Every so often, a small protest turns into a big movement, sometimes bringing about change. In the past year, many women have bravely come forward to accuse men in powerful positions of harassing or assaulting them. In the past, these accusations often went unheeded, but the recent set of accusations has brought many powerful people into question, including famous movie makers, industry leaders, and executives. Women like singer Taylor Swift, actor Ashley Judd, and software developer Susan Fowler have boldly spoken up against men who harassed them.
The backbone of these accusations has been dubbed the #MeToo movement. What is it? Ten years ago, social activist Tarana Burke asked people to share stories of being harassed or assaulted using the simple phrase “me too.” More recently, actor Alyssa Milano asked people to do the same, but on the popular social media site Twitter. This launched an avalanche of responses from women across the world who wanted to share their stories. Leaders said this movement was important and that women cannot be silent anymore. So while strong women spoke out against harassment from men, the #MeToo movement brought into focus the size of the problem across different parts of the world.
The movement has also raised the question of what companies and organizations are doing to protect women from being harassed by men. In response to #MeToo, Time magazine chose to honor the women who have stood up to harassment as this year’s “Person of the Year”.