By O. Ryan '23
I would like to offer my sincere apologies for tweeting that the founder of poorpeoplemustdie.com is a “#GIRLBOSS.” In the aftermath of President Biden’s inauguration, I, like many Americans, was caught up in the joy of seeing so many women rise to prominent positions in government, and I neglected to use my better judgement when discerning which other successful women were worthy of praise. I know now that Deborah Nelson, the aforementioned founder, is not a “feminist icon.” It was incorrect of me to characterize Ms. Nelson’s statement that she supported depriving poor people of food as “a strong AF queen taking what’s hers.” It is clear to me now that Ms. Nelson’s regressive and cruel political beliefs are not those of a true “boss bitch.”
I would also like to apologize for praising Beth Beam, host of the right-wing talk show Patriot Attack. After reading a Daily Beast article about the sexism that female journalists experience, I thought it would be a good idea to honor women in the media. However, I have since come to realize it was improper for me to applaud Ms. Beam, as her show pushed the election conspiracy theories that inspired many of the Capitol rioters. In retrospect, it was wrong to label her a “door-opening #nastywoman,” especially as footage has emerged of Ms. Beam in the Capitol attempting to break down the door to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s office. Obviously, this is not the behavior one would want a role model for young girls to be engaging in, and my calling Ms. Beam a “role model” was incorrect for this very reason.
In regard to another tweet of mine, I should also say that my followers were correct that I was presenting a skewed view of history when I celebrated Sarah Phillips, whom many historians have labeled “the Confederate Mulan.” My trending page showed #warriorwomen in the top spot and I thought my followers would be expecting me to shine a light on a woman who served. Even so, I recognize that I should have researched more about the woman to whom I ended up paying tribute. Though Ms. Phillips did indeed dress as a man to serve the Confederate army during the Civil War, she did so to protect the institution of slavery, not to “go OFF on a bunch of mediocre white men,” as I stated in one Twitter thread. I see now that Ms. Phillips was no better than the men she served beside, and I should not have tagged Disney in my tweet and demanded that they make a movie out of Sarah’s life.
On the subject of misremembering history, I want to apologize for making Eva Braun my profile picture for Women’s History Month. In my own work, I have found my wife to be an invaluable source of wisdom and inspiration, and I was hoping to call my followers’ attention to some of the unrecognized women across history who have influenced their powerful partners. That being said, my intentions were of course undercut by my choosing a terrible example to illustrate this point. To suggest as I did that Eva Braun was the “Michelle to Adolf’s Barack” was incredibly offensive, and even though Hitler was appointed chancellor a few years after he met Ms. Braun, his rise to prominence in German politics was the result of antisemitic fearmongering, not “the power of having a badass chick in the bedroom.” I will also immediately take down my tweet containing a photo of Ms. Braun in a dress with the caption “SLAY.”
Lastly, on a more personal note, I would like to apologize to my family for tweeting that Anna Sykes, my brother’s killer, is “our generation’s RBG.” Though most murderers are male, violence is never empowering, and no one who has murdered someone can be said to be “shattering the glass ceiling.” What Ms. Sykes did to my family was horrendous and I miss David every day. Were Nancy Pelosi to meet Anna, I no longer think that she would applaud her actions, despite what the GIF in a previous tweet of mine may have suggested.