I had no idea that #YesAllWomen movement began this weekend. I spent the weekend with my family, celebrating my daughter’s 7th birthday. Her birthday was Wednesday and we were busy every single day until her birthday party held on Saturday. 15 tiny, beautiful little girls surrounded me; little girls who still think they can do and be anything. They giggled and laughed and we played and had cake and I had no idea about what had just happened with Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old student at the University of California Santa Barbara.He went on a shooting spree and killed 6 people before killing himself.
In the weeks leading up to the killings, Rodger posted a series of angry, bathetic YouTube videos and a hundred-and-thirty-seven-page autobiographical “manifesto,” declaring his hatred of all women for the rejection and disdain he claims they dealt him throughout his life.
I had no idea that there were other mothers who were mourning the loss of their daughters for no other reason than a mad man who felt that women deserved to die because they had rejected him. Misogyny is running rampant and no one is stopping it. Not anyone in specific, just all women in general and even men just for having sex when he was having none. This was avoidable, had anyone cared to listen. If anyone ever cared enough to listen when people ask for help.
Director Peter Rodger and his wife Moroccan-born French actress Soumaya Akaaboune said through their lawyer that they contacted police several weeks ago after seeing a series of YouTube videos their son posted which made references to suicide and murder.
I blissfully unaware soaked in every moment of my time with those girls on that beautiful Saturday in May. Not until tonight, when the girls have all gone home and my littlest girl is snuggled in bed tight next to me did I see the story and watch the video and here I sit ugly crying. Not because I am scared for my girls, for all girls, but because I am mad. I am fucking pissed off. What gave him the right? Who’s protecting our daughters?
What a spoiled, disgusting animal Elliot Rodger was. He thought like so many other men that women are here solely for his pleasure and when they did not accommodate he decided that they must face a day of retribution and annihilation for no other sin than being born with a vagina. This spoiled child made himself, judge, jury and executioner.
The sad fact is that the world is full of men who feel indignantly wronged by women who dare refuse them. There are men that feel that women owe them everything from their time, to their love to their very life. There are men who feel like we owe them our hearts, our bodies and our respect but they don’t feel that they need to give those things in return. In some men’s eyes, women are no better than property; a piece of furniture, a toy or an old sock. We belong to them. We belong to the world that doesn’t respect us, value us or love us enough to fight for us and they have beaten us down for so long that we let them without so much as batting an eye.
We do not buck and strain and resist, we passively walk with our heads down, quickly out of harms way for fear that what lies between our legs makes us a willing participant in the victimization of our own flesh. We can’t walk alone in the dark or leave a drink to pee. We can’t smile at a man without him taking it as consent to have his way with us. This is nothing new. Most men believe it; women accept it and it sucks for all of us. I am a mother of daughters and I refuse to accept this fucked up status quo. This is my line in the sand. I say no more.
I do not want another little girl to go through life running from men for fear that they will be attacked. We cannot raise our girls to believe that what they wear or say or drink makes victimization their fault. We cannot accept fear as normal. We need to teach our girls to be strong; to fight back, to stand up and to value themselves for who they are, not what lies between their legs.
Sexism is nothing new; the ideas that perpetuate systematic marginalization, outright violence towards women, rape culture, and the demonization of women who dare to stand up for themselves has been around since the beginning of time. A strong woman is a threat. A strong woman is too much trouble. Women are here to be seen and not heard, to service men in every way; this is what some believe. Not me. I am a fucking human being and I am sick of everybody from the UPS guy to the local preacher to the old man on the golf course and every single stinking asshole who ever pushed up on me in a bar in between who thinks they have the right to use women and abuse women because we are here for their disposal.
He wanted to abolish sex, thereby equalizing men and ridding society of women’s manipulative and bestial natures, and to lock women in concentration camps so they would die out. (“I would have an enormous tower built just for myself, where I can oversee the entire concentration camp and gleefully watch them all die,” he wrote. “If I can’t have them, no one will, I imagine thinking to myself as I oversee this. Women represent everything that is unfair in this world, and in order to make this world a fair place, women must be eradicated.”) His idea was to imprison a few select women in a lab, where they would be artificially inseminated to propagate the species.
We have all endured catcalls and men openly touching themselves in front of us while licking their lips like we were steak. I’ve personally had strange men expose themselves to me in broad daylight, men I dated force my hand and my head to places I didn’t want to go, had male employers corner me in small solitude rooms and make unwanted advances. I’ve had drunken frat boys try to force me out of my clothes, put their hands up my skirt and drunkenly dry hump me in plain sight. No one helped. I’ve dated men who kept pushing past where I felt comfortable and didn’t care that I said stop. It breaks off little pieces of your self-esteem, it chisels away at your sense of safety and soon you feel as worthless as they make you believe that you are. When I’ve spoken up for myself, I’ve been called a cunt, a bitch, a tease and a dike because if I didn’t submit to their will then obviously it was because something was wrong with me.
I have held my breath and my tongue more times than I can count and I can’t anymore. What Elliot Rodger did was shocking but not surprising. I watched his video and physically became ill at the callousness with which he spoke of massacring women because he felt rejected and alone. He had no care for their lives, it was completely narcissistic and outrageously removed from humanity. He equated women with animals to be slaughtered and why wouldn’t he? Our own government has done so on several occasions.
Look at us. See us! We are people. We are not property. We are not animals. We are not inanimate objects put on this earth solely to bend to the will of man. We are more than sperm receptacles and objects of desire. We have thoughts, dreams, goals, wants and needs. It frightens me that this man did this with no remorse, no second thoughts. It was like a spoiled child who wanted a piece of candy and had been denied and decided that the entire population needed to be eradicated because he was mildly inconvenienced. Worse still, he is not the first who has done this and he will not be the last. This makes me sadder than any words could ever convey.