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#YesAllWomen is a Twitter hashtag campaign launched to raise awareness of misogyny and violence against women in the wake of the 2014 Isla Vista Killings. in May 2014. The hashtag can be seen as the counter-rebuttal to the Not All Men meme, as it is mainly used by women to share their personal experiences with street harassment, sexism and gendered violence that they believe to be commonly shared experiences.
On May 24th, one day after 22-year-old Elliot Rodger shot and killed six students, injuring 13 others, the hashtag #YesAllWomen was introduced by Twitter users AnnieCardi and Gildedspine, both of whom have made their Twitter account private since it took off. The hashtag came as a response to the manifesto videos Rodger had posted on YouTube prior to his attack which suggested he would kill women because he had been rejected romantically by women.
News Media Coverage
On May 25th, 2014, Buzzfeed published an article titled “Twitter Responds To Santa Barbara Shootings With #YesAllWomen Hashtag,” which explains the origin of the hashtag and includes a roundup of tweets using the hashtag. On May 26th, Mashable published an article titled “How the #YesAllWomen Hashtag Began,” which follows the start and spread of the hashtag. The same day the hashtag was covered by CNN, The New Yorker and The Washington Post.
The same day, Girls actress and writer Lena Dunham also used the hashtag to tweet out her story of the harassment she received after she had rejected a boy in high school. Several websites covered her use of the hashtag including Buzzfeed and The Independent.
When Women Refuse
On May 26th, 2014, the Tumblr blog WhenWomenRefuse, which collects examples of violence against women at the hands of men they romantically rejected, was created. The blog was featured on several sites including The Huffington Post, Mashable and The Washington Post.
On May 26th, 2014, the satirical hashtag #YesAllCats was first tweeted out by Twitter user SunnyDownSnuf (below, far left). Within a week the hashtag was tweeted out over 11,000 times. On June 1st, the hashtag was covered by Twitchy.
On May 28th, 2014, the hashtag #Allmencan was introduced by Twitter user PenguinGalaxy (below, far left) as a way for men to discuss how they can reduce sexism and deal with the grievances aired through #Yesallwomen. In less than a week the hashtag was tweeted out over 11,000 times. The hashtag was covered by several websites including Policy Mic, Feministing and The Frisky.
On June 6th, 2014, The Washington Post joined in on the national debate with an op-ed column titled “Colleges become the victims of progressivism" by Pulitzer Prize-winning American conservative commentator by George F. Will, in which the author suggests that rape is not an epidemic on college campuses and asserts that becoming a victim of sexual assault could become a point of pride for college students:
“Colleges and universities are being educated by Washington and are finding the experience excruciating. They are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (“micro-aggressions,” often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate.”
On the following day, Will’s column was immediately met with heavy backlash from victims of campus sexual assaults on Twitter, which generated up to 20,000 mentions of the hashtag #SurvivorPrivilege within the first week and ultimately prompted The St. Louis Post-Dispatch to drop his column in the wake of the controversy.
On June 20th, 2014, Twitter user Mikki Kendall posted a tweet calling for people to refrain from trying to justify street harassment as a form of courtship, to which @Feminist_Inti chimed in with a toungue-in-cheek response (shown below).
Then on June 22nd, Twitter user @UJohnsmeyer replied to both users asking if they had ever considered that some men might just be striking up conversations with women they find attractive.
The tweet was subsequently criticized by several people following the conversation for misunderstanding the meaning of harassment, leading Kendall to post the hashtag #NotJustHello to emphasize that harassing behaviors should not be confused with polite greetings.
Many Twitter users subsequently began posting examples of street harassment and theories about motivating factors behind the behavior accompanied by the hashtag. Later that day, The Daily Dot published an article highlighting several notable #NotJustHello tweets (shown below).
The Huffington Post – ‘When Women Refuse’ Tumblr Documents The Horror Of Gender-Based Violence