You may have seen this thing that Leigh Alexander and Ben Abraham started! I think it’s pretty neat, and I fully intend to make sure that whatever I link on Feb 1 is fully dripping in dismissive compliments. Lord knows I’ve seen plenty of my female colleagues wade through dozens and dozens of comments on their appearance to find the people who actually engaged with their work.
I’ve seen a few people comment on how simply “flipping the script” won’t produce the same effect in men as it will in women. Of course not! That’s kind of the point, I think; it’s not “see how YOU like it, men!” so much as “look how patently ridiculous this crap is when we apply it to men! maybe some of the folks that glibly tack on comments about a lady-writer’s hair when linking an article will think twice next time!”
I think this project is kind of cool for a few reasons, most of which have to do with its specificity and scope; it targets a very specific behavior that is hard to defend by pretty much anyone who’s not a devoted misogynist; it very clearly delineates a method (the actual Twitter posts) and a time restriction (Feb 1); it is inclusive (all you need is a Twitter account); it is light-hearted and non-confrontational (seriously anyone who has a problem with this will have a very hard time coming off as something other than a jackass).
As a strategy for confronting patriarchy, I think it’s actually a really interesting way to start a conversation that could then extend into other, deeper social justice conversations. I imagine that if you could get someone to say “OK” to this, first, then it’d be easier to bring up things like the stories that emerged from #1reasonwhy, which are a bit too complicated to adequately sort through on Twitter and are more likely to get some folks feeling defensive and saying stuff like, “Yes, [insert patriarchical experience here] was terrible, but [women are just naturally bad at making games and that’s not a real problem, carry on].” It’s kind of like asking someone for a really small favor because that’ll increase the odds of asking them for a bigger favor later on, except this favor happens to be “Stop unconsciously oppressing me, please.”
At a time where The Revolutionary Promise Of Social Media seems both real and overblown, I find it interesting to see how these folks are trying something best suited to 140 characters; a “moment” that feeds the “movement”, perhaps.