If you have been on Twitter, or any form of social media, in the past week, you have seen something about the trending hash tag, #YesAllWomen. This new trend was largely a reaction to the recent shooting in Isla Vista, California. Elliot Roger, the shooter, was targeting a sorority house, but began to open fire in the surrounding area when no one answered the door of the house; he killed six students, and then himself, also severely injuring seven others.
Roger made his motives for this killing spree very clear through a 140-page manifesto, which described his strong hatred and resentment towards women, specifically those who have rejected his sexual advances. Roger continues his misogynist rantings in his final video of many he posted to YouTube before the shooting (now available through the blog Gawker), where he expresses his jealousy and hatred of women and also sexually active men. Roger believed that he was always rejected by women even though he was a self-proclaimed "perfect guy", and said in his video, " I do not know why you girls aren't attracted to me but I will punish you all for it". His plan, according to the video, was to "slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up, blond slut I see". Roger's misogynistic ideology, an obvious cause of this tragedy, was shocking to some, however, this attitude towards women is really not that out of the ordinary; people were not as alarmed as they should have been by his sexist manifesto and series of YouTube videos preceding the shooting, because women-hating is not an uncommon idea.
#YesAllWomen began trending after the shooting as a way for women to express their experiences with misogyny as a way to demonstrate that this mistreatment of women exists without many realizing it. Jessica Valenti of The Guardian explained that "the reason women mobilized so quickly after the shooting is because we recognized immediately the language and ideology in Rodger's videos and manifesto: the over-the-top sexual entitlement; the rage against women who "dared" to reject him; the antiquated, but nonetheless terrifying, belief that women should not be in control of their own sexual choices." A key word in this quote is "control"; Roger did not like it when he could not control a woman's response to his advances, and cannot handle the rejection because the decision was out of his control. This thinking behind loss of control is evident in creation of the well-known term "Friend-zone", which is simply a comfort for men who are rejected and cannot handle a woman's right to say no to a relationship. This shooting was an extreme way for Roger to gain back his control over women. Will this tragedy, and the response to it, finally prove that sexism is still a huge issue in America? Will this event bring any change?