The #MeToo feminist movement went viral on Twitter and on social media with global initiatives against sexism
By Aina Bosma
In recent months, many women have stood up against harassment and sexual abuse in the film and TV industry. However, #MeToo began long before these allegations were made public.
Activist and social worker Tarana Burke founded the Me Too movement in 2006 to help victims of sexual violence, mainly poor young women.
These two words served to activate a campaign in which girls and women could share their experiences.
Twitter against Harvey Weinstein
More than ten years later, in October of 2017, The New York Times published information containing accusations of sexual violence against Harvey Weinstein, a famous Hollywood producer who allegedly had been harassing women for 30 years.
The news is what triggered actress Alyssa Milano to make a call on Twitter out to all those women who had suffered a similar experience and dared them to share it on social media.
That’s how #metoo went viral. Thousands of women joined the cause to report that they too had been victims of sexual harassment.
If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017
However, not all women supported the initiative. The actress Catherine Deneuve and other French movie stars, writers and intellectuals signed a letter in the newspaper Le Monde defending the men’s “right” to chat up women.
They explained that the #MeToo feminist movement, instead of empowering women, was repressing their freedom.
This provoked a great controversy. Many women accused the French stars of ignoring the reality of sexual violence, something that did not help feminism.
Men’s reaction: #HowIWillChange
While women shared their stories on social media, many men also wanted to express their opinion on the matter. The Australian writer Benjamin Law called for a change of attitude by men with a very explicit hashtag: #HowIWillChange.
This initiative urges men to take action in macho situations in order to prevent them, and it’s having great success.
#HowIWillChange: Recognise I don't need to be a perpetrator to be a bad guy. Questioning harassment, not doing anything about it—all as bad.
— Benjamin Law 羅旭能 (@mrbenjaminlaw) October 16, 2017
On January 1, 2018, more than 300 women in Hollywood launched Time’s Up, a campaign that aims to raise funds to provide victims of sexual violence with legal defense. Thus, women of all backgrounds will receive the help needed to report any inappropriate sexual behavior they have suffered.
The foundation also wants to forward a law that penalizes companies that allow cases of sexual abuse.
Information put together in collaboration with Facultat de Comunicació i Relacions Internacionals Blanquerna