Yes, ALL Women

Last night, I discovered the #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter. I have never seen 140 characters at a time be used so powerfully.

There’s been a lot of debate about hashtag activism recently, but the #YesAllWomen campaign is an excellent example of when it goes right. Twitter is the perfect forum for educating people of all genders about what feminism really means: it’s not misandry and man-hating, it’s not bra burning, it’s not a push for females to form an army and overthrow governments in some sort of gendered coup. It’s about equality, justice, acceptance, and safety. It’s about being taken seriously, receiving equal pay and equal treatment, defying stereotypes, and loving ourselves and others.

Still hesitant to call yourself a feminist? I hesitate sometimes too; “feminist” has a lot of negative connotations fueled by incorrect beliefs, a history of radicalism, and overall misogyny. In certain circles, identifying yourself with feminism comes with dirty looks and verbal attacks disguised as “debates.” But we have to keep correcting falsehoods and teaching people that “feminist” is really another word for “egalitarian,” or, as I like to call it, “decent human being.”

Here’s why yes, ALL women need feminism.

  • Because we have to specify when we mean a female doctor, a female lawyer, a female comedian, because we automatically assume that someone who is powerful, successful, and funny would be male.
  • Because we frequently call adult women “girls” to imply their naivete and powerlessness, but it would sound ridiculous to call adult men “boys.”
  • Because street harassment isn’t a compliment, it’s proof that our safety is entirely dependent on the harasser.
  • Because I’m often scared to express my feelings (sadness, anger, love) to men for fear of them thinking I’m “too sensitive” or “overly emotional.”

  • Because only a woman denying a male friend’s sexual advancements is “putting him in the friendzone,” for which he often gets sympathy from her, her friends, and his friends.
  • Because men will leave you alone if you say “I have a boyfriend” but not if you say “I’m not interested.”
  • Because parents say “Aww, he likes her!” when a little boy is mean to a little girl, which encourages boys to be violent and teaches girls that violence indicates affection.
  • Because women always have to think of an escape plan.

  • Because every woman I know has experienced some form of sexual assault.
  • Because we apologize for too many things, including asking for help when we need it and making sure other people are actually doing their jobs.
  • Because the #YesAllWomen tag prompted the creation of the #YesAllPeople tag so that anti-feminists can parody and belittle an outlet for women to voice their opinions.
  • Because “feminist” is still an insult, as if equality is something we should be reprimanded for wanting.

15 thoughts on “Yes, ALL Women

  1. Can’t agree to many generalizations and not enough deep thought. Equailty starts with not just with women but with equality for all men,women,race,sexuality,respect for anyone and everyone.


  2. Great post, Sabina – thank you, it was just the right length with genuine life experience – a powerful combo! Women need to realize that equality does begin with government. Because government is entrusted with creating and maintaining social order. When our Framers declared All Men Are Created Equal, they meant it. Women were 2nd class citizens then and we remain so 225 years later. Partial political representation was hard fought – 72 years by the suffragists who finally won the only right women have under the Constitution – to vote (19th Amendment). And now it is our turn to leave a legacy for those women coming after us by insisting Congress remove their deadline on adding a the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) which will outlaw discrimination on the basis of one’s sex. It guarantees that men and women shall be regarded and treated as equals. Period.


    • Thank you! I did mock Congress in high school and was always amazingly surprised how often both male and female “delegates” voted against bills that would make things more equal for women, some citing that legislation isn’t the best way to go about it–but legislation is vital.


  3. Agreed, #yesallwomen is a wonderful example of hashtag activism gone right. Loved all of the examples you included in this post, especially the images, and we can only hope that with continued activism and awareness things will improve.


  4. You should never apologize for things you’re not sorry for, and love this post.

    I spend most of Thurs and Fri retweeting yesallwomen tweets, and I have no problem whatsoever identifying as a feminist.


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