In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein Hollywood sexual abuse scandal, Facebook and Twitter feeds have been lighting up for days with women’s #MeToo horror stories, forcing the country to confront the pervasiveness of powerful men weaponizing sex and controlling the fates of countless women.
Along with Hollywood starlets Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon adding celebrity testimonials to Weinstein’s abuse, women in California politics are sharing their own humiliating experiences at the hands of fellow legislators and lobbyists, with more than 140 signing an open letter stating, “We’re done with this.”
But with so many recent sexual harassment scandals permeating universities, board rooms and political campaigns from the Silver Screen to Silicon Valley to Sacramento, is #MeToo just another trending-but-soon-to-be-eclipsed hashtag? Or have we arrived at a watershed moment for women that could finally force a culture shift?
Katherine Blakeman, communications director for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, notes that people will take some cues from how Hollywood responds to such questions, given that the entertainment industry essentially “creates our culture.”
“It’s heartening to see women, and not just women in Hollywood, bring these issues to light and not suffering the consequences,” Blakeman said. “Now it remains to be seen if the perpetrators of abuses will receive the necessary repercussions for their actions.”