Why #YesAllWomen matters

     In this May 24, 2014 file photo, students march on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara during a candlelight vigil held to honor the six victims of a mass killing in Isla Vista, Calif. Sheriff's officials said Elliot Rodger, 22, went on the rampage near UC Santa Barbara. Accounts of Rodger's hostility to women, and his bitterness over sexual rejection, led to an outpouring of commentary and online debate over the extent of misogyny and male entitlement. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

    In this May 24, 2014 file photo, students march on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara during a candlelight vigil held to honor the six victims of a mass killing in Isla Vista, Calif. Sheriff's officials said Elliot Rodger, 22, went on the rampage near UC Santa Barbara. Accounts of Rodger's hostility to women, and his bitterness over sexual rejection, led to an outpouring of commentary and online debate over the extent of misogyny and male entitlement. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

    After the immensely tragic shootings in Isla Vista, CA and the misogynistic video rantings of the alleged shooter, the hashtag #YesAllWomen quickly blanketed the interwebs.

    The hashtag and subsequent movement call out acts of violence and aggression to which women are subjected simply because they’re female.

    While #YesAllWomen is filled with stories about harassment and violence towards women, it also serves as a rally cry to create a safer world for the female half of the population. A rally cry is many things to many people, but at it’s core, it’s empowering.

    The public nature of the movement is contagious. It was no surprise then, to see signs (literally) of it’s effect sprinkled on telephone poles around Chestnut Hill last weekend. The signs read:

    How we dress does not mean yes.She is never “asking for it.”Your sexualization of young girls’ bodies is your problem.

    While the hashtag isn’t mentioned specifically in the posters, the sentiment is strikingly similar — calling out unsolicited aggression towards young women based on how they dress.

    As a mom to two girls, I certainly hope my daughters will feel empowered and safe enough to move in the world as the please without the worries of catcalls, remarks and unwanted advances.

    While the circumstances that brought #YesAllWomen into the spotlight are undeniably tragic, the fact that conversations like these are hitting Main Street (or in this case, Germantown Avenue), offers some hope that things are indeed changing.

    What do you do as a parent — for your daughters and/or sons — to build sensitivity, awareness and empowerment around these issues?

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