the #YesAllWomen movement: why equality will never mean equal

 Photo Credit: Oskar Krawczyk

Photo Credit: Oskar Krawczyk

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably caught wind of the #YesAllWomen movement that is currently trending on Twitter.  It spurred from the actions of Elliot Rodger, who shot and killed 6 students on UC Santa Barbara’s campus this past weekend in his attempt to gain revenge on sorority girls who had rejected him in his attempts to win their affection.  In his final YouTube video, Rodger rants,

“You girls have never been attracted to me.  I don’t know why you’ve never been attracted to me, but I’ll punish you all for it. It’s an injustice—a crime. I’m the perfect guy, yet you throw yourself at all these obnoxious men instead of me, a supreme gentleman… If I can’t have you, girls, I will destroy you.”

#YesAllWomen attempts to lend the limelight to the struggles that we women still face in this day and age of supposed “equality.”  Unfortunately, as Rodger’s words can lend evidence to, misogyny is still alive and well, and while we can sit here and say that we’ve made strides, those strides haven’t been big enough.  Here’s my experience:

I was lucky enough to grow up in a home where gender roles were never really recognized.  My father nor my brother (Neal) ever told my mother or I to “go make a sandwich” or that “our place was in the kitchen,” although I now hear that frequently from guy friends trying to make a joke.  In fact, when we were younger, Neal and I both spent weeks of our summers staining our deck and trimming shrubs.  Washing the car was also a team effort, as was setting the table, doing dishes, and vacuuming the floors.  Last winter I was out in the driveway shoveling snow right beside my brother and dad.  I think I shot a gun before my brother did.  I’ve even killed a deer (thanks to my high school boyfriend’s passion for hunting) while Neal never has killed anything besides a fish (sorry, bro).  Both of us were pushed to be involved in sports, and I even played soccer with the guys until I turned 13.  Nothing that we did was ever deemed masculine or feminine – it just was what it was.

And yet, I still came out of that household with a different mindset than Neal did.  We, as women, are innately aware that we have to navigate the world differently, and while my upbringing didn’t necessarily reflect this, I am still affected by it.  How?  Well, for starters, I want to pay on dates so that I don’t feel like I owe anything to the guy I’m sitting across from at the end of the night.  I constantly am on edge when walking through a parking garage alone.  I have to curb my drinking habits based on whom I’m going out with that night because if I don’t have someone I trust to make sure I get back home safely, I could easily get taken advantage of.  I can’t put my drink down at the bar without wondering if someone slipped a rufie into it.   I have to shake off comments at work about my appearance so as not to make a scene.  I have to take a step back in an argument with a guy because I don’t know if I’m going to get hit or not.

It’s issues like these that we, as women, have to deal with every day, issues that men know nothing of.  And honestly, I’m tired of it.  It shouldn’t be assumed that I’m the one in the relationship that has to cook dinner at night or take care of laundry.  It shouldn’t be assumed that because I have on a crop top and a short skirt, I’m easy.  It shouldn’t be assumed that I’m asked along to a business meeting because I’m the “eye candy” for the group.  I’ve worked extremely hard to get where I am in this world, and while yes, I clean and cook well enough and look good in a pencil skirt, I also mow my own lawn, clean my own gutters, and graduated college summa cum laude in 4 years with a degree that usually takes 5 years to complete.  Women need to stop being stereotyped like we’re all walking/talking Real Housewives of <insert your city here>, only here for show and to do a man’s bidding.  And we need to teach our men the same.  So take a moment to read some of the tweets related to this topic below and click the hashtag while you’re on Twitter. We’re all in this together, ladies, and it’s about time we show it.

And my favorite, which was in response to the #NotAllMen hashtag that was also circulating in regards to this whole women’s rights campaign:

What’s your #YesAllWomen story?

 Photo Credit: Suhyeon Choi

Photo Credit: Suhyeon Choi