#MeToo has swept through the tweets and Facebook posts of countless women across the country and the world. It seems like there has never been a larger consensus since it all teenage girls unequivocally decided that chokers were making a comeback. However, this consensus is a trend fashionistas and non-fashionistas alike can get behind: sexual assault is definitely OUT.
Of course, this is something we’ve all known before. Every year there seems to be a new empowering movement, each branding a catchy hashtag. We’ve seen #MoreWomen, #Resist, #EverydaySexism, #Feminisms, #YesAllWomen, and countless more. If you can spell it, you can hashtag it. In fact, in the quirky spirit of the internet, a term was born to describe movements that gain momentum through hashtags over Twitter: “hashtivism” (hashtag activism).
Hashtivism has both its critics and advocates. It’s true that Twitter allows people to amplify their voice, and reach an audience of millions. This power dismays Trump’s public relations team, but empowers social activists to share their message. However this amplification is undercut by the volume and temporariness of online material. Tweets about social justice can gain traction, but trending issues are quickly swept away by tomorrow’s issues and cat memes.
Keeping it Going
#MeToo has seemed to strike a nerve with the public. It’s one of the largest feminist hastivism movements we’ve seen, and is marked by its intimacy and inclusivity; women from all walks of life show their solidarity and share their story. However, the fact that the movement has taken place through hashtags means its longevity is threatened. Already, posts are waning. While the hashtag may become old news, sexual assault and harassment will remain the reality for women everywhere? How do we make sure the conversation continues?
This tweet has an interesting suggestion about how to keep discussion going.
In the spirit of keeping the conversation going, let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. What are the limits of hashtivism and how can we compensate for them? What do you think the future of the #MeToo movement is?