I was late in finding out about the shooting that happened last Friday in Santa Barbara, California. I don’t have cable so I didn’t hear about it until the following Sunday. I am late in writing about it too but I wanted to try to find the right words. This post does not even begin to scratch the surface of how I feel about this as a woman but it is a start.
Immediately after I found out about the shooting I began scouring the internet for all the information I could find. I read a few articles about it. I found the 140+ page manifesto left by the shooter. I heard a few quotes. I found a few forums the shooter had frequented. I took to Twitter and followed the hashtag #yesallwomen and I even checked out the #notallmen hashtag as well. At the end of it all l found myself feeling very frustrated, pissed off, and scared.
I could only get through a tiny bit of the manifesto but I read a lot of quotes from it and I did check out some “He-Man Woman Hater’s Forums”. The things I read there were horrifying. There are actual real-life woman hating men in the world. To be honest part of me had to laugh a little, at first. From the safety of my couch I could let myself see them as spoiled brats and complete idiots. Complaining that they just could not understand why women just would not see them as the “alpha males” they were and flock to them with legs wiiiiiiide open. They could not see that any woman could sense their narcissism and assholishness from a mile away and probably avoid them at all costs.
After that I realized that this was no laughing matter. These men are angry and they are finding places to air perceived grievances and encourage each other in their hatred. These men are dangerous. They see women as nothing but prizes and property. Women are status symbols. They provide nothing but sexual gratification and ego boosts. These men feel like they are being denied their own manhood through women’s denial to hand over their bodies, and these men want revenge.
The whole thing was very triggering. I have been through traumatic experiences with men but what I found myself thinking of more than anything was all the little shit I have to put up with that men don’t. Which wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the lack of understanding from so called “nice guys”. That is what is most frustrating and infuriating. Privileges aside, I truly believe there is not one woman in this world who does not understand how hard it can be to try to navigate a world run by men. I am grateful for the #yesallwomen movement, and I hope it continues. I hope this tragedy brings women together.
I have been thinking more about my own experiences with men recently and also my own failings as a feminist. I let jokes and degrading remarks slide in my presence because I don’t want to be the woman who “can’t take a joke”. I listen and coddle the men around me who I hear complaining that “women never want the nice guy”, or the are being “friendzoned”. I hear constant complaining about women being bitchy or who are “probably on their period”. I have tried to explain to men why these comments aren’t okay but I am always met with defensiveness and invalidation and I get tired.
I think I have a responsibility though. I need to be stronger and think of all women everywhere when I hear these things. I need to open the eyes of those around me, both men and women, to what is really going on in the world. I think I need to inspire others to change they way they think and act. We all need to stop and pay attention. We all need #yesallwomen!