#MeToo: a 'Primal Scream' or 'Too Perfect Meme'?

Weighing the pros and cons of hashtag campaign against sexual harassment, assault
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2017 12:19 PM CDT
Can #MeToo Bring Real Change?
Alyssa Milano in Los Angeles on Jan. 27, 2017.   (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Don't expect the #MeToo campaign to fade away after nearly 15 million posts across Facebook and Twitter. "We are going to be vocal until this stops," says Alyssa Milano, who drew attention to the hashtag highlighting sexual assault and harassment in the wake of allegations against Harvey Weinstein, per ABC News. The 44-year-old actress said on Good Morning America Thursday that she plans to "fix this problem" by working with the Creative Coalition advocacy group to institute new rules regarding gender equality in the entertainment industry. "There are a lot of gray lines," she says. "We need to figure out those protocols and define those lines so that men know that they cannot cross them." More on the campaign:

  • This "primal scream" has spread beyond the English-speaking world. The Los Angeles Times highlights discussions in Egypt, Syria, and Israel, centering around tales from models to politicians.
  • But the campaign is not only about victims. It's also about those "who perpetrate, facilitate, and turn a blind eye to the abuse confessing their own sins," writes Damon Linker at the Week, calling it a "moral and religious crusade."
  • Is it a good thing? Slate rounds up some pros and cons, touching on the fact that the campaign lumps together accounts of unwelcome jeers with those of rape.

  • Noting stories of abuse can trigger victims, the CBC points out another issue: Does the campaign serve victims who don't want to tell their stories?
  • And does it serve women overall? At Wired, Jessi Hempel calls the campaign a "too perfect meme," arguing that the outrage surrounding #MeToo may actually prevent change. In this way, the campaign "is everything that's wrong with social media."
  • Then again, the campaign is important, timely, and growing with each #MeToo post, reports NBC News, painting a picture of a movement that feels different than those that came before.
(Read more sexual assault stories.)

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