#MeToo as Catalyst: A Glimpse into 21st Century Activism
24 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2020
Date Written: January 15, 2020
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: Suggested Citation