History of me too Movemenet

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Throughout history, women have continuously fought for their rights and for their voices to be heard. Dating all the way back to 1848, the women's rights movement took its start with the Seneca Falls Convention. These movements didn’t stop there. In today’s society women are unceasingly fighting back to have a voice. One of the most prominent movements occurring today is the Me Too Movement. Social activist Tarana Burke created the Me Too movement in 2006. Burke created this movement to bring awareness to sexual assault and sexual harassment. Many cases have arisen since then regarding unspoken incidences of sexual assault. To the media's surprise, many of these victims/perpetrators are well-known, successful people. The victims affected don’t solely lie in Hollywood, but are seen in sports, politics, military and even the people closest to you. One of the most important cases today is the Les Moonves Case, dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace.

Although founded in 2006, the movement didn’t spark until 2017 when actress Alyssa Milano composed a tweet simply asking people to respond with “me too” to bring awareness to exactly how many people are affected by sexual assault. By the end of the day around 200,000 people responded to her tweet. This was in retort to the Harvey Weinstein case that caused an up rise in the Me Too movement. Harvey Weinstein was an academy award-winning film producer who created many known movies. A group of six women came forward and accused Weinstein and his brother of sexually assaulting them. This led to Weinstein’s demise and he was soon fired from the company.

Social norms can be defined as an agreed upon behavior that society deems acceptable. Societal reaction to a certain situation defines what is normal and what is deviant. Back then sexual harassment was not deemed deviant. Instead, sexual assault was something that no one talked about because it wasn’t anyone’s business but the two who it was between. Women silently endured sexual violence against them for fear that the government wouldn’t protect them and for fear that they would be seen as the bad guy. This stemmed from the patriarchal society that took place and still lingers in today’s society. The patriarch started with the agricultural economy because the women were seen as the homemakers while the men were the ones who worked hard physical jobs and provided for the family. Women were valued less than the males and the government played an immense role in this mentality. Equality didn’t exist in the constitution until after the civil war after passing the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendment. Things like coverture existed that placed women below men. Coverture was a legal concept that dealt with the status of a married woman. This law stated that women who are married are “covered” by their husbands. They no longer have their own identity and no legal standings. Under coverture women could not own, sell or buy property. Anything owned by a woman was now handed over to her husband to do with as he pleased. They had no rights to handle money so anything a wife made, she had to give to her husband (nyhistory). Upon marriage, women were considered automatically consensual to sexual intercourse. Forcible rape was legal if you were married and even if you were separated. This is where society got the idea of keeping sexual assault “in the house”, meaning you doesn’t speak of it because this is not anyone’s business but the husband and wife. This normalized sexual assault and added to the reason why women endured this violence in silence. Societies reaction to this was a sense of normality. Sex based work laws also contributed to the mistreatment of women. Women’s opportunities and participation in many professions were limited. Restrictions were justified by workplace hazards that only men were believed capable of managing safely. People thought that women should not be employed in a particular occupation because they bear special responsibilities not shared by men, such as bearing children. Comparing these ideas to today’s society, it is evident that there was a change in societal norm because none of this would be legal if it were to happen now. Societal norms have changed now and these ideas are no longer tolerated. Although societal norms and reactions have changed, past ideas and actions still linger in our society.

The Me Too Movement aims to attack the lingering patriarchal ideas from the past. The movement has made impact in not only Hollywood but also in sports, politics and the military. More and more women, and men, have been coming forward for their voices to be heard. In the realm of sports, women are coming forward to tell their stories about sexual assault carried out by Larry Nassar, a former physician for the American gymnastics team. Since the case more than 250 women have come forward to tell their story on how they were victims to Nassar’s sexual abuse. In today’s politics, an American attorney, jurist and Supreme Court justice nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, is being accused of sexually assaulting a woman back when he was 15. Christine Blasey Ford is coming forward with allegations that Kavanaugh drunkenly forced himself onto her at a party when they were younger (businessinsider). Because of the Me Too movement, Ford feels like she can finally come out with her story because of the strong support that the movement provides. One of the biggest allegations in the news today is about the CEO of CBS, Les Moonves. Les Moonves represents the patriarchal ideas that still linger in today’s society. Moonves has held high power in the media industry for more than 20 years. Ironically Moonves was a major voice in the #MeToo movement after founding the “Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the workplace.” This is ironic because four women came out with allegations regarding sexual misconduct in the workplace. All four women claimed that Moonves would touch them or kiss them during meetings and two claimed that he threatened their careers if they denied his advances. Before the movement, all four women said that they feared speaking out would lead to the retaliation of Moonves. Moonves denies these allegations but admits to having consensual sexual relations with people in the company (newyorker). His abuse of power is significant because it represents the misconduct of many people in society who use their power over others. Moonves has now stepped down and will not be returning to CBS.

Although the movement is meant for good, it has received backlash. The movement not only pertains to women but to men too. Famous actor Terry Cruz has received backlash when he came out with his story. Actor and former NFL player claims to have been the victim of sexual assault performed by a “high-level Hollywood executive”, but says he never came out with it when it happened for fear of being “ostracized”. He’s receiving negative responses from fans due to the fact that he’s a man. Social media goers have been poking fun at his incident, which represents the problematic idea that men cannot be sexually assaulted. Backlash also includes worries pertaining to false convictions and the future hesitance of hiring women in workplaces.

The #MeToo movement gives a voice for those who were too afraid to have one before. Many allegations and cases have risen to the surface in hopes of justice for the victims. The movement has impacted sports, military, entertainment and politics. Many other countries have watched the movement going on in the U.S and have taken steps as well to come out with their stories of sexual abuse and harassment. In order for society to change both men and women have to work together to protect and care for each other.

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History of Me Too Movemenet. (2022, Feb 03). Retrieved April 13, 2024 , from

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