Many of you have undoubtedly already read about the tragic shooting in Isla Vista California on May 23rd. While I won’t rehash the details here, for this post it is important to note that the day started with a bizarre video uploaded to Youtube, detailing a revenge plot against women specifically. The tragedy sparked a lot of conversations: mental health, gun control, net neutrality, and in this case, misogyny.
In response to the tragedy a Twitter user (who has since requested her name be witheld for privacy and security reasons) tweeted:
"I’m going to be tweeting under the #YesAllWomen hashtag. Let’s discuss what 'not all men' might do but woman must fear"
#YesAllWomen is also a response to the #NotAllMen hashtag which started trending after the tragedy and is basically the Twitter equivalent of waving hands and shouting “it’s not MY fault.”
Within 24 hours #YesAllWomen spread worldwide, with 1.5 million tweets and 1.2 billion impressions, and reaching 61,500 tweets per hour at its peak. In this online space, women and men had the opportunity to discuss the Isla Vista tragedy, share common experiences and examine some of the pervasive social issues facing women today. Unlike some Internet movements, such as Kony2012, which gain momentum but then fail to achieve their goal, the intent of #YesAllWomen was simply to reclaim the conversation, support one another and provide information about some challenges that women face. In discussing the reason for the success of this social movement Tom Watson of Forbes put it well:
Indeed, there’s nothing more authentic than #YesAllWomen on all of Twitter. It’s a product of rage and shared experience and human empathy. It’s entirely organic – and represents (again) a nearly spontaneously rising chorus of hundreds of thousands of voices…And its call to action wasn’t the product of strategy or committee: it was a call for attention, for society to pay heed to what is happening, and to begin to work to change that story.”
#YesAllWomen is still going strong over a week after the tragedy. It is well worth a read, though it isn’t an easy one. It’s a good example of how the Internet can bring strangers together and facilitate a much-needed conversation.
For more reading on this topic, check out these articles: