When you say you are mystified, I think you are saying you don’t understand — that you don’t understand to such a degree that you can’t even find a little piece of the #YesAllWomen phenomenon that you can hold onto as you puzzle through the rest of it.
If that is the case, then many people have failed you so far in your education. That is not a slur on you — I am sincere. Critical thinking skills are not taught in schools now. It’s quite possible that you haven’t yet had any opportunity to learn them.
It’s also possible that you have lived a wonderful life — I hope that is true. It would be nice to know that there are a few women who have lived blissfully untouched by misogyny.
Most people participating in the global conversation at #YesAllWomen understand the phenomenon of the constant tearing-down of women that misogyny causes by either a) using critical thinking skills when reading the posts or b) empathetic identification by either their own experiences or the experiences of women close to them.
If you are mystified and you want to understand #YesAllWomen, you might find a friend who either has mastered critical thinking — a Humanities scholar such as an English or History professor, a Women’s Studies professor, a Culture or Ethnic Studies professor — and ask them to take you through some of the posts and explain the underlying logic of the conversation.
If you want to understand #YesAllWomen through empathy, you’ll need to find a way to identify with these women and what they’re saying. That requires that you have a personal connection to someone who has been through these kinds of experiences, someone you care about — but it also requires that that person has worked her way through the grief, shame, and pain of her experience enough to be able to tell her story.
I wish I could help you. If you want to communicate with me, make a temporary email address and post it here and I can send you my email address.
I will repeat my earlier point, though: The fact that some people don’t understand #YesAllWomen doesn’t mean that it lacks meaning, that it should stop, that what people are posting there lacks relevance, or anything else. The only conclusion a person can draw from “I don’t understand” is “therefore I have no basis for critiquing this.”
If I asked to you sit down now and write a short essay critiquing the importance of Josephine Baker, you might reply “I have no idea who she is” and I might show you some historical documentation of her work, including testimonials from people who were there and saw her. You might look at the material in bewilderment and say “I just don’t get this. Why would anyone like this? Why she even do this?” In that case, your essay would contain your name, the title “My Critique of Josephine Baker”, and the words “I know very little about her work and do not understand its value.” And I would give you an A+ (and, if you were my student, I’d assign you another topic).
It’s okay that you don’t understand. It’s okay that the attention #YesAllWomen is getting annoys people who don’t understand — although I don’t think you meant to say that you were annoyed, the author of the article above implies she finds it annoying by finding a couple of irrelevant posts and declaring that #YesAllWomen has become irrelevant by using an outdated cliche that has itself done what it accuses that to which it is applied to have done. Yes, Author, that was a critique of the title and weak evidence you concocted for your baseless article.
I got to hang out with Iced-T when he was signing his first record deal at PolyGram Records. Rap was just starting to happen. I saw him interviewed by one of the original MTV hosts, who asked him, “What’s up with rap? It isn’t even music. I don’t get it.” Iced-T gave the man a deadeye look and said, “It’s not for you.” The host sputtered, “What?” Iced-T repeated, “It’s not for you. We make rap music for us. Some people like it, they play it, they buy it.” Shrug. “It’s not for you.” Then Iced-T gave the host that deadeye look again and the host cut the interview off.
So, #YesAllWomen might not be for you. If it isn’t then, move along to something you care about. We won’t stop posting. We won’t shut up.