L.A. Times writer Karin Kline is a bit disappointed. After all, she joined a Facebook group called Pantsuit Nation following the trouncing of Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College and had high expectations for the group. So why is she disappointed?
Probably because the group is about as useless as most other liberal activists groups on the internet.
Imagine what 4 million impassioned Hillary Clinton followers, acting in concert, could accomplish over the next four years. Targeted boycotts — 4 million people have a lot of buying power, and many of them represent households. More millions. Think of 4 million postcards showering down on the offices of legislators who propose to gut Medicare or create registries to track Muslims.
That was what I thought I was getting into when a friend invited me to join the secret Facebook group Pantsuit Nation. I imagined we were mobilizing for the political fight of our lives.
But the movement never happened.
Instead, there were stories. At first, eye-opening, gut-wrenching tales of the abuse and discrimination that people had suffered for being dark-skinned or female — most of the members are women — or “different” in some way. Then the wind shifted direction, and the group was flooded with heroic tales in which Pantsuit members, generally white, encountered someone involved in an outrageous act of hatred, usually against a person of color, and were the only ones in the store, the park, the workplace, wherever, to do anything about it.
Kline notes that there was action, of a sort. The founder of the group started a drive to provide donated business clothing to homeless people so they can dress appropriately for job interviews.
However, Kline became disillusioned when she found out that the founder, Libby Chamberlain, announced that the group now had nonprofit status and she had gotten a book deal for all the stories shared in the Facebook group. At that point, these supposedly altruistic women took issue with Chamberlain and her efforts.
Suddenly, thousands of members woke up as if from a reverie. Contract talks must have been going on for weeks, they surmised. And yet Chamberlain had told no one as she turned a site with so much potential into a feel-good commodity.
“Let’s just be perfectly clear,” one member wrote, “pantsuit nation hasn’t done anything useful. No calls to action. No real change. Nothing political, despite having an enthusiastic audience of 4 million people.”
Seriously, what did they expect would actually happen? While Kline begins her piece with lofty expectations, it’s not like leftist internet activists are known for actually doing things.
Instead, they take to places like Facebook and Twitter, make life a little difficult for right-leaning folks by doxing some people, get other folks’ accounts suspended or shut down, and pat themselves on the back for it. If they’re really serious, they start a hashtag campaign to really stick it to “The Man.” They don’t do much else.
After all, did Boko Haram “release our girls” because of hashtag pressure on Twitter? Since the release of 21 girls came just a couple of months ago, years after the hashtags stopped trending anywhere, I’m going to say Boko Haram couldn’t care less what’s said about them on Twitter.
Pantsuit Nation was never going to be more than a place for Hillary supporters to complain about how evil the world is, and how awesome they are. Anyone who thought otherwise was deluding themselves. Those four million members should actually do something productive rather than pat one another on the back.