Hashtags have their lives. They begin, trend and end. Yet, there is one hashtag that left marks on all our minds and hearts. METOO.
This hashtag was used more than 2,00,000 times by Octber 15th, and tweeted more than 5,00,000 times by October 16th. On facebook, however the hashtag had been 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 US had a friend who had posted their stories using the same hashtag!
So let’s see what it was and how it became a ‘trend’.
Alyssa Milano, an actress began the trend when she posted regarding Harbey Weinstein’s case saying, “If all the women have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “MeToo” as their status we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” This way, the post was retweeted, shared and inspired many men and women to share their stories. It left so many people shocked that their friends, colleagues, relatives, family members were sexually assaulted.
The hashtag faced criticism as well. A few feminists claimed that people do not need stories/instances of sexual harassment to ‘realize the magnitude of the problem’. And how many number of stories will define that it is a severe and very trivial issue in the lives of women (and even men). True, but the hashtag has led to revelation. And far greater than that, it has led a lot of people open up to not simply call out their molesters but helped them get out and speak about it. For many, the break out on social media is first. And no, not all victims are survivors and not all survivors post metoo. Not all people need to post it, but it is quite ignorant of us if we simply don’t see how it has benefited the public, in revelation. #metoo has also made many victims of rape/sexual harassment/molestation realize that it was not their fault. Because a lot of the victims do feel as though they had ‘invited’ the stories/incidents that occurred in their lives.
For a privileged person sipping coffee with their laptops on, the revelation might not mean anything. But for many victims it is more than making people realize the ‘magnitude of problem’.
Though, the hashtag had specifically begun for women victims but other genders have come up and opened about their experiences as well. It seemed to a lot of people that there are only men culprits but a lot of victims have shared their story calling out women as well. Another revelation. Sexual assaults/rapes/harassment is gendered in the minds of many. metoo has been able to break that as well. I am not very satisfied with the lines it had begun but by the end of it, I am glad people can realize that the assaults are not inflicting one gender alone, (maybe majorly, yes) and something has to be done.
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