Trending on social media recently is #metoo, the hashtag actress and activist Alyssa Milano popularized in a tweet prompting users who have experienced sexual harassment or assault to disclose their experiences. Her intention was to use the power of social media to show the pervasiveness of the problem.
If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017
A brief analysis shows that the hashtag reached an audience of 179.5 million people on Instagram between 16 October 2017 and 29 October 2017. The hashtag reached its peak audience on 20 October, 5 days after it was first promoted by Alyssa Milano.
Let’s look at how the hashtag has been used so far. In some cases, users have simply reposted the hashtag on their chosen social media platform, while in other cases, users have chosen to include brief descriptions of their experiences. While the hashtag has been used mainly on Twitter and Facebook, many influencers have also taken to Instagram to share their experiences.
One of these individuals Amber Liu, an American rapper and singer who is currently a member of the South Korean girl group, f(x).
Amber alludes not only to her own experiences, but also to those of the people around her.
While the hashtag was popularized in the United States, and was a part of the furore in the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault cases that recently came to light, it has since been used by individuals all across the world. In her Instagram account, Brazilian actress Monica Martelli reposts a recount of her experience to Jornal O Globo, a Brazilian newspaper based in Rio de Janeiro.
The hashtag was also used by Israeli model, Nataly Dadon.
The use of the hashtag has, in some cases, fostered a sense of solidarity among females, many of whom have realized that they are not alone in having experienced sexual harassment or assault. Some have noted that the hashtag, though having achieved its purpose in showing the scale of the problem, is framed in such a way that makes the issue a woman’s issue.
In came the hashtag #himthough, that in some cases has since been used together with #metoo, to highlight the fact that it is primarily men who are perpetrators, and thus men who need to take responsibility for their actions. At the same time, the hashtag #itwasme was also introduced to encourage men to confess their indiscriminate actions.
The statistics clearly show that the audience obtained via the hashtag #itwasme cannot compare to those received via #metoo, the former only reaching an audience of 688.5k people between the 16 October 2017 and 29 October 2017 as compared to the latter’s 179.5 million. A quick analysis of the posts indicates that instead of men owning up to their actions, the hashtag was largely used in conjunction with #metoo, with multiple users indicating their desire for men to own up to their actions in their posts.
Founder of 109 world, Olivia Rothschild, on having every #metoo matched with one #itwasme.
View this post on Instagram
It would be cool for every brave #metoo posted, there was an #itwasme posted. It’s time now for men to be brave too and take accountability and ownership for their role in the problem. For every woman victimized, there was a man who felt entitled to do it. I think real change would come from the male portion of the population stepping up and being honest about their role in the situation, instead of (as usual) putting that burden on women, yet again. #downwithpatriarchy #equalrights
Yoga and meditation teacher Kat Folwer expressing her wish that men account for their own actions.
For those who think that publicizing one’s sordid misdeeds on a public space might be too much to ask for, the hashtag #iwill has been used by those who vow to change their actions to make sexual assault and harassment less common occurrences in the future.
While social media can be used by influencers to promote their personal brand or to advance marketing purposes, influencers can also use their undeniable impact to send positive messages to their followers or to participate in activism, such as the influencers featured above have done.