Ann Coulter has been given a taste of her own medicine which has lasted since last Sunday night, when she decided to ridicule Michelle Obama’s #BringBackOurGirls photo. She was not alone. In a shocking display of heartlessness, right-wing pundits began bemoaning hashtag activism when it was used in the hunt for the missing Nigerian school girls kidnapped by a ruthless group known for selling women into slavery. That, in itself, is offensive. Their obnoxious meme is that it will hurt the stolen girls and their families more than it will help.
Coulter has never hesitated to use shocking insults to self-promote her spew of hate, this is not her first time around this particular block. However, rarely has such an ugly act had such a swift and terrible (but sometimes hilarious) response. All over the Twittersphere her photo was shopped with messages that painted the foul-tongued Coultergeist in less and less flattering ways. You can find some of them gathered together at (of all places) Market Watch of the WSJ
Hashtag activism starts conversations, and forces the American media to cover events in far away places that it would otherwise ignore. In places where women are being enslaved, sold, and kept from education, shining a light on what’s going on may start conversations that lead to actual change, which can come in many forms and from many different places.
The argument made by conservatives that hashtag activism hurts more than it helps reminds me of all the times over the years when I’ve heard one section of the LGBT movement put down other sections’ forms of activism. Those advocating self-defense and an armed response were soundly shouted down by those who preferred the legal route through the courts, who were equally censored by those who maintained only direct dialogue with individuals would bring about change, who were laughed at by the those who thought shmoozing the rich and powerful in congress would be best. As it turns out, all of these approaches changed things for the better in our community as a whole.
I’ll keep talking about the missing Nigerian girls, and I’ll keep posting articles relevant to their rescue, so my friends and family keep talking about them, wondering aloud what can be done to not only rescue these girls, but to keep the same thing from happening to other girls in too many places in the world.
I will use hashtags, and Facebook posting, and write blog articles because I demand that we Bring Back Our Girls. These young women have become the daughters of the whole world, and my daughters too. Yes, they’re Nigerian and I’m not, but hopefully wherever they are right now, whatever they’re living through, they’ll hear about the amazing swell of worldwide support that has spread through social media, and know they’re not forgotten, not the worthless thing they’re being told they are.
That’s why I do it.