#MeToo: A Moment or a Movement?

The latest art exhibit at the Women’s Museum of California that centers on the #MeToo movement. 

#MeToo is an art exhibit from the Latin American Art Festival, on display at the Women’s Museum of California from April 6 – 29, 2018.

#MeToo is a worldwide call for all to stand against being silenced about abuse and to denounce it.

#MeToo has brought awareness for the need for a conversation to stop sexual abuse, harassment, aggression, humiliation, and discrimination.

By now we are all aware of the hashtag me too but how did it get started?

Me%20Too%20NYE.jpgIn October of 2017, sexual misconduct accusations against Harvey Weinstein were publicly disclosed. These reports prompted actor Alyssa Milano to post a Tweet asking users to respond ‘me too’ if they had ever experienced sexual assault. The post went viral overnight, and began the worldwide movement shedding light on the severity of sexual assault and harassment both in and out of the workplace. Quickly, others pointed out that #MeToo is not an entirely new idea. Rather, in 1997, before an age of hashtags, the movement began when social activist Tarana Burke heard a 13-year-old girls’ heart-wrenching, sexual assault experience. Plagued by her inability to respond “me too” to the young girl, she began the MeToo Campaign in 2007. Burke’s  goal for women and men, especially in marginalized communities, who experience sexual assault is empowerment through empathy. In addition, the movement strives to prevent the crime and, if unable, to then hold perpetrators responsible.

 

In the wake of the #MeToo popularized by Milano, the purpose of the movement widened. Rather than merely being aware and empathetic towards those who vocalize their experiences, the movement emphasizes the need for action to inspire change. Action is embodied through prevention, support, and accountability. To prevent further sexual misconduct, policies and laws such as better screening processes during the hiring process are being implemented. To support survivors, a number of better reporting options are available, such as organizations who share lists of “people to avoid” within the workplace and throughout communities. Furthermore, to hold perpetrators accountable, the movement and creators ask that men join the discussion about assault, whether to listen to experiences or speak up when they see inappropriate behavior. Within the workplace, the movement is beginning to display a professional atmosphere by briefing employees on the repercussions of sexual harassment and to reassure victims that they would not be penalized for speaking up. In schools, local policies are re-examined and teachers undergo an in-depth interview process. The options for reporting and creating safe spaces to discuss harassment encounters grows. Due to updates and new regulations in professional atmospheres, the movement is also attributed to challenging social norms.

For example, many scholars, writers, and activists question what a healthy sexual culture looks like after the movement’s attempt to give voice to people who encounter sexual misconduct and, ultimately, what misconduct means. In the workplace specifically, new regulations around what is criminal and what is legal, but unacceptable, within the workplace need to be addressed.
Early criticism of the movement surrounded the idea that sexual harassment and assault cases in Hollywood were at the forefront of the discussion. In addition, women of color’s experiences were ignored. Another criticism of the movement is that the perpetrator of these crimes became the focal point of discussion when the purpose was to give voice to the victim and spawn change. In a sense, the Time’s Up movement, which began January 1st, 2018, responded to these criticisms.

o-pin-da-campanha-times-up-se-tornara-simbolo-da-manifestacao-das-atrizes-contra-o-assedio-1515156706278_v2_928x764.jpgTime’s Up differs from #MeToo because of its action-based focus to change the gender inequities of workplace opportunity and pay in addition to confronting sexual violence. Additionally, Time’s Up stresses working women’s issues specifically. The initiative includes legislation backed by 13 million dollars in donations from actresses, writers, agents etc. to end workplace discrimination, to penalize companies who tolerate harassment and, unfortunately, merely discourage the use of non-disclosure forms. Furthermore, Time’s Up attempts to disseminate gender imparity in talent agencies and studios, and to urge red carpet Golden Globe attendees to wear all black to stand in solidarity against workplace inequities.

“It is time to put an end to suffering in silence, to avoiding the reality of abuse, and to hiding in pain. Now is the time to yell the truth because truth becomes beauty, freedom, dignity, and equality for all of humanity.

The truth shines in art, the making of art, and is reflected in art.  The pieces presented by these ten female artists seek to encourage future generations to bring and preserve equality, dignity, and beauty in our world.” Araceli Martinez Rose, Mexican author and journalist

The ten women artists featured in this exhibit are:

  • Xochilt Franco
  • Nuria Bac
  • Aida Corral
  • Irene Monarrez
  • China Lamadein
  • Ligia Santillan
  • Julieta Valdez
  • Beatriz Hidalgo
  • Haydee Laborin
  • ROHO Rocio Hoffmann

 

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