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Teen Who Tweeted At Gov. Brownback Being Bullied, Called A ‘Whore’

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Emma Sullivan tweet CNN

Well, that didn’t take long. The minute a female expresses any sort of opinion, it’s only a matter of minutes until the “slut,” “whore,” and other sexually-charged derogatories start tumbling out. And 18-year-old high school senior Emma Sullivan who tweeted her discontent with Governor Sam Brownback is unfortunately no exception as she is now enduring intense bullying both off and online, much of which is sexually slanderous.

The teenager who tweeted that Brownback “sucked” saw her Twitter followers rapidly rise as her high school demanded that she write an apology. A national discussion about free speech soon followed and Brownback apologized for initiating it, insisting that he and his camp misread the tweet.

The two may have resolved the conflict but Emma says that kids in her high school have been giving her negative attention, so much so that the high school senior stayed home from school yesterday. She told Politico that even though she has received national support, the kids in her Kansas town are being far from kind:

“It is just bullying, and I’m trying not to take it to heart because that’s what they want me to do,” she said Tuesday. “I’m getting a lot of negative attention locally, and that’s a lot to deal with. The students at my high school are being really bad about the situation – it just sucks that they don’t support me at all in any of this.”

But the attacks on Twitter are what truly go after the teen, calling her a “whore.” Politico quoted one tweet which reads:

“When Emma Comes back she should be forced to go to north #HopeYourHappy… Whore.”

Other kids at Emma’s high school are organizaing a rally in support of their principal, which is clearly a more constructive approach to disagreeingin any discourse.

Emma may have tweeted the word “sucks” and even her own mother says that she wishes that her daughter had articulated herself differently. But going after a young girl with an opinion by calling her a “whore” is unfortunately a time-honored tradition in tearing down outspoken women and girls. Reducing young girls and women to their sexuality when they actually have something else to contribute to discussions or thoughtful debates pervades even now.

Teen and tween girls who aspire to share more with the world than their cup size should be applauded and encouraged, especially in an age in which they’re being told from the time that their babies that all they should really aspire to be is pretty. Even if you don’t particularly agree with this young woman’s sentiments or language choices, the cyberattacks on her for merely speaking her mind reveal how culturally uncomfortable we still are with girls who want to do more than sport crotchless thongs.

(photo: CNN)