THE BLOG
12/19/2013 12:56 pm ET Updated Feb 18, 2014

#MeninistTwitter: When Intersectionality and Policing Collide

Perhaps nothing in the Twitterverse this week best encapsulates the complexities of intersectionality, than the latest twitter hashtag #MeninistTwitter.

After being alerted by a friend about the man-oriented craze on Monday afternoon, I decided to check it out and honestly, there was a lot going on with the trending topic. In this week's news perplexing mainstream audiences about race, it is up there with the 250 percent rise of diagnosed affluenza cases in New York suburbs and the recent discovery that Santa Claus is a a black man who keeps it real.

Apparently, #MeninistTwitter began as an attempt to mock opponents of Feminist/ womanist ideology through satire. The earliest of tweets, overwhelmingly penned by Black male tweeters, combine a degree of limited self-deprecation with critiques of societal ailments like colorism, gender norms, wealth, and entertainment. Among some gems, you'll find:

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However, as the hashtag started trending, the creative momentum dwindled and some trite, unfortunate tweets of misogyny and male privilege began appearing. Consequently, a variety of Tweeters responded with critiques of their own.

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Within moments, many tweeters raised issue with the dismissiveness of critics.

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It's hard to fully dissect this ever so complicated night on Twitter, but it is most certainly worth noting that a lot of #MeninistTwitter critique came from white males and females. Many critics, when speaking about the trending topic, made some incredibly off putting generalizations. Many failed to see (or even, want to try to see) the multidimensionality of experiences and perspectives expressed through tweeters using the hashtag.

Because of society's gender norms, Black men are often denied the opportunity to discuss their experiences or perceptions of gender. Time and time again, this country tells Black men that intersectionality is real; that there are some parts of one's identity that can propel or limit an individual, yet Black men are silenced the moment in which they complicate mainstream society's theoretical understandings of gender. I mean, if a brother or a sister can't even rant about Idris Elba as society's model for Black excellence or use comedy to invoke serious thinking about inequalities in this country, something is clearly wrong.

By no means can we say that the #MeninistTwitter trend was perfect. However, it could have been an incredibly powerful moment for learning if critics could have at least made an attempt to contextualize or engage with tweeters in a less dismissive and ignorant way.

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