When FBI director James Comey announced that the bureau had found new emails related to Hillary Clinton's private email server during a separate investigation, he told Congress, cryptically, "We don't know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails." The bombshell declaration, made days before the election, was roundly criticized by many, including scores of federal prosecutors.
Many regular Americans, too, were outraged that Comey would let loose such information at so volatile a time. Among them was filmmaker Michael Moore, who addressed the disclosure on Twitter.
"Unbelievable that once again Hillary has to suffer the abuse of men & their dickish behavior. Bubba, Weiner, Trump, Newt, Comey. Sick of it," Moore tweeted. But what was an arguably rational stance in support of powerful women took a turn when Moore continued, in a series of tweets, that women are less susceptible to heinous acts, implying that they are inherently more moral than men.
Moore may have meant well, but his statement ultimately missed the point. Responding to his tweets, writer Jessica Hellis countered his claims one by one and pointed out the fallacies in such statements.
"Women have faced a boatload of oppression at the hands of the patriarchy, but you do not get to erase us. We are not ivory monuments," she continued. She added later: "Being ethically good is no easier for us than it is for men. It's time you stopped acting like goodness comes out of our vaginas. We choose."
In his attempt at taking a stand against the patriarchy, Moore placed women on a pedestal, suggesting that women are, by nature, on higher moral ground than men. But by negating women's ability for moral failure, it also effectively negated their human complexities and their capacity for choice — even, perhaps especially, the bad ones.
Women have not held positions of power for as long or as frequently as men have. But, as Hellis valiantly pointed out, that does not mean they struggle any less with morality than men do — women are, after all, human too.
A Plus has reached out to Hellis for comment.
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