Twitter rolled out a new feature yesterday morning, and let me tell you: It's causing me a little heartburn. That's a pun for those in the know; the iconic "fav" star has been replaced with a heart that's sleazy, tacky, and just plain creepy. In other words, the opposite of Male Feminism.
The new "heart" or "like" or whatever they want to call it is completely antithetical to the way that Twitter operates. Twitter used to be a safe space where Male Feminists could interact with online female feminists by pressing a gold star when we liked one of their tweets or one of their selfies in which they called themselves a "cute trash wytch" and looked vaguely sad. The gold star was Male Feminist because it was just like in kindergarten, when stars were handed out for doing impressive things like tying your shoes. It put us all in the position of the teacher—handing out little validations when our pupils did something good. But really, we were learning from the pupils the whole time. It's just like the movie Half Nelson or one of the other movies in which a white man goes into a Disadvantaged School and learns to become a better white man, but for flirting with women online. Not all Male Feminists look like Ryan Gosling, but we are just as beautiful inside as he is outside.
As many people have pointed out, sending women hearts is a lot like harassment. Twitter is trying to turn us into a bunch of "nice guy" PUAs who obsess over earning "good man points" from the woke women of online. Male Feminism is about being a good ally and showing people you care about understanding plights other than your own. How will we know that we're successful if we're getting little hearts instead of little stars? It's also extremely confusing because now when we make Woke Tweets and people are hearting them… Do they want to fuck us? The Male Feminist would never assume, but actually, they are little hearts. Kind of mixed signals, in my opinion.
Twitter already has a harassment problem; women are constantly bombarded. And trolls constantly log into tell me that I'm "a white knight loser" and that I "must be joking with this Male Feminist garbage." I can assure you, Male Feminism is no joke!!!! It's not very allied at all of Twitter to subject both Feminists and Male Feminists to little exploding hearts when we had perfectly good stars in the first place. All my FeFos (female followers) are "stars" to me, and I would not want to suggest that our relationship is anything but exactly what my FeFos want it to be.
Hearts can be creepy, but they can also show our sensitivity to the issues, and to ourselves.
The star-to-heart transition is not completely problematic, however; it has already made some great strides for Male Feminist awareness. Another heartbutton topic: #MasculinitySoFragile, the trending hashtag burning men who get mad online about their manhood being questioned. Today, the 'shtag was full of men complaining that the hearts seemed gay and weren't as manly as cute little stars. I'd like to say that being a Male Feminist is the ultimate proof that this hashtag doesn't apply to us: We're super allied with femininity and the general Other. Our masculinity is so strong that we can easily be Male Feminists without compromising anything manly about ourselves.
In other words, our issue with the hearts has nothing to do with our masculinity; our hearts, as Male Feminists, are only full of acceptance and understanding. In fact, we think #MasculinitySoFragile is funny. We've never been mad online, except at Irony Bros, Misogynists, and Trolls. Therefore, participating in #MasculinitySoFragile enables the Male Feminist to show his lighter side, so that he can have a little fun at his own expense; here, sending someone a heart becomes a political statement. And by making good tweets and posting them under that hashtag, we can also prove how allied we are and maybe get some of those sweet, sweet hearts for ourselves. We have to admit, getting a heart icon on your phone is nice. It's like a little Valentine from Twitter, the Male Feminist's favorite website.
Of course, #MasculinitySoFragile can be a thorny issue, too. Elite Daily had a typically strong take on the subject:
But here's the kicker: A man's masculinity is fragile. It's why we need strong, intelligent women to guide us to a place where we become better versions of ourselves. We don't need them attacking us and trying to drive all the masculinity out of us.
Feminism is a movement I fully support. But…it has become shameful to be a man in our society.
Folks, this is basically why I invented Male Feminism: because we need to be able to show off our sensitive sides, while also maintaining masculinity. We don't need feminists to attack us; we want to understand them. And the best way to do that is to interact with them on Twitter and other web platforms and let them know how woke we are, and how we understand their plight.
Is a heart the best way to accomplish this? I don't know. Hearts can be creepy, but they can also show our sensitivity to the issues, and to ourselves. Using the hearts doesn't make you gay. However, it does irrevocably alter the Twitter user experience. We're definitely going to have to significantly change how we interact with Twitter now because the little star is now a little heart. This matters. This is a real issue.