Two simple words with a hashtag in front has created a global movement to be reckoned with. The #metoo movement has empowered millions of women affected by sexual harassment and assault to come forward about their experiences. The me too movement was founded in 2006 by Tarana Burke using “empowerment through empathy” to let survivors know they are not alone in their struggle. This movement has experienced a recent surge of popularity after actress Alyssa Milano tweeted it a few months back.
The movement continued to gain momentum as the Silence Breakers were named TIME Person of the year 2017. The Silence Breakers included a group of women who emerged during the allegations of sexual misconduct and assault by Harvey Weinstein. As more people accused the film executive, dozens of other famous individuals came clean about the prevalence of sexual harassment in Hollywood. Time interviewed a variety of victims, from farm workers to TODAY anchor Megyn Kelly, talking about their experiences and what needs to change. Kelly stated, “I always thought things could change for my daughter. I never thought things could change for me. Never. I’m starting to see it so differently. What if we did complain? What if we didn’t whine, but insisted that those around us did better?”(TODAY).
Continuing the trend, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently revealed her own experience with sexual harassment and gender inequality. At the Sundance Film Festival, Ginsburg revealed her professor at Cornell University expected something in return after giving her a test before the other students. She continues to state, “woman of my vintage knows what sexual harassment is, though we didn’t have a name for it” (PBS). As the second woman ever appointed to the high court, her story gave thousands of other women the confidence to come clean about their experiences, no matter their age or status.
This hashtag has shown what a powerful tool social media can be. Had Ginsburg had access to this kind of content when she was being sexually harassed, it could have given her the confidence to share her experiences earlier on. These girls feel empowered knowing they are not alone in their experiences, and want to make a change that will create a long lasting impact. You never know who you can reach by the simple use of a hashtag, and that one post has the potential to change the lives of millions.
Finnegan, Molly. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s #MeToo moment.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 22 Jan. 2018, www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/ruth-bader-ginsburgs-metoo-moment.
Kim, Eun Kyung. “TIME’s 2017 Person of the Year… the Silence Breakers.” TODAY.com, TODAY, 6 Dec. 2017, www.today.com/news/silence-breakers-are-time-s-2017-person-year-t119689.