How the #YesAllWomen Hashtag Began

Students march on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara during a candlelight vigil held to honor the victims of Friday night's mass shooting on Saturday, May 24, 2014, in Isla Vista, Calif.

In the wake of the Elliot Rodger shooting rampage, many women have turned to Twitter to share their experiences of harassment, fear and sexual assault under the hashtag#YesAllWomen.
Rodger's premeditated killing spree in Isla Vista, California, claimed the lives of seven people — including his own — with several more injured. He killed two women outside a sorority house, but according to Rodger himself he had planned to "slaughter" several more. Rodger's YouTube videos and 147-page "manifesto" create a portrait of a lonely misogynist who felt entitled to the attentions of women for no other reason than his own perceived intelligence and status.
"You girls have never been attracted to me," Rodger said in his final video. "I don’t know why you girls aren't attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it. It's an injustice... I don't know what you don't see in me. I'm the perfect guy and yet you throw yourselves at these obnoxious men instead of me, the supreme gentleman."
Although Rodger is obviously an extreme case, his sense of male sexual entitlement resonated widely with women. The hashtag #YesAllWomen was born and became the label under which women shared their experiences with male entitlement. According to, #YesAllWomen — which didn't exist before May 24 — has been attached to 1.2 million tweets, peaking at 61,500 tweets on May 25. (Topsy pegs the number of tweets at just over 1 million.)

#YesAllWomen trend


The tag originated on May 24 in a Twitter conversation involving writer Annie Cardi (@anniecardi) and another woman who has since changed her account to private to protect her identity, Cardi told Mashable.

Twitter created an animated heatmap of the #YesAllWomen hashtag, showing how it progressed since its genesis on May 24 and spread throughout the weekend. The hashtag had worldwide reach, with most of the tweets concentrated in the U.S. and U.K., but saw activity in many other countries, including Pakistan, Indonesia and Qatar.
Through the hashtag, women have shared everything from stories of inappropriate workplace behavior to reports of rape.

Many men joined in, tweeting with the hashtag in support of women and condemning their experiences of sexual inequality.

Some men responded to #YesAllWomen with another hashtag, #NotAllMen. The tag has existed for a while, and it's usually used in counterpoints to feminist arguments. However, in the wake of the shooting, tweets with #NotAllMen are more likely to be in support of #YesAllWomen than arguing against feminism.

#Notallmen understand that it’s not all about them.
"What men have to really understand is what we are doing is connecting the dots — the acceptance of everyday misogyny," Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), told Mashable. "This young man was able to express all of this misogyny, and people sort of rolled their eyes and shrugged it off. The point of the hashtag is that ... it doesn't take much for a sense of entitlement translate into violence. We see that directly in rape."

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