It’s just “crazy”, lonely guys who we should feel sorry for. But as a mental health activist, I have no time for the language of emotional distress being used to excuse an atrocity, and as a compassionate person I am sick of being told to empathise with the perpetrators of violence any time I try to talk about the victims and survivors. That’s what women are supposed to do. We’re supposed to be infinitely compassionate. We’re supposed to feel sorry for these poor, confused, vengeful individuals. Sometimes we’re allowed to talk about our fear, as long as we don’t get angry. Most of all, we mustn’t get angry.
We have allowed ourselves to believe, for a long time, that the misogynist subcultures flourishing on- and offline in the past half-decade, the vengeful sexism seeding in resentment in a time of rage and austerity, is best ignored. We have allowed ourselves to believe that those fetid currents aren’t really real, that they don’t matter, that they have no relation to “real-world” violence. But if the Isla Vista massacre is the first confirmed incident of an incident of gross and bloody violence directly linked to the culture of ‘Men’s Rights’ activism and Pickup Artist (PUA) ideology, an ideology that preys on lost, angry men, then it cannot be ignored or dismissed any more.
We like to think that violent misogyny – not sexism, but misogyny, woman-hatred as ideology and practice, weaponised contempt for one half of the human race – isn’t something that really happens in the so-called West. No matter how many wives and girlfriends are murdered by their husbands, no matter how many rapists are let off because of their “promising careers”, violence against women is something that happens elsewhere, somewhere foreign, or historical, or both. So anxious are we to retain this convenient delusion that any person, particularly any female person, who attempts to raise a counter argument can expect to be harassed and shouted down.
*It has been argued in many places in many ways that #YesAllWomen is equivalent to saying that yes, all men are violent or yes, all men hate women. This is not the case and this blog would in no way endorse that false notion. #NotAllMen are violent or hateful toward women. But no one – neither men nor women – can benefit by living in a society where it is still considered a remarkable, radical thing to say that every human being has equal worth, that women are people, too. Women – just as much as men – have the final say on what happens to their own bodies. Men and women owe each other respect because both men and women are fully human. What has been accomplished by #YesAllWomen – silence broken on issues related to gender-based violence and the systemic tolerance for misogyny and sexism – ought to far outweigh our own egos or preconceived notions about the world. Men are just as instrumental and just as necessary in breaking the cycle of violence. Gender-based violence is not a women’s issue but a human rights issue. Yes, all men can make a difference.