MeToo is a feminist social movement allegedly against sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and rape culture, in which people publicize reports of sexual abuse or sexual harassment. Many of these reports, especially those by public figures, have been widely accepted in the media without evidence.
The phrase "Me Too" was initially used in this context on social media in 2006, on Myspace, by Tarana Burke. Harvard University published a case study on Burke, called "Leading with Empathy: Tarana Burke and the Making of the Me Too Movement".
Proponents claim that the purpose of "Me Too", as initially voiced by Burke as well as those who later adopted the tactic, is to empower sexually assaulted people (especially young and vulnerable women) through empathy, solidarity, and strength in numbers, by visibly demonstrating how many have experienced sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace.
Following the exposure of numerous sexual-abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, the movement began to spread virally as a hashtag on social media. On October 16, 2017, American actress Alyssa Milano posted on Twitter, "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," saying that she got the idea from a friend. A number of high-profile posts and responses from American celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Lawrence, Uma Thurman and others soon followed.
Widespread media coverage and discussion of sexual harassment, particularly in Hollywood, led to high-profile terminations from positions held, as well as criticism and backlash.
After millions of people started using the phrase and hashtag in this manner in English, the expression began to spread to dozens of other languages. The scope has become somewhat broader with this expansion, however, and Burke has more recently referred to it as an international movement for justice for marginalized people. After the hashtag #MeToo went viral in late 2017, Facebook reported that almost half of its American users were friends with someone who felt they had been sexually assaulted or harassed.
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