The stats have been showing a lot of hits via New Matilda for the past three days, and via a comment rather than the post. New Matilda must be big.
Anyway, the post is by Jane Caro, and it’s about the waves kicked up by her piece on “the wave of misogynistic remarks recently” (gosh, why does that sound so familiar?) and her tweet inviting suggestions for “new ways of ‘destroying the joint” being a woman & all.’
I had no idea whether I’d get any takers, but it took off like wildfire. Surgeon Jill Tomlinson added the hashtag #destroyingthejoint and a twitter phenomenon was created.
The tweets from both men and women were mostly hilarious, some borderline obscene — unleashed vaginas featured prominently (I was guilty of a couple of those myself) and some made powerful points. Jill Tomlinson tweeted about the way Liberian President and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was #destroyingthejoint.
Twitter flashmob kind of thing. That can be fun – or, in the wrong hands, it can be just more wave of misogynistic remarks. That’s why I’m not as optimistic as Caro is.
…the hilarity and humour of #destroyingthejoint is precisely the point. In the past, we often — quite understandably — reacted to comments like the above with outrage, but outrage is defensive. It is the response of the powerless. Social media has given the powerless, many of whom are women, a voice and a platform.
As one commentator put it, #destroyingthejoint is reverse trolling. That’s why I think so many people, particularly women, have taken to the thread so wholeheartedly. Instead of feeling hurt and angry about the way women are routinely dismissed and put down by many of the powerful, they have felt gleeful, naughty — and yes, powerful.
They are not on the defensive this time, they are on the offensive. Maybe it is my advertising background but I have long argued that satire, humour and wit are much more powerful weapons than indignation. This weekend, twitter proved it.
That’s cool, but it works only as long as it works. The flashmob breaks up and goes back to work, the misogynist trollers stick around and keep at the trolling.
Still – Caro is great, and I’ll be delighted if she’s right and I’m wrong.