This Twitter Thread Criticizes The Way Society Talks About Women In A Truly Glorious Way
While it’s true that gender equality has come a long way from where it has historically been in our society, sexism is definitely still a thing — and it’s often reflected in the language we use every day. Indeed, a tweet posted on Sept. 1 by the satire account @ManWhoHasItAll asking for recommendations for a token man to include on a list of great historical figures highlights exactly what’s wrong with the way our culture talks about women. That’s not all, though; as more and more Twitter users jumped into the conversation, it became increasingly, hilariously obvious how absurd the way our culture talks about women is.
It’s still the norm in our society to describe women based solely on their relationships to men, rather than according to their own merits and achievements; furthermore, we often dismiss women and bolster men for reasons grounded in sexist assumptions and gender essentialism. When the script is flipped, though — that is, when it’s men who are being described based solely on their relationships to women, rather than according to their own merits and achievements — the ridiculousness of the whole situation comes through loud and clear.
According to the Huffington Post, ManWhoHasItAll originally launched in May of 2015 as a way of satirizing specifically how our culture talks about and treats working mothers. Indeed, the name of the account itself is a flipped version of the “Can Women Really Have It All?” debate that plagues women in the workplace (which, notably, had received renewed interest in 2012 with the essay “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” written by Anne-Marie Slaughter and published in The Atlantic). Tweets like this one:
And this one:
And this one:
And so very many more drive home exactly how ridiculous our expectations for working mothers are — or, as one Twitter user put it:
Over time, the account has expanded to cover gender inequality more generally, as seen in this gem:
And this one:
And this one:
This, then, is where the “historical figures” thread comes in. Here’s what ManWhoHasItAll originally posted:
So, who were their Twitter followers able to come up with? How about these fellows — remember them? I mean, if you think back hard enough to your high school history classes, surely some of their names sound familiar… right?
That Writer Guy
Wait, seriously? I had no idea! Although...
Hmmm. Good point.
The Dudes Who Were Lucky Enough To Work With Katherine Johnson
She clearly did all the work, though.
The Guy Who Was Married To All Those Queens
Six queens > one king. Just sayin’. Also:
The Fellows Who Worked With Rosalind Franklin
I mean… I guess they did… something? (But, like, didn’t they try to steal her work? Not cool, dudes. Not cool at all.)
That Other Curie
Oh, right! I forgot that there were two of them!
Those Guys Mary Shelly Knew
I mean, hey, at least one of them gifted the world with Ada Lovelace, so… there’s that.
Ginger Rogers’ Dance Partner
Pffft. He had it so easy.
That Fellow Who Created That Show About Spaceships
Someone’s got to boldly go where no woman has before.
Simone de Beauvoir’s Main Squeeze
She just kept him around because he was hot, right?
Wait. Nope. Sorry. Those are all women. My bad.
Ah! These Guys!
Yes! Those are some! Good work! They're just so obscure, you know?
The thread doesn’t just address the men who have been left out of the history books, though; it also addresses other important cultural issues. Things like…
That Time Of The Season
I mean, men are just so emotional. You can't reason with them at all, especially when it's That Time.
Men’s History Month
They're such special snowflakes, am I right?
I mean, of course there were men during the Stone Age. Can't they just accept that we call the people of the time cavewomen, though? That's the way it's always been.
Men's history is just too specialized for the general public to care about.
This one, by the way, popped up during a discussion of Queen Victoria and that guy she was married to. Alan? Alphonse?
Albert! That’s the one. Thank you for the reminder.
Boys In The Workplace
I mean, how is it that it’s 2017 and we’re still dealing with this stuff? It’s bananas, right?I can't even. Even ManWhoHasItAll and their teacher friend ultimately had to throw in the towel:
On a more serious note, though: How is that it’s 2017 and we’re still dealing with this stuff? For real. I mean, it sounds ridiculous when you frame it in terms of men — but this is how our culture still regularly talks about women (and, y’know, everyone who’s not a white, straight, cis, wealthy, able-bodied man). What’s more, the fact that we’re only able to identify how problematic it is when we flip the script is an issue in and of itself. No matter what some folks might think, sexism isn’t over; it’s still alive and very, disappointingly well.
And so, even though we really shouldn’t have to, we keep having to call out problems when we see them. But as ManWhoHasItAll points out, there’s no reason we can’t have a laugh while we’re doing so. Good comedy always makes a point — and this is very good point to be making, indeed.