NOTE: There are two updates at the end of this post. Please read them.
If you’re a man, be ashamed. We let this happen.
hannah hunt @sw4gbol May 26
#YesAllWomen because on the train a stranger and his friends made rude comments about my breasts & then apologised to my boyfriend, not me
You might already have guessed that this post is not about science, or math, or climate change. It’s about the fact that all women live in fear of sexual assault.
If you haven’t already, search Twitter for the hashtag #YesAllWomen. Read. If you have already, read some more.
I already know that #NotAllMen are sexual abusers or potential rapists. If that’s your attitude — then FUCK YOU. Because #YesAllMenAreTheProblem. Except maybe Jimmy Carter.
Don’t give me any of that “not me” crap. I am so fucking mad, I am so upset, I’m in no mood for any apologist shit.
I’m a white man — I’m even an old white man. But I have despised racism since I was a small white boy. I’m not Jewish, but I have despised anti-semitism since I was a tiny little gentile. I won’t put up with it, and if we’re at a party and you make some casual offhand joke, some witty remark, rooted in racism or anti-semitism, I’m calling you out. I’m calling you the asshole you are. Loud enough that everyone can hear. I’m making such a big stink about it that somebody — maybe you, maybe me, but somebody — will probably be asked to leave. Every goddamn time. That’s the kind of shit I will not put up with.
But I’ve been in the company of men — and women — when sexist remarks are made, belittling women, objectifying them, even “jokingly” legitimizing rape. But I usually don’t raise a stink about it. I let it slide. “Boys will be boys.” Yes, I have been part of the problem.
Women are afraid. They live in fear. If you don’t believe me, then you need to go read the #YesAllWomen comments. Read a lot of them. Read some more. Keep reading the stories, from real victims, until you’re so fucking mad you can’t see straight. Until you’re so upset that tears come to your eyes.
And if you’re male, keep reading those stories until you feel ashamed. We should be.
Nobody should have to live in fear. Of course I’m not a rapist, most men aren’t, but we — the men of the world — are running the show, and we let this happen. Some men are the perpetrators, ALL women are the victims, but we are responsible. We made the world what it is. Right now, I don’t much like the way it is.
If you’re a male, and you’re not the 39th president of the United States, then you are the problem. Yeah. I said it.
Don’t comment here telling me how you would never do that. Tell the asshole who thinks it’s funny.
More important, let’s change the world. I don’t know how best to do that, but I suggest that step 1 is to join an organization which is dedicated to changing the way women are treated. It’s called “NOW” — the National Organization for Women.
Even if you’re not willing (or able) to march in a protest, join anyway. Send them the fucking membership dues. They’ll put it to good use. If we should meet at a party and conversation turns to this topic, and I protest that even if you’re not an abuser you’re still part of the problem — whip out that NOW membership card, hold it high, and say, quietly but proudly, “Not me.”
Join NOW. Even if all you do is donate membership dues it’ll help. And I don’t give a flying fuck if you’ve never done anything to oppress women. If you’re a man, and you’re not the 39th president of the United States, I regard you as part of the problem.
And (it’s a shame I even have to say this) it’s high time we passed the equal rights amendment. It is almost incomprehensible that this isn’t part of our constitution. ERA NOW.
If you’re a woman, join NOW. Speak up. And (sad but true) don’t forget to protect yourself.
If you’re a man, join NOW. Speak up. And (sad but true) be ashamed. Be very ashamed.
Of all the things I’ve seen or read via the #YesAllWomen hashtag, this is the one that ripped my guts out:
I ‘m disappointed that there are men commenting here who are so outraged at the unfairness of being called “part of the problem” they can’t let it pass unchallenged — but don’t seem at all outraged that women live under the constant threat of abuse.
For those who have whined about how unfair it is for me to lay the blame at the feet of all men, but apparently still haven’t actually listened to what women are saying, here’s what one woman has to say:
… I wondered if he would still be there when I returned alone, late at night, when the station would be desolate, and started charting another route home. The experience of feeling simultaneously threatened and unable to speak, of feeling as if I would be persecuting this man who was committing a sexual impropriety were I to pipe up and tell him to knock it off, was unsettlingly familiar.
Do you get that? “Unsettlingly familiar.”
Here’s what women are saying on twitter:
Hannah ?@bluntlystyles 24m
#YesAllWomen If more men said “don’t be that guy” to each other instead of “not all men” to women… what a wonderful world this could be.
keara ? ?@kearalong 35s
#YesAllWomen because assault didn’t have as much a lasting effect as being told I was lying about it did
Eliane Helvrich ?@ElianeHelvrich 38s
#YesAllWomen Because I’m sick of being called ‘crazy feminist bitch’ every time I talk about equal rights.
