In the aftermath of yet another mass shooting, this time in Santa Barbara, the hashtag #YesAllWomen popped up on Twitter. Because while this was another mass shooting, this time the motive was quite clear from the beginning: the shooter’s hatred of women.
This isn’t mental illness. And while the shooter may have had a mental illness, it does not go hand-in-hand with his motives. Misogyny is not a mental illness. Misogyny is a direct result of patriarchy. Women must be controlled, despised, scapegoated and blamed.
Of course, the backlash started almost immediately with “not all men.” We women know that. We know that not all men hate women—but the minute we start to dismiss it we have lost the voice of women. All women have experienced sexism. All women have experienced fear. All women have been marginalized, oppressed, and in some ways have experienced violence or the repercussions of it. The fact that the woman who began the hashtag has now removed her Twitter account due to the threats against her is proof enough.
And within the hashtag other conversations have occurred. Often, white women end up dominating the conversation, ignoring the violence of racism within the conversations of patriarchy and feminism. The voices of women of color, women with disabilities, trans women, and women who are poor may be ignored or trampled on, or seen as not as important as the “overall” message of violence against all women. But we cannot include all women if we do not include the voices of those who have experienced violence and hate due to race, sexual orientation, transgender, disability or poverty.
It is time—instead of letting another misogynist gone rampant—to allow the voice of women to speak. It’s time to allow the stories that women share to speak for themselves. For all of us to listen to the voices of the girls in Nigeria, the Christian woman in prison in Sudan, the voices of women in our churches who have experienced sexism and violence.
As Christians, where do we speak up for all women? Another hashtag, created by Joelle Colville Hanson, #YesAllBiblicalWomen is a powerful voice about the marginalization and oppression of women in the Bible, in church history, and church life today. There is now a Twitter account @AllBibleWomen that is tweeting the stories of Biblical women along the hashtag that speak out for women from the Bible to church life today. Here are a few examples tweeted out in the last two days:
Sarah: because my husband thought pimping me out was better than other men killing him to take me.
The Daughters of Zelophehad: Because women controlling their own lives was so radical we had to advocate for the laws to change.
Miriam: because I was a prophet and a worship leader, and my role is minimized to sister and singer.
Joanna: Because I was an apostle, but they did not believe me, and did not grant me the title.
Phoebe: Because I smuggled the Epistle to the Romans into the city, but women still can't be action heroes.
Michal: bc I loved/protected a man who "won" me from my father by sexually violating 100 foreign men. Turned he was a rapist and murderer.
For more, check out Twitter #YesAllBiblicalWomen @AllBibleWomen, and #YesAllWomen
Let the voice of women, silenced in the Bible, silenced in our churches, and silenced by gunshots, be heard loud and clear.