So I’ve been thinking about @FLOTUS’s speech all day. And I am absolutely awed at the precision of every word choice and rhetorical shift.
One thing is that she *never* talks about women and girls as things to be protected and sheltered.
Unlike *all* of the rhetoric from GOP men. Who are playing by the rules of chivalry and putting women on useless pedestals.
Whenever she talks about women and girls, it’s “we see this and we know what it means, and we brace ourselves for what comes next.”
This speech was the op-ed a lot of us *wished* we saw getting published in the papers.
But then she flips that rhetoric when talking about men and boys. “This is what toxic masculinity does to men and boys.”
But instead of being about shielding them, she makes it about empowering them to be better and highlighting those who know right.
The entire speech is about agency. Recognizing it, practicing it, and empowering people to use what they have.
And as others have noted that she never says the 🚮🔥’s name. And it’s obvious it is deliberately.
Because we are in a space where #sayhername is so deeply important in recognizing legitimacy of black women’s humanity.
So refusing to say his is a directly denying the legitimacy of his power. Even as she is calls him out for *his* agency and choices.
This is a speech that is deeply steeped in the intellectual history of black feminism.
And there is more that I missed because I am not a part of that tradition. This speech is so deeply placed in experience *and* scholarship.
Not only that, I suspect it is also from someone who is much more closely tuned into contemporary activism than we think.