Web Rhetoric: Internet Users Respond to Constance McMillen


Are social media websites becoming a new battleground for civil rights issues?

In March of 2010, a story hit the web: “Lesbian Teen Sues School Over Prom Drama.”

Recent media response to Constance McMillen’s court case, as of April 13, 2010, has been profuse. Much of the story–and the response to it–has been captured and disseminated via the internet. Constance’s case has been captured on multiple major news networks, including CBS, Fox, and MSNBC. A number of civil rights websites have taken up the cause, including major ones by the ACLU and the Human Rights Campaign. The story was even taken up by famous talk-show host, Ellen DeGeneres.

Perhaps the generated dialogue which hits closest to home, however, is that which has been taking place on a medium dominated primarily by youth in Constance’s own generation:  Facebook.  One Facebook fan page that has been frequently referenced by the media is “Constance quit yer cryin,” which had 2,778 members as of 10:52 PM on April 12, 2010.  The page is a mix of comments and images posted by both the supporters and opposition to Constance’s fight to bring her girlfriend to prom.

This blog will be a casual discussion of rhetorical responses to the McMillen affair, such as things that would be posted on such a Facebook page.  I intend to include responses from “alternative,” “non-academic” sources such as Facebook and Youtube.  I plan to examine the various ways that rhetoric is produced and shared over social media websites.

I will acknowledge that I am firmly in support of legal rights and protections for the GLBTQ community.  However, I hope that this fact will be largely irrelevant to the content of this blog, which is meant to identify and analyze rhetorical arguments.

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