#yesallwomen

Last week, I sat at work trying not to cry. I guess I do that often, but there was actually an external reason last week.

I was reading through the twitter hashtag that was trending, #yesallwomen. I was shocked at how overwhelmed I felt reading my sister(in the global sense)s’ honest words.

I’ve never spoken to anyone about feeling unsafe and vulnerable as a woman. And honestly, I just assumed that all of my personal safety fears were just part of my anxiety. I didn’t realize that all women feel these things. Last week I learned that #yesallwomen.

I am a 32 year old white Canadian woman. I am educated, liberated and I feel free. I truly have more personal freedom and opportunities than more than 95% of the women in the world.  But I walk through parking garages holding my keys like a weapon. (I’m not worried about getting my wallet stolen.)

Because there is a moment, daily, weekly, monthly, where you think: “Is today the day I get raped?” #yesallwomen

Reading through these messages, I realized that the daily fears that I have internalized and normalized of being attacked and raped, are something that #yesallwomen feel.

Because you get to a point where you can’t remember not being aware, alert, poised, keys between your knuckles. #yesallwomen

Because men don’t text eachother that they got home safe. #YesAllWomen

Learning that these deep fears are actually a product of me being a woman, and not all part of my personal distorted view of the world, I feel furious! It is NOT OKAY that women in the most “progressive” countries in the world, still have good reason to fear for their physical and sexual safety on a daily basis.

It’s NOT OKAY that I’m learning that I’m not the only woman.

Our culture shames those who try to speak up for their sisters and those who say that our society still stacks the deck against women. We are told that we are ungrateful. We are crazy feminists. Dirty hippies. We are reminded that women in poorer countries have it so much worse.

It’s true. Women in North America can do anything we want. We can even be President. We just can’t walk home alone at night.

Because every time I try to say that I want gender equality I have to explain that I don’t hate men. #yesallwomen

Because I had to explain to a 19 y/o girl what feminism is.. Her reply, I don’t want to be disliked or judged by guys though. #yesallwomen

Because this thread reminded me that the sexism I have come to view as “normal” in life should not be accepted anymore. #yesallwomen

Why do I have to walk down the street and be bombarded by huge photos of half naked women in every ad? It’s demeaning!!! It’s also a classic technique of establishing a group’s lower status in society by routine humiliation and objectification. Rape as a plot device in so many films? An entire cable tv show about different ways that women can get raped?

Why do I feel stupid and ashamed even admitting on my own blog that women are objectified in our society?

Even in Canada, politicians are starting to talk about “the abortion debate”. This infuriates me. Having to listen to debates over a woman’s right to protect herself and her physical health… over and over and over again. I feel so helpless. I feel scared. What if they create laws that won’t let me protect myself?

Because only the female body is legislated. #YesAllWomen

I am terrified for my young daughter’s body.  How can I protect her every day? How can I make sure that her body will always be her own? (I can’t.) How do I teach her to stand up for herself when I know that the world will be working hard against her? How do I prepare her to stay strong in the face of being subtly shamed daily for being a woman. Why do I have to?

How can we protect our daughters when they are being portrayed as fish to be caught?

Because by age 12, every girl knows a girl who has been assaulted. Sometimes that girl is themselves. #YesAllWomen

#notallmen practice violence against women but #YesAllWomen live with the threat of male violence. Every. Single. Day. All over the world.

I don’t want to feel unsafe anymore. Not now, not ever. #YesAllWomen

A painting of a woman curled up underground like a seed and growing like the roots of a tree.

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