Today, we are taking a bit of a detour from our usual topics of etiquette, love, and taste. 2018 has been a year of many changes, some good and some, not so good. Before we end this year, we would like to do a quick review of the Me Too Movement since it has drastically changed the way men and women around the world interact with each other, especially in a professional environment.
The Me Too movement (or #MeToo movement) is a movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault. #MeToo spread virally in October 2017 as a hashtag on social media in an attempt to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace.
Tarana Burke, an American social activist and community organizer, began using the phrase “Me Too” as early as 2006 on the Myspace social network as part of a campaign to promote “empowerment through empathy” among women of color who have experienced sexual abuse, particularly within underprivileged communities.
The phrase was later popularized by American actress, Alyssa Milano, on Twitter in 2017. Milano encouraged victims of sexual harassment to tweet about it and “give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem”.
The phrase “Me too” was tweeted by Milano around noon on October 15, 2017, and had been used more than 200,000 times by the end of the day, and tweeted more than 500,000 times by October 16. On Facebook, the hashtag was used by more than 4.7 million people in 12 million posts during the first 24 hours. The platform reported that 45% of users in the United States had a friend who had posted using the term.
Tens of thousands of people, men and women as well as celebrities, replied with #MeToo stories.
Analyses of the movement often point to the prevalence of sexual violence, which has been estimated by the World Health Organization to affect one-third of all women worldwide. A 2017 poll by ABC News and The Washington Post also found that 54% of American women report receiving “unwanted and inappropriate” sexual advances with 95% saying that such behavior usually goes unpunished. Others state that #MeToo underscores the need for men to intervene when they witness demeaning behavior.
In the wake of #MeToo, many countries such as the U.S., India, France, China, Japan, and Italy, have seen discussion in the media on whether cultural norms need to be changed for sexual harassment to be eradicated in the workplace.
Dr. John Launer of Health Education England stated leaders must be made aware of common “mismatches of perceptions” at work to reduce incidents where one person thinks they are flirting while the other person feels like they’re being demeaned or harassed.
Reporter Anna North from Vox states one way to address #MeToo is teach children the basics of sex. North states the cultural notion that women do not enjoy sex leads men “to believe that a lukewarm yes is all they’re ever going to get”, referring to a 2017 study which found that men who believe women enjoy being forced into sex are “more likely to perceive women as consenting”.
Alyssa Rosenberg of The Washington Post called for society to be careful of overreaching by “being clear about what behavior is criminal, what behavior is legal but intolerable in a workplace, and what private intimate behavior is worthy of condemnation” but not part of the workplace discussion.
Professor Daniel Drezner stated that #MeToo laid the groundwork for two major cultural shifts. One is the acceptance that sexual harassment (not just sexual assault) is unacceptable in the workplace. The other is that when a powerful person is accused of sexual harassment, the reaction should be a presumption that the less powerful accuser is “likely telling the truth, because the risks of going public are great.”
To read the full article, please go here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Me_Too_movement
#MeToo sparked a defining chapter in gender relations and its seismic reverberations have been felt across the world. From protests about rape and murder in South Africa, to the Times Up Legal Defense Fund in America, discover the latest efforts to tackle sexual harassment and push for gender equality.
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