The #MeToo Movement And Why It Matters

The #MeToo Movement And Why It Matters

"Sexual assault and domestic violence are difficult things to talk about. Talk about them anyway." - Mariska Hargitay

#Metoo has become an anthem in society today as a rallying cry for victims of sexual violence as they join the ever-increasing number of women and men who are coming forward to report sexual abuse. The Me Too movement actually began over 10 years ago as a movement to empower women of color from poor communities to speak out.

This year, the movement was bolstered when People magazine honored some of these whistle blowers as they named the Silence Breakers as person of the year. Musicians, engineers, actors, and laborers have come together and found that they share an unfortunate experience. These brave individuals who came forward to report their abuse opened the door to not only open a dialogue but to create a culture of acceptance and decriminalization for victims of sexual violence.

Harvey Weinstein was well known for his sexual exploitation in Hollywood, but people just accepted that if you wanted to be successful, you had to “pay your dues.” It was a source of awkward comedic material at the 2013 Oscar’s when Seth MacFarlane joked about Weinstein’s abuse of young women in the movie industry. However now that the flood gates have been opened for disclosing abuse, it is no laughing matter.

Many well known and loved celebrities, politicians, business men, and news anchors have been exposed for their sexual misconduct. People who were abused for years kept their silence because we live in a culture that historically does not protect victims of sexual violence. In isolation, one person’s voice is easily ignored. All of them together can not be so easily silenced.

This newfound kinship among victims is empowering as we push for social change to hold sexual offenders accountable. While we aren’t seeing prosecution in the high profile cases yet, many offenders are losing their careers which is helpful to reduce their access to future victims. In the past, the victims were the ones to pay the price for not “going along with” the program. Things that once would have seemed ridiculous are no longer shocking. Matt Lauer having a button to lock women into his office, Roy Moore being banned from a mall for soliciting teenaged girls, and even Charlie Rose walking around naked on set of the PBS news show are just not shocking anymore.

These victims are finally being believed. Even the President of the United States was elected in spite of his own admissions of grabbing women inappropriately and boasting of taking advantage of women. But several brave women have still come forward to tell their stories and are calling for Congress to investigate the allegations.

#Metoo is a battle cry that will continue to pick up more followers. Time magazine’s cover purposely omits the face of one of the women to represent the face of more women who are yet to come forward. The stigma of being a victim is finally being replaced with accountability of offenders. Thank you Silence Breakers for opening the door for others.

Cover Image Credit: Long Reads

Popular Right Now

Too Much Time In The Public Eye Can Hurt Your Mental Health

Privacy is important, but not just because Google is selling your browsing history.

I recently watched the 2017 film “The Circle” which, despite its impressive cast, was decidedly average. However, it got me thinking about privacy again. Since Edward Snowden’s exploits in 2013, privacy has been a hot topic for debate. Threats to privacy have grown even since then. Personalized online advertising grows more sophisticated daily, and with the widespread adoption of “smart speakers” like the Google Home and Amazon Echo, companies have even more data at hand. The war on net neutrality threatens online privacy even further. If things continue in the direction they’re heading, your internet service provider will soon be able to happily sell your browsing data to the highest bidder (which is not to say that sites like Google, Facebook, and Amazon aren’t already doing that).

In addition to corporate pressures, social pressures on privacy have grown since 2013. Social media now permeates every facet of society. Politicians recognize its power and use it to garner favor. Hashtags fuel movements, and news spreads like wildfire—whether its true or not. Entertainers must maintain their online presence, lest they lose their following or viewership. Even my roommate’s textbook asked him to tweet a photo of himself entering the activation code and to include a hashtag they so conveniently provided.

Government and corporate abuse of citizens’ privacy are very serious threats. But the rapid shrinking of our bubbles of privacy affect us on a different, more personal level. Because of the omnipresence of social media, not participating has become less of an option. Social gatherings, public events, and parties are often scheduled on Facebook. Trends are born, news breaks, and drama flares on social media, and not participating can leave a person feeling left out.

In “The Circle,” Emma Watson’s character attaches a miniature camera to her person as part of a social experiment in constant streaming. It’s a bit of an extreme, but it reflects how it has become more and more normal to record everything. Whether it’s a passerby or a government CCTV, surveillance is everywhere, and it becomes harder and harder to feel alone.

No matter how social you are, everyone needs privacy. Because no matter how normal you think you are, there is probably something about you that society doesn’t like. Having a private place to be yourself is imperative, because not having an outlet can have dire mental, physical, and emotional consequences. You might not think about it much now, but if you had no privacy, you’d notice. This is part of the attempted tragedy arc in “The Circle.”

