In 2017, a wave of sexual harassment allegations involving Hollywood figures swept through social media. Over a million people across social media platforms shared their harassment stories, prompting the #MeToo movement, a movement founded by activist Tarana Burke, to rise again. Soon celebrities pledged to take a stand for all who have been harrassed by wearing black to the 75th Golden Globes, which tied with TIME Magazine’s #TimesUp initiative.
The #MeToo movement was created in 2006 with the purpose to empower women of color experiencing sexual harassment. In October 2017, actress Alyssa Milano encouraged using the phrase to help reveal problems with sexual harassment and assault which gave the movement a new meaning to people.
“To me, the protest that took place at the Golden Globes means that this age-old [problem of] harassment of women, whether they be actresses, female politicians, or just regular women, is finally being acknowledged more and more in the world and is hopefully coming to an end. For years women have tried to expose this sexual harassment plague but to no avail,” said sophomore Isaiah Mays.
As many allegations of sexual harassment became prominent on social media, there became a heightened awareness for sexual harassment towards women.
“I feel that these movements are really powerful and it’s about time that we have movements like these. For too many years women have been in the shadows because they are afraid of the effects that will come if they speak out, but with this movement they have the freedom to let this weight off their chest which is amazing,” said senior Rachael Fritz.
According to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in 2016 the organization concluded that 25% to 85% of women report having experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.
“I think there’s real pressure for women in the workplace, and right now, I think there’s a lot of attention brought to Hollywood and other areas with people we see on television. Many women, who work jobs in, especially hospitality or restaurants or even factories, have a long history of sexual harassment and abuse. I think that it’s a start for women to stand up and speak out because if they do, they won’t be treated differently or harmed if they do,” said English teacher Megan McCorkle.
Though during the Golden Globes numerous celebrities, men and women, wore the #TimesUp pin to show solidarity, many on social media found it hypocritical that not many men mentioned the #MeToo movement in their interviews or acceptance speeches.
“I feel quite ashamed about men not speaking out about it at the Golden Globes. I think they’ve chosen not to say anything because they are afraid, either of them getting exposed next or they don’t want to be the odd man out of the status quo. This female-led movement makes them uncomfortable and they just don’t want to do one simple thing: advocate for women,” said Mays.
Before 2017, there had never been an abundance of allegations that had such an effect on men in power. The #MeToo movement has caused many to lose jobs, money, and deals, signifying its impact.
“I do think this was an impactful thing to do, and I don’t think it is over. I think it’s going to carry on through award season with the Oscars because the movement isn’t going away so the support won’t either. By choosing a night such as an award show, where close to 33 million people watch, the movement can be brought more into the light and can reach more people than just a few that come out to rallies,” said Fritz.
The #MeToo movement has been proved to be a call to action to anyone who has experienced sexual harassment or witness occur.
“I think the problem with that is sexual harassment is really defined by the harassed, not the harasser. I think kids and adults need to learn that when we joke, we have to be careful with what we say or do because if you offend someone, it could be problematic. The other part of it is, I think we have to work to call out each other in a way that’s respectful so that there can be growth and so that things don’t become so egregious like they have become. With jokes that are offensive or harmful, we have to get to place a where we’re comfortable saying to someone ‘that’s offensive’,” said McCorkle.
by Ijeoma Nkenchor, Assistant Editor-In-Chief