One of our time’s most relevant social initiatives has been the #MeToo movement. It has given women the confidence to speak out about sexual harassment and assault and sparked discussions about consent, respect, and equality. Tarana Burke founded the movement to empower women to talk about their experiences in 2006. It gained popularity in 2017 following numerous sexual abuse allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein. Since then, the hashtag has helped to build a community and instill in women the idea that they are not alone in their fight against abuse.
However, there have been recent concerns about the state of the movement, as some argue that the movement is dead or on the verge of dying. They claim that the story has lost steam and that the media has moved on to other topics. This prompts the question: Is the Me Too Movement dead?
A shift in society
Without a doubt, the Me Too movement has had a significant impact on our culture. It has brought to light the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment and inspired more victims to share their stories. The conversation around consent has also shifted due to the Me Too movement, with more people now understanding that “no” means no.
Hollywood, under a lot of pressure following the allegations over very high figures in the sector, has undeniably changed its ways. According to a survey of over 800 people working in the industry, 93% of whom identified as female, transgender, or nonbinary, believed that high-profile people who engage in harassment are more likely to be held accountable for their actions today than they were five years ago. Additionally, more than half of the participants believe some progress, in this area, has been accomplished.
Nevertheless, today, #metoo has lost its media leverage. This is because the movement now focuses more on the people concerned. Their goal is no longer to draw attention to the movement but rather to focus on those who are interested in it. The campaign has a website where involved parties can follow their progress. Marches, meetings, and resources are still actively organized to assist the victims.
Where is the movement going?
While this has led to some significant moments of justice and reckoning, it has also caused a loss of perspective on the magnitude of the issue. The movement has been criticized for not having a distinct future goal or strategy. To accomplish long-term change, there have been calls for the action to focus more on institutional reform and policy change.
Many areas show limitations in progress in relation to the movement’s main claims. One of the best-known examples is Hollywood. It is no secret that prominent directors and members of this community have faced allegations of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior toward women. According to the same Hollywood survey, 55% of respondents believe that coworkers “rarely” or “never” accept responsibility for inappropriate behavior. Furthermore, 73% of respondents indicated that addressing sexual harassment is a “low” or “medium” priority for leaders. What can we expect from the rest of the world if influential industries like this one do not set a good example? What does this mean for the movement’s impact?
A shadow on the movement
We see recent events shadowing the image of #metoo. The most famous example would be the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial. The trial was repeatedly referred to as a mockery of the movement. In other words, gender justice advocates like Farrah Khan called it “a meme-fication of domestic abuse.” In 2018, Amber Heard declared herself a “public figure representing domestic abuse,” which resulted in a high-profile trial with her ex-husband, Johnny Depp.
The recent event revealed that public opinion has become less friendly towards accusers. For many people, this lack of victim recognition marks the death of the Me Too movement. Women have fought for years for their suffering to be acknowledged and justice to be served in these matters. But, due to specific instances of abuse within the movement, this progress toward women’s rights may be threatened.
Nevertheless, this claim is a standard error regarding the movement, which is to believe it revolves around a few people. The movement goes beyond a trial, a personality, or even bringing down powerful men. It is a tool for survivors to flourish after their trauma. Overall, the movement may have helped a lot of women. But sadly, domestic abuse reports in the United States have decreased, falling from 47% in 2017 to 41% in 2022.
Regardless of where you stand on the Me Too movement, there’s no denying it has been a powerful force for change. And while its future may be uncertain, its impact will continue to be felt for years. As the movement’s creator said, “You can’t kill us. We are beyond the hashtag. We are a movement.”
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