#YesAllWomen responds to violence against women and the Isla Vista tragedy

The hashtag is an alternately painful and empowering way to call attention to rampant misogyny

Topics: isla vista shooting, isla vista, Twitter, Hashtag, #yesallwomen, ucsb, Elliot Rodger, , ,

#YesAllWomen responds to violence against women and the Isla Vista tragedySome flowers are left in front of IV Deli Mart, where part of Friday night's mass shooting took place by a drive-by shooter, on Saturday, May 24, 2014, in Isla Vista, Calif. Alan Shifman, a lawyer who represents Hollywood director Peter Rodger, says the family believes Rodger’s son, Elliot Rodger, was the lone gunman who went on the shooting rampage near the University of California at Santa Barbara. (Credit: (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong))

On Friday a young man took the lives of seven people, including himself, in a shooting and stabbing rampage in Isla Vista, California, a beach town adjacent to University of California, Santa Barbara.

Some details about the young man, identified by family and police as 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, emerged from a 141-page manifesto, and a slew of disturbing YouTube videos, culminating with one titled “Elliot Rodger’s Day of Retribution.” These written and videoed testimonies paint a terrifying picture of an entitled, disturbed, misogynistic young man.

As my colleague Katie McDonough pointed out, it is difficult to tease out the one factor that left six innocent men and women dead — availability of firearms, some form of mental illness, deep rooted misogyny. And maybe they don’t pain a full picture.

But she also rightly pointed out that as the fight for tighter gun laws, and better mental healthcare systems reignites, there must be a conversation about violence against women. A conversation that defines women as human beings, not as objects.

The Twitter hashtag #YesAllWomen, which began trending yesterday, has already begun this important conversation. It reminds us that sexism and misogyny exist — in angry, threatening emails, in the workplace, on twitter, in the kidnapping of nearly 300 Nigerian girls.

A sample of #YesAllWomen tweets can be read below:



Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

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