Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Concerning #yesallwomen

I've been trying to stay apart from the #yesallwomen phenomenon sparked by egregious acts of violence at UC Santa Barbara not long ago.  This is primarily a survival strategy on my part -- I can't afford to loose that kind of anger right now.

But I do want to respond briefly by (1) posting a link which provides a glimpse of what the movement is all about, and (2) stating what I take to be the underlying point.

(1) This link publishes together 17 tweets affiliated with the movement that succinctly provide common responses to the myriad issues being discussed.  All of them are representative of the broader movement; many of them express attitudes I readily relate to.

(2) I want to respond briefly to the #notallmen counter-movement with a statement that many others have already made, but nevertheless which I believe is the major lesson to be gleaned from this:

Those of us who are speaking out against sexual harassment are not claiming that all men engage in such activities. Yet the fact remains that all of the women we know have been sexually harassed by men (hence "yes, all women").   Can you appreciate the logic here? The issue is not a call to misandry, but rather a call for men to recognize that sexual harassment is a "fact of life" for women -- even in the U.S. -- and that this is an unacceptable, intolerable state of affairs. 

In the country where I currently live, I am harassed (to varying degrees) nearly every day.  This is part of the reason why I haven't been more vocal about #yesallwomen -- it's hard enough to fight my own individual battle.  Just walking to the bus or to buy groceries or to choir practice or taking a taxi is an anxiety-inducing, stressful occasion that saps my strength noticeably.  I am constantly on-edge and often seething with anger just below the surface. It isn't this intense in the U.S. (thank God), as far as just walking on the street goes.  But it is still intolerably bad in other venues.

Awareness is the first step --and that means you, men.  Because all women are/have been/continue to be sexually harassed whether or not you are aware of it, and whether or not you are the cause of it.

1 comment:

  1. I actually thought this article was an interesting take on the whole thing too: http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2014/05/_yesallwomen_in_the_wake_of_elliot_rodger_why_it_s_so_hard_for_men_to_recognize.html


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