I do not cast stones here, for I too have been known to avoid turning the looking glass on myself. I do not think there is a person amongst us who has not forsaken reflection for comfort. I do not think there is a person among who has not - out of anger, miseducation, or trauma – deflected onto another group. We are only human. We live in a system that values propagating legacies of fear to reify societal divisions. We fear the other, we fear ourselves, we fear certain neighborhoods, we fear certain futures, we fear certain pasts … in our fear we talk, we excuse but we do not listen – we do not try to understand how various systems can work in accordance to privilege one over the other, because our position within these systems makes us, whether we wish it or not, beneficiaries of the system. Thus it sometimes feels better to turn the stereo or television up as opposed to tuning into a fellow human being's story. No, that could make us all too uncomfortable. It is easier for us to file things into a category rather than accept that categories or constructs designed to box us in, to keep our trauma silent and satiated or even cleverly disguised, and to keep our pain focused on finding a scapegoat.
Sadly, I believe this has happened here with the #yesallwomen hashtag. Now, do let me explain. I am a staunch advocate of women around the world uniting, and as such it would seem I would be throwing my fist in the air with joy over this recent viral trend. Yet, it is indeed a technique designed to box us into the rhetoric that all women share the same experience. I do understand that all women face incredible harassment - we are whistled at on the street, grabbed in public places, and trained to walk at night with our keys clutched between our fingers. Yes, all women face harassment, and far too frequently. Yet let us not pretend that such harassment takes the same form, nor wears the same face, nor is it met with the same end. Let us not forget that harassment shifts as the body of the woman shifts. Some bodies are more vulnerable than others. I have read some of the tweets with the associated hashtag – “If I’m losing followers because I retweeted some #YesAllWomen posts, then good riddance” doesn’t apply to me. It isn’t on the top of my mind when I think of the harassment against women's bodies. That makes it no less valuable, and no less legitimate. Yet I don’t want that tweet defining my concerns as a woman, nor do I want it defining my experiences with harassment.
Furthermore, I do not want to imply – in any way – that our experiences as women are homogenous. When I am street harassed in public it takes on a very different shape than the street harassment directed at transwomen in public. It takes a very different shape than the harassment of women of color. It takes a different shape than the harassment directed at thin women. It takes a very different shape than the harassment directed at women who are not covered in tattoos. It takes a very different shape than the harassment directed at women who do not appear able-bodied. Therefore, no – my experience is not the experience of all women. It does not apply to all women because all women are not the same. I do not want us to be the same.
I want a coalition, but I want it built on the mutual recognition of our differences. I want it built on hours of the tedious conversation we are so eager to avoid for fear that our own implication in systems of power are pointed out.
This is the only way such a coalition can last. Without such labor it is doomed to fail, and why? Because hashtags such as #yesallwomen presume that all women are coming to the table with the same education, the same paycheck, the same ability to complete labor, the same treatment in shopping malls, the same pursuit of justice if we are assaulted … thus, when the differences start to appear – as they surely will – the coalition will fall victim to our inability to recognize every experience as valid, because we failed to give space to every experience.
While I recognize that there is a war against women in this world, a war that rears its despicable head in every location, I do believe the weapons – and thus the damage - takes different shapes. In the case of UCSB the weapon came in the form of a man with a gun and a manifesto. For indigenous women in Canada and the United States it takes no such obvious form – it is veiled by White, colonialist patriarchy and it is largely ignored, even when doing so is unintentional. The hundreds of disappearances, rapes, and murders receive only a fraction of attention that UCSB received – why? Because not all women face harassment in the same way – not all women are given the same tools to fight back against it. What of, for example, the countless women of color who are beaten by police officers? Make no mistake, I have had my fair share of police harassment, but none of it turned physical. Can I say #yesallwomen when discussing this instance of harassment? I cannot.
Simply, not all women are mourned equally, because not all women are given the same situation in our society. This is not to say that we shouldn’t talk about our experiences, quite the opposite – we should talk about them as much as we can. Yet we should also listen. Part of our work as feminists is to understand that our experiences aren’t the same. Harassment does not mean the same thing to different women. While I realize this kind of unity feels cathartic after tragedy, it doesn’t help us get any closer to a better world because it doesn’t give proper recognition of the multiple systems that need radical re-envisioning if we are to get there. The #yesallwomen hashtag not only homogenizes our experiences as women, it also puts the same face on harassment – that of misogyny. Yet harassment is also spurred by the many isms we still haven’t overcome and likely will not overcome so long as we advocate a unity based on absolutes instead of mutual recognition of our differences.
 Name intentionally withheld in an attempt to implicate myself in perpetuating a legacy, even if my role is practiced with disdain