#YesAllWomen: Responses to violent masculinity and rape culture

My last two posts for VaNOW have been of a series on #BringBackOurGirls. It’s not a coincidence that at about the same time the webisphere started the conversation #YesAllWomen. The problem of “religious” extremists going to the lengths of enslavement and murder to prevent Girls from becoming educated women, and the problem of the constant and ubiquitous threats of intimate and sexual violence against women in the West are just two peas in a pod.

Related hashtags: #YesAllWhiteWomen, #NotAllMen, #NotOneMore, #YesAllWomen #NotAllMen (a double #) :– these are complicated conversations.*

Both of these daily kinds of violence create a world where masculinity is defined in part (even largely) by access to women bodies and control over women’s lives and permission to do great violence to achieve either one. That’s called Patriarchy. And terrible as it is, the webisphere and these heinous situations, most recently noticed in California, the history and theory that feminists have collected, studied, made for the last several decades is now becoming regular public conversation:– in this we have every reason for great hope and continued persistent work.

My social media has been on fire with posts on these instances of the problem. Some of them are so good, and so useful, that I want to be sure you have them all in one place. They are like a lesson plan for people who still don’t get it, and a reminder for us that good feminist work is being done everywhere.

From The Good Men Project, a father’s reflection on who Girls are taught from childhood to accept male violence (click).

Over on Tumblr, VampMissEdith, offered a memory about a boy who wanted to date her little sister, both in 8th grade, who brought a handgun to school to shoot her for not saying yes (click).

Just pause and remember that in the 1990s, in Jonesboro AR, a boy in 4th grade took a rifle to school and committed a mass shooting. It was underreported at the time, but his reason for doing it was that the Girl he had crush on would not be his girlfriend.

UpWorthy has reblogged this vlog on sex and relationship education (and excellent source if you live in an abstinence state) SEX +. Here Laci Green reminds us that 70 of the last 71 mass shootings have been committed by white males who felt owed (sex, a promotion, good marks on their dissertation, whatever) and turned their dissatisfaction outward (click).

At The Nation, the marvelous Jessica Valenti has written a long piece on global male violence and its toll on women everywhere. It is one of the most concise and rock solid articles I’ve seen in the popular press on this issue in a long time. “A Rape A Minute, a Thousand Corpses a Year” (click). — I thank The Nation for their recent focus on rape culture. They are taking this problem very seriously indeed.

In the 1980s, a physics student rejected by his preferred graduate program, rounded up the women in the program, complained that it was their fault that he did not get into grad school just because he was a man, and killed all 12 women.

Men have been killing women for being women forever. We are, at last, in a position to push the hard cultural and psychological work of changing the dynamics that make this fact terrible, but not at all surprising.

Men, you need to remember a bit of wisdom we were given by Maya Angelou, may she rest in the bosom of her God.

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anyone.” #MayaAngelou.

Patriarchy convinces you that you are not enough. You are never king-enough, alpha-enough, strong-enough, sexed-enough. This is how it controls you. And some of you get tired and angry, and some of you are pathological narcissists like the shooter at UCSB in Isla Vista, and you shoot lots of people — often women — to get even.

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anyone.”

Women, Girls, Men, Boys:– let us make this a mantra of the new world.

#YesAllWomen are suspicious of every man they meet, because a few of you are very, very dangerous indeed. As @ashedryden put it: “Imagine a bowl of M&Ms. Imagine 10% of are poision.” How would you deal with M&Ms???

You can get used to it, or you can help us change it.

*These links were shared by: Margaret Howard  her organization and Carrie Tilton-Jones. Thanks for your good eyes!
*Sorry the hashtags are not linked. I am hvaing a bad technology day where some Andriod apps make it really damn hard to create/share links. These tags are all active on Twitter right now. Easy to find.

Carry on,
Simone Roberts
Web Editor/Historian
VA NOW

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