#YesAllWomen written by Joseph Coco
In light of recent events, there seems to be a dangerous trend when it comes to discussing the issues and the root causes of these disasters. As seen with the UCSB shooter, (who's name will not be mentioned as to reduce the sensationalization of mass shootings), the direct root cause of his actions appears to be a powerful dislike of women. This dislike, at first glance, should strike the reader as familiar, as his views resemble those commonly held by men all around the world.
Ideas and terms, such as the "Friend-Zone," come to mind when examining the UCSB's beliefs and writings, with the "Friend-Zone" being one of those concepts rooted in the idea of male-entitlement. His description of women as "sluts," and other derogatory markers, should help indicate his inability to perceive women as anything but tools. His feelings of betrayal at the hands of women who rejected his advances and feelings of anger towards society for doing this to him should be noted and acknowledged, as none of what he believed or said was unique to him.
Moving on from his anti-woman views, it is also important to take note of the reactions to the shooting and how different they are between people. As seen on twitter and the #yesallwomen tag, the conversation concerning male entitlement, misogyny, sexism, and everything in between appears to be reaching a fever pitch as more and more women come forth to boldly state their grievances with how men, and society in general, treats them. The term "yesallwomen" stands as a counterpoint to the phrase "not all men," which always seems to rear its head whenever a conversation calling out men occurs. It should be noted that the phrase "Not all + (Men, straight people, white people,etc.)" is a derailing tactic, as those holding said conversations almost always never mean every single member of that group. It needs to be said that if a person feels the need to utter the phrase, "Not all men," then they are probably complicit in whatever is being called out in the current conversation. A person who knows and understands where they stand in terms of their privilege, and who they oppress, will never feel the need to distract from a conversation by uttering that phrase. A simple description of saying that inane phrase would go something like this:
You are being offered to take a delicious hot cookie from a plate of cookies, however, a few of those cookies are full of rat-poison and can kill you. Would you still be inclined to take a cookie knowing this fact? Bluntly put, it may not be all men who commit these anti-woman acts and hold these anti-woman views, but there apparently is enough of them for there to be thousands upon thousands of blog post, tweets, and statuses by women concerning the misogyny and suffering they've endured at the hands of men.
But not ALL cookies though, think about how the non-poisoned cookies who aren't fixing or getting rid of the other poisoned cookies feel? You shouldn't blame those cookies for not getting any attention due to their cookie-siblings being deadly, right? *end sarcasm*
But moving away from the metaphor about what can kill you, this is a call to arms for men, one that shouldn't be taken lightly as it holds sweeping implications for people everywhere. As a man, I am of the belief that my male privilege should be used to further the aspirations, livelihood, and overall happiness of women everywhere. My respect for women does not extend only to those who I am in direct contact with, such as a girlfriend, sibling, mother or what-have-you; and it should not be that way for a man to begin with. Women are their own autonomous beings, they exist outside of their connections and relationships to men, or to put it in layman's terms, WE DO NOT OWN THEM. It is going to take a concerted effort from men across the board to help change the already toxic and dangerous society that bred the UCSB shooter, as to repeat myself, the views he held are very common and were in no way, shape, or form unique to him as a person. Instead of telling your daughters and women to change every aspect of themselves to stave off dangerous men, and danger in general, we should be telling other men and our sons that they need to respect the bodies and wishes of women. We need to facilitate environments where boys know that no means no, where they can learn of sex that isn't like that what you see in porn, where consent is the first and foremost important thing in a loving relationship. In other words, we need to make an effort and do our part to make the world a safer place for women, and this all can start from a simple conversation with one another and some research, Google is your friend after all.
If you feel so inclined, direct yourself to the #yesallwomen tag on Twitter and listen in on the conversations being held by people everywhere, this is important, and from one guy to another, just do it, for the sake of everyone. Believe me when I say that you won't regret what you see, it's taking a great deal of effort and energy for many of these women to come forward with their stories. And remember this, a few seconds of you feeling uncomfortable and sad pales in comparison to what these women have had to, and continue to, deal with for their entire lives.