By Alanna O.
Over a year and a half after the 2016 presidential election, people all across the world have been taken aback by the events that have proceeded. A profound example of such a movement that has spawned since then is Time's Up, also known as #timesup on some popular social media platforms. Just by noticing the hashtag, one may recall the #metoo movement that sprang up in October of 2017 wondering if they are related at all, perhaps if this movement is a continuation or a spin-off of #metoo. The truth is, it can be seen as either.
Many women working in the film industry who have made a legacy working in Hollywood have been coming out to end their silence and take a stand to speak out against sexual harassment that they have encountered in their workplace. They may have been afraid to speak out because the person who harassed them may have been a famous director or actor, anticipating to be slaughtered with misogyny as a result of such an accusation of someone who is much more well-known and respected in their field of work than the woman who was a victim of sexual harassment at work. According to Time, "The #MeToo movement has become a worldwide phenomenon, searched for on Google in 196 countries in the past year." It was started by Tarana Burke, a woman of color and activist who uses Twitter who created this movement based upon becoming a victim of sexual abuse held responsible by her mother's boyfriend when she was 13 years old. This is concrete evidence that the prior movement had some sort of profound impact not only in the United States but internationally, sparking inspiration and hope for people who have experienced sexual harassment either in or outside of the workplace to not be ashamed and afraid of victim blaming that many survivors of sexual violence are subjected to. Time Magazine also named "The Silence Breakers" as Person of the Year, celebrating not just one individual who has left a positive impact on society in 2017, but every member of the movement as a whole. "The women of Hollywood did not stand up and say, 'This is my movement,'" said Burke about the sudden rapid attention that #metoo started on the Internet and soon enough into the limelight of the "real" world. "They stood up in a way that could have been to their detriment to tell their truth. They stood up and they said, 'I want to speak, I want to be heard and I wanted to be believed.'"
However, despite the movement's unexpected success from activists such as Ms. Burke, some skeptics raised their eyebrows, claiming that it only made people "victims." "I don’t even understand that," says Burke responding to her criticism. "How am I turning into a victim for standing up and talking about something that caused me pain and trauma?" In this instance, it is crucial and much more simple for non-victims of sexual violence to understand where a victim's fear comes from. The backlash often comes from others seeing these people, who are at the end of the day, average and ordinary people who have experienced trauma, as those who just want to complain and may go as far to assume that they are lying or exaggerating about an event that may have not even ever happened. This is especially true when a woman in Hollywood outs an unfortunate experience regarding an encounter with an esteemed man who may have worked as her director or as a co-worker.
I believe that these movements lead to a fine example of not only women working in male-dominated industries such as the film industry, but all people regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, empowering themselves and not allowing themselves to be silenced by the clutches of the hands that burdened them with trauma and insecurity that they did not deserve. While these movements have been started by women, which is unsurprising because statistically speaking, a staggeringly high number of women all across the world experience some sort of sex-related crime in their lifetime, it is important to recognize that these sorts of tragedies can happen to anyone. Although women, people of color, and LGBT-identifying people are more subjected to such crimes, every person who has experienced sexual harassment or abuse or is supporting on behalf of a loved one who has, should be welcome into this movement. To directly quote Max Lucado, "Nobody can do everything, but everyone has to do something."
Langone, Alix. “What Is the Time's Up Movement and the #MeToo Movement?” Time, Time, 8 Mar. 2018, time.com/5189945/whats-the-difference-between-the-metoo-and-times- up-movements/.
Wagmeister, E. and Wagmeister, E. (2018). Tarana Burke on Hollywood, Time’s Up and Me Too Backlash. [online] Variety. Available at: https://variety.com/2018/biz/news/tarana- burke-times-up-me-too-backlash-1202748822/