Emma Watson’s character’s initial enthusiasm dwindles as she realizes how little real expression she is allowed with the camera. She stifles tears, fakes friendships and lies to conform to the expectations of her viewers. While nobody in real life displays this level of exposure, more and more online entertainers, specifically ones putting out regular daily content, are beginning to speak out about burnout.

Popular Twitch streamer Lirik said, “I just don’t feel entertaining anymore and don’t really know why people continue to watch. It’s like going on stage every fucking day and not knowing what to say anymore because you are out of material.” Without breaks from social interaction, one begins to wear down.

Sidney M. Jourard, psychologist, professor, and author had this figured out in 1966. In his paper “Some Psychological Aspects of Privacy,” Jourard writes,

“When a person continues to live his life in ways inimical to the needs of his physical organism, signals are emitted to the person (and to an observer who is perceptive or knowledgeable) that ‘all is not well’ with the organism. If these signals are not acknowledged and acted upon in some ameliorative way, the person may experience pain, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, or vague malaise and not know why. The direct reason for these effects is to be found in the way the person so afflicted has been living his life. But if that way of life has been socially or morally exemplary, the person may be puzzled as to why he is not happy.”

We need time away. From social media, from other people, from the public eye. Only then can we truly be ourselves. This is why anonymous social media sites like reddit and 4chan are so popular. On these sites, your words are not linked to your real identity, so you don't need to filter yourself to conform.

If you don’t feel comfortable in a role society has set for you, pretending you are is an emotionally exhausting endeavor. This could be anything from society’s expectation for you to wear pants to society’s expectation for you to “be a man” or “act like a lady.” While we haven’t reached “The Circle” levels of sharing, it's never too early to examine the effects of oversharing, breaches of privacy and public burnout.

Cover Image Credit: The Playlist

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

8 Tips For Parents To Keep Their Child Safe In Their Absence

3. Lock up dangerous stuff.

Every parent wants to keep their children safe. Whenever they step out of the house to go to work or run some errands, they are constantly plagued with worries about their kids. Obviously, it is not possible to be with your child 24/7. They go to school in the morning and come back home when you are at work. They are relatively safe at school, but what about the time they spend at home? If you are constantly fretting about your kids, you will not be able to focus on your work. Therefore, you can take some steps to keep your child safe in your absence and this will lessen your concerns, if not eliminate them.

Follow the tips outlined below and ensure your child’s safety:

1. Outline a safety plan for them.

The first thing you need to do is sit down with your child and outline a safety plan for them that should be followed in case of an emergency. Write down all important numbers and put them somewhere your child can easily see. This should include your cell number, office number and contact numbers of other family members and neighbors. Don’t forget to add 911 to the top of the list. You should also ensure there is a neighbor, friend or family member who can check up on the kids if there is an emergency.

2. Put a First Aid Kit.

Keep a fully stocked First aid kit and also a flashlight in a place that can be easily accessed by your child. Share the location with them so they can find it when needed.

3. Lock up dangerous stuff.

If your child is going to be at home in your absence, it is a good idea to lock up all dangerous items such as cleaners, chemicals, hand tools, guns and ammunition, power tools, knives, razor blades and other similar objects that can inflict harm.

4. Hire a babysitter.

It is best if you hire someone to look after your kids in your absence. Babysitters are the best solution because your friends and family are also going to be at work and may not be able to keep watch. But, how to find a babysitter? You can take advantage of services such as Sittercity. Sittercity helps parents by connecting them to reliable and trustworthy babysitters right away who can keep watch over children and ensure their safety.

5. Set some ground rules.

You should also set some ground rules for your kids that should be followed when you are not around. For instance, instruct them clearly that they are not allowed to cook, invite friends over or go out without permission. Tell them to keep the windows and doors locked and not open the door to anyone. Establish rules regarding TV and computer time.

6. Prevent boredom.

One more great way for parents to keep their kids safe at home is make sure they have activities they can get involved in as this will keep them out of trouble and also let you be at peace that they are not up to anything dangerous on their own. Sure, they will have homework and chores to finish, but also ensure they can do some fun things or else they might go looking for trouble.

7. Check in on them hourly.

You are a parent and it will be difficult for you to get your kids out of your mind when you know they are at home. You are probably thinking of different scenarios where things could go wrong. One way of giving yourself some peace is to keep checking in on your kids hourly. You can give them a call and talk to everyone to verify that things are going smoothly.

8. Installing a monitoring system.

Yes, this might be quite expensive, but you can think of it as an investment in your child’s safety. You can install cameras around the house and monitor your children remotely from your office. These days, you can find various sophisticated options at very reasonable prices and it will also act as a deterrent for thieves.

Follow these tips and you will be able to do your duty as a parent of keeping your child safe and sound.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

Related Content

Facebook Comments