Since Friday night's tragic shooting in Santa Barbara, in which six people were killed and seven more were injured, disturbing details have emerged about shooter Elliot Rodgers' misogynistic worldview. The 22-year-old used a life of rejection by women he desired to rationalize his rampage, as evidenced by the countless videos and the 141-page manifesto he left behind.
While it would be erroneous to give any serious credence to the ramblings of a mentally ill individual, his feeling of entitlement towards women is part of a larger problem. In direct reaction to Rodgers' misogyny, women around the world have taken to social media to share their experiences in a culture where they often feel unsafe, by using the hashtag #YesAllWomen.
"#YesAllWomen because when we're offended at something we are told we are 'too sensitive' & 'it was a joke' rather than given an apology," wrote @postirl. "Because every single woman I know has a story about a man feeling entitled to access to her body. Every. Single. One. #YesAllWomen," added @emilyhughes.
The hashtag, which was named in response to the Not All Men meme, has been a call to arms for women who often feel unsafe a patriarchal culture.
“#YesAllWomen is important because a lot of very good guys just don't know what it's like to walk around in a female body," Writer and comedian Sara Benincasa told The Daily Beast. "They don’t know what it's like to live with the constant nagging threat of sexual violence every time we walk to our cars alone in a parking garage, or walk down the street at night to pick up food for our kids. They don't know what it’s like to get grabbed, poked, and prodded in public by strangers who are bigger and stronger than we are. Being a woman can be really scary, and if more guys realized it, they might modify their own behavior or call their friends out on bad behavior.”
The movement has also empowered women who often times are unwilling to share how they feel, according to Benincasa. “Seeing one woman share her story can give another woman the idea that it is safe to do so.”