Greta Thunberg makes men – especially middle-aged white men – very angry.
“Grating Greta’s a vulnerable young drama queen who should go back to school,” Piers Morgan declared in the Daily Mail.
US president Donald Trump mocked the young climate activist on Twitter.
“She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future,” he wrote. “So nice to see!”
Former Australian TV personality Sam Newman also took to Twitter to attack Thunberg, calling her an “annoying little brat” and a “s—t”. Meanwhile, Karl Stefanovic on 2GB admitted Greta made him angry. “I’ll tell you what, I’m an incensed middle-aged white guy this afternoon,” he told his audience.
In the US, right-wingers have really let loose. John Nolte from Breitbart.com wrote: “I can’t tell if Greta needs a spanking or a psychological intervention… Probably both.”
“Tase and arrest her,” tweeted Stephen Miller.
Leaving aside the fact that she’s only 16, is this really the way to talk about the leader of a global movement? Why is everyone attacking her instead of attacking what she’s saying? Where does all this anger come from?
Out there on Twitter, there are women who are nailing it.
“I think Greta Thunberg is the first 16yo girl in a long time who has been presented to the public outside of a sexual lens and a lot of men can’t handle it,” wrote journalist Sophie Wilkinson.
Then there was this from another journalist and author, India Knight: “I think some people’s (men’s) unease with Greta Thunberg is that she rarely smiles. Girls and women are supposed to be smiley to put men at ease and appear emollient, and she’s just not playing.”
Thunberg isn’t acting like your typical 16-year-old girl in the media spotlight. She’s not a young actress on a red carpet or singer in a video clip. Generally, those girls at the start of their careers aren’t out to challenge the power of middle-aged white men. They’re trying to appeal to them and win their approval. They play the game and they smile.