A tweet from controversial television host Piers Morgan launched a pretty incredible response from mothers this week.
On Sunday, Morgan tweeted that he would be co-hosting “Good Morning Britain” with three broken ribs. “For the more fragile snowflakes among you, this is called ‘manning up,’” he wrote.
While Morgan’s tweet was written in jest, many Twitter users made sure to dish it right back ― including many women who decided to school the TV personality on what “woman-ing up” means.
One U.K. mom’s epic response went viral.
Marketing professional and mother of two Juliet Oosthuysen tweeted, “I gave birth twice with no drugs and tore open the packets of stitches to sew me up with my *teeth* as there was a staff shortage. Woman up.”
Oosthuysen’s tweet received more than 167,000 likes and was retweeted by several celebrities, including fellow mom Kristen Bell.
Following her tweet, many other mothers shard their “woman-ing up” stories of pregnancy, birth and parenthood.
Oosthuysen told HuffPost she’s been overwhelemed by the increidble response to her tweet, which clearly struck a chord with her fellow women and mothers.
She said decided to reply because she was feeling particularly irritated at Morgan’s brand of casual sexism. “At a certain point in many women’s lives, something snaps, and it can be something as innocuous and idiotic as a Piers Morgan tweet, which makes you suddenly get loud,” she explained.
The mom added:
“Every day we face a multitude of tiny, or not so tiny insults, from being catcalled (or conversely being told you’re too fat, old, or ugly to be), or being patronized or talked over at your place of work, to actually being paid less and marginalized. Aside from that, if we haven’t suffered more serious abuse or assault – and most of us have ― we are more than aware that it could happen at any moment. For women of color, they have to work even harder to stand still, having the double whammy of sexism and racism to fight. Having an overpaid, white, privileged presenter joke that he’s going to ‘man up’ with something as pedestrian as a broken rib makes us laugh. If we didn’t, we’d cry.”
Oosthuysen said she worries about her two daughters, ages 11 and 9, who are bombarded with images and other signals that suggest women are weak and can only derive value from looking attractive. “Yet the strongest people in my life are the women,” she said.
“When I wrote the tweet, it was just a knee-jerk reaction to some tedious trolling,” she continued, adding that the response from other women made her glad she did. “It is utterly wrong, unfair and cruel that this fabricated myth exists that we are somewhere less capable then men. It’s cruel because it sets expectations in young girls that extremely hard to reverse – and also in little boys, that masculinity is a thing to be paraded and used to subjugate.”
For his part, Morgan hasn’t backed down from his tweet, though he’s made sure to note it was just a joke. He otherwise responded to the backlash with his signature trolling.
Oosthuysen told HuffPost she wishes more people would speak out against these kinds of remarks because they reinforce existing prejudices and can lead to more overt instances of sexism and racism.
“We need more women, and frankly men too, telling prats like Piers Morgan to take a seat. Laugh at him, or tell him frankly, but this kind of nonsense hurts kids,” she said. “We don’t need to listen to this crap.”