It feels like progressive activists haven’t had a lot of victories to write about lately. Perhaps that’s in part because we can’t seem to agree as to just what qualifies as a win.
This is especially true for feminists as the last year gave us a series of setbacks in health care reform and electoral politics. It wasn’t so much that we were thrown under the bus as the bus backed over us and parked.
Which is what makes Sady Doyle’s #MooreandMe campaign all the sweeter. For those who don’t know, #MooreandMe is feminist blogger Sady Doyle’s campaign to take Michael Moore (and by proxy Keith Olbermann) to task after the two summarily dismissed the sexual assault allegations against Julian Assange, calling a ” bunch of hookey”).
The idea was to hold Moore accountable to the “little guy” in the same spirit of Moore’s documentary “Roger and Me.” Except this time the “little guy” is women and the target is the ongoing rape apologism cycling the story, putting progressive muckraker Moore in the uncomfortable spot of playing The Man.
The first step in the campaign was to call out Moore and let him know that mocking accusations of sexual assault is to participate in rape culture. The second step was to call on Moore to donate the same amount he gave for Assange’s bail to an organization that fights sexual assault and helps survivors.
The purpose behind the campaign was not to shame Moore, Olbermann, or anyone for that matter. The purpose of the campaign was to issue a call to progressive men to stand with the women in their lives and put an end to rape culture. Those pushing back against rape culture sent messages to both Moore and Olbermann’s Twitter account with the #MooreandMe hashtag, simply asking them to apologize for the way they dismissed the rape charges and to see how by not doing so they continue a culture that accepts, as normal, violence against women.
That message was lost on Moore and Olbermann, at least temporarily, as Olbermann “quit” Twitter for three days and Moore just refused to answer. But then something happened. They got it–at least Moore got it. And on national television, on the Rachel Maddow show, looked right in the camera and said that allegations of violence against women must always be taken seriously and that any suggestion otherwise is inexcusable. That’s it.
It may not sound like much, but as Doyle herself points out, it’s actually something significant. That’s because we still live in a world where its okay to dismiss rape allegations as lies. In fact it is normal to do so. But with this campaign, we took a step toward erasing that reality and replacing it with one where progressive celebrities don’t have to go on national television to state the obvious as part of a mea culpa for perpetuating a culture of rape. And for that I tip my hat to Doyle.
photo courtesy of gavjof via Flickr
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.