#MeToo: The hashtag that sparked a revolution

By Stephanie McClelland
October 23, 2018

Timeline of when the #MeToo hashtag was most prevalent. Created using Canva by Stephanie McClelland

On Oct. 15, 2017, the #MeToo hashtag became more than a hashtag and blew up on social media sparking the start of a movement against sexual harassment. The phrase was originally created by black activist Tarana Burke to help women of color who have been sexually assaulted know they were not alone.

The phrase became a movement when actress Alyssa Milano tweeted responding to the sexual assault allegations against, former producer, Harvey Weinstein urging those who have experienced sexual assault to come forward and speak their truth using the hashtag #MeToo.
The hashtag blew up overnight with thousands of people sharing their stories of sexual assault along with the hashtag, or simply tweeting #MeToo.

“I think that the people who make their stories so public are really brave. It isn’t easy to put yourself in the spotlight like that, especially with something so personal,” junior education major Diana Whittaker said.

Just days after Milano’s tweet went viral, Harvey Weinstein resigned from the board of his entertainment company, causing the hashtag to have even more momentum.
Two months later in December, Time Magazine announced #MeToo activists as their persons of the year, including many celebrities who have fought against sexual assault.
Then at the 75th Golden Globe Awards in January, those in favor of the movement wore black to the event as a way to show their support and Oprah Winfrey delivered a memorable speech about sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement.

Then on International Women’s Day in March, people all over the world rallied and marched in support of the movement and to fight against sexual assault for women using the #MeToo hashtag.

In September, former CEO of CBS, Leslie Moonves resigned from his position at CBS after sexual assault allegations.

Now just passing the one year anniversary of the viral hashtag, #MeToo has been tweeted more than 19 million times and has reached 85 countries.
The hashtag recently spiked on the radar again when, research psychologist and professor, Christine Blasey Ford accused, now Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault and during the trial.
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“I think that this movement has inspired a lot of people to come forward and I think that now more men in positions of power are being called out for sexual harassment and assault when they wouldn’t have before,” junior criminal justice major Jessica Peters said.
The #MeToo movement seems to have opened the eyes of many. It shows just how large this issue is, and it has also inspired women from all over the world to come forward and call out those who are guilty of sexual assault or harassment, even if those people are in positions of power. One year later and the movement hasn’t stopped, and it does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

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Stephanie McClelland

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