My mom went to college in Ilsa Vista. We heard stories of how beautiful Santa Barbara was all through our growing up. The town is a romantic part of our family mythology.

Yesterday’s shooting didn’t leave me as shaken as it should have, like other shooting that happened have. Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Aurora. Those haunt me in their very senselessness. The mystery of why. They’re unforgettable because the motives are unknowable.

Yesterday’s shooting made perfect sense.

I think that’s more frightening than anything else could have been — watching the video made by the shooter and hearing his “nice guy” whine about being “friendzoned” and suddenly I was back in the car, listening to my date rant about his frustration, and telling myself to be calm so I didn’t lose control of the situation. Alone. In the dark. In an empty parking garage. With a dead cell phone.

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” — Margaret Atwood

After my divorce, one of the things I heard a lot from older (usually white) men was “We’re not all like that! Don’t hate men because of him.” Even my grandfather emailed me to share this little nugget.

Of course I know that all men aren’t like that. But you never know which ones are like that until you cross them, and then it’s usually too late. That’s why after my date with #2, I changed my work schedule and I blocked his number when he texted me a couple days later to ask for a second date. He might not be “like that,” but I sure as hell don’t want to find out by experience if I’m wrong.

“Not all men are like that,” and I’m sure it’s safe to say that most of the dads at Clare’s prom didn’t look at her inappropriately. But someone complained, and she can’t know who, and she and I both know that homeschool dads watching you usually means you’re about to get in trouble for something they feel entitled to control.

Not all men are like that, but yes, all women have encountered men who are like that.

Gun control, mental health care reform — these are important, but they are easier to fix than male entitlement and misogyny.

Take a few minutes today and go read the #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter in honor of the victims. And if you are a man, know that it’s not your place to comment or respond to this, but please observe our stories with respect and silence.

Not all men are like that, but all men need to hear our stories.

10 thoughts on “#YesAllWomen

  1. Very true and when you’re on date one, two, three whatever, they’re not going to show that side of themselves – put best self forward right? Great post.

    1. Especially if they are a sociopath. Sociopaths (including serial killers and serial rapists) are masters at camouflaging what they really are. If they weren’t, they would have been exposed long ago. We only know about the ones who slipped up and got caught.

  2. I only think this is fair since I posted my response on Facebook:

    “Take a few minutes today and go read the ‪#‎YesAllWomen‬ hashtag on Twitter in honor of the victims. And if you are a man, know that it’s not your place to comment or respond to this, but please observe our stories with respect and silence.”

    This is the part that angers me about this (and similar) movements. I want to point out a problem…but don’t try to be involved in the conversation. Your “group” is the problem but you should just remain silent, with respect, and hear what we have to say. We want you to change, but we don’t want your opinion. You should listen to our truth…but your truth is only disruptive to the conversation. I agree with the underlying point of this conversation, but I don’t like its rules. If men are made to feel that they are not welcomed in the conversation, that their input isn’t as valuable or as valid, then this is just awareness or victim ranting and not a movement that really wants egalitarianism.

    1. I agree. Men can be very useful in this conversation to explain to us how it happens … how men are pushed into a toxic masculinity, how they are shamed for not making the right “conquests,” how they are taught to measure themselves by aggressiveness and sex appeal. Good men resist the pressure, but they feel it all the same and can tell us best how to fight it.

      I’m a woman, but I also am a mother. I have sons. I want my boys to know they are never, ever less for not living up to our culture’s standard of what a man has to be. And they should never, ever treat women badly in order to fit the standard. I worry so much, knowing the messages they will get from the surrounding culture are so negative.

    2. There’s also a website called “Women Who Resist”(?) which chronicles accounts of women killed and/or maimed by guys because they refused the guy’s sexual advances or left a boyfriend or husband.

  3. It’s worth noting that the perpetrator suffered a mental illness called Asperger’s. The prime issue here is not an entitlement mentality or misogyny; it’s an inability to relate to other people altogether. The entitlement mentality and misogyny are simply symptoms of his underlying problem–Asperger’s, and perhaps a really messed up family life.
    Along those lines, it’s worth noting that his family and friends would have told you there is something very different about the man–just as getting to know the friends or family of a potential date can be a great screen for creeps.
    And listen to a monologue by those who are convinced they are right? Sorry, but that sounds like an entitlement personality to me. And perhaps, given the context, misandric, no?
    Put differently, #EchoChamber isn’t the way to win people over.

    1. Aspergers wasn’t his problem.
      His problem was his Cosmos only had room for Himself and What I Want.
      And when he couldn’t get what he wanted, he went “I’ll Show You!” on everything that wasn’t Himself and What I Want.
      I mean, a 141-page Manifesto on what a “nice guy” and “perfect gentleman” he was? This was a Hollywood Highborn with a sense if “I’m Entitled!” somewhere between Caligula, Commodus, and Kim Jong-whatever who threw a 6 dead, 13 wounded temper tantrum because women wouldn’t throw themselves onto his shlong like they should have!!!!
      Here’s my gut reactions to radio coverage of excerpts from his Manifesto:
      22-year-old virgin?
      I’m a 58-year-old male virgin. GROW UP, F’ER.
      Boo hoo hoo, no women found MEEEE attractive?
      No woman ever found me attractive either. I GOT A LIFE. A LIFE THAT DOESN’T DEPEND ON WOMEN FINDING ME ATTRACTIVE.
      Perfect gentleman(TM)?
      Guy had a REAL high opinion of himself, didn’t he?

      1. HUG, reading your notes here, part of me wants to say; put on some compassion, friend. While I do not deny the fact that sin does play a part in this kind of thing, the fact of the matter is that his Asperger’s has been diagnosed since he was eight, interestingly one year after his parents’ divorce. You want to fix the problem, understand the cause.
        Plus, compassion is attractive. Just sayin’.

  4. Hannah, with respect, I will not be quiet. If all guys sit in silence, then only half of society will be talking about the need for a culture shift on this hugely important issue that affects “all women.” That is unacceptable. Sure, some guys will spout defensive BS, but others will help further the conversation and create the shift.

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