#YesAllWomen’s Wasted Opportunity

 

shutterstock_162487649An article on CNN leads off the discussion of the #YesAllWomen hashtag with the following:

No, not all men channel frustration over romantic rejection into a killing spree. But yes, all women experience harassment, discrimination or worse at some point in their lives. That’s the message at the core of an ongoing Twitter conversation that emerged after a rampage last week that left six students from the University of California, Santa Barbara, dead and wounded 13 others. Elliot Rodger, who apparently shot and killed himself, left behind a robust digital footprint detailing his plan to “destroy everything I cannot have,” blaming the “cruelness of women” for leading to his “day of retribution.”

Okay, I get it: Elliot Rodger was a jerk who hated women, and now we get inundated on Twitter with the notion that all women are victims of a domineering male society (never do I see an acknowledgement that women can be, and often are,  just as bad too each other as any man ever could be). As one person on Twitter said:

#notallmen practice violence against women but #YesAllWomen live with the threat of male violence. Every. Single. Day. All over the world.

Now, last time I checked, four of the victims in the Isla Vista massacre were men, but it doesn’t matter; living with the threat of violence is part of being being a human. It why we have laws, whey we have countries to protect us, and why we have inventions to give the weak a way to deter that threat of violence.

Instead of making this into a screed about violent men, let’s make it into something a little more helpful. I would propose the following:

  • Let’s start a discussion about mental health in our society.
  • Let’s talk about the sense of entitlement held by people of a certain generation, which makes them feel they are owed love, support, companionship, or sex from their peers.
  • Lets start a serious discussion about the tens of thousands of young people at loose ends in our society. We have created a world where they believe they can check all the right boxes and be handed a good job, a nice house, and a gorgeous wife or handsome husband. Gone is the sense that you start small and work up from there.
  • Finally lets talk about the place of the military in our society. There was a day when a troubled young man like this would have been encouraged (or forced) into joining the military. For many, if not all, of them, that kind of rough living and adherence to discipline is just what is needed to straighten them out.  

Maybe I am just preaching to the choir, but I feel like #YesAllWomen is missing the point. Beyond that, it is a wasted opportunity. Then again, blaming it on the male patriarchy is the easy way out. If they peer into society’s murky depths, I suspect many of those employing the hashtag may not like what they see.

There are 20 comments.

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  1. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    #yesallmen live with the threat of violence every day as well. Violence is a fact of the human condition, and it is not limited to women.

    • #1
  2. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    Perhaps what is needed is a new hashtag campaign.

    #notallwomen are screaming harridans but #YesAllMen live with the threat of constant female harassment. Every. Single. Day. All over the world.

    • #2
  3. madpoet Inactive
    madpoet
    @madpoet

    Look, this is just another in a long line of attacks on traditional western civilization and all it represents. It’s hardly going to be the last. But you can’t even make the case that #notallmen are evil, because to those who are putting this out there it doesn’t matter. 
    It doesn’t matter that the prevalence of people running out and shooting a bunch of people is vanishingly small, because it happens sometimes, therefore gun control is necessary.
    It doesn’t matter that some men are very much interested in not (and I am buying into the premise just by repeating it here) oppressing women (yeesh), because some men are, and all women suffer for it. THEREFORE, ALL men must suffer because ALL women suffer at the hands of some men.

    It’s the whole collective guilt shaming thing writ large. We’ve seen this before. It’s a kafkatrap. Arguing that you or that most men are not horrible oppressors of women is taken as a sign of your guilt and means that you are therefore part of the problem of men being horrible oppressors of women.

    • #3
  4. Susan in Seattle Member
    Susan in Seattle
    @SusaninSeattle

    Like.

    • #4
  5. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    No sale.

    “#” is originally called “pound.” (ask any recorded phone operator)

    I read it as “(Pound) YesAllWomen”

    So, don’t blame Me for violence against women.

    • #5
  6. user_657161 Inactive
    user_657161
    @SimonTemplar

    And someday I hope to recover from all of the times some random gal grabbed my package or squeezed my @ss.  Just because I’m a former Marine does not mean that I’m not sensitive.  Please ladies, have some compassion for petes sake.

    • #6
  7. Pete EE Member
    Pete EE
    @PeteEE

    Please ladies, have some compassion for petes sake.

    For Meee???

    • #7
  8. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Pardon me while I don’t get all agitated about the condition of the most privileged, and least likely to be a victim of pretty much anything: The Bored Upper Class White Chick Without Any Real Problems.

    • #8
  9. user_657161 Inactive
    user_657161
    @SimonTemplar

    Pete EE:

    Please ladies, have some compassion for petes sake.

    For Meee???

     Are you fag?  Not judging – just asking.

    • #9
  10. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Mollie has a great takedown of the #YesAllWomen meme over at The Federalist.

    • #10
  11. user_697797 Member
    user_697797
    @

    If Elliot Rodger was mentally ill, then why is anyone trying to use his abnormal behavior to make a larger point about gender in society?  By definition, the behavior of the mentally ill is not representative of the larger population.

    • #11
  12. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    I know the following comment is going to cause liberals (and others) some consternation, but I feel compelled to say it: this little monster is the reason why boys have a “locker room” mentality.

    Somebody should have kicked this kid’s ass a long time ago. 

    Would it have solved the problem? Maybe not. But obviously, coddling this kid with psychiatrists didn’t do any good either, did it?

