Thomas Wehrling’s “Berlin Is Becoming a Whore”, published in 1920, tries not just to describe and to “repair” the “New Woman” of Weimar Germany, but in part, also functions as an attempt to silence her. Wehrling takes the modern woman’s narrative away from her by explaining it through his own lens. He writes off individuals like Elsa Hermann as part of the problem. Hermann redefines and reclaims the modern woman in “This Is the New Woman”, published in 1929.
On Tuesday, Elizabeth Warren was “formally silenced” by Mitch McConnell, the majority leader of the United States Senate, for violating Rule XIX, which reads that “no Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator”. Warren was attempting to read a letter by Coretta Scott King, which was written in opposition to Jeff Sessions taking the position of federal judge in Alabama. McConnell’s actions serve not just to silence the voices of Warren and King, but all people, especially women, who disagree with Sessions’s appointment to Attorney General of the United States.
Also on Tuesday night, racist and anti-Semitic emails were sent to engineering and computer science students at the university. One of the email addresses which sent the emails belongs to Alex Halderman, who researches cybersecurity and elections. His email was accessed as a result of a hack. After the emails were sent, a Facebook user shared one of them with the “University of Michigan Class of 2019” page, writing “This is not okay”. Another user, in a since-deleted reply, wrote “It would be a good idea not to post this and further spread the hateful message so many of us have already seen”. Of course, this message is horrific, and in an ideal world we would not have to see it. However, the emails themselves already silence black and Jewish voices, and those of individuals concerned with cybersecurity. Surely, simply ignoring the messages contained in these emails is not the solution.
Warren herself expressed her surprise “that the words of Coretta Scott King are not suitable for debate in the United States Senate”. If King’s remarks, by way of Warren, are so demeaning and incorrect that they must be silenced, certainly they could be easily refuted by supporters of Sessions. Suppressing the voices of Hermann, Warren, King, and Halderman proves nothing about the validity of those who oppose them.