The phrase “making lemonade out of lemons” is used often as a metaphor for making the most of what you have. What you have may not be the most fulfilling; it might even be very irritating and downright foul. However, enduring it silently will not solve anything. If it is a case where someone has sexually harassed you, remaining silent will definitely not solve the problem and even leave you vulnerable to future harassment as well. It seems the actresses in Hollywood have finally mustered up the courage to shout in rage after nearly 30 years of sexual harassment from film producer Harvey Weinstein.
▲ Angelina Jolie addressing the Weinstien Scandal. PROVIDED BY HOLLYWOOD.COM
For a problem to be solved, it first needs to be discussed, but unfortunately this was not the case until now. Harvey Weinstein is a producer in Hollywood who has a lasting legacy and reputation. He has been the producer of many classics including Pulp Fiction (1994), Billy Elliot (2000), and Shakespeare in Love (1998). However, his reputation has crashed entirely and many regard his career finished. In October 2017, following a series of allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape, Weinstein was fired by his company's board of directors, and was stripped of his membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The scandal started on October 5, when The New York Times published a story that included the testimonies of Rose McGowan and Ashely Judd who both stated that Weinstein was guilty of decades of sexual assault. Weinstein admitted he “has caused a lot of pain,” but denied that he had been harassing women for over three decades. However, more and more people began to come forward, including A-list actresses such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie. The situation escalated to the extent that Georgina Chapman, Weinstein’s wife, announced their separation.
How It All Unfolded
The silver lining of this infamous Weinstein case is that it seems to have established a wave of solidarity among those who have suffered sexual assault, allowing them to collectively stand upagainst the perpetrators. On the Internet, social media users introduced the hashtag #MeToo, which they used to indicate that they were victims of sexual violence. This movement is attempting to eliminate the social prejudice that has forced the victims of such crimes to remain silent, spreadingthe message that they have nothing to fear. “It seems the American people have had enough of tolerating sexual harassment,” says Park Ji Young (17, Economics), who is a member of the feminist society of the College of Political Science and Economics.
The phrase “Me Too” was originally coined by social activist and community organizer Tarana Burke in 2006 to promote “empowerment through empathy” for underprivileged women of color who were sexually abused. After the Weinstein accusations, actress Alyssa Milano used the phrase as part of an awareness campaign to convey how urgent it was to find a solution for this problem. She tweeted, “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ’Me Too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” Milano later credited Burke for the phrase, calling Burke’s story "heartwarming and inspiring.”
The #MeToo movement is not only empowering, but also groundbreaking due to the fact that the movement was focused on social networking services. This seems to have gained an unprecedented amount of traction compared to other movements. On Twitter, the hashtag had been tweeted more than 500,000 times by October 16 and on Facebook it was used by more than 4.7 million people in 12 million posts during the first 24 hours. In fact, Facebook reported that 45 percent of its users in the United States (U.S.) had a friend who uploaded a post with the catchphrase in it.
This phenomenon is definitely ahistoric moment because it is anattempt by women to make lemonadeout of totally sour lemons together. It isalso significant in that this particularsocial movement is currently heading inthe right direction by not becomingoverly politically correct (PC) or fizzling out as a temporary media phenomenon. While some question thevalidity of these mounting accusationsdue to the lack of evidence, #MeToo deserves to be recognized as animportant step forward in the feministmovement in its own right.
Another significant element of thissocial phenomenon is that it has not onlybeen women who have protested andcondemned the sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein. Men who might haveremained distant started to participateactively in the condemnation ofWeinstein. In an interview with The Daily Beast, actor George Clooney expresseddeep concerns about Weinstein’sbehavior, saying, “That’s a whole otherlevel and there's no way you canreconcile that. There's nothing to sayexcept that it's indefensible.” He was notthe only one. Actor Tom Hanks, in aninterview with BBC on October 19,stated, “His last name will become anoun and a verb. It will become anidentifying moniker for a state of being forwhich there was a before and an after.”
There was, however, backlash againstthe allegations based on the fact thatthere is hardly any proof that Weinstein conducted these wrongdoings. Skeptics stated that without concrete evidence,Weinstein should not be subject to awitch hunt. These problems have been addressed legally, and is currently under investigation. Nonetheless, the same skeptics raise the same questions against numerous other allegations that have followed in the wake of the Weinsteincase, such as those leveled against KevinSpacey, Ben Affleck, and comedian Louis C.K.
Most importantly, however, the #MeToo movement should be viewed separately from the allegations themselves. The movement after all is not centered on the actual punishment of the accused, but focuses on how society perceives the victims. Whether it be the glorified world of Hollywood, the average workplace of everyday urban life, or the remotest countryside, women have been mistreated by heartless criminals and there have not always been any feasible countermeasures. Even though there is still a long way to go to restore the gender imbalance, #MeToo is a movement that heals those who have been hurt when in the past there was barely anyone for them to rely on.
▲ Alyssa Milano's tweet. RETRIEVED FROM ALYSSA MILANO'S TWITTER