If you frequently use social media, you must have seen the hashtag #MeToo on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more. What started as a way for survivors of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual bullying to bond and share their stories, has become a global movement that has sparked significant changes, both social and legal. Now we will tell you what is #MeToo movement along with its history and overview of the movement’s success.
What is the #MeToo movement?
The #MeToo movement is an effort to bring social change and organize primarily through social media, where it’s often expressed as #MeToo. This movement was founded in 2006. It became prominent both online and in the mainstream in late 2017 when several high-profile actresses opened up about their experiences with sexual harassment in the film industry. After that, the movement has provided a source of solidarity for women from all backgrounds who have experienced sexual harassment, most often, though not always, perpetrated by a male colleague.
The History of the #MeToo movement?
This movement was first coined in 2006 by Tarana Burke who is an advocate for women in New York. She wanted a way to empower women who had endured sexual violence by letting them know that they were not alone so that other women had suffered the same experience they had. In 2017, the movement was reintroduced by Alyssa Milano as a way to encourage women and men to share their stories as part of an anti-sexual harassment movement. The results of the revived movement have since been great, with people sharing their stories accompanied by the hashtag #MeToo across many different social media platforms. Alyssa’s decision to reintroduce the movement was prompted by a New York Times article in which Harry Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment. Initially, Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan were the most vocal about Weinstein’s actions. But many others, feeling empowered by both the movement and the fearlessness of Judd and McGowan, began to share their stories as well. The local grassroots effort spearheaded by Burke had now expanded to reach a community of survivors from all walks of life.
Overview of the #MeToo Movement’s Success
- Affirmed for survivors that they are not alone.
- Developed a stronger community where survivors feel like they have a voice.
- Demonstrated how widespread the issue is.
- Shifted social norms and opinions about the issue.
- Exposed belief systems that enable abuse.
- Increased compassion of survivors.
- Lead to concrete changes in laws and policies.
- Created avenues for survivors to speak up and share their stories.
- Broke the silence surrounding sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual bullying.
- De-stigmatized the issue and made it safe for discussions.
- Lead to the punishment or incarceration of some powerful men.
- Highlighted the fact that action is needed to instil anti-harassment policies.
- Prompted several states to ban non-disclosure agreements, which help powerful people hide their actions by buying the survivor’s silence.
- Lead to the creation of Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which has provided legal representation to nearly 4,000 survivors.
- Lead to expanded sexual harassment laws in California and New York City.
- Lead to the creation and adoption of new legal standards by the International Labour Organization in which 10 countries have already ratified.
#MeToo movement in India gave steam after former AIB comedian Utsav Chakraborty was accused of sexual harassment by a writer and fellow comic, who also said that the company had not taken any action despite her complaints. In 2018, there was another accusation made on Union Minster MJ Akbar along with six journalists accusing him of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour when he worked as a newspaper editor.