But the fact is that for two days I have been following a Twitter conversation about how a woman-hating clot of wasted DNA thought he had the right to murder women because he felt rejected. This is not hyperbole – a friend read this individual’s entire 150-page manifesto (I don’t know how she stood doing so, the excerpts she posted made me feel sick) and that’s what it boiled down to.
Via Twitter, I have been watching woman after woman after woman relate story after story after story about sexual harassment, sexual assault, street harassment, discrimination, microaggression, rape, overt aggression, persecution, verbal assault and more and every single tweet I’ve seen applies directly either to me or to one of my friends.
I have been watching people – mostly men, but in a twist of internalized misogyny I can’t wrap my head around, some women, too – try to rip these women down for expressing the violence that has been perpetrated against them. I’ve watched my friends be condescended to, sworn at, insulted and threatened – and I’ve watched them refuse to back down.
I’ve been reading about allies, too – men who will boost the signal and commit to helping women fight back against systemic violence and oppression – and seen them called traitors and worse. I’ve seen women act as mouthpieces for those who cannot safely express themselves, passing on stories others don’t dare share in public. I’ve lost followers because I participated in the hashtag, but more importantly, I’ve gained new ones – and I know which side of that equation is more important to me.
Two days. For two days, this has been going on.
I’m struggling to find words to talk about how this conversation makes me feel. Angry isn’t enough. Frustrated isn’t enough. Maybe I’ll find the words, eventually, but right now all I can do is keep reading, retweeting and participating.
Here are some of what TIME magazine considered “The Most Powerful #YesAllWomen Tweets“. I saw others in my timeline that I consider even more upsetting and affecting. In among them, I also saw signs for hope: the mother who had just spent two hours reading through the tag with her 16-year-old son, or the father who vowed to raise his son as a woman-respecting feminist. (Of course, for every one of these, there were literally hundreds of people denigrating the tag and the women who chose to speak out on it.)
If you want to read this hashtag, which earlier today was clocking over sixty new tweets every thirty seconds, click here. Be advised that some tweets – particularly by those who feel the women having their say don’t have a right to speak their minds – are extremely graphic.
As of writing, the hashtag had already spread to Tumblr, and was trending on Facebook.
Edit: Original version of this post included a reference to the number of women murdered which was outdated by the time of posting. The number has been removed; it’s actually irrelevant.
Second edit, and I cannot believe I have to say this, if you’re going to leave a comment, go read this essay first, and make really f*cking sure that your comment doesn’t boil down to either “Not All Men” or “Women Need To Do Better.” That is not the conversation we’re having, and from here on out, comments that boil down to either of those approaches will be deleted.