From late last night, and continuing into today, the Twitter stream was blown up with "retweets," "favorites," and original posts coasting through the feed with the hashtag: YesAllWomen, meant to open eyes to the real problems with the injustice in society.
Tweets posted by both anonymous men and women, and celebrities of all walks of life, detailing stories of abuse, feelings of insecurity and fear in public situations, and the often overlooked plight of being a woman in modern society were discussed within 140 character bits.
Neil Gaiman wrote late into the night, "The #yesallwomen hashtag is filled with hard, true, sad and angry things. I can empathise & try to understand & know I never entirely will."
Amanda Nelson, senior editor of Book Riot likewise brought to attention another ongoing issue with movements like these by tweeting: "B/c I can't say I'm a feminist w/out being called a man-hater: it has to be reframed to make the conversation about men. #YesAllWomen"
What YesAllWomen represents is stories and what we've failed to recognize; genuine, gut-wrenching stories about real women and real problems.
Into the late hours tweets such as these were mixed in with stories of hardship and fear that plague too many women in the United States, and around the world. Many men went so far as to discuss why we needed a "YesAllWomen" hashtag, and asserted their own, "NotAllMen," in an attempt to combat what some saw as the victimization of all men in the name of supporting feminism.
Creative Director for Wayside Creations and Co-Host of Winter Is Coming Live, Tybee Diskin weighed in on that discussion with, "Attacking me for suggesting that we take a moment to look at women's rights is a good indicator that you don't get it. #YesAllWomen" Going on to say that the tag does not necessarily suggest that some men don't live in fear for similar reasons, but that this talk is about women and their struggle in society.
Surely not all men are responsible for the atrocities committed against women, but men are predominantly are responsible for committing them, and we need to hold them accountable for those actions in a system that is often too quick to dismiss them.
No doubt feminism has been an ongoing topic of discussion between the debate for equal pay, the drive-by shooting yesterday, what some would call the examination of rape culture and shaming, and prominent celebrities like Shailene Woodley going so far as to say that they do not support feminism because of a misconstrued viewpoint of the subject.
In real terms, feminism is not open for interpretation. At its core, it's the ongoing struggle for women's rights, equality, and the privilege of being taken seriously. In today's culture, we see more and more of that dwindling as we begin to cast blame, decide not to honor progressive values, and begin to suggest that a few radical feminists who have been conditioned to be mistrustful of, or even hate, men represent the greater whole that is the subject matter.
What YesAllWomen represents is stories and what we've failed to recognize; genuine, gut-wrenching stories about real women and real problems. For this writer, it was an eye opener to watch the feed consistently update every couple of seconds with hundreds of tweets pushing through the ceiling. While it may be impossible for a universal understanding to take place, empathy is not a far stretch for most human beings, and after what one might imagine to be thousands - if not hundreds of thousands going on millions - of tweets, it would be impossible not to feel something. Be it anger, frustration, or the more appropriate feeling, that we must do something to change these things in the First World, something was ultimately felt last night.
But what does YesAllWomen seek to do? In this writer's opinion, instigate change, and open up the eyes of both women and men; women in a show of solidarity, to represent that they are not alone, and that others have been there before; men to make a strong statement that these are not isolated incidents we see on the news, but rather, ongoing problems that, if left unchecked, will ultimately lead to a much bleaker future.
While some of these stories, and the messages they represent are often difficult to swallow, it's important to read through at least a handful. Whether you believe you understand the situation is irrelevant, because these tweets break down a barrier, and set a transparency into their lives; a harrowing illustration that every man, woman, and young adult should see in the name of progressive change.