Hundreds of tweets about Nancy Reagan went viral this weekend. If you're like me, you were super confused. But don't fret, because I've got you covered with an explainer of WTF is happening.
This weekend, a Twitter account tweeted side-by-side pics of Madonna and Nancy Reagan. "This is Madonna at 63. This is Nancy Reagan at 64. Trashy living vs. Classic living," they wrote.
The original tweet was ratio'd* by comedian and writer Zach Heltzel, who tweeted an article detailing journalist Kitty Kelley's biography of Nancy Reagan. The excerpt claimed that Nancy was "renowned in Hollywood for performing oral sex" before marrying Ronald Reagan.
Kelley's biography explained that she would give blow jobs "not only in the evening, but in offices. That was one of the reasons that she was very popular on the MGM lot."
The comedian also followed up with this important point: There's nothing wrong with Madonna posting revealing pics, and there's nothing wrong with Nancy allegedly being good at oral sex:
But it's important to note that during the time, women were often coerced into performing sex acts in Hollywood, as podcast host Molly Lambert points out.
According to History.com, "The Hollywood dictatorship [of Nancy's time] had a clear underclass: women. From casting to production to their private interactions with stars and studio heads, women were barraged with propositions, assaults, and assumptions that they were sexually available."
OK, so, TL;DR, someone tried to shame Madonna by posting scandalous photos of her, and then compared them to photos of a more conservative-looking Nancy Reagan — however, it backfired when a Twitter user revealed that, according to a biographer, Nancy was really well-known for being good at oral sex.
Ultimately, this became a huge meme:
And on a more serious note, people also pointed out how if there's one thing we should be comparing, it should be Madonna and Nancy's very different responses to the AIDS crisis. Madonna has raised millions of dollars for AIDS awareness and research, and continues to advocate for AIDS awareness today, while Nancy turned down actor Rock Hudson's plea for help just weeks before he died of the virus in 1985.
In conclusion, this sums up how I feel about this entire pop culture/political moment: