During the 90th annual Academy Awards broadcast, Twitter aired a commercial intended to showcase the power of women—but in an ironic twist, it isn’t exactly sitting well with female Twitter users.
The 60-second ad, first released on Twitter (but of course), is shot in black and white and showcases a diverse array of women, including actress Issa Rae and filmmaker Ava DuVernay, set to a poem by writer and performer Denice Frohman.
“I heard a woman becomes herself the first time she speaks without permission,” Frohman says. “When a girl pronounces her own name, there is glory / When a woman tells her own story, she lives forever.”
— Twitter (@Twitter) March 4, 2018
The poem ends with the hashtag #HereWeAre, and Twitter says the ad was its way of saying that it “stand[s] with women around the world to make their voices heard and their presence known. To bring them front and centre, today and every day.”
It’s an important message, especially at a time when the #MeToo and #TimesUp hashtags are top of mind (and attached to many Oscars tweets). Twitter has become a crucial part of social movements, so much so that the social media platform says that in the past six months, it has seen a 50 percent increase in conversations about women’s rights.
However, the conversation that the new ad sparked was likely a bit different than what Twitter expected. Many users commended Frohman’s beautiful poem and the overall message of the campaign—but called out the social media platform for not adequately protecting women from online harassment.
Like, much respect to the women in this ad – they are wonderful – but is is painful to see Twitter launching a ‘feminist’ campaign while they still do so little to curb online harassment
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) March 5, 2018
— Miss Representation (@RepresentPledge) March 5, 2018
I cannot wrap my head around how tasteless it is for Twitter to create an ad for women’s “empowerment” when they have failed to protect us at every turn. #HereWeAre
— ella dawson (@brosandprose) March 5, 2018
That pro-woman twitter ad was weird considering this platform is still overun by alt-right and neo-nazi and russian bots, but ok #HereWeAre
— Jeremy Wein (@thismyshow) March 5, 2018
With the swift and pointed backlash from the very users it is hoping to “empower,” here’s hoping that Twitter takes action to not only amplify women’s voices, but protect them as well.
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