The Tweet Heard ‘Round the World: Ravings of An Occasional Activist

Content Warning: language

Not too long ago, before the gruesome & heinous assault on the nation’s capital, Harry Styles, recording artist, former boy band member, flipped Twitter on fire, making history as the 1st man ever to be featured on the cover of Vogue magazine wearing a ball gown. He wore a dress. (for those NOT in the know)


It was an ornate powder blue Gucci ballgown, topped with a black tuxedo jacket, & the internet erupted in a frenzied outpouring of love & support. It was largely received as an act of bravery, & Styles is being hailed as a trailblazer. And all was right & well with the world.


But then Candace Owens, a black female conservative author, reputed for supporting the Trump administration, got a hold of this celebration of individuality & self-expression. To be clear, Ms. Owens’ reputation as a self-loathing black has proceeded her. Which has resulted in her black card being revoked, ages ago. So, no, we do not claim her.


Ion’t know which was worse for Candace. Styles having the audacity to be featured on the cover in a ballgown, or the amount of love and support he received for having done so.


I suspect the latter…


Maybe she wanted the cover for herself. And I could be wrong, but last time I checked Vogue Magazine don’t make a habit of featuring largely percieved sellouts on its cover. I could be wrong thoug. ‘But I digress,’ quoting the wise words of Sophia Petrillo.


Owens took to Twitter expressing what I can only describe as disgust & contempt for Styles being in a dress, attacking his very manhood. ‘There is no society that can survive without strong men. The East knows this. In the West (I’m glad she knows her geography) the steady feminization of our men at the same time that Marxism is being taught to our children is not a coincidence. We are under attack.’ And as one last ‘fuck you’ to Styles. After a deliberate & dramatic space break, closing out the quote, she added,


‘Break back manly men.’


(I wasn’t aware that they had went anywhere, but ok)


Of course the internet lost its ever lovin’ mind. Which I presume is precisely what attention addict Ms. Owens wanted. They played right into her brown & bigoted hands. The hightly opinionated Tweet was met with rapid impassioned posts discrediting her, that included Pics of men in kilts, to brief statements centering around how the images of masculinity have evolved over the centuries. It included images of ruffle toting, white wigged & make up caked Victorian men And let us not forget the heavy thick eye lined royal & ancient Egyptians.


But Noah Cyrus, she went another route altogether, more about that shit later.

I suspect that ignoring the bitch, woulda been more effective, because Candace clearly gets off on tha shit. But that is not what this piece is about…


Would seeing a man in a dress elicit any feeling of physical want or desire from me? No.


If I were to see a man walking down the street wearing light blue ballgown, getting a pack of cigarettes, do I automatically start singing the refrain, “whatta man, whatta man, whatta mighty good man.”


No.


Meaning, does my first reaction, & my first reflex automatically register it as an image of masculinity. Also, No.


I’m afraid not. “I’m frightened not.” But that’s not what this is about…


‘Cuz I ain’t the 1 who went on Twitter, a world stage, & attacked a man’s character & sense of self. Nor am I the 1 making him the poster boy & scapegoat for a supposed American conspiracy that apparently exists soley to erase all traces of male strength & virility.


As much as Owens angered peopleAs much as people hated what she said. Styles’ supporters went fervently after what they saw as antiquated & ignorant statements. They challenged her ideals. Never once did they attack her as a person.


Despite that collective positive approach, treating it as a teachable moment, 1 of Harry Styles supporters, Noah Styles, (daughter of Billy Ray, sister to Miley) ‘recording artist’ went a strikingly different way. ( I put recording artist in quotes, cuz I ain’t never heard of the chick)


‘He wears this dress better than any of you nappy ass heauxs.’


Don Imus anyone?


I’m sure she wasn’t alive when he committed his faux pas & doesn’t know who he was. I bet she know who the motherfucker is now.


Again, Twitter went bizerk. I don’t have Twitter, nor do I pay attention to it, but even I heard about the shit. Ms. Cyrus then did exactly what every ‘celebrity’ does when they get their racist ass foot caught in their privileged mouths (Again, with the quotes, cuz callin’ her a celebrity would be a stretch for me)


She said she didn’t know, instantly making her a tired cliché.
I desperately need this explained to me. Since when has not knowing something ever been an excuse for negligent ignorance? Never. That’s when.

How is it possible that a body can know it is deeply insulting to allege that a man wearing a dress, can’t or doesn’t reflect male strength (which is a fairly new accepted form of fashion freedom & stylized expression, btw). But then claim profound ignorance when using the word ‘nappy’ in response to a black woman. You cannot use the centuries old racial epithet ‘nappy’ to defend a white man wearing a dress. 1 that has deep hurtful roots & 1 that is perpetuated time & time again, in a white dominated society. 1 that has continuously asserted, & tried to maintain over the ages, an aesthetic superiority regarding percieved standards of beauty. And then be surprised when the result is that you have acutely offended & insulted an entire ethnic group of brown & black people, that just happen to make up the world’s global majority.


