The Twitter hashtag #mooreandme decidedly and quickly changed tone last night after Michael Moore’s appearance on “Rachel Maddow”. Now it’s becoming an education and reconciliation kind of place, though troll smacking is still going on and Keith Olbermann can’t help but poking his head in. (I can relate.) I think we have all let go of any hope that Naomi Wolf will continue to be anything but a grade A asshole over this; I think she is still unaware how many people who, probably because they don’t know how far she drifted off the farm years ago, she has run off from liking her forever. Now it’s time to regroup and reassess. With links and comments.
To start with, I want to push my own stuff. I have an article up at Slate about the reasons that feminists were/are so angry, and why the information in the Swedish police documents that were leaked demonstrates that the accusations are credible. I use the example of a rape that happened to me 13 years ago to explain exactly why claims about the accusers behavior during and after the alleged rapes do not discredit the allegations. If Texas can think it’s rape, so can Naomi Wolf.
Michael Moore acknowledged Sady Doyle and the fact that she’s the one who made him come around on this issue. I like him a whole lot better now, especially after he made the auditorium sing a song from “The Sound of Music” during commercial break last night, which was close to an unforgiveable offense. But I forgive him, because he actually thanked Sady, instead of just busting out some begrudging apology.
I really enjoyed this post breaking down the way that Twitter functioned as a protest tool in all of this. It has a million great points, but I was especially intrigued by these thoughts, banking off a screenshot of one of Olbermann’s stranger gambits.
Which brings me to the second advantage Twitter affords women: comparative invisibility. In the example above, Keith Olbermann demonstrates a kneejerk (and often quite effective) response to a female opponent—scour her image for something to criticize. Olbermann did his best, but he didn’t have much to work with. Twitter actually offers precious little fodder to those who, if provided with a physical image, would immediately criticize their weight, size, demeanor, etc.
The blogger also notes that women’s voices are hard to use against them. But this made me think in larger terms about how the one quirk of Twitter that’s been much-noted but little understood is how it’s more popular with people from traditionally disenfranchised groups—women and racial minorities—than with white dudes, who usually dominate the ranks of these sorts of things. And I wonder if these quirks of Twitter that make this shift towards dialogue and links and away from image empower people who otherwise find themselves subconsciously censoring themselves precisely because they know they’re judged more on the basis of identity? Maybe. Certainly in politics, you see a lot of people mastering the form of Twitter that perhaps don’t feel as empowered in other spaces. I’m open to theories, though!