“Bell Hooks,” as she is often referred to, reminds us, again and again, “No black woman writer in this culture can write ‘too much’. Indeed, no woman writer can write ‘too much’…No woman has ever written enough.” bell hooks is quite literally gone from her words by the time they reach most of their rebloggers. What’s left behind is a general idea about the historical silence of women that can be hashtagged “intersectional,” “feminism,” “creative writing.” Teenagers and the political left aren’t the only culprits in this kind of dissociation between author and language/association between name and buzzword, as the episode of the GOP’s fake Abraham Lincoln quote exemplifies. Tumblr exists in the midst of a system of Internet sharing that supports and privileges rapid-fire associations and quickly digestible words; it just happens to be a corner of that system were the teenagers lurk, and teenagers, more than any other demographic, are ready to absorb and adapt to their surroundings. While Tumblr has historically been the Internet space for the least “cool” teens, even the least cool kids want to fit into their in-group.
Tumblr and Instagram’s buzzwords create their own economy of social capital. With stars like Blanchard to give a stamp of approval to a socially conscious image, progressive views on racism and intersectional feminism have become status symbols on the platforms, even if little serious thought has gone into the cultivation of those views. An image of liberal wokeness is rewarded with reblogs and follows.