The Twitter Abyss is Real, and I Fell Into It Once. Whoops.
Twitter has slowly, but surely, cemented itself as the ideological battleground of the 21st century. With access to only 140 characters per post, the ability to put out and respond to personal opinions seems to adhere to that one line from Hamlet that most people don’t remember is from Hamlet, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” Within my school’s online community, and the online communities of most suburban high schools, Twitter has become the land of bros and roasts, as well as clever one-liners or small profundities. This is the harrowing tale of my own experience with the land of Twitter Bros.
Exposition: It is the Thursday before the Friday before Thanksgiving break of my junior year. My own social standing is low key. I stick to my small group of friends; I don’t really go to parties. I get home from work, President Obama has given his statement regarding his executive order on immigration. I watch it three times; I’m excited about it. My phone starts buzzing. I am told that Twitter is a dark place where the white and upper-class suburb kids are airing microaggressions, slurs, general xenophobia, 140 characters at a time. I read their tweets. I am angry.
Intervention: My fingers buzz with adrenaline. I type furiously. The @’s are flying, I consider myself a small hero as the call-out begins. I am defying the rigid high school social structure that I have come to accept. These boys are much more popular than I am, they play baseball. I start with one dumb tweet, and then I move on to more, suddenly I am involved in many different arguments taking place at the same time. I begin to falter. I almost concede, my anxiety is raging and I am shaking in my bed, I am having trouble telling the difference between anger at institutional social evils manifesting in tweet-form and total fear. Just as this happens, I am not alone in my Beef. Others are rallying behind me and my passion is renewed. Furious typing continues late into the night. Any sign of early-onset carpal tunnel can probably be traced back to this Twitter Beef.
Aftermath I: The next day people either congratulate me or glare at me. Statements that define this day include: “Thank you for standing up to them, I didn’t think anybody would,” and, “Liberal feminist bitch.” I have made enemies out of the baseball boys. They talk shit about me in their group messages. My entire AP Chemistry class applauds when I walk into the room. This is a social upset. I have ostracized myself from the greater conservative population of my class of 300. This is something that I do not mind at the time; nobody has ever done this before. I have taken action. I have flaunted my feminism and taken an intersectional stance on an issue that I was not expected to. Twitter is for Boys. Opinions are for Boys.
Aftermath II: Now I am a senior. I see the baseball boys at a party after women’s soccer takes home the gold, and they say, “We respect you. You’re not like, a feminist bitch like _____, _____, and _____”. I say, “Oh, I high key am that feminist bitch though.” They laugh and gave me sidehugs before starting their next game of beer pong. It is interesting that my directness with my viewpoints (which are inherently feminist) seem to give the baseball boys grounds to both dismiss me and respect me. I realize the importance of dialogue, I realize that our Twitter Beef was the only dialogue that those boys have ever had with a Feminist Bitch. I text _____, _____, and _____ saying, “Friendly reminder - the baseball boys are awful, you’re smart and beautiful,” with no context. A boy’s validation of my speech does not mean anything to me.
Epilogue: My best friend’s little sister gets into a Twitter Beef with a boy who says he’s a meninist. She wins, senior feminists help the freshman feminist who slaughters the freshman meninists (figuratively). She tells me that she’s worried to come to school the next day, because she knows that the boys will give her dirty looks and talk shit about her in their group messages. I tell her that Twitter is not just for Boys, and she looks down and smiles. I give her a hug. She goes to school and revels in affirmation. Opinions are not just for Boys.
This piece was written as part of JWA’s Rising Voices Fellowship.
How to cite this page
Hoffman, Delaney. "The Twitter Abyss is Real, and I Fell Into It Once. Whoops.." 25 April 2016. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on June 18, 2019) <https://jwa.org/blog/risingvoices/twitter-abyss-is-real-and-i-fell-into-it-once-whoops>.