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On Its 25th Anniversary, the Montreal Massacre Is Still Far Too Relevant

Time has passed, right?

Cityscape of Montreal, Canada as seen from the St. Lawrence River

A lot has changed, and a lot has progressed for women. And yet. Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre — when, in 1989, a man walked into the École Polytechnique in Montreal and proceeded to shoot 28 people in the name of “fighting feminism.” It is a moment in history that represents a whole lot about embedded misogyny and violence against women, and on this anniversary it is useful to remember that if this is a moment, it is a moment we are still very much living in.

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The most direct parallel to shooter Marc Lépine’s actions that day 25 years ago is, of course, those horrifically similar actions of Elliot Rodger, who wrote a 137-page misogynist manifesto before killing six people and injuring thirteen in Isla Vista last May. Either of these instances alone would be unspeakable tragedies; that they extend so far past themselves and into our societies is endlessly heartbreaking.  As Isha Aran put it for Jezebel:

These are not just attacks on feminists or feminism. They are attacks on women. Every goddamned day women are targeted for having the audacity to be a woman and are subjected to some violence as punishment. […] Feminism and its outrage aren’t meant to be pretty. They aren’t meant to be restrained, cleansed, or censored. And they are not meant to be forgotten.

We shouldn’t forget these things regardless of the day, but we should especially set time aside to remember it on anniversaries like these. Violence against women, after all, is still an undeniable presence in our everyday lives. As Elizabeth Hawksworth put it for The Huffington Post:

When we live in a world where feminism has done so much, but has so much further to go when it comes to including our sisters of colour, who are trans, who are gay, who are disabled; when I receive search terms and threats on my blog that state that they want to kill me, to kill women, for being feminists and speaking out for our rights; when one in five women will be sexually assaulted; when women in tech are overridden and ignored by men; and when simply being a woman in gaming means that men are ready to ignore your voice and send death threats because you pointed out misogyny in video games? What is the legacy left by the Montreal Massacre? Is it really going to be “never again” when it comes to hurting and killing women in the name of misogyny?

We have so far to go. Here are the women who lost their lives that day:

You can see more on Storify.

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Alanna Bennett
Alanna is a pop culture writer who works as the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, an entertainment writer for Bustle, and a freelancer for everywhere. She has a lot of opinions about Harry Potter and will 100% bully you into watching the shows that she loves. Don't worry, it's a sign of friendship.

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