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Twitter Etiquette: Citing Women Means RT’ing Women

Photo of Shailja Patel, via her Twitter

Editor's Note:

Also in the news: A journalist tackles the subject of her own sexual harassment, and James Joyce’s Ulysses turns 100. It’s your Daily Blunt!

This year’s International Women’s Day spawned at least one important conversation about how to make sure women are given their due, even within the constraints of Twitter’s character limit. Shailja Patel, the Kenyan author of Migritude, shared some inspiring words urging people to “Read women. Cite women. Credit women.” A bit later, she noted the irony of a man having pasted her words into a new tweet instead of just retweeting them, adding her name far below the fold where it would only be seen by those who viewed the entire post. While the poster in question (sort of) apologized, the debate that followed raged for most of the weekend. Let this be a lesson to us all: it never hurts to ask how someone wants to be credited. (And when in doubt, a simple retweet will suffice!)

Meanwhile, author and erstwhile New York Observer columnist Deborah Copaken offered a tutorial called “How to Lose Your Job From Sexual Harassment in 33 Steps,” which is actually just a detailed recollection of her treatment at the hands of a “Big Important Male Editor” at the newspaper. Perhaps just as haunting as Copaken’s narrative is the formal response from the Observer, which notes that “there were no formal complaints received” during that editor’s tenure, but also that “there is no process for writers who aren’t on staff to file complaints.” Freelancers, take note: You may follow Copaken’s lead and forward your diabolically well-written accounts of harassment to The Atlantic instead.

The price for success can be higher than you think – just ask comic book kingpin Stan Lee, whom at 95 is reported to be in financial trouble because of mismanagement and/or exploitation, having become “surrounded by charlatans and mountebanks.” Elder abuse remains troublingly common in the literary world, with questions raised on behalf of Harper Lee and Peter S. Beagle in recent years. While Lee may be among their number, the Daily Beast notes that some of the blame for Lee’s dwindling funds may be his own: “A half dozen anonymous former nurses have accused Lee of sexual impropriety.”

You know who else is getting up there in years? James Joyce’s Ulysses, which will turn 100 this month, and The AV Club makes a stirring argument for why it’s still well worth your time. Following their plan, this challenge will not be as formidable as it sounds: “If you were feeling ambitious, you could read a chapter in a sitting or two. You could even knock out a few chapters over a few weeks, then take a break and come back; you will not forget what’s going on.” It should go without saying that you’ll definitely be entertained along the way, but they’re saying it anyway: “Once you’re in, the book is filthy, and very funny.”