#Metoo Those two simple words have become a rallying cry‚ an article for KCRA. Com puts it plainly. But what’s in a name? This month has been a firm reminder about how people in positions of power abuse their names‚ and their regarded status in order to control others and, in short, do what they want. They know, because of their name that, more than anything, their victims will feel powerless to speak up about it or speak out against them.

On October 18th, 2017, American actress Alyssa Milano chose to use her name for the right reasons. In response to the Weinstein allegations, Milano turned to Twitter and wrote the following: If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. Me too might also be interpreted as I see you, I hear you, or I get it. Whatever the name, the meaning is the same: the campaign is a call to arms for women all around the world to speak out and support each other.

While it is the quickest way to get a topic trending, social media has often been subject to negative criticism and issues with social media have been no secret: trolling, over-sharing, over-compensating, and shaming to name but a few. Recently, a Guardian article revealed a strong parallel between body dissatisfaction, insecurity, and low self-esteem in girls to have risen with the increasing popularity of social media use amongst young people. However, #Metoo has transformed the name of trending. It has replaced the common hashtag into a powerful rallying cry that is sweeping social media with stories about women, written by women, and for the right reasons.

And it’s about time. Ten years ago, this kind of viral campaign would have been impossible, yet the issue of sexual abuse was still very much present. When reading about the growing trend of #Metoo, I was particularly struck to learn that the “Me too” campaign had actually started many years ago with feminist activist Tarana Burke. Her goal, as she states, was to empower women of colour. The fact that “Me too” began so much earlier, and away from the hands of a celebrity, and that it is now taking on the powerful form of a hashtag, is a testament to the importance of using social media for the right reasons: to empower and to reach a larger audience. It also reminds us that this is not a trend. It is real. It is a movement. And progress, while it is being made and shows no sign of disappearing, must continue beyond Facebook walls and Twitter feeds.

-Megan Sormus
Junior Editor
Girl News International

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