On Monday, BlueStarNavyMom3, a proud Oklahoma mom of a Navy veteran, decided to use her son’s image in support of the #HimToo hashtag, which perpetuates the idea that men are frequent victims of false sexual assault accusations.
In an ill-advised tweet with a photo of her son, Pieter Hanson, in uniform, the mom wrote:
“This is MY son. He graduated #1 in boot camp. He was awarded the USO award. He was #1 in A school. He is a gentleman who respects women. He won’t go on solo dates due to the current climate of false sexual accusations by radical feminists with an axe to grind. I VOTE. #HimToo.”
The post went viral with several people condemning the woman and others creating memes using photos of chef Guy Fieri, actor Adam Driver and Frankenstein to mock the inaccurate and sexist position.
The following day, Hanson responded to his mom’s post under the username @ThatWasMyMom, proving the apple does fall from the tree.
The 32-year-old uploaded a picture of himself mimicking the pose from the original photo. In the caption, Hanson clarified his views by calling himself a “cat dad” and feminist “ally.”
That was my Mom. Sometimes the people we love do things that hurt us without realizing it. Let’s turn this around. I respect and #BelieveWomen . I never have and never will support #HimToo . I’m a proud Navy vet, Cat Dad and Ally. Also, Twitter, your meme game is on point. pic.twitter.com/yZFkEjyB6L
— Pieter Hanson (@Thatwasmymom) October 9, 2018
“That was my Mom. Sometimes the people we love do things that hurt us without realizing it. Let’s turn this around. I respect and #BelieveWomen . I never have and never will support #HimToo . I’m a proud Navy vet, Cat Dad and Ally. Also, Twitter, your meme game is on point.”
Hanson, a student at the University of Central Florida, spoke to The Washington Post and said he found out about his mother’s tweet while taking a marketing exam. He said he was shocked because while growing up, he and his brother had viewed their mother as progressive.
“It doesn’t represent me at all,” Hanson told the publication about the post. “I love my mom to death, but boy. . . I’m still trying to wrap my head around all of this.”
The Navy vet asked his mom to remove the tweet, which she did in addition to deactivating her account.
Although he became a comedic Twitter hero of sorts, the voices of other men who once used the #HimToo hashtag to share stories of their sexual abuse have been drowned out.
According to Wired magazine, #HimToo was initially used by male victims of sexual assault and harassment that coincided with #MeToo, which was used to amplify female voices mainly. As more allegations were made against prominent men, including Russell Simmons, Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein, #HimToo became a way to shame those men.
Nonetheless, there are lessons to be learned from this situation. False rape accusations are extremely rare, accounting for only 2 to 8 percent of reported cases, according to a 2010 article from the Violence Against Women journal. Keep in mind, two-thirds of sexual assaults go unreported.
Also, don’t use other people and their stories to promote your agenda. It doesn’t matter if you’re their mother, significant other or close friends. People have to a right to be individuals and to decide when and how to share parts of their story—this includes sexual assault, coming out and transitioning.
Lastly, check your problematic family members for being sexist, homophobic, racist, patriarchal or transphobic because Twitter definitely will.
This is MY son. He graduated #1 from the University of Flavortown. He was awarded three banging fajita poppers. He was #1 in flamin' hot crunch. He won't go on solo dates due to the current climate of false accusations of taking the last slice of pizza. I VOTE. #HimToo pic.twitter.com/4DY151a2W7
— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) October 9, 2018
This is MY son. I made him in a lab. He’s clearly a genius. He learned to read just by hiding near some French people. He probably would have been a gentleman who respects women, but he murdered my whole family because I refused to make him a wife. He doesn’t go on dates. #HimToo pic.twitter.com/BSSZAOkKIe
— Chrissy Stroop (@C_Stroop) October 9, 2018
This is My son, Michael. He had to be institutionalized because of a simple misunderstanding with his sister Judith and therefore did not get to go to A school. He is afraid to date women in today's current climate because he will probably kill them.#HimToo pic.twitter.com/VZZmXzCWqa
— everything happens for a riesling (@PinotYouDidnt) October 9, 2018
— e (@evanfeh) October 10, 2018
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.