Why is the #MeToo movement so important?
By Kai Lock and Ethan Sheppy
It seems now that #MeToo has been the topic of conversation for many months now, especially in the entertainment industry. It has been showcased in several award shows, influencing things like speeches and wardrobe. High-profile men in the industry continue to face fallout from the movement toward accountability and transparency.
More and more actors have been coming out and speaking their truth as well as promoting inspirational speeches from those who have shared their stories. One of these cases was when Oprah Winfrey preached at the Golden Globes, stating that speaking your truth is one of the most powerful tools you have.
#MeToo was created by Tarana Burke in 1997; 20 years later it has risen into an immensely powerful movement all over the nation, creating conversations and evoking uncomfortable subjects that need to be uncovered and fully assessed.
According to a New York Times article, “The Woman Who Created #MeToo Long Before Hashtags” by Sandra E. Garcia, when Tarana Burke initially created the Me Too movement, her intention was to create a nonprofit organization to help those who have been affected by sexual harassment and assault.
The entertainment industry has been solely responsible for the attention that #MeToo has gotten within these past few months, starting with Alyssa Milano, who is believed to have brought attention to the movement.
The attention arose with a single tweet which stated, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” She provided an explanation for the tweet, “Suggested by a friend: ‘If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me Too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”
On Jan. 7, the distinguished Golden Globes took place in the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Known for its prestigious awards and celebrated celebrities, the Golden Globes was quick to promote #MeToo in many aspects.
Those in attendance dressed in all black to show their respect and support for the movement. The wardrobe was not the only thing to showcase the support, having inspirational speeches from actors also take part in advocating #MeToo.
Oprah Winfrey’s powerful speech moved the audience. She brought up topics such as #MeToo, racism and hope for a new future. Her speech easily became one of the most iconic moments of the night.
Actors standing behind the movement are not only hoping to provide relief for those in the entertainment industry, but also for those whose stories might not get told. Using their power in social media and fame in the industry, they are hoping to inspire young girls and spread an important message to all teenage and adult women.
We talked to two people outside of the film industry to help answer if those promoting #MeToo are helping them understand it better and to explore how it’s personally affecting their life. They both provided insight into their perspective as women outside of the entertainment industry.
Gretchen Oorthuys, a resource specialist at Summit Prep, helped us understand her stance on #MeToo.
“I think it started a lot of conversations with different people in my life, not just about their personal experiences, but about how awareness of power imbalances between the genders impacts their daily lives.”
Eliza Insley, a sophomore at Summit Prep, elaborated on the #MeToo movement and what her perspective on the subject is.
” I think the Me Too movement has affected me personally because I know people who have experienced sexual violence, sexual harassment and sexual assault, and watching them experience the shame and the guilt and the pain that goes along with not feeling like they can express and share what happened to them was rough. I think this movement that is gaining so much support for the victims of this abuse is really powerful because it’s life changing how these people have kept it in so long and now they feel like they’re in a safe enough environment to share this. ”
Hearing such shocking stories these past few months has resulted in a new growing awareness of the problem. What people would like to know now is the solution, a positive ending to these dreadful stories.
A few developing ideas are now being discussed with the hopes of preventing more women from experiencing trauma. According to an article by The Washington Post, “Women share their #MeToo experiences on Metro — and offer solutions,” an idea from women who have been harassed or assaulted on the Metro was to share stories to the public via social media.
Margaret Wroblewski created a project called #IWasOnTheMetroWhen, sharing unsettling stories of women who have been harassed or assaulted on the Metro. She was hoping these stories could provide relief and awareness to those either affected or not affected by this movement.
Her intention is to promote self-empowerment and encourage women to seek assistance from passengers on the bus or to speak up for others in such situations. Beyond Wroblewski’s project, there have been many others who have also followed the tactic of using social media to speak their truth.
#MeToo has been a wake up call to the nation, educating those who are oblivious to this unvoiced problem. Though all the stories have upset many people, it brought something deeper amongst all men and women who have been a part of #MeToo.
Finally speaking the truth has been described as a relief and a weight lifted off the shoulders of those assaulted. It brought them peace and unity. Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globes summarized our future perfectly. A new day is certainly on the horizon.
See below for a video on the #MeToo movement: