After the deadly Isla Vista attack by a man that used social network sites (including YouTube) to announce his manifesto to kill women for rejecting him, the good side of Social Media fought back…with a simplistic hashtag: #YesAllWomen. Elliot Rodger carried out his brutal plans. He killed six and wounded thirteen, prior to his own death that rocked the Santa Barbara community. This is where social media redeems itself in my eyes. It opened up a line of communication for women to not only share their own stories of abuse, violence and intimidation by men…but also to support one another. You can scan Twitter and see the numerous posts that vary from thoughts on feminism to the daily struggles women tackle every single day – simply for being a female.
- For every single time a guy put me down for being smart/funny/loud and called me “intimidating” instead of “awesome.” #YesAllWomen
- #YesAllWomen because there’s never been a debate over whether or not a man means No when he says it.
- #YesAllWomen because women have to avoid eye-contact with men in public in order not to “lead them on”
As a woman, you live a life of double standards. You are paid less than a man, but expected to work twice as hard. You are bombarded with over-sexualized images of women that have been air-brushed to beautiful extremes. If you dress a certain way, you are viewed to be promiscuous…and if you reject a man’s advances, you are a prude. We can’t win for losing. Welcome to life as a woman. And this is all taught to us at an early age. Thanks to magazines, movies and television, this behavior is condoned, not condemned. This cycle of behavior continues because few step in to change it. How do we change years of misconceptions and beliefs? It starts at home. Parents need to teach their boys that women are not objects to use and abuse. In turn, girls need to be taught that it’s OK to say no. They need to be reassured that inner strength and independence is not a fault; it is a virtue…and that as much as you think you can change an abuser, it’s not going to happen. I can only hope that in my lifetime, I can see these double standards disappear and senseless violence and this attack by a disgruntled, disturbed young man is a thing of the past.
Alexandra Anthony is the award-winning author of eight books and was featured in USA Today for her fourth book, Ascend. www.alexandra-anthony.com