Alexia ?@Alexiasmailbox 43s
#YesAllWomen Bc is it still socially “acceptable” to declare I am NOT a feminist. Is it ok to declare I am racist?
angel ? ?@angeloxoxo 59s
#yesallwomen cause I’ve seen it happen to my own mother
Heidi ?@TheDreadess 2m
Because #YesAllWomen is a human rights issue and not about hating men … stop diverting your attention … half the human race is in pain
Amphy64 ?@Amphy64 1m
1]I came to the slow, sad realisation that my male flatmates didn’t think twice about using the 24hr Uni library, but I had to. #YesAllWomen
#YesAllWomen because ‘I have a boyfriend’ is more effective than ‘I’m not interested’—men respect other men more than my right to say no
Because I’ve already rehearsed “Take whatever you want, just don’t hurt me.” #YesAllWomen
#YesAllWomen because every time I try to say that I want gender equality I have to explain that I don’t hate men.
Men’s greatest fear is that women will laugh at them, while women’s greatest fear is that men will kill them. -Margaret Atwood #YesAllWomen
Because in about 30 states, rapists whose victims choose to keep the baby can get parental rights, like weekend visitation. WTF #YesAllWomen
#yesallwomen because apparently the clothes I wear is a more valid form of consent than the words I say
I repeat: the fact that there are male victims isn’t proof it’s not misogyny. It’s evidence that misogyny hurts men too. #YesAllWomen
The most shameful thing is that these comments were so easy to find. There are, literally, millions like them to choose from. Millions.
Here’s a comment from a man who I think actually “gets it”
Charles W Smith, MD ?@edocarkansas 23s
Good discussion about misogyny w/my 26 y.o. driving yesterday to her wedding Sat. She is often fearful. We men need to reflect! #yesallwomen
For those who still entertain the thought that saying ALL women deal with fear is overblown, or that I have no right to speak for “all women,” I’m re-posting this. This is what a woman has to say:
Because I didn’t know I was being harassed.
Because I didn’t know it wasn’t ok.
Yes All Women.
I join this hashtag because I consider myself lucky, because I have always been surrounded by strong role models, loving family, supportive friends. I have never been raped. I have never been molested. All of my sexual experiences have been clear choices that I have made and all with people who respected me.
I am lucky.
I am tall, I am strong, I do not physically look like the sort of girl who can be easily overpowered.
Yes All Women
When we were 18, in dance clubs, sober, men grinding on us, they often grabbed our hands, put them on their crotches to feel their erections. “Look what you do to me.” I’d recoil, they didn’t seem to care. But still, that was the preferred comment, because sometimes it was the hand placed on the crotch with “how are you going to take care of this” or “you better finish this problem you started.” I’d pull my hand away, turning around, looking for someone to take refuge in and finding no friendly faces, walk casually but too quickly to the women’s room and hide.
That’s why there are couches in the women’s room, by the way. Because sometimes that is the only safe place for a woman to be. Let her sit down while she figures out how to time it so she can run out of the club but isn’t stuck standing too long exposed on the street corner waiting for the bus.
Yes All Women.
I didn’t know that was harassment.
Yes, when the older tennis pro I had just met led me to an unlit field and pushed me down, I knew that was wrong. I knew kicking him was right and I knew I was lucky that the kick hit, lucky that I had the self-esteem to kick, lucky that I had the presence of mind, lucky that my legs were long. I knew I could have told someone about that, that I should have told someone, but all I could really think was, “why did I go on a walk with him, I know better than that, I can’t let anyone know that I was so stupid.”
But when the boys at the club asked me how I was going to “take care of their hard-ons,” I thought that was just the price you paid for wanting to go dancing. And yes, I did want boys to flirt with me. I hoped someone would notice me and tell me I was pretty and I felt that’s what I deserved for that desire. That’s how boys flirted, let me know I was attractive, by telling me I owed them sex because the sight of me aroused them. That seemed normal.
Yes All Women
Because I don’t want any girls to think that is normal. Because I don’t want any girls to think it’s ok that their boss tells them they should “bend over more.” Because no one should feel they have to laugh when a guy grabs their ass and tells them “not to be so uptight.” Because being followed down an alley by someone saying he’d “love to lick that pussy” is not something that should be shrugged off as just what happens when you have a certain bra size.
Because the stories that I remember so casually are things that appall the incredible, kind, intelligent men that I know and love. Because they are shocked and because I am too, at how unquestioningly we, myself and my friends, internalized these things as the simple prices we paid for living in the world as women.
Yes All Women
Because I can talk about these things. Because I can talk about these things for the many women who can not, who dare not.
Because I am lucky.