A Twitter bird icon made up of female symbols

Illustration by Jason Reed (Licensed)

Some women aren’t boycotting Twitter with Rose McGowan—here’s why

Women are divided on the Twitter boycott, even with it's well-intended message.


Samantha Grasso


Posted on Oct 13, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 2:24 pm CDT

On Thursday night, women across Twitter shot off their final tweets of the day, posted one last message about their intent to be offline all of Friday, and closed up shop.


These women have chosen to stand with Rose McGowan in response to Twitter locking her account for 12 hours after her days-long callouts of disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein and his purported enablers, including Ben Affleck. Twitter explained it took action because McGowan tweeted out a private phone number. However, sexual assault advocates pointed to the company’s hypocrisy in censoring  McGowan’s account but doing little to prevent repeated harassment of women and hate speech on the platform.

So women said, enough is enough, and launched the hashtag #WomenBoycottTwitter, vowing to spend all of Friday off the website. Male allies joined, too, in a move to promote solidarity and amplify McGowan’s story.

However on Friday, some women were still on Twitter, explaining why they decided to forgo the boycott. Some found irony in the style of protest—Twitter had silenced McGowan’s ideas, so what use did other women have in removing their voices from the conversation to prove a point to the corporation?


Others explained why silence, for them, was not an option. Regardless of the intent of the boycott, women expressed that they didn’t agree with the impact the boycott might have on conversations solely centered on sexual assault.



For women of color, however, critiques of the boycott were more pointed, and with good reason—where was this boycott of Twitter when the company did nothing to alleviate, if not eliminate, the years of harassment that Black women have faced on the platform?



When Milo Yiannopoulos encouraged racist trolls to attack Leslie Jones‘s account last summer, where were the droves of women using their social media clout to shame Twitter into acting? Where were the protests when Fifth Harmony’s Normani Kordei also received an onslaught of racist hatred, causing her to leave the site? And most recently, as ESPN’s Jemele Hill continues to serve a two-week ESPN suspension for her tweets on boycotting advertisers, why have women not shown her the same level of solidarity given to McGowan, all while the President of the United States bashes Hill on the same platform?



Instead of ruminating on Twitter’s and its users’ longstanding inaction regarding racism, women not partaking in the boycott are actively demonstrating on the platform by using the hashtags #WOCAffirmation, #BoostWOC, and #AmplifyWomen to promote their own work and the work of women yet to be recognized.

Regardless of how women chose to demonstrate on Friday, a deeper look into the trolls celebrating the #WomenBoycottTwitter hashtag proved how necessary it is that the conversation extends beyond the day of division.




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*First Published: Oct 13, 2017, 2:00 pm CDT