The MeToo movement was created by Tarana Burke in 2006 to encourage women solidarity with survivors of sexual assault. Tabata Gordillo | Mustang News

The 2018 Golden Globes became a major topic of discussion after those who attended the event used it as a platform to raise awareness about sexual assault and sexism.

To advocate for the Time’s Up movement, many celebrities came together and dressed in black as an act of solidarity with survivors of injustice Sunday, Jan. 7.

Formed as a continuation of the #MeToo movement, which was founded by Tarana Burke in 2006 to encourage solidarity with survivors of sexual assault, Time’s Up is both a social movement and a legal defense fund to provide subsidized legal support for those who have experienced sexual assault, harassment or abuse in their work place, according to the movement’s website. The movement was announced on Jan. 1, 2018 and immediately gained momentum, as people spoke out about their sexual assault experiences and inequalities in the
Hollywood industry.

The idea of the Golden Globes “blackout” circulated throughout social media a couple of weeks prior to the event, which enhanced the importance of the movement.

Once that night came, it shined a light on the prevalence of sexual assault and inequalities that women face as numerous celebrities addressed the issue.

Several celebrities, including Laura Dern, Natalie Portman and Seth Myers, gave notable speeches that did not shy away from the topic at hand.

Perhaps the most renowned moment of the event was the speech given by Oprah Winfrey after she received the Cecil B. DeMille award.

“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men,” Winfrey said. “But their time is up. Their time is up.”

Although the Golden Globes may be one of the most talked about events of the new year, conflicting factors sparked confusion in the public eye.

Assistant professor Emily Ryalls, who teaches media criticism, has addressed harassment in Hollywood for a decade. Though it has always been an issue in the industry, the public was not always as aware of it as they are now, according to Ryalls.

“I support and applaud the women who are speaking up,” Ryalls said. “It’s a powerful display to see women bonding together and speaking out on the red carpet.”

Although reporters at the Golden Globes avoided the typical red carpet interview and geared their questions towards the issue of injustice, there were still inconsistencies.

“We saw it in the speeches. When women won awards, they directly addressed the issue, when the men did [give speeches], they did not,” Ryalls said.

Ryalls pointed out that the movement is framed as a women’s problem, leaving men out of the discussion.

According to Cal Poly’s Safer coordinator Kara Samaniego, it is becoming evident that there is a need for men to speak up about this issue.

“We are still waiting for that moment where this cultural shift happens,” Samaniego said.

Despite this, the Golden Globes was one of many examples where women, and everyone who stands by them, have come together to incite change and strive for equal rights.

“Never the less, she persisted”

2017 was a monumental year for women as they came forth to speak about the reoccurring problems that they have faced in society for decades.

This most recent wave of feminism is, for the most part, a reaction to the United States’ political climate.

On Jan. 21, 2017, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, women across the nation and around the world took part in what came to be known as the Women’s March. The march was the largest day–long protest in American history, according to the Washington Post.

Ryalls mentioned that perhaps this resistance, along with the #MeToo movement, set the tone for this wave of feminism.

“I think the election of Donald Trump signaled to women that their voices didn’t matter,” Ryalls said. “The fact that women’s voices were so clearly ignored, perhaps resulted in women just refusing to be ignored any further.”

However, as has been pointed out since the election, this perspective does not encompss many women— for example, more than half of white women voted for Trump, according to exit polls. Like with the Golden Globes, people of high status used their platform to address these issues and to incite change. Due to the power of social media, people’s stories and the women’s movement as a whole have had an overwhelming amount of exposure.

Communication studies junior Anna Goryachikova acknowledges benefits of using social media as an outlet that gives people the courage to speak up about something as pervasive in our society as sexual assault.

“Because of this huge wave of people sharing their stories and their experiences, you have to pay attention to it, it’s so loud,” Goryachikova said.

#MeToo

Although the Me Too movement has been around since 2006, it gained major recognition through social media in October 2017. After sexual abuse and harassment allegations against Hollywood director Harvey Weinstein surfaced, #MeToo became a trending hashtag in an effort to spread awareness and change.

Because of the power social media has, #MeToo has become one of the primary symbols for this movement.

Women and men of high status came forth and shared their stories, which has eased people in to this difficult subject. This has influenced more individuals to come forward and share their own stories.

The movement gained so much support that the “Silence Breakers” of #MeToo were named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.

Samaniego believes that the #MeToo movement brings to light the prevalence of this issue.

“I think any time that people of influence begin talking about this topic in a more open way, it’s a good thing,” Samaniego said.

However, she recognized that many of the people who are speaking out about these issues are of high status, making it difficult for people to connect with them, particularly those in marginalized groups.

Similarly, Goryachikova said privilege has always been an issue with feminism and argued that either survivors or perpetrators who are not recognized in the media might receive little to no acknowledgement.

“If we think about how feminism has been researched, it’s always been from a privileged white female perspective. As we know, being a woman of color versus a white woman is extremely different,” Goryachikova said. “It’s similar in this wave of feminism, it is those who hold a high status that are going to be heard.”

Moving forward

Now the question is whether or not movements like Time’s Up and #MeToo, which have become prominent in Hollywood and throughout social media, will carry over and make an impact on the rest of society.

“If someone, say a student, used the #MeToo, and revealed a person’s name, how do we ensure that that person is facing consequences for what they are doing?” Goryachikova said.

Such factors contribute to the fear of speaking out.

Ryalls spoke about the repercussions of speaking out, regardless of status.

“I think there are millions of reasons and it’s not just in pop culture. Women aren’t listened to, victims aren’t believed,” Ryalls said. “The reward in coming forward is extremely limited. The backlash they face is much stronger. You’re blacklisted, people don’t believe you, your reputation is dragged through the mud.”

Although the push for change has been pervasive for the past year, major reform is still needed.

One of the main reactions that Goryachikova mentions is the lack of support received by those survivors who come forward.

“It breaks my heart every time we receive an email from the Cal Poly administration about another assault or some other sexual violence in that regard, but it’s even worse to see how people react to it because it seems that there is still a lot of this slut shaming or this idea that the survivors are really just calling for attention,” Goryachikova said.

Ryall and Samaniego acknowledged that there is a lack of certainty about what the future holds in regard to this issue.

Samaniego said she is cautiously hopefull about the movement.

“I think that in moments like these, things don’t seem to go away, they just get more pushed down underground, and I also wonder what kind of backlash we’ll see,” Ryalls said.

“This is not something that is just going to be solved in 2018,” Samaniego said. “I have a healthy dose of hope on it, but it takes a lot of individuals speaking up from a lot of different areas.”

Goryachikova mentioned that, although it may be an uncomfortable topic of discussion, issues such as sexual assault should be discussed.

“I think that if people are comfortable using different outlets to express their stories or some of the situations that they have experienced, it could be wonderful because it might make other people more comfortable sharing their stories,” Goryachikova said.

Regardless of when or if there will ever be an end to this issue of injustice or inequality that women have experienced for years,” Goryachikova said. “It is imperative that survivors feel acknowledged and supported.

“The power of human empathy is really strong,” Goryachikova said. “Some people view it as a weakness but I think that the reality is that empathy has the power to create a lot of change.”

In honor of last year’s Women’s March, women’s rights advocates will partake in a second annual San Luis Obispo Women’s March Jan. 20 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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