Hashtag Me Too

ME TOO – An Invite to the Biggest Movement in Feminist History

Yes, this is an invitation to the most ‘unique and eligible movement in history’.

Everyone is welcome. Apparently; Men, women, boys and girls anyone who has ever endured sexual harassment or misconduct. Support has been widely offered in response to the movement; #MeToo. The movement is being called “a watershed”, a force to be reckoned with. Ever since the hashtag came about the movement has rocketed across the media, but what progress have they actually made?

Its probably best to start from the very beginning.

Me Too, was originally founded by the very ordinary, Bronx born Tarana Burke. Burke was a driven young woman with a passion for justice and with the contribution of a group of powerful women Burke created the non-profit organisation, Just be Inc, Girls for Gender Equity.

Burke went on to be the founder of Me Too, and found many willing to offer support in order to carry out the important work of fighting for dignity and worth of survivors of sexual harassment and assault, even before the hashtag was introduced.

In 1997 Burke was face to face with a 13 year old girl explaining what awful trauma she had been through, leaving Tarana speechless. This very moment was when she could not say ‘Me Too’ but it was born.

“My own hard truth, I am numb.” – Tarana Burke

Burke began using the Me Too phrase to raise awareness and pervasiveness of sexual abuse and assault in society. The movement is non prejudice and offered support stretched from low income jobs to high profile celebrities. This is where the digital hashtag really excelled, expanding to Australia, China, France, India and so may more countries across the world are being recognised.

The movement flourished in Hollywood when well known actresse Alyssa Milano encouraged women to tweet the hashtag if they’d ever been sexually assaulted or harassed. over 400 celebrities started to support the campaign with the hashtag #Me Too. When we talk about #MeToo, it is vital that we honour the true origins of the campaign as it has been looked upon as a ‘white Hollywood’ campaign when alike to so many other social justice movements, it rose from the struggles of Black women and was co-opted by white women.

Group of black men and women together.

By encouraging so many more women to gain the courage to speak up and join the movement in solidarity. The movement was originally sourced upon with the help of the open letter written by The Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, an organization comprised of current and former farmworker women. On behalf of 700,000 female Latina farmworkers, who wrote a letter of solidarity to the brave women and men who have come forward with their experience of sexual harassment and assault. The letter followed Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan as the first women to publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct and harassment. 

“Dear Sisters,
We write on behalf of the approximately 700,000 women who work in the agricultural fields and packing sheds across the United States. For the past several weeks we have watched and listened with sadness as we have learned of the actors, models and other individuals who have come forward to speak out about the gender based violence they’ve experienced at the hands of bosses, coworkers and other powerful people in the entertainment industry. “
“Even though we work in very different environments, we share a common experience of being preyed upon by individuals who have the power to hire, fire, blacklist and otherwise threaten our economic, physical and emotional security. Like you, there are few positions available to us and reporting any kind of harm or injustice committed against us doesn’t seem like a viable option. Complaining about anything — even sexual harassment — seems unthinkable because too much is at risk, including the ability to feed our families and preserve our reputations.
We understand the hurt, confusion, isolation and betrayal that you might feel. We also carry shame and fear resulting from this violence. It sits on our backs like oppressive weights. But, deep in our hearts we know that it is not our fault. The only people at fault are the individuals who choose to abuse their power to harass, threaten and harm us, like they have harmed you.
In these moments of despair, and as you cope with scrutiny and criticism because you have bravely chosen to speak out against the harrowing acts that were committed against you, please know that you’re not alone. We believe and stand with you.
In solidarity,
Alianza Nacional de Campesinas”

Along with the letter being published by the media and the formidable support from more Hollywood stars, the “hashtag was used over 12 million times in 24 hours“. The hashtag took over social media trends.

“This movement is a unique historical moment.”

Are you ready?

Have a look at my other blog posts and watch my interview with Jamie Windust to understand more about the #MeToo movement.

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