In a tweet, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore made a statement about women, with the intention of showing how they are ethically better than men. Unfortunately for him, writer Jessica Ellis shared some Twitter feminism when she replied with a list of historical women who have done some ethically questionable things.
Michael Moore has a tendency to put his foot in his mouth, even if his intentions are good. For example, after winning the Academy Award for his documentary Bowling for Columbine, Moore attracted a mixed reaction of cheers and boos from the audience when he criticized President Bush in his acceptance speech.
Jessica Ellis showed in her response that women should not be placed on a pedestal, or made to feel like paragons of virtue. Her replies shed light on historical women who have done terrible things, things that are as bad as anything a man has done in the past.
It all began with Michael Moore sending out the tweet below, in which he appears to be praising women for never doing anything bad to anyone.
Jessica Ellis quickly stepped in to say that she completely disagreed with this statement. She was about to show Moore how wrong he was.
Ellis began by highlighting the work of scientist Elizabeth Riddle Graves, whose research into fast neutron scattering was essential to the creation of nuclear weapons.
Mary Walton, as Ellis points out, patented designs for smokestacks. However, her smokestacks were actually designed to reduce pollution. Walton also invented a system for reducing noise from elevated trains.
Ilse Koch was one one of the most infamously terrible Nazis to work in a concentration camp. Her cruelty earned her many nicknames, including “the Red Witch of Buchenwald.”
Ceri Powell was one of the highest-ranking women at the Shell corporation, which has been criticized for its business practices and environmental record.
Brenda Spencer infamously committed the first school shooting in San Diego in 1979. She killed the principal and janitor of the school and wounded eight children.
Brenda Spencer was even the subject of the Boomtown Rats song, “I Don’t Like Mondays.” The title is a reference to a quote given by Spencer to a reporter before her arrest.
Jessica Ellis then tells Michael Moore that despite his good intentions, he does not get to decide what women have and have not done throughout history.
Ellis asserts her point that taking anything away from women, whether it’s good or bad, is not okay. She also makes the point that women should not be stereotyped as perfect or flawless.
Women are a part of history. Michael Moore has mistaken praising women’s accomplishments with denying their entire story. Ellis illustrates why this is a bad thing.
Ellis caps off her stunning display of Twitter feminism with one final shot toward Moore’s misguided tweet. Ultimately, women’s accomplishments and atrocities should be recognized.
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