#MeToo: how a hashtag became a rallying cry against sexual harassment
Nadia Khomami | theguardian
Actor Alyssa Milano’s online call after the Harvey Weinstein revelations became a conversation about men’s behaviour towards women and power imbalances It started with an exposé detailing countless allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. But soon, personal stories began pouring in from women in all industries across the world, and the hashtag #MeToo became a rallying cry against sexual assault and harassment. The movement began on social media after a call to action by the actor Alyssa Milano, one of Weinstein’s most vocal critics, who wrote: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” Within days, millions of women – and some men – used Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to disclose the harassment and abuse they have faced in their own lives. They included celebrities and public figures such as Björk and Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney, as well as ordinary people who felt empowered to finally speak out. The story moved beyond any one man; it became a conversation about men’s behaviour towards women and the imbalance of power at the top.
Mhairi Black, the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, said it made for harrowing reading: “Even on my personal Facebook, stories are coming up, and it’s ‘My God, I didn’t know that had happened’ … It’s brilliant that women are coming forward and I’m sick to the back teeth especially of other women saying ‘you should have said something long ago’. Don’t dare put that on folk. The exact reason that they’re speaking out now is to make sure that the next generation don’t have to feel the way they did. I think it’s really harrowing reading through it.”