Like I alluded to before, one of the ugliest things that’s come out of the UCSB killings – hey, how about we just call it gender terrorism, because that’s what it is – has been watching men who could be allies, who claim to love and respect women, some of whom are our friends and relatives and others close to us, minimize and actively disregard the role a deeply misogynist culture played in this thing. It’s been ugly and it’s been hurtful, and the ugliest thing about it – at least for me – has been the apparent inability of otherwise intelligent people to connect the dots and realize that when they dismiss the misogyny aspect – which, I want to stress, no one is saying was the only aspect – they are dismissing us. The people standing right in front of them, begging them to listen. Our experiences. Our stories. Our anger and our pain.
So we have to shove those stories in people’s faces. We have to make them work to look away from the people they allegedly care for and love. That’s what #yesallwomen is about.
And that’s what my sister’s amazing essay is about.
The truth is that each of those men had been fed a lie. Possibly for their whole lives. It was probably one of the many lies fed to the UCSB shooter. The lie they had been fed was that if you are brave, and you put yourself out there, and you are a nice guy, you will get the girl. In the cases above, I was The Girl. Not a girl, not a human being with thoughts and preferences of her own and the ability to decide who she was attracted to and who she wasn’t, but The Girl. The prize you get for being brave and asking someone out. No one ever told these men that putting yourself out there isn’t a guarantee, because you are only 50% of the equation. Me, other women, the other 50%, never entered into their dating math. My rejection, especially when it didn’t come on the grounds that I was already someone else’s prize, was abhorrent. It ruined something for them. It probably emasculated them. Rejection is bad, but it’s especially bad if the entire world has told you that you shouldn’t expect it to happen. It makes men angry. It makes men violent.
I’ve been rejected by boys before. I’ve been “friendzoned” before. It never seemed to cause me as much distress as it caused the men I met that summer, and the ones I see everywhere all the time, furious because their sense of entitlement to women’s time, attention, and bodies has been violated. We all know why this is, if we’re willing to look at something ugly. We can listen to what the UCSB shooter told us about his reasons for killing six people and injuring more. We can discover how his actions were on the extreme end of a spectrum of hate that women experience every day. The connections are there. The information, the stories, the testimonies are all there.
But we have to look.
Read the whole thing. I mean it.