    Mothers (and school administrators, but I repeat myself) are horrified at “bullying” and try to shame it out of boys, but that just throws the baby out with the bathwater. Yes, picking on vulnerable people is wrong, but there’s more to it than that. Guys keep each other in line, and when you’re a kid, boys do it aggressively. 

    I’m all in favor of teaching kids not to bully each other, but just because one kid smacks down another doesn’t mean the first kid is a bully. Sometimes, there are jerks who need to discover that other people aren’t going to put up with their jerk-itude. 

    Sometimes the schoolyard is an important teacher. Some lessons can only be learned the hard way.

    • #12
  13. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Bob Laing:

    If Elliot Rodger was mentally ill, then why is anyone trying to use his abnormal behavior to make a larger point about gender in society? By definition, the behavior of the mentally ill is not representative of the larger population.

     Because no matter what happens, a connection to identity politics WILL BE FOUND! And exploited.

    • #13
  14. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    DrewInWisconsin:

    Mollie has a great takedown of the #YesAllWomen meme over at The Federalist.

     Does it need to be taken down? I’d prefer that we try to co-opt it if we pay any attention to it at all. Occupy was similar. There are pieces there amidst the inanity, insanity, and just-plain-wrong that are right in our wheelhouse. Why aren’t we recruiting?

    Take the Ann Hornaday piece that Mollie critiques; we don’t have to accept the prescription of more feminism and aggrieved-group bean counting in order to see and agree with the point about coarsening of culture and weakening of morality – conservatives have been making these arguments for decades and we should be welcoming people to our turf instead of ridiculing the angle the newcomers took to arrive at the same place. Undoubtedly, mental instability caused this massacre (not simply “a jerk” as I’ve heard the killer described more often than I would have guessed). So people are taking the opportunity of this shock to notice the real effects of our coarsening culture that may fall short of a killing spree by a few degrees. Why should we ridicule them for it?

    • #14
  15. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    If we don’t offer rational explanations for what people are experiencing and then offer rational prescriptions, then people like Ann Hornaday will get the following by default. We need to get in the game.

    • #15
  16. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Bob Laing:

    If Elliot Rodger was mentally ill, then why is anyone trying to use his abnormal behavior to make a larger point about gender in society? By definition, the behavior of the mentally ill is not representative of the larger population.

     Because periods of national focus and introspection are rare, and unfortunately something like this is what it takes to spark such a mood. I agree that trying to find cause for this massacre in social trends is wrong: this was caused by mental illness. Also, some of the what I’ve read is just wrong and/or silly, but other of what I’ve read has some truth to it. I think we can be more nuanced in our response and we can engage the meme without either swallowing it whole or feeling awkward for taking this opportunity to discuss cultural issues.

    • #16
  17. user_998621 Member
    user_998621
    @Liz

    KC Mulville:

    I know the following comment is going to cause liberals (and others) some consternation, but I feel compelled to say it: this little monster is the reason why boys have a “locker room” mentality.

    Somebody should have kicked this kid’s ass a long time ago.

    Would it have solved the problem? Maybe not. But obviously, coddling this kid with psychiatrists didn’t do any good either, did it?

    Mothers (and school administrators, but I repeat myself) are horrified at “bullying” and try to shame it out of boys, but that just throws the baby out with the bathwater. Yes, picking on vulnerable people is wrong, but there’s more to it than that. Guys keep each other in line, and when you’re a kid, boys do it aggressively.

    I’m all in favor of teaching kids not to bully each other, but just because one kid smacks down another doesn’t mean the first kid is a bully. Sometimes, there are jerks who need to discover that other people aren’t going to put up with their jerk-itude.

    Sometimes the schoolyard is an important teacher. Some lessons can only be learned the hard way.

     Exactly.

    • #17
  18. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    KC Mulville:

    I know the following comment is going to cause liberals (and others) some consternation, but I feel compelled to say it: this little monster is the reason why boys have a “locker room” mentality.

    Somebody should have kicked this kid’s ass a long time ago.

    Would it have solved the problem? Maybe not. But obviously, coddling this kid with psychiatrists didn’t do any good either, did it?

    …..

     KC, locker room/playground justice certainly has its place, but I’m not seeing how getting his ass kicked would have helped his mental state. Does psychiatric treatment count as coddling? Perhaps he just needed good psychiatric treatment (maybe including institutionalization). Or perhaps there was no preventing this no matter what.

    • #18
  19. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    On the other hand, if this really was more a case of this kid being a jerk than it was a case of mental illness then it seems that the cultural questions actually are more directly relevant even if they’re not the ultimate/proximate cause.

    • #19
  20. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    Ed G:

    I’m not seeing how getting his ass kicked would have helped his mental state.

    Oh I don’t presume to have an exact diagnosis, but from what little I’ve seen of the reports about him, this monster had some weird ideas about what the world “owed” him. Apparently he believed that if he acted a certain way, women were obligated to respond. These ideas were utterly selfish and narcissist. 

    In my neighborhood, sooner or later, selfishness and narcissism get your ass kicked. I speak from experience here. Oh heck, never mind my neighborhood — my older brother would have kicked my ass. (What else are brothers for?)

    A good neighborhood and a good brother are like sandpaper … they scrape off the crazy. 

    And yes, I’m very serious about boys’ aggressiveness. That’s how boys (at least) keep each other in line – they do it with their fists. That’s why a schoolyard brawl isn’t the end of the world; it’s natural, and sometimes, it’s the best thing for everyone involved.

    • #20
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