A Note on #YesAllWomen

So last night I was thinking about the YesAllWomen hashtag that has been making the rounds. I got to thinking about what it really means to me, and why something that should be a voice for change has also brought out so much negativity. I began to realize that the nature of #YesAllWomen makes some people uncomfortable and that many who casually see the tag pop up on Facebook or twitter only associate it with Elliot Rodger and not the much larger meaning that it has really taken on.

#YesAllWomen is not a hate message to men, it’s a symbol of all the suffering that has gone on for too long in silence. That has been taken for granted, and hidden, and left buried in women’s turbulent thoughts. It’s about exposing everyone to the reality of the inequality that exists in our society.#YesAllWomen exists because up until this point nothing else has allowed us to show our voice without it being shot down, without someone saying we were being “radical feminists” or calling us men haters. Nothing else has allowed us to show the world what we go through every day, what preys on our thoughts when we walk alone at night or take the subway/metro/skytrain alone.

#YesAllWomen is a letter to the men in our lives – the one we hope you’ll take the time to read – the one that will explain why we need to still fight for equality, why we still need feminism. It’s also a letter to each other, of support and compassion, of empathy and heartache. It’s a message sharing our pain with each other and possibly for the first time, with you.

I’m not usually one to bother with hashtags; I don’t even really use them in my tweets. But this time I think it’s far too important to pass up and I hope this doesn’t just die out like so many movements do.

We need #YesAllWomen, just look up the tag and after you’ve read the stories, seen the repeats over and over again, and realize that these are valid fears that women all over face, I hope you realize that this isn’t about hate at all, it’s about empowerment.

*****

Because I can’t go running at night. #YesAllWomen

Because I tried “sorry, I’m not interested.” But in the end the only reason he left me alone was because “I’ve got a boyfriend.” #YesAllWomen

Because “If you loved me, you would.” Is still a thing. #YesAllWomen

Because my body belongs to me. #YesAllWomen

-Leah

 

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