Hash tags are one of those things that really took off and found a use. They’re an example of something that can be used to quickly link thousands of different ideas together and give them purpose and direction.
I admit: I’m not very good with them or knowing which ones to use because I’m usually not looking at what’s trending on Twitter. But I did notice the #YesAllWomen tag that rose up in the wake of the shooting in California. Most of the time I ignore the origins of such things, but the other night I looked it up and was kind of shocked by how it started. This quote sums it up:
What does it say about the kind of men who would be upset about this sort of thing? Is it the every single day part that bothers them? Or is the part about male violence, even though we can clearly see that most violence done to men and women comes from men. Or is it the fact that they don’t want to admit that there’s something still deeply wrong with our society as a whole?
When you read the stories shared by women it’s hard to really feel like there’s not a problem. And while I don’t agree that rape is a totally off limits topic, I do think that things like this are pretty damning:
Because society is more comfortable with people telling jokes about rape than it is with people revealing they have been raped #YesAllWomen
— Leah Meyerhoff (@LeahMeyerhoff) May 26, 2014
What I see when I find other men mocking it are men who are proving the very point that these quotes are trying to make. While they might not be doing violence against them directly, they’re scoffing at the fact that these things have happened and everyone experience that is being shared could be used as a learning experience—even if it seems trivial to you.
One of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, summed up how I felt about the whole thing with his comment on the whole thing:
The #yesallwomen hashtag is filled with hard, true, sad and angry things. I can empathise & try to understand & know I never entirely will.