Hollywood's #MeToo Movement How Society's Elite Ignited Social Change

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Sadie Helberg
Amy Lind


By Sadie Helberg. Film & Media Studies

Advisor: Amy Lind

Presentation ID: 153

Abstract: Tarana Burke created the term "Me Too" in 2006 to bring women who had experienced sexual abuse and assault together. She wanted to raise awareness and provide resources and support to women. She pushed an inclusive, intersectional approach to sexual abuse knowing the lack of resources for women of color. Nearly 11 years later, the term would be used to ignite a social movement against sexual assault in one of the biggest, most corrupt industries in the United States. Throughout this paper, I question whether the #MeToo movement created substantial change or whether it was a fleeting moment of unity for America's elite. I will examine the history of sexual abuse in Hollywood, highlighting "casting couches" and a toxic culture. Then discuss the time between Tarana Burke creating the term and the reignition of its use in 2017. Followed by taking a look at how #MeToo was brought into Hollywood and what changes were made in the industry afterward. I will finish with an analysis of the impact on other communities and the backlash everyday women face. Was taking down a couple of major Hollywood players enough to change the culture that had been built over more than 100 years? On a grander scope, was it enough to stir change in American culture? 

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Category: Systemic Challenges