I’ve noticed something consistent in all my social media feeds; a deep-seated hatred of Greta Thunberg. She’s the 17 year old young woman who started the ‘Fridays for Future’ school strike for climate movement. She has inspired an entire generation, mobilised millions of people, raised the urgent issue of climate change far further up the political agenda, been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize; and yet people hate her. Why?
Her view is that politicians should listen to the scientific community’s consensus on climate change.
That sounds reasonable.
She emphasises that the Paris Agreement‘s commitments aren’t enough to keep global warming limited to 1.5 degrees above the pre-industrial era, and that greenhouse gas emissions need to start declining steeply no later than 2020, as detailed in the IPCC assessment of the latest science in the 2018 Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5° C.
Okay, so we should try to stop the destructive effects of global heating on people and nature. And the sooner we start a large-scale change in society the more likely we are to prosper. I’m happy with that.
She holds the current generation of adults responsible for climate change and emphasises that climate change will have a disproportionate effect on young people and those in the global south.
That’s just a self-evident statement of fact. Who else could have been responsible for it?
Why the hate, then? Here’s a typical Internet meme featuring her:
This is a classic attempt at nastiness disguised as humour. And the target? It’s not really Greta Thunberg, it’s young people and those who are transgender.
And the person sharing it? It’s a man. It’s always a man.
‘Hun’? That’s a bit patronising, isn’t it, Bradley?
Here’s another man motivated to insult anyone who’s young, transgender or vegan.
There’s a theme developing: one of inadequate men feeling threatened by young people, people with a different experience of gender, or even those making different food choices.
And what’s with the military uniform, Jeff?
Here’s another man mocking Greta Thunberg. Continuing the military theme above, the intergenerational conflict continues. Young people should be honouring the war dead rather than caring about their own future, apparently.
I wonder if Alan fought in the War?
Here’s Shaun spreading more ridicule with yet another military image. The message is clear: only older men can be honoured.
Whether it’s men working longer hours, men dying in battle or men being practical, according to men, it’s only men who have worthwhile opinions.
Here is another man claiming to speak on behalf of the war dead. “You ignorant ungrateful bastard!”
Older men really don’t like her, do they, Simon? It doesn’t really matter what she says or whether she’s right or not: she’s young and a woman and has no right to express her views.
The clear message is that women and children need to shut up and let dominant, older, capable men make all the decisions.
Continuing the sexist theme and dislike of younger people, I give you the combination of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Greta Thunberg.
AOC is a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. She’s articulate and smart, young and a woman, which is clearly something that older men just can’t stand.
Thanks Cowboy Politics, whose catchphrase is, “I miss the America I grew up in.”
Women and children need to know their place and stay in it, apparently.
Then there are all the conspiracy theorists who believe Greta Thunberg is being manipulated by her parents to make millions.
Sargon of Akkad is the online pseudonym of anti-feminist Carl Benjamin. He’s the one who tweeted to female Member of Parliament, Jess Phillips: “I wouldn’t even rape you,” followed by “nobody’s got that much beer.”
It’s odd that he should object to Greta Thunberg’s parents making money when Patreon banned Benjamin in December 2018, when he was earning over US$12,000 a month from his extremist views on the site.
Here we go again. Another man sharing another man’s post stolen from another man complaining about ‘kids’ and being resentful of everything young people have.
There must be an awful lot of unhappy older men out there for them to spend so much time and effort expressing their hatred.
Greta Thunberg is just a symbol and a focal point for the unhappiness of older men. Their hatred is all about them and their lives and not about her at all.
What response did Gerry’s post get? From men, obviously:
Soros? Really George Soros? The billionaire philanthropist? George Soros is a man who supports progressive and liberal political causes and donates through his foundation, the Open Society Foundations. Between 1979 and 2011, he donated more than $11 billion to philanthropic causes. He is of Jewish descent and mentions of him are frequently anti-semitic.
Here’s another angry man:
Nice, Stephen, nice.
Then there are the conspiracy theorists who believe dark forces are manipulating her to clear land and take over the world.
Constant use of the word ‘girl’, references to her ‘distorted face’, and calling her ‘psychopathic’ and ‘ill’ means she must be a significant threat to someone. Greta Thunberg has Aspergers syndrome. It’s not a disease, it’s just one of the many names for different characteristics of the wide range of neuro-diverse people on the planet
Pop-ecofascism? This is one of the common claims of Russian trolls. And ‘unelected global bureaucracy’ means Jewish, again.
This one is momentarily funny until you see that Barry has entitled it ‘The Whining’.
How threatened is your masculinity, Barry, that you have to mock young women?
A common tactic is to blame protestors for the very thing they are protesting about, in an attempt to invalidate their views. Australian bushfires? Caused by environmentalists who don’t want controlled burns. Air pollution? Caused by Extinction Rebellion road blocks.
Child labour, poverty and environmental degradation in the Global South? Caused by Greta Thunberg, according to Richard and shared by Clive.
One of my friends is Norwegian. This is Facebook’s attempt at translating his views on Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg into English. It doesn’t matter how many times I read it, it makes no sense at all in the translation. I am going to use the phrase ‘Mackerel-in-tomato shame’ in the future, though.
And finally – some humour!
Having said that, it’s probably a reference to the methane production of cows which is one of the contributors to global warming. They mainly do that through belching, though.
I started by asking ‘Why do people hate Greta Thunberg?’ The answer is that ‘people’ don’t. It’s men who hate her; and their reason for that hate? It has absolutely nothing to do with her at all, it’s the inadequacy of men which is the cause of it and it’s expressed in hatred of young people, women, transgender people, vegans and Jews. If fact, anyone who’s not a dominant man or who’s identifiably different.
All you have to do is imagine Greta Thunberg’s words at the top of this blog, but spoken by David Attenborough, and most would probably be agreeing with his every word.
Here’s a Puffin: