A teenage girl is Time magazine’s person of the year. Never mind that environmental activist Greta Thunberg probably opposes things like deforestation for the manufacture of paper, the chemicals used in glassy magazine publishing, and the fact that the mainstream media can’t seem to resist letting climate-change-deniers have air time, the fact that she is getting recognition at all is heartening.
Well, it’s heartening if you’re the kind of person who appreciates and uplifts young women and their passions. To a lot of other people, Greta getting accolades is some kind of personal affront.
Now, I have not done a comprehensive study of who likes Greta and who hates her but I can say that in my social media feeds, the only people I’ve seen complaining about Greta are cis-guys. They say stuff like the above-pasted tweet (and before you get on me about not blocking the name of the tweeter, be assured he has over 12,000 followers so he’s not worried about the public finding out that he’s a Greta detractor) and suggest that she is somehow not a good activist because…fuck if I know. I never studied Angry CisDude in college so I can’t always translate.
Grown men are really awful to teen girls in general. It’s a truism that society sneers at the things teen girls like, such as their favorite shows and music. Media portrayals of teen girls have historically been deeply unfair. Ditzy sisters obsessed with lip gloss abounded on the sitcoms of my youth. Being “like a girl” is considered an insult to this day.
But then when a teen girl has passion, smarts, and valid concerns and uses all of the above to mount a global movement for change, that’s also not ok.
What the fuck, guys? What can young women do that will make you happy?
On second thought, don’t answer that.
I’m sick of having to defend women of all ages from the sneering derision of guys who think they could do the thing better while, at the same time, not doing the thing at all. If you don’t think Greta’s way of being an activist and global citizen is admirable, get off Twitter and show me you can do it better, Until then, kindly shut the fuck up.
OMFG, minutes after I hit publish on this post, this happened and I rest my case forever.
But at least Greta is still amazing.