AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
Shannon Watts is making a career out of beclowning herself.
Last week, she was outraged that several male Republican lawmakers were wearing pearls. The nerve!
She automatically jumped that this was a calculated insult against the women who were testifying, that they were accusing them of pearl-clutching behavior…only for it to come out that a pro-gun women’s group had given them the pearls in the first place.
Now, an op-ed in the state is taking Watts to task over it.
From CNN to the Washington Post, national news exploded after Shannon Watts, founder of Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a gun control activist organization, tweeted a photo of lawmakers wearing white bead strands during the public testimony with the message, “Male New Hampshire lawmakers on the hearing committee wearing pearls to mock @MomsDemand volunteers and gun safety advocates.” Twitter exploded and thousands retweeted it, commented on it, and traditional media jumped on board.
Apparently, Ms. Watts and others determined the pearls were intended to mimic the idea that the mothers testifying, many of whom had experienced tragic losses to gun violence, were “clutching their pearls” – meaning dramatically offended or faux appalled. The reality is, these pearls have nothing to do with mocking anyone, let alone women. They are a tool used by the Women’s Defense League of New Hampshire, a pro gun rights organization, that has been handing out these pearls for years to lawmakers (and others) who support their causes. The “male lawmakers” wearing the pearls were doing so in solidarity and support of a women’s rights organization.
For the record, women wear them as well. I think before someone with nearly 300,000 Twitter followers sends out a message like the one above, shouldn’t she have at least been responsible enough to ask what the pearls symbolized? That level of irresponsibility is dangerous as witnessed by the online mob that activated to call our lawmakers every imaginable name, accuse them of mocking dead children, demand their immediate removal from office, and the sharing of their contact information to hundreds of thousands of people based on absolute misinformation. I’m not sure it was the intention of the Tweet, but it certainly distracted from the debate over the proposed legislation itself.
Social media is a powerful tool and those with national platforms need to understand their use of it, or misuse in this case, can have as serious of unintended consequences as poorly drafted legislation can.
The writer, Alicia Preston, is right.
The worst part is that some people saw that tweet from Watts and had their minds made up. They didn’t want to hear anything else, kind of like how Watts had her mind made up about the pearls.
These are the same people who think they’re rational when it comes to guns? These are people who went into absolute hysterics because of some pearl necklaces, for crying out loud. They’re not rational about anything.
Nice job, Shannon. With International Women’s Day just passing, you did more to undermine women than legions of actual misogynists could ever have done. Nice job.
Preston’s call-out of Watts and her nonsense are needed, not just for women but for New Hampshire.