Why #YesAllWomen is the Most Powerful Hashtag I’ve Ever Seen

Because when a guy wanted to dance with my friend, she had to tell him she had a boyfriend so he would leave her alone. When he moved on to me, my simple “No thank you,” wouldn’t deter him and I had to weave through a sea of people to get away from him. (Why should I have to lie about having a boyfriend to get men to stop their unwanted advances?)

Because, at a party, a guy my friends and I had never seen before walked up and said, “You’re gonna blow me, right?”

Because, at that same party, a guy told me to “bend over.”

Because I’ve had to ask my male friends to walk me somewhere through campus at night because I’m too scared to walk alone.

Because people give girls respect based on how much clothing they’re wearing — including one of my female friends, who regularly refers to girls at parties as “whores and skanks.” (People can wear whatever they want and that’s cool, dammit.)

Because my RA felt compelled to make a bulletin board about rape.

Because I receive police clery emails about rapes on campus — rapes in dorms.

Because a friend of a friend is struggling to get a restraining order against her rapist.

Because we tell little girls that the boys are mean to them “because he likes you.”

Because it’s not “men hating,” it’s courage and bravery to speak out about the reality women face every day.

Because no means no and women don’t owe men anything.

Because “Blurred Lines” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

Because ignorant men created #YesAllPeople as a response.

Because I, a teenage girl, have been honked at and cat-called by middle-age men while walking down the street.

Because my friend has had suggestive racial slurs yelled at her from guys who slow their cars as they pass us when we walk through campus.

Because I’ve grown up in a society where I’ve been taught that only guys can make the first move, so I bite my tongue and swallow my feelings and grow used to being romantically frustrated while I wait for guys to text me first.

Because the high school I went to holds annual self-defense classes for only female students.

Because a man wrote an article about how women shouldn’t cut their hair short because it makes them less appealing, as if women should dedicate their physical appearance to pleasing the eyes of men.

Because I walk a little faster and look over my shoulder when walking home/to my car at night.

Because a man went on a shooting rampage because he thought women owed him affection.

Because of tweets like these.

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