The hashtag #metoo has earned a great deal of popularity over the last few months, seen in all social media platforms from Twitter to Instagram to Facebook. The new publicity has paved the way for necessary conversations about the issue of sexual harassment.
These conversations, though long overdue, have brought a lot of well-needed attention to the feminism movement. Many women are finding the courage to tell their own stories of experiencing sexual abuse.
The phrase “me too” was first coined in 2006 by Tarana Burke, who created a website as a way to help women who had suffered from sexual violence and give them a platform to tell their stories. The movement was particularly focused on women of color and women with low income, both of who do not typically receive the same recognition as other women.
Burke herself has been a victim of sexual violence, and she launched this movement to give a voice to others who had faced the same challenges.
In October 2017, the phrase “me too” exploded after actress Ashley Judd accused media mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment.
In response to the shocking allegations against Weinstein, actress Alyssa Milano took to Twitter, writing, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”
The tweet received replies from 40,000 people overnight, women and men alike. Empowered by the tweet, people all over the world added their own opinions to the quickly igniting movement.
Freshman Ava Guardado says, “Even though I don’t have a lot of different social media accounts, I’ve still heard a lot about #metoo and that it’s helped a lot in bringing awareness to the injustices that women face.”
Many other allegations against powerful men in the media world followed Weinstein’s fall from grace. Actor Kevin Spacey, host of the “Today” show Matt Lauer, and Senator Al Franken are among those who are now prominently in the media because numerous women have accused them of inappropriate behavior.
With all the allegations and the new spotlight on the women’s movement, Time Magazine named their Person of the Year the “Silence Breakers,” the women who have come out with stories of experiencing sexual misconduct. The cover of that issue included Ashley Judd, Susan Fowler, and Taylor Swift, all of whom have shared their stories of being harassed. The cover also included Burke, crediting her for being the founder of the “me too” movement far before the hashtag came along.
Less than a month after the announcement regarding Time’s Person of the Year, over 300 women who are prominent figures in Hollywood announced a coalition of their own to fight sexual violence, known as Time’s Up. Many say that #metoo paved the path for Time’s Up.
Freshman Bhavya Kendra says, “I’ve heard of both #metoo and Time’s Up, and I think it’s great that so many women are coming together to organize these movements. It’s time to see more of these women stepping up without the fear that other women will not be there to back them.”
The women who organized this movement include actresses Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes, America Ferrera, and Jennifer Aniston. These women, along with many others, are emphasizing the need to support women and men who have experienced sexual misconduct.
They also are expanding the window of women who are usually portrayed as victims in the media, calling out to women in agricultural careers, domestic workers, female janitors, and undocumented women. “We support you,” the Time’s Up organization says.
As more begin to join the fight in ending sexual violence completely, #metoo has become the ideal platform for them to voice their opinions and relay their own experiences dealing with sexual harassment.
What are your opinions on the #metoo movement?