The Me Too movement – #MeToo – is an international movement against sexual harassment and assault. #MeToo went viral and became trending in October 2017 as a hashtag used on social media to help demonstrate the widespread regularity of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace. It followed soon after the public revelations of sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein. The phrase was made popular by Alyssa Milano when she encouraged women to tweet about it and “give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem”. The response on Twitter included high-profile posts from several celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lawrence, and Uma Thurman and many more sharing their own experiences with sexual assault and harrassment in Hollywood, or just voicing their support for the movement.
Tarana Burke, a social activist and community helper, began using the phrase “Me Too” in 2006, on Myspace, as part of a campaign to promote “empowerment through empathy” among black women / women of colour, who have experienced sexual abuse, particularly within underprivileged, poor communities. Tarana has said she was inspired to use the phrase after being unable to respond to a 13-year-old girl who confided to her that she had been sexually assaulted, and she later wished she had simply told the girl, “me too”.
It is a movement in place to help encourage women to come forward and share their experiences, to help them realise they are not alone as many women have experienced it and have their own “me too” moment. There is something about support and numbers, and standing together in solidarity when it comes to things like sexual assault, and this movement has helped a lot of people come forward about traumatic things that has happened to them. Tens of thousands of people have come forward and shared their own “#MeToo” stories as a result of this hashtag. #MeToo is there to be all inclusive, so it doesn’t matter what skin colour you have, what you identify as, how old you were, what you were wearing, what your occupation is, you are still entitled to share you own #MeToo story and be supported.
Time’s Up is a movement against sexual harassment and was founded on January 1, 2018, by Hollywood celebrities in response to the Harvey Weinstein allegations and #MeToo. As of February 2018, it has raised $20 million for its legal defense fund, and gathered over 200 volunteer lawyers to help support people who have came forward and need help. Many women wore black at the 75th Golden Globe awards as part of an initiative to speak out about sexual harassment and assault. Many attendees also brought prominent activists for the both movements to this ceremony too, to raise awareness and highlight their good work. People are also advocating for better laws to protect survivors and punish companies that participate in persistent harassment. Some celebrities (including Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, Kesha and Cyndi Lauper) who attended the Grammys in 2018 wore white roses or all-black clothes to express solidarity with the Time’s Up movement.
Both of these movements are very close to my heart because I believe any victim that comes forward, not only in Hollywood, should be given the support, help and guidance they need, no matter their gender, or anything for that matter. If something as traumatic as that happens, you deserve empathy, and these movements highlight this. These movements have helped inform my project because they link to my interview questions and the answer that people have given as some of them mention forms of sexual harassment like cat calling etc.
Below are the references for my research:
- Alone, Y. (2018). You Are Not Alone. [online] You Are Not Alone. Available at: https://metoomvmt.org/ [Accessed 11 May 2018].
- BBC News. (2018). #MeToo campaign – BBC News. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/cql0269k80xt/metoo-campaign [Accessed 11 May 2018].
- En.wikipedia.org. (2018). Time’s Up (movement). [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time%27s_Up_(movement) [Accessed 11 May 2018].
- Metro.co.uk. (2018). What is Time’s Up movement, why is it called that, who started campaign? | Metro News. [online] Available at: https://metro.co.uk/2018/03/05/times-movement-called-started-campaign-7363471/ [Accessed 11 May 2018].
- the Guardian. (2018). MeToo movement | World news | The Guardian. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/metoo-movement [Accessed 11 May 2018].
- Time. (2018). http://time.com. [online] Available at: http://time.com/5189945/whats-the-difference-between-the-metoo-and-times-up-movements/ [Accessed 11 May 2018].
- Time’s Up Now. (2018). Home. [online] Available at: https://www.timesupnow.com/ [Accessed 11 May 2018].