How Sway?


Here she go…


“I am mortified that I used a term without knowing the context and history, but I know now and am horrified and truly sorry. I will never use it again. Thank you for educating me. I in no way meant to offend anyone.”


She’s thanking us for educating her, isn’t that just precious. Bless her ignorant ass heart. Her publicist or PR person, after probably wanting to punch her in the face, earned every penny, crafting that politically correct apology.


Well, in what way did you mean it, Ms. Cyrus, ‘cuz it was definitely not meant as a compliment? Since when has not knowing something, been an excuse for negligent ignorance & behavior? Never. That’s when.


Hell, as far as I’m concerned, she woulda been better off, posting pics of her with little black girls in her lap, cornrowing their hair. At least that woulda been a fresh & innovative way of back peddling. Now that woulda reflected her commitment to the cause, & it woulda been hilarious. Then we would know she was committed to the cause.

Now, do I expect Ms. Cyrus to intimately know the long & complicated, but magnificent history that woman of color with textured hair have experienced? No, no I do not.


Do I expect her to know that I am frequently compelled to remind my 2 beautiful brown nieces (& other little & big brown girls, strangers, even) of the precious quality of their crinkly coiled locs, to rail against the constant barrage of standards of beauty pressed upon them, that do not reflect any of their distinctive & stunning features? Again, no. No, I do not.


Why? ‘Cuz I’m not a psycho.


Am I expecting Miley, I’m sorry, I mean Noah, to know that my spirit cries or winces in tremendous pain when I see a beautiful brown woman walking down the street with 6 weeks’ worth of old matted Malaysian hair, that she hasn’t bothered to maintain? The kind of stuff that resembles a wretched bird’s nest. But it doesn’t matter ‘cuz anything in this world, is better than showing the world the perfect wooly crown that springs from her bronzed scalp? And once again, my answer would be ‘no.’ But could mutual respect please be on the menu for once? Just for fun. Just for shits & giggles


She may have not known the racist history behind the word, & it may have been a knee jerk reaction, but she absolutely intended it to be an insult. That was precisely her intent. And the fact that she was taken aback & surprised by the reaction, lets me know that she uses the word often.


Maybe her sole 2 black friends, supported her use of the word ‘nappy.’ And when I say support, I mean it went unchecked. And if that is the case, they did her a disservice when they didn’t check Ms. Cyrus & should issue an apology as well. At the very least they shoulda let her know that she did not have the benefit of using that word outside of their particular circle.
Hell, as far as I’m concerned, she woulda been better off, posting pics of her with little black girls in her lap, cornrowing their hair. At least that woulda been a fresh & innovative way of back peddling. Then we would know she was committed to the cause.


Now, do I expect Ms. Cyrus to intimately know the long & complicated, but magnificent history that woman of color withintextured hair have experienced? No, no I do not.


Am I expecting Miley, I mean Noah, to know that my spirit cries or winces in tremendous pain when I see a woman walk down the street with 6 weeks’ worth of old matted Malaysian hair, that she hasn’t bothered to maintain? The kind of knotted stuff that resembles a wretched bird’s nest. Because anything in this world, is better than showing the world the tightly curled perfect wooly crown that springs from her bronze colored scalp?


Once again, no. Why? ‘Cuz I’m not a psycho.


But just for fun, just for shits & giggles, could mutual respect please be on the menu? For once…


She may have not known the racist history behind the word. And it may have been a knee jerk reaction to defending her friend. But she absolutely intended it to be an insult. That was precisely her intent. She just didn’t know the racist rabbit hole that she was falling into, had historical layers to it. And the fact that she was taken aback & surprised by the reaction, lets me know that she uses the word often.


Maybe her sole 2 black friends, supported her use of the word ‘nappy.’ And when I say support, I mean it went unchecked. If that’s the case, they did her a disservice when it went unchecked & they should issue an apology as well. Or, At the very least they shoulda let her know that she did not have the benefit of using that word outside of their particular circle.


Some young white Tweeters said they had never even heard the word before, & I believe them. But that stands the reason they would not use it, having never heard it. I applaud their efforts in trying to soften the blow, But Noah not only heard it before, she used it on a very public platform.


I saw a Tweet that said her career is over before it has begun because of this mistake. If that is true, I am sad for her, but I am more sad for all of us. She should absolutely be held accountable for her words & actions. But let the punishment fit the crime, people.. She is a 20-year-old girl who made a mistake. We’ve all been there. It is unfortunate that her mistake was made on a world stage that cannot be erased but she should not demonized for the rest of her life. We do murderers less dirty…


Ms. Cyrus snort her last 3 lines of coke or pop the molly after she has logged off Twitter for the evening. Just a suggestion…

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Shaun McCarthy
Shaun McCarthy (she/her) is an adult learner and an English major with a concentration in creative writing. She is also a local comedian and stage actor.