With over 1.5 million uses since the hashtag’s creation last Friday, #YesAllWomen has not only spurred international attention to the tragedy that struck the University of California, Santa Barbara on May 24, when Elliot Rodger, a lonely misogynist who felt entitled to the attentions of women for no other reason than his own perceived intelligence and status, went on a brutal killing rampage, but has also inspired a widespread hashtag movement that draws attention to violence against women.
Last week’s sad example of targeted violence towards women and the particular sense of male sexual entitlement has resonated widely with women (and men who have become increasingly vocally supportive since the Twitter initiative began). The hashtag #YesAllWomen was born out of Twitter conversation between writer Annie Cardi, and a friend of hers, in response to the cruel language used in Rodger’s creepy videos and 141-page manifesto, and has since become the label under which women have shared their experiences of harassment, fear and sexual assault under said hashtag.
With the hashtag approaching 2 millions uses to date, Twitter created an animated heatmap of the #YesAllWomen hashtag, showing throughout the course of the week, where in the world it is being used. The hashtag had worldwide reach, with most of the tweets concentrated in the U.S. and U.K., but saw activity in many other countries, including Pakistan, Indonesia and Qatar.
The hashtag’s use continues to empower women to speak out against sexual violence against women, but at the same time has harbored some attention from males using #NotAllMen, in reference to the idea that not all men prey upon, abuse, or violate women. There’s certainly truth to that, but it is also true that at one time or another, most women have experienced some form of mistreatment – physical, verbal, or emotional – simply for being a woman. The point of the hashtag is that it doesn’t take much for a sense of entitlement to translate into violence, which has only become more obvious since the dreadful acts of last Friday.
(click around on the map below to drag, zoom, and get a better look at different parts of the world)