After the stories broke about sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein, the hashtag #MeToo took off on Twitter — racking up half a million tweets in a single 24-hour period in October.
But only two days before that, another hashtag was trending: #WomenBoycottTwitter. Its goal? To call attention to the social media site’s glacial response to women’s reports of abuse and harassment.
While many women shared the boycotters’ anger over that issue, the boycott gained little traction. That’s in part because the site remains an important platform in many fields for connecting with a broader public, and in part because many users have (unfortunately) accepted harassment as a condition of using Twitter.
#MeToo, however, showed how women can use this vexing platform for a powerful feminist consciousness-raising campaign, as thousands of women shared their stories of sexual assault and harassment. The #MeToo campaign leaped to other social media — Facebook, Instagram — and helped propel the national reckoning that followed, and that continues today.
The moment, I believe, carried echoes of the original feminist consciousness-raising carried out by second-wave feminists in the 1960s and 1970s, although back then consciousness-raising happened in spaces like living rooms and libraries, subversive kaffeeklatsches organized by friends and groups like the Redstockings, and supplemented with magazines like Ms. and books like The Feminine Mystique. The explicit goal of that earlier movement was to persuade women that their unhappiness — what Betty Friedan called “the problem with no name” — was not a product of their isolated experiences and emotions but of a shared system of oppression.
For those earlier feminists, the shock of recognition in other women’s stories turned the personal into the political (a once-radical notion, now threatening to curdle into cliché). These women transformed what felt like an individual pathology into a political Read More Here