#MeToo as Catalyst: A Glimpse into 21st Century Activism

24 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2020

See all articles by Jamillah Williams

Jamillah Williams

Georgetown University Law Center

Lisa Singh

Georgetown University

Naomi Mezey

Georgetown University Law Center

Date Written: January 15, 2020

Abstract

The Twitter hashtag #MeToo has provided an accessible medium for users to share their personal experiences and make public the prevalence of sexual harassment, assault, and violence against women. This online phenomenon, which has largely involved posting on Twitter and “retweeting” to share other’s posts has revealed crucial information about the scope and nature of sexual harassment and misconduct. More specifically, social media has served as a central forum for this unprecedented global conversation, where previously silenced voices have been amplified, supporters around the world have been united, and resistance has gained steam.

This Essay discusses the #MeToo movement within the broader context of social media activism, explaining how this unique form of collective action is rapidly evolving. We offer empirical insights into the types of conversations taking place under the hashtag and the extent to which the movement is leading to broader social change. While it is unclear which changes are sustainable over time, it is clear that the hashtag #MeToo has converted an online phenomenon into tangible change, sparking legal, political, and social changes in the short run. This Essay provides data to illustrate some of these changes, which demonstrate how posting online can serve as an impetus, momentum, and legitimacy for broader movement activity and changes offline more characteristic of traditional movement strategies.

Keywords: activism, civil rights, legislation, empirical, equal opportunity, equity

Suggested Citation

Williams, Jamillah and Singh, Lisa and Mezey, Naomi, #MeToo as Catalyst: A Glimpse into 21st Century Activism (January 15, 2020). University of Chicago Legal Forum, Vol. 2019, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3520217

Jamillah Williams (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

Lisa Singh

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Naomi Mezey

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

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