During the peak of the Harvey Weinstein allegations, actress Alyssa Milano tweeted, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” This eventually turned into #MeToo, and it spread like wildfire across social media, accumulating 150,000 tweets overnight. #MeToo has been one of the most effective means of uniting people through social media. This hashtag has brought many stories to light, as hundreds of thousands more have used the hashtag to show how many people have been sexually harassed or assaulted.
#MeToo has become a rallying cry for people to stand with the women who have shared their stories or have even just written “Me Too” on their social media platforms. Men have even used the hashtag to bring to light that they can do better and help create a safer environment for the women in their lives. Men have also taken this time to enlighten the world about the fact that sexual harassment against other men, although not as frequent as women, is still harassment and needs to be addressed.
This hashtag has also reached our nation’s capital, where Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) told NBC News about experiences in their past jobs. According to the LA Times, 38 women have come forward to accuse director James Toback of sexual harassment. Milano shared the article on her Twitter on Sunday afternoon. Milano also took to Twitter Oct. 4, posting, “One tweet has brought together 1.7 million voices from 85 countries. Standing side by side, together, our movement will only grow. #MeToo.”
This movement is unlike other movements recently because it covers the sensitive subject of sexual harassment and sexual assault. This is a subject that many find uncomfortable, which is why it is difficult to start a dialogue about it. Some people have criticized the hashtag because it can be seen as a means of pressuring victims to out themselves so they can stand together, and it might blur the line between different types and severity of harassment. This hashtag, however, is meant to start a dialogue to prevent all instances like this from happening in the future.
What we have here, at the root of all of the posts, tweets, etc., is an ongoing problem that is discussed and forgotten over time. #MeToo seeks to eliminate the silence and open a dialogue between women and men to make the world a better place. Milano’s simple post has united an international community of victims who can finally be seen in the public eye. This is exactly what celebrities should be doing. Instead of endorsing candidates, celebrities should be using their influence to help shape the world and combat the evils that go unnoticed.