“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”–Maya Angelou, who passed away this week.
“I’d love to credit the invisible plane, but Diana’s more than her accessories. The world doesn’t always reward women who DO things, but Wonder Woman shines a ray of hope that you can move into a man’s world (literally!), kick ass, take names, and still have a rewarding life with friendship and love and family.”—new Digital-first Sensation Comics Editor Kristy Quinn.
Usually, I start these columns talking about “adventures” in climbing the cliffs of insanity but this past week seems to have exposed a raw nerve of emotion in many women, beginning with the murders in California by a man who went on long, hateful rants about women and the men who “get” them. Adventures just doesn’t seem appropriate.
I started instead with two quotes, though they seem disparate, because they’re both aspirational. Maya Angelou was a real-life role model for many women, Wonder Woman is a fictional one. But both sentiments are part of this discussion about women, about the daily differences in our lives for being women rather than men and about how to change all of this.
So, you ask, why did so many women get angry at a probably insane murderer’s manifesto, especially as it was likely a product of mental illness? Why did the #yesallwomen hashtag explode on Twitter?
Because this murderer’s actions were only a degree or two off from things we have to think about or deal with in our daily lives.
We’ve all received an angry response if we turn someone down for a date, we’ve all felt unsafe alone at night, we’ve all had to learn, at times, to carry our keys as possible weapons, and we’ve all had to hear the lectures about being careful around men while drinking because that’s just an invitation to rape. And many women have been sexually assaulted. The latest statistics put that at 1 in 6. Which means if 21 women read this column, then at least three of them have been raped. And approximately 10 of them will have experienced other types of sexual violence.
Mostly, we go on with our lives, forging ahead, doing our jobs, and having fun. But I believe now it’s time to start looking at the way things are and decide it’s not acceptable. And the first step to changing things is pointing out where they need changing and why. Because a full 45 percent of American women experienced other sexual violence, including unwanted contact or coercion.
So here are my contributions to the conversation.
#yesallwomen because I’m the only one of the GeekDad.com writers told to go back to “licking” someone’s taint for daring to criticize a television show.
#yesallwomen because female directors and producers are still a rarity in Hollywood.
#yesallwomen because when I wrote a post about how a popular SuperBowl Audi commercial reflected rape culture and the girl as a prize, I got comments that proved why this whole discussion is necessary.
#yesallwomen because even on forums I consider safe and friendly, I still get asked “really, does this stuff happen a lot?” Yes, yes, it does.
#yesallwomen because we don’t have a female superhero movie yet.
#yesallwomen because the romance genre is constantly derided and that has very much to do with the fact it’s fiction written mostly by women with female protagonists. Other genres, like mystery and SF, still get some respect.
#yesallwomen because everyone knows Stephen King is the most prolific writer but no one seems to know Nora Roberts is his equal in that department.
#yesallwomen because this hashtag on Twitter was going too fast for me to track on my Tweetdeck column for five days.
#yesallwomen because even in the seemingly progressive future universe of Star Trek, a woman still ends up running around in her underwear because that looks sexy.
#yesallwomen because while adding a single woman to the cast of Star Wars was forward-thinking in 1976, it’s way behind the times in 2014
#yesallwomen because men still aspire to “get your money for nothin’/and your chicks for free,” as if women are a commodity.
#yesallwomen because the world almost lost Maya Angelou’s voice forever in the aftermath of sexual violence.
I could go on but you all get the point. You’re the converted.
But it’s important to keep speaking out because there were still pages dedicated to this murderer to tell him he did a good job or people who don’t realize that some behavior from men puts them in the same corner as this guy.
Or you could just listen to Louis CK: (Disclaimer: I think heart disease might have caught up to women in the U.S.)