A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Evaluating the #MeToo Movement

Me too.

Two simple words that have gained new meaning in the past couple months, the #MeToo movement has taken over social media and Hollywood award shows. The hashtag first went viral in October of last year but was originally founded by Tarana Burke in 2006. It has since been an ongoing movement to bring awareness to sexual assault and harassment, especially for women of color.

As award season commenced, the power of the two words grew further with projects such as the blackout Golden Globes and white roses at the Brit’s to symbolize solidarity with women and men who have been victims of sexual assault.

Since its popularization in October of 2017, it has been posted over a million times on various social media platforms with the help of celebrities. The idea behind the #MeToo movement according to the Me Too Movement’s official website, is “to ensure survivors know they’re not alone in their journey.”

The movement also strives to help women heal from sexual violence and ultimately, fight to end the problem as a whole.  

In an interview conducted by the Root, Tarana Burke described the movement as a “conversation between survivors” as well as an exchange of empathy.

“Sexual violence knows no race, or class, or gender, but the response to sexual violence does. Me Too is about the response to sexual violence, and it’s also about the journey towards healing.”

It’s importance has been brought up time after time in the world of Hollywood. Women in the industry as well as supporters of the movement have condemned celebrities who have “supported” the movement, but have allocations of their own or supported other celebrities who have histories of sexual violence.

Many award shows have been criticized for awarding men who have been accused of sexual violence as well as continuing to give these actors, directors, producers, and writers platforms for further successes. Most recently was Gary Oldman and Kobe Bryant, who both received Oscars at the 90th Academy Awards while having histories of assault.

Time’s Up, another movement aiming to provide support for those who have experienced sexual harassment, has also been popularized through award shows. Both have been referenced in multiple acceptance speeches and have been used in monologues for hosts.

The two movements have caused gender equality in the workforce and sexual violence awareness to increase. In the short time that the phases have surfaced, it is estimated that 48% of companies have moved toward equal pay.

Women have also used the #TimesUp movement to talk about female recognition. At the 2018 Academy Awards, in the non-acting categories, only 23% were females with Rachel Morrison being the first female cinematographer to receive a nomination since the Oscars began.

However, this does not solve the issue of sexual harassment.

“I just hope that we don’t stop talking about it when the hashtag dies down,” said Tarana Burke.

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