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We all know those people who say, “no one is a bigger feminist than I am” yet go on to show through their actions that they are anything but a feminist. A recent photo of 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden pointing a finger in a womxn‘s face illustrates this type of character perfectly. And, hopefully, the memes emerging from this photo will put a spotlight on the former vice president’s policies concerning reproductive rights, abortion, and assault.
K.C. Cayo, who goes by @thelocalmaniac8 on Twitter, shared the now-viral photo of Biden—who is currently campaigning in Iowa—pointing a finger in their face with the caption, “Told Biden we need someone stronger on reproductive justice, and after his reversal on the Hyde Amendment, we asked him to protect assault survivors. He said, ‘nobody has spoken about it, done more, or changed more than I have.’ I told him we deserve better.”
Told Biden we need someone stronger on reproductive justice, and after his reversal on the Hyde Amendment, we asked him to protect assault survivors. He said “nobody has spoken about it, done more, or changed more than I have”. I told him we deserve better. pic.twitter.com/YDtS4Ehs2d— K.C. (@thelocalmaniac8) June 11, 2019
In a follow-up tweet, Cayo wrote that Biden “leaned forward, raised his voice, tried to grab my arm with his free hand. For a hot [second], I thought he was going to hit me.”
A clarifying point: this was absolutely and undeniably an intimidation tactic. He leaned forward, raised his voice, tried to grab my arm with his free hand. For a hot sec I thought he was going to hit me. Don’t make excuses for his actions in my comments anymore pls & thank https://t.co/OyXFJqIEAY— K.C. (@thelocalmaniac8) June 12, 2019
K.C.’s original tweet was circulated across Twitter, and many people condemned Biden’s body language.
Biden’s body language here is honestly unsettling https://t.co/ghMhJmGg5J— Sarah Lerner (@SarahLerner) June 12, 2019
You can't make it up: A guy who can't keep his hands off women literally screaming at a woman, "No one is a bigger feminist than I am!!" Let these be the dulcet tones of the death throes of patriarchy. https://t.co/yE9HwCHBNu— Batya Ungar-Sargon (@bungarsargon) June 12, 2019
Nothing like an old white guy pointing their finger in your face. 🙄 https://t.co/KInAnZ1Zuo— Heather Matarazzo (@HeatherMatarazz) June 12, 2019
All women recognize that finger he is shoving in her face. https://t.co/RThFh79bdE— Lizzzzzzzz @ SWCC (@LizzyLaurie) June 12, 2019
That finger point... wow. https://t.co/YEy6csQU5i— Emma Vigeland (@EmmaVigeland) June 12, 2019
The photo inevitably turned into a meme about Biden pushing himself onto voters.
A living meme. pic.twitter.com/AX5bIn51KG— Cody Johnston (@drmistercody) June 12, 2019
Cayo told the Daily Dot in a direct message on Twitter that they were “overwhelmed and excited” by the response to the photo, which was taken by Sarah Pearson. “I’m glad that survivors of sexual assault are finding that my experience resonates so much with them, and that we were able to capture Biden’s true colors,” they said.
The moment captured by Pearson was not intended to be a “click bait photo,” said Cayo.
“When it was happening, I was shocked—we all were,” they said. “This was not supposed to be a ‘gotcha!’ moment…this was supposed to be a candid discussion about why people like us were wary of his policies and voting record, followed by a question about how he would protect womxn by reforming and restructuring our courts to keep people like Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh off of it.”
“Our conversation never got that far,” Cayo continued. “He continued to change the subject to VAWA, got increasingly agitated, leaned close, raised his hand, and raised his voice.”
Biden supported the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funds to be spent on abortions except in certain cases, for decades. But after backlash from other Democrats and voters, Biden changed his position earlier this month, saying he now supports “a woman’s right to choose.”
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Tiffany Kelly is the Unclick editor at Daily Dot. Previously, she worked at Ars Technica and Wired. Her writing has appeared in several other print and online publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Popular Mechanics, and GQ.