On Friday May 23, Elliot Rodger, 22, went on a killing spree in Santa Barbara murdering 6 people and harming at least 13 before allegedly taking his own life. In a manifesto he had previously written titled “My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger”, he outlines his intentions of causing harm and his hatred towards women in particular for their rejection of him.
What transpired next on Twitter is slightly distanced from his horrific acts but highlights a notion women long held quietly: gender discrimination is not dead, just neatly repackaged to slip through today’s society incognito.
Using #YesAllWomen, ladies from all over the globe took to the platform to highlight the different forms of oppression that remain an unacknowledged reality. Through the 140 characters, they related chilling stories of modern day harassment ranging from inappropriateness at the work place to sexual assault. The hash tag reached over 1.2 million tweets as of May 26th with men taking part, press outlets and public figures from both genders.
The experiences of those brave enough to come forth on Twitter reveal to what extent the stigma of being “just” a woman lives on in the 21st century. From the glaringly obvious rapes in India and the laws that do not protect to the more subtle details of walking down the street minding your own business while eyes cling on to every sway of your body fault of it having curves.
It is in the fact that nearly every girl, regardless of where she is from, has been subject to some form of modern day harassment but could not speak up because a hand brushing past too close on public transport is not a violation. Being afraid of walking alone in the dark and being taught to yell “fire” instead of “rape” for attention are common, though they should not be.
For those skeptical about where the tweets are coming from, have a look at the heat map of the Twitter activity shared on Mashable.