“I’m Speaking”: Top 10 Feminist Clapbacks of 2020

This year has been a trying one to say the least—but feminists did not take abuse or insults quietly.

From Kamala Harris’s infamous “I’m speaking” to Megan Thee Stallion’s public call to “Protect Black Women,” here are 10 memorable and stinging comebacks launched by feminists that our future grandchildren will probably see in their history books some day.


1. Kamala Harris lets Mike Pence know she’s speaking after he interrupts her during the vice presidential debate.

"I'm Speaking": Top 10 Feminist Clapbacks of 2020
The most important takeaway from the VP debate was how it highlighted the burden of respectability placed on women—especially Black women—and the notable double standards that exist on the debate stage. (Elvert Barnes / Flickr)

Besides a fly landing on Pence, this moment was epic for a reason—it resonated with so many women, especially women of color, whose voices are often ignored.

Studies and anecdotes confirm that this phenomenon of silencing and speaking over women is widespread. Pence’s behavior was reminiscent of his boss’s in the 2016 presidential debates, when Trump brazenly interrupted Hillary Clinton. It even happens on the Supreme Court: A Harvard Business Review study showed that male Supreme Court justices interrupt female justices three times more often than they interrupt one another.

Since the debate, the frustrating and familiar phrase “I’m speaking” has continued to receive national attention—it clearly struck a chord.


2. Kamala Harris is able to call herself vice president-elect.

"I'm Speaking": Top 10 Feminist Clapbacks of 2020
Harris’s unprecedented rise as the first woman, who is also Black and South Asian, to serve as vice president forces us to recognize a woman from a richly diverse background has been chosen to lead one of the greatest democracies in the world. (Gage Skidmore / Flickr)

Not only did Harris beat Mike Pence; Harris’s win is every little girl’s win, any little girl that hopes to become president and be praised for her accomplishments, regardless of gender or race.

Now that’s more than a clapback—that’s a flex!


3. Poetic justice for Hillary Clinton

Award-winning independent American political writer Alex Mohajer couldn’t have said it better:

The poetic justice of seeing Hillary Clinton, the 2016 popular vote winner who was denied her presidency in the electoral college, cast her electoral college vote today to make Donald Trump a one-term president is not at all lost on me.

Clinton’s quote-tweet clapback did not need to mention Trump’s name for us to understand the sweet, sweet nectar of this delayed-but-still-satisfying bit of justice.


4. AOC demands respect from Mike Pence.

When Pence dared mentioning Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by her famous moniker during the 2020 vice presidential debate, the second term winner did not take it lightly and had to drop that @.

She later said in another tweet, “Pence demanding that Harris answer *his* own personal questions when he won’t even answer the moderator’s is gross, and exemplary of the gender dynamics so many women have to deal with at work.”


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5. Michelle Obama admits it wasn’t easy handing over the White House to Trump.

As we all know, Trump continues to deny that he has lost the election and is seemingly going to leave the White House kicking or screaming—or not at all.

Ironically, Trump’s long-time nemeses, Michelle and Barack Obama, can relate to how Trump’s feeling of incredulousness. In a lengthy but worth-reading Instagram caption, Michelle Obama wrote, “Donald Trump had spread racist lies about my husband that had put my family in danger. That wasn’t something I was ready to forgive.”


6. Bernice King responds to The Wall Street Journal op-ed that called the future first lady ‘kiddo.’

Bernice King, the youngest child of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King took to Twitter to defend Dr. Biden after Wall Street Journal opinion writer Joseph Epstein called Dr. Biden’s use of the honorific “fraudulent, not to say a touch comic.”

Social media users, columnists and feminists were floored at the WSJ’s editorial decision to run the piece, and argued the article reflected sexism—sexism is often faced by many women in academia.


7. The mayor of Paris basically scoffed at city authorities fining city hall for putting “too many women” in senior roles.

After bringing in 11 women to fill 16 top jobs, the mayor of Paris faced a steep fine. (Philippe Grangeaud / Solfé Communications/Flickr)

Last week, the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, was fined 90,000 euros for appointing too many women to senior leadership positions. In response, Hidalgo called the decision “absurd” and sarcastically quipped at a city council meeting, “The management of the city hall has, all of a sudden, become far too feminist.”

Her crime? She appointed 11 women and only five men to the 16 total management positions in city hall. Boo hoo!


8. On Saturday Night Live, Megan Thee Stallion stands up to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron for Black women—especially Breonna Taylor.

As a musical guest on “Saturday Night Live,” Megan Thee Stallion made a direct statement about violence toward Black women. (Courtesy of YouTube/NBC)

The words “Protect Black Women” appeared on screen when Megan performed as a musical guest on SNL, along with quotes from Malcom X and activist Tamika Mallory: “Daniel Cameron is no different than the sell-out negroes who sold our people into slavery.”

Megan Thee Stallion had previously called out Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron for his “appalling conduct in denying Breonna Taylor and her family justice” and wrote an op-ed in The New York Times calling for the protection of Black women:

Violence against women is not always connected to being in a relationship. Instead, it happens because too many men treat all women as objects, which helps them to justify inflicting abuse against us when we choose to exercise our own free will. …

It’s ridiculous that some people think the simple phrase ‘Protect Black women’ is controversial. We deserve to be protected as human beings. And we are entitled to our anger about a laundry list of mistreatment and neglect that we suffer.


9. Nancy Pelosi rips up Trump’s State of the Union Speech.

Earlier this year, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi became an instant meme when she did what most of us would do if we had her seat.

Her reasoning behind the ripping? “It was a manifesto of mistruths.”


10. President-Elect Joe Biden flaunts his social media skills with this quote tweet.

Trump told a campaign rally that people will “never see” him again if Biden wins the election.

Well, Biden won, and he sure knows how to remind Trump.

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About

Meliss Arteaga studied at California State University Northridge and has a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and minor in gender and women studies.