What #YesAllWomen Taught Me

yesallwomen

In between the #BringBackOurDaughters and the #YesAllWomen campaign, women’s have been readily broadcast throughout the media as of late. As I watched these movements grow and unfold there were a few things that I took away. #1 that there are many women facing the same problems as I am, and #2 that there is much to be done in the regards to the hierarchy of male privilege not just in America but throughout the world.

No one doubts that the mass kidnapping in Nigeria was a tragedy. If you’ve been in the dark about the events here’s the short version. On April 15, 2014 over 200 girls were abducted from their school in Nigeria by the terrorist group Boko Haram as child brides. The exact number of girls is not known and the girls have not yet been returned to their families.

Though the kidnappers have faces that we all hope will come out eventually and be held responsible for their actions, we also have to ask ourselves why there is such a concentration of hate crimes against women in Africa. I believe that it is due to the privilege that our society grants to males. From a young age they are told by their families that they are stronger, more capable, and dominant to women. Parents may not think about these things when they tell their baby sons that their baby sons that they can do certain things “because they are boys, and different than their sisters” but if people want to see change then we have to start enacting it in our own lives.

Women can no longer act like damsels who believe that in order to make a marriage work you MUST make less than your husband, that you NEED to take his name, or that in order to be fulfilled you HAVE to have babies. These are things that I am constantly told by family, friends, and the rest of society. I am always having to remind others and myself that I have power and the free will to decide my own path.

The #YesAllWomen demonstrated that there are other forward thinking women who realize the failings of our society in terms of gender equality and are ready for a new order. I thought that I was alone in hating the obnoxious honks that I get from random men from walking down the street, creepy stares that I get when my legs are out, and the harassment that follows from men who only leave you alone if you say you have a boyfriend. The majority of men don’t respect women outside of their families and much harassment is laughed of as “boys will be boys” especially within the black community.

Some of my friends that are men don’t understand it when a women won’t take the time of day to talk to them. Guys who mean well and may just want to have a conversation are affronted when they are shrugged off or ignored. They are outnumbered by the aggressors who jeer, making lewd comments, and create distrust among genders. I have been known to do this and it isn’t because I’m a bitch, its because I’m sick and tired of being harassed for dressing up or being attractive.

There is only one way to put the degradation of women to an end, and that is getting to the root of the problem. We need to start teaching girls and boys from a young age that they have equal power and equal choice in the world. If we can do this, we can begin to chop down the power of rape culture that puts the blame on women for the hate crimes of men against them. If a man can walk outside in a tank top and shorts and not be accused of “inciting and attack” then I can too.

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