My nieces have finished their exams and look distinctly more human again, now that they have freedom from books and studying, what better way to use up their time than talk to them about feminism and current affairs. They were very happy about this (this may just be my interpretation of their facial expressions).
They are constantly on their phones and constantly online, I recently realised it wasn’t simply to follow One Direction on Twitter, it was also to follow Hillary Clinton and BBC news (remind me to never underestimate them again). Through the power of social media, they have the news at their finger tips constantly. This is good, generally. But it wasn’t this last week.
They read about Elliot Rodger in a 140 character tweets:
“Sexually Frustrated killer Elliot Rodger guns down victims”
“six dead in Virgin Killer rampage”
“I will kill all blonde s*uts says Virgin Killer”
“I don’t even remember being his friend, shock as virgin killer’s former schoolmate named as someone he hated”
Elliot Rodger was a 22 year old student who carried out a series of murders on his campus and in a shopping mall killing 3 men and 3 women. He intended to kill all women and blamed it on his lack of sexual contact and women who had rejected him. He believed they were wrong to ever reject him and that they need to be killed for their wrong doing. Now read the tweets again.
The media uses mental illness, his sexual status and his childhood to justify his murdering. Aside from this creating a whole lot of dangerous and uncalled for stereotyping, not even when the perpetrator outlines in a video manifesto of murder that he hates all women, does the media call it what it is; misogyny.
Here is an excerpt from his video manifesto script:
“I will slaughter every singly stuck up blonde slut I see inside there;
Girls, all I’ve ever wanted was to love you and to be loved by you, and wanted a girlfriend, and wanted sex, I wanted love, affection, adoration.
You think I’m unworthy of it, that’s a crime that can never be forgiven.
If I can’t have you, girls, I will destroy you. [laughs]
You denied me a happy life and in turn, I will deny all of you life, it’s only fair. I hate you, all of you.”
Understandably, my nieces were shocked by this, they were confused about how someone could do something, and they were confused about how someone could hate all women, to the point of wanting to see them all dead. My niece said, “I don’t think he was well” and she is right, I don’t think you can be well to do something like this, but I do think his illness was called misogyny. And it’s important we call it that.
It was a difficult, painful conversation and badly thought out news channel tweets didn’t help it. However it sparked something else on Twitter; #yesallwomen. Explaining how any misogyny impacts all women and how we need to desperately take this on and change our society. I pointed my nieces to this as the best education of the issue; from women directly and from the same source that had disturbed them so much. Of course this didn’t last long and instead was trolled by #notaallmen and #feminismiswrong…
It’s pretty pathetic to have to troll social media consciousness raising, because you are so insecure about what masculinity is. Every tweet on #notallmen is redundant. If any of those using it would have read just a few tweets or even done a quick Google search they would have had a simple query answered; Not all men are misogynist but ALL women suffer the consequences of misogyny, and the focus of feminism is the latter. Simple as that.
Irony was of course lost on the people of twitter, as a hashtag stating “not all men are misogynist”, was using classic patriarchal methods to silence the solidarity and experiences of women. Kind of screwed up your own point there.
Starting the tag not all men, was purposefully created to derail women’s conversations, however it backfired. Massively. With both men and women explaining, ranting and often with fabulous wit, the absolute pointless and patronising endeavour of this social media stunt.
Thankfully #yesallwomen has won the patriarchal social media battle (this week) as the hashtag is STILL going strong today and had been a source of education for many:
When mainstream media is unable to call a story of violence against women what it actually is, it is the job of social media and “ordinary people” to take forward and shout about it; and keep going in the face all the silencing and abuse, because, yes, all women, feel the consequences of.