Ok so it may sound a little late to jump on the bandwagon but A colleague of mine recently asked me what the “Me too” and “Times up” movements where all about. I tried to explain both movements to her, but the truth is, I didn’t truly understand them myself, so I made a general statement that sounded something like… “they are some kind of feminist movements to raise awareness around Womens issues and stuff”
Obviously, now that I know better, I don’t think this explanation served the movements any real justice at all. Although I know the good that both movements bring to society. I didn’t fully grasp the concept and origins behind them. I also wondered how many more women aren’t aware of what these movements actually mean not just for women but for many others too.
So, like my colleague and I, if you are also late jumping on the bandwagon or perhaps you don’t truly understand what it’s all about, I thought I should give you a bit of a breakdown of the causes that seem to be taking the media by storm. I had a look at several sources, had manay converasations and read up on this to give you a bit of a breakdown.
The Me-Too movement
This movement really kicked off as a hashtag in October 2017 (though the phrase was first used in the same context back in 2006). It was used to help demonstrate just how deep the issues of sexual assault and harassment are against women in society today. It also highlighted these issues (along with others) in the workplace. The #MeToo movement actually formed soon after the Harvey Weinstein misconduct cases which we all gasped though (but were sadly not surprised by).
In 2006 – Tarana Burke (an American civil rights activist) first used the phrase ‘Me Too” in order to raise awareness of sexual abuse and assault. The phrase then became popular by American actress, activist, producer and former singer – Alyssa Milano when she encouraged many women to use the phrase on social media. Soon enough it was all over social media. All around the world the hashtag – MeToo was taking over and the posts often had personal back-stories of sexual harassment or assault in some form. The Twitter storm pulled in many hight profile women such as Uma Thurman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lawrence and many more. All sharing their own personal stories.
When Tarana Burke first used the MeToo phrase, the original purpose was to empower women and bring empathy to the issues faced by them. But in October 2017 when Alyssa Milano used the hashtag on social media it was to raise awareness and show the extent of the sexual harassment and assault issues. The large number of people who joined the movement, sharing similar stories of their own personal lives demonstrated just how big this issue really is.
Soon enough the phrase spread to millions of people globally, in many parts of the world using many different languages. I guess it now means something different to each person who uses it, as not all of our stories are the same and we all experience this form of suffering and inequality in different ways. The phrase now affects both men and women of all background and as a result the men have created their own Hashtags in order to (in a way) support this moment with hashtags such as – #IDidThat, #IHave, and #IWill.
So that’s a little brief explainer around “MeToo”…… so what is “Times up” all about ?
The Time’s Up movement
Time’s Up is a movement against sexual harassment that first came about in January 2018. It was started by various (Hollywood) celebrities as a form of response to the Harvey Weinstein cases and to the MeToo hashtag. It has since raised over $20 million for its legal defense fund and has gathered over 200 volunteer lawyers which is amazing!
In November 2017, the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (who are the first national farm worker women’s organization in the U. S. created by current and former farmworker women, along with women who hail from farm worker families….inacse you didn’t know) wrote a letter showing their solidarity to the many women involved in exposing the sexual abuse of Harvey Weinstein. The letter was written on behalf of around 700,000 female farm workers in the US. …Wow !
The letter was published in Time and described experiences of both assault and harassment faced by female farm workers. As a result, the following initiatives were announced:A $13-million legal defence fund, administered by the national Womens law centre to support lower-income women seeking justice for sexual harassment and assault in the workplace, advocating for legislation to punish companies that tolerate persistent harassment. A movement toward gender parity in studio and talent agencies calling for women on the red carpet at the 75th golden globe awards to wear black and speak out about sexual harassment and assault.
Many business gurus and celebrities donated millions of dollars to the times up movement and back in the 2018 Grammys, many celebrities wore white roses (or all-white clothes) to show their solidarity with the Time’s Up movement too. So that’s a bit about what each movement means…. but what does it mean to you personally?