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An 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.