By this point, if you’ve been on the internet, I’m sure you’ve heard about the shootings in Isla Vista, California. I’m sure you’ve heard of the reasons behind all this stemming from a man’s (and I use that word loosely) opinion that he was entitled to a girlfriend and attention from other women.
And hopefully by now you’ve heard of the hashtag on Twitter, #YesAllWomen.
There will be people who are able to and will speak about this movement, about this hashtag far better than I could. There will be those who are able to put words together to eloquently and adequately express just why this is important. I’ll leave that to them.
But I have to say something about this.
Because it is important. Because all women at one point of another have been on the receiving end of harassment, of judgment because of their gender, of gas-lighting from someone who thinks they’re reactions are “too emotional” and “probably due to that time of the month.”
What I feel is nothing new, it’s nothing unique. And yet it is still dismissed so easily by so many.
#YesAllWomen because my pre-dawn run on Tuesday was filled with anxiety and a conscious effort to not give 100% in case I needed to get away from someone.
#YesAllWomen because ignoring catcalls on the street somehow makes ME the bitch, makes ME the one in the wrong.
#YesAllWomen because I consider myself one of the lucky ones because I haven’t been raped.
#YesAllWomen because I don’t go running after dark unless my fiance is with me. Because I look every single man I pass in the face and note his clothing in case I need to identify someone later. Because I am uncomfortable running in just a sports bra in case someone feels it’s an invitation.
#YesAllWomen because I am terrified to have a daughter for fear of the type of world she’d have to grow up in.
#YesAllWomen because of the number of times I’ve been asked to “prove” how much of a fan I am of sports or my team or whatever just because I’m a girl.
#YesAllWomen because of the fact that I love kickboxing not just because of the workout, but because it taught me how to throw a good punch. Just in case.
#YesAllWomen because I have these “just in case”s.
#YesAllWomen because explanations of spending two years in a relationship with someone who so damaged me mentally and emotionally that I STILL, ten years later, find myself reacting strongly to certain things is still met with “Well, he was just young and stupid then” and “Why didn’t you just break up with him?”
#YesAllWomen because it shouldn’t be a surprise or unique to be with someone who validates every feeling I have.
#YesAllWomen because my no should be good enough and shouldn’t be an invitation to call me a bitch or try to persuade me to say yes. Because my engagement ring shouldn’t be more of a reason for someone to back off than just me saying “I’m not interested.”
#YesAllWomen because the “friend zone” is bullshit. Because I should never have to read about men I respect saying that being with a jerk boyfriend is a girl’s fault for having “friend-zoned” all the nice guys. Because a woman has the right to say no for whatever reason.
#YesAllWomen because no should always mean no.
#YesAllWomen because we are people too. We’re not just someone’s wife or mother or girlfriend or daughter or niece. We are people, and we’re worthy of respect. We should be able to feel safe at all times because we are human beings, not because we’re in some way related to a man.
I am tired of having to explain that my being a feminist does not mean I hate men, but that it means I would like to be seen as equal. I’d like to be seen as more than my physical attributes. I’d like to be seen as a successful scientist and a runner and a sports fan WITHOUT the label of “female” before it. Because it shouldn’t matter that I’m a woman.
I am tired of learning about the abuse, physical and mental, that my loved ones have been put through. I am tired of the implication that somehow they deserved it or were asking for it or were somehow at fault themselves.
I am tired of misogyny and tired of the attitude that as a woman I am somehow “lesser.”
I am just tired.