If you don’t use Twitter, don’t understand it, don’t care about it, fine. But if that’s how you feel, you don’t get to stand around demanding to know where the young women are, because a whole bunch of them are on Twitter. And they brought the guys. And they are awesome.
- The Richardson High School (near Dallas) had an assembly featuring a doozy of a speaker, Justin Lookadoo.
- Parents and students didn’t get much advance notice about the speaker, although they did get some.
- Many students, during the assembly, were so offended by Lookadoo’s remarks that they took to Twitter and, in an inspired moment of hashtagging, came up with #lookadouche.
- Some students even walked out of the assembly.
- Of course, some students and some parents were a-OK with the message and the speaker.
- The hashtag took off, the news crews showed up, and here we are.
The parents and students got a little bit of advance notice, actually, and raised their concerns with the school. The assembly was originally postponed:
BREAKING | The assembly today with guest speaker Justin Lookadoo has been postponed, according to an announcement this morning.—
RichardsonTalonNews (@RHSTalonNews) November 13, 2013
but then went on as scheduled:
BREAKING AGAIN| Assembly is back on.—
RichardsonTalonNews (@RHSTalonNews) November 13, 2013
The administration should not be surprised that things went off the rails. Students were already keeping tabs on the situation via Twitter, but here’s the moment it all came together in the hashtag:
[Now, I have issues with using the word douche as an insult, but not everyone shares my feelings on this, and I think it is safe to say that it is a widely-accepted word to use when describing someone you believe to be distasteful, arrogant, and small-minded.]
Thanks to #lookadouche, you can follow the course of conversations, see what the students were saying, what got said to them, and how they’ve handled the aftermath. It won’t surprise you to know that some of the students are getting trolled for taking part in #lookadouche – I’m surprised most of them haven’t locked down their accounts yet.
The Texas Freedom Network helped bring the hashtag into more people’s streams. That’s where I heard about it, via a tweet.
I don’t know exactly what was said in that assembly, but allow me to present a few of Justin Lookadoo’s rules for girls from his website, R U Dateable:
Be mysterious. Dateable girls know how to shut up. They don’t monopolize the conversation. They don’t tell everyone everything about themselves. They save some for later. They listen more than they gab.
Let him lead. God made guys as leaders. Dateable girls get that and let him do guy things, get a door, open a ketchup bottle. They relax and let guys be guys. Which means they don’t ask him out!!!
And to think, I’ve been finding ways to open ketchup bottles for years, only sometimes allowing my husband to do it for me.
A couple of examples of the rules for boys:
Being a guy is good. Dateable guys know they aren’t as sensitive as girls and that’s okay. They know they are stronger, more dangerous, and more adventurous and that’s okay. Dateable guys are real men who aren’t afraid to be guys.
Men of God are wild, not domesticated. Dateable guys aren’t tamed. They don’t live by the rules of the opposite sex. They fight battles, conquer lands, and stand up for the oppressed.
And, answering the question “how old are you” on your FAQ page with a comment/graphic like this is also rape culture:
“Rules” like this are meant to be held up to the light, examined, exposed, and broken, because if we don’t break these rules, we break the children who are taught to follow them, and that’s not an acceptable outcome.
In Texas, we do everything we can to “protect” children from age-appropriate, medically accurate sex education, and then we turn around and expose them to people like this?
The students spoke up and got attention. They were young women, and they were young men, and they were diverse young people who identify at all points on a spectrum of gender, political, religious, and cultural identities. They are friends who are going to support each other through any fall-out from their actions. And they’re really clever Twitter users.
We need to be ready to support them if anyone tries to punish them. So far, they haven’t gotten any blow-back, but I’m sure there will soon be a ‘no Twitter on campus’ rule at RHS!
We also need to honor their engagement by refusing to frame conversations about activism with ‘where are the young women,’ as the starting point. If you aren’t seeing them, ask yourself if you are looking in the right places. You might have to go to them instead of expecting them to come to you, and they might be in places you can’t really go, like high school assemblies. You might not do activism or build community or work in coalition the same way. That’s OK.
Find places you can work together, and trust that when you can’t, they’re working where they are.
Which is sometimes on Twitter.
And sometimes, on Instagram, which I guess I’ll start using once I figure out how to insert .gifs about getting off my lawn into WordPress blogs.
Here’s an incredibly thoughtful blog post from one of the students, who IDs herself as “the ever so ‘famous’ tweeter of ‘I refuse to listen to the enforcement of stereotypes and gender roles.'” Awesome.