As I type this, my original Tweet has been reposted and liked 1,948 times and feminist-journalist-superstar Ann Friedman’s almost-immediate repost of my Tweet has been shared and liked 6,678 times. Last week was probably the busiest week that I’ve had in months and it wasn’t sex statue Friday when I was barely able to crawl home from work completely exhausted that I was able to take a look at the mansplaining statue photograph that my friend Ash had sent to a mutual friend and me mid-week. I sat on my couch alone, eating a slice of pizza and I quickly devoured the image the way I devoured my food. Filmmaking is a field where I have experienced mansplaining hard and I’m sure she has too.
The rest of the comments were abbreviations indicating various types of laughter. This time, writer Ann Friedman shared my posting, and I decided to make the image and caption public so our non-mutual friends could actually see it. My final gulp was via Twitter around 6pm—my only public social media outlet, which I’ve waivered back and forth on regarding its privacy settings throughout the years. Within a couple of hours, the Tweet went viral thanks to Friedman’s reposting. By 7pm, I was texting Ash to let her know that hundreds of people had seen her photo.
On Monday, I let Ash know her image was a meme and she laughed again. It was at this point that someone from the media wanted to interview Ash and me about the Tweet going viral. Ash, who if you haven’t guessed isn’t on any social media sites, was surprised, but said she definitely wanted to participate in being interviewed. Oh the questions I would have liked to have passed along to the artist had I known there was a chance to do so via his phone interview.
It feels worth mentioning that Ash and I were interviewed via email. I also think it’s worth noting that in this piece, the writer essentially mansplains the image of the statue for readers. I might at least describe this as an image of a woman, say, reading or a woman taking a break from reading or even a woman being interrupted while reading. One item that didn’t make it into the piece, which seems relevant, is that Ash and I met while both attending the high school operated by the University of the Incarnate Word, where the statue resides. In the interview, I half-joked about the possibility of fallout from our former school. Like any good comic, she tested the material first. I have been Tweeting since Twitter first existed.
I have over 11,000 Tweets, most of which are my attempts at being funny, but I’ve received little indication that what I’m saying is making anyone laugh. Whenever I’m performing on stage, I get the most laughs from the unscripted moments—the moments where I’m not even sure exactly what just happened so I probably won’t be able to replicate it again. Regarding the sculpture in question carrying any sexist undertones or symbolism—it doesn’t take a sociologist to know that body language can say just as much as words do. Body language can reinforce gender roles and stereotypes and assert dominance just as much as it can passivity. I’m cool with it because I assumed he was making a joke about male entitlement.