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Thursday, June 19, 2014

#YesAllWomen

A few weeks ago, a 22-year old man killed several women in California. Elliot Rodgers, that was his name.

Prior to the massacre, Elliot filmed a video explaining why he hated women, why he would kill them. After killing these women, he killed himself, and a "manifesto" that he had written was found.

Besides the horrifying nature of this story, the response has been quite overwhelming, particularly on social media. Many people have been so taken aback by young Mr. Rodgers' views that they have began to attack the misogynistic ways of today's society. 

via

Let me say this before you read my next point: I agree. I think American culture and rape culture have become horrifyingly synonymous. I don't go out alone at night, I have pepper spray on me at all times, and I lock my car doors when driving through a rough part of town. I need streetlights and company, and I have a general fear of who or what is outside my door at any given time of day.

However, I don't think that this gives me the right to become a misandrist out of hatred for mysoginists. Is a guy in a hoodie going to freak me out at night? Yes. I'll admit that. And guys like Elliot Rodger scare me too. But I want to be clear when I say that I believe that the #YesAllWomen movement has validity. I also want to be clear that there is a line. 

I believe that rape culture is real. That in general, women's bodies are put on display and seen as things that belong to men. I also believe that it is a strong generalization to say that all men are automatically geared to attack in the way that Elliot Rodger did. 

Yes, Elliot Rodger did a horrible, horrible thing. He murdered innocent women because they didn't respond to him the way he wanted to. But that fact does not give me the right to automatically assume every single guy is out to have his way with me or that every man has an evil side to his heart. I don't believe that every man is a misogynist. 

What do you think about the #YesAllWomen movement? If you don't feel comfortable sharing in the comment box, feel free to e-mail me instead. 

For additional reading on Elliot Rodger and the #YesAllWomen movement, read this article in the Washington Post and this article from the Chattanooga Times Free Press, written by my seventh grade American Studies teacher.

xx, Victoria
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*A misandrist is a person who holds general prejudice & hatred for men, and a misogynist is a person who holds general prejudice & hatred for women. 

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xx, Victoria