If you’re like me and track “#feminism” on Tumblr, you have probably been exposed to the slew of pictures of bloggers holding a sign bearing the words, “This is What a Feminist Looks Like” in response to the harassment of University of Maryland Baltimore County student and active feminist, Kelly Martin Broderick. Broderick was photographed holding the aforementioned sign; the viral image was edited to display the words “That’s Pretty Much What I Expected” below it.
As Broderick explains in her essay on the XO Jane blog, “When you are openly fat and feminist on a dating site [OkCupid], it isn’t uncommon for randoms to harass you”. Upon her image’s popularity on the Facebook page “No Hope For The Human Race”, a vehement debate was ignited between feminists and anti-feminists regarding the sensitivity and humor of the meme. The following are a collection of comments posted to the Facebook image by “The Huffington Post”:
- How many feminists does it take to change a lightbulb? None, because feminists won’t change anything.
- You women want everything equal good lol when you get a divorce or have kids get a job and support without child support and alimony. Equal my ass.. I see more females getting a free ride just because they married or got the dick from some dude that works hard
- Fat, old, angry and single. If they still have a sex drive they find another angry lesbian feminist and make each other and the people around them miserable.
- This is a disgusting misuse of someone’s image and a pile of steaming objectifying shallow bullshit. Well done for being a perfect example of why we need feminism.
- I am also a feminist. And the fact that I’ve read at least a dozen comments talking about this woman’s appearance, her sexual history (like you freaking know it), or how “unfair feminism to men” is proof of how much we need feminism. Also yes, I have a penis, it’s still attached, and on no one’s mantle. Testes included. BTW No Hope Admins, this is making me lose hope in you. Wtf?
In an unsuccessful attempt to remove the image down from the site by reporting it, Broderick expressed her discontent in the comments of the meme:
“The biggest miss the creator of my meme made was not realizing the point of the This is What a Feminist Looks Like campaigns; the point is to draw attention to the fact that feminists are not all the same. We are all different.
So in response, I am starting a Tumblr, We Are What Feminists Look Like. A few friends have already submitted pictures and I hope many more of you folks will submit pictures or thoughts. This experience has taught me that while one cruel person can ruin my morning, I have an entire community of friends, family, and feminists to back me up.”
In a rebuttal soaked in second-hand embarrassment, the “No Hope For Humanity” administrators issued their statement on the issue:
“When a funny picture on the Internet becomes a reason for you to want to take away someone else’s right to an opinion, that is a real problem. If people in our comments refer to feminists as “an army of lesbians who need the cock,” that is not OUR opinion. It is the opinion of the one who commented. Which in this case, would offend lesbians everywhere to compare you to them. Someone might say that feminists look like uptight ugly fat chicks who are pissed off that hotter chicks get more dick. Once again, that is not OUR opinion. That is the opinion of the fan who commented and they have a right to express it.
The meme that was created merely stated that you look like how most individuals would commonly imagine feminists to look. You stating that you were being slammed for being fat is your own insecurity and apparently the opinion of those who support you, since that is what THEY took from it. The irony is that you are now using this as a way to promote your bullshit spin on what otherwise would be considered a positive movement. Feminism is no longer about equal rights when you don’t feel like you should be equally made fun of.
Lastly, 90% of your family and friends who supported you through this “make believe crisis” are probably fans of our page, in secret. They probably laughed behind your back and now message you with sorrow. Hypocrisy at it’s finest. After all, we are the page that so many won’t admit they like because their uptight friends may judge them. This proves the point of our page. We are merely here to bring laughter to everybody through harmless fun. The internet decides who gets made fun of and who doesn’t. Not the owner or the admins of this page. You were selected. Congratulations!
You want to talk about feminism? Think of the young girl being stalked on Facebook by a sexual predator who didn’t receive the help she needed, because Facebook admins were inundated with you and your ‘Feminazi’ friends reporting this stupid image.”
Nothing brings the trolls out of their caves quite like women’s issues do. Despite all of the negativity that spawned out of this meme, the passionate backlash by feminists and the participation in the movement on Tumblr has made a statement. Furthermore, the manifestation of intersectionality that has emerged because of Broderick’s activism has proven to be reenergizing to the internet feminism movement. Leaders like Broderick have brought this viral movement to the forefront of social and political expression.
“‘We Are What Feminists Look Like’ Tumblr Lauched In Response to ‘Fat-Shaming Anti-Feminist Meme’” by Arin Greenwood (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/28/we-are-what-feminists-look-like_n_3828831.html)
“My Picture was Stolen and Turned into a Fat-Shaming Anti-feminist Meme on Facebook” by Kelly Martin Broderick (http://www.xojane.com/issues/my-picture-was-stolen-and-turned-into-a-fat-shaming-anti-feminist-meme)