You may have seen the hashtag #YesAllWomen going viral on Twitter over the past few days. This past weekend, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger shot and killed two women and then himself near the University of California, Santa Barbara, in what he called his ‘Day of Retribution’ for girls who ‘starved [him] of sex’. As a reaction, women have taken to Twitter using the hashtag #YesAllWomen to talk about the everyday dangers of being a woman in a still-misogynistic culture. Many discussed broader social patterns of patriarchy and discrimination in society.
The young killer reportedly emailed a 141-page document explaining his motives to a few dozen people, including his father, Peter Rodger, assistant director on The Hunger Games trilogy.
‘For the last eight years of my life, since I hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires, all because girls have never been attracted to me. Girls gave their affection and sex and love to other men, never to me.’ In it, he warned he would execute a ‘Day of Retribution’, in the form of a war on women.
His document apparently displays the ramblings of a disturbed young man; with his intention to purify the world, and ridding it of sex by eliminating women or putting them into concentration camps.
There hasn’t been a large-scale anti-women sentiment like this since the École Polytechnique Massacre in Montreal in 1989, in which a young man killed 14 women in a crusade against feminism and feminists.
Something in society desperately needs to change. We need to confront sexism, and the #YesAllWomen hashtag is a great start. We also need to understand how dangerous it can be when people are socially marginalised – with no feeling for others and no brakes on their lonely actions.