In a global generation, the media helps to spread the information and the messages efficient. The efficient information flow helps to raise the attention of different social issues, such as the gender inequality, especially the sexual harassment problem.
Gender inequality is the concept of the situation that women and men are not equal. Gender inequality refers to unequal treatment or perceptions due to the gender. (Paludi, Michele A.; Barickman, Richard B., 1991). Sexual harassment is bullying or coercion of a sexual nature or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favours. Sexual harassment includes a range of actions from mild transgressions to sexual abuse or sexual assault. (Dziech, B. W., & Weiner, L., 1990).
Most of the people believed that the sexual harassment is not that serious in this generation. However, it is not. The gender inequality problem is happening, especially in the workspace. People just don’t have a sense of how the magnitude of the problem. Even they see it happen, most of them will be the bystander.
“In many Asian countries, the culture of male sexual norms empowers men to harass women”. – South China Morning Post
In Thai culture, people treated the sexual harassment as a personal issue between two people. The social attitudes of Thai seem conservative. However, there is something worse. (South China Morning Post, 2018)
“Woman who interviewed 100 rapists in India said they had ‘power to make you feel sorry for them’” – South China Morning Post
In India, the victims even are not allowed to speak up. The victims of the sexual harassment said that the Injurer have the power of making the victims feel sorry for them. People don’t have a sense of how widespread this problem it is. (South China Morning Post, 2017)
In 2017, A virtual hashtag on media gives people the sense of this problem.
#metoo becomes a virtual hashtag since Alyssa Milano, a famous actress who encouraging survivors of sexual harassment to post a #metoo status. (RollingStone, 2017) She aims to give people a sense of the magnitude of this problem and brings the awareness to the commonality of sex crime among women. After a while, thousands of responds pop-out. At first, most of the response is from the western countries. Then, there are thousands of response from Asian, Mid-East and Africa that can be seen.
It is the changing because of the #metoo thought the media. People start to care about the issue and not to be a bystander. The direction of assisting with the sexual harassment is widened.
The reason that choosing this case to observe is that it is started on the social media, Twitter. Media is an important part of the case. There are relations that can be found about assisting the social issues. This case study will focus and observe how media assisting the sexual harassment issue, then leading people to pay attention to the gender inequality issues.
Then, let move on to the second part. It separates into two sections. The first section is observing the how the media spread the message to assisting the social campaign, #metoo. Helping to assist the global sexual harassment issues thought victims speaking up. Second, it observes how the media helps to change the social norms and widen the assisting of the issues, such as #HowIWillChange. It is a new direction of assisting the issues.
First, the media helps in to spread the messages of #metoo. Sexual harassment is a serious issue in global. There are several organizations that help to raise the awareness of this issues. However, most of the result is not as powerful as the #metoo. In this case, the role of the twitter is changing. Twitter’s role is transformed from a social media for communication among friends to an effective communication channel.
As I mentioned, Alyssa Milano uses the popular social media platform, Twitter to post a #metoo status and start the #metoo campaign. Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. The function of the Twitter helps to spread the message more effectively.
For the very beginning, Twitter is a social media among friends and family. Also, people can follow the public celebrities and the television broadcast network, such as the BBC. The #metoo campaign starts on the Twitter through the hashtags. The hashtag is a kind of catalogue. When people search or click on the #metoo, they can see the tweet that adding the #metoo hashtags.
Alyssa Milano is a famous actress who has a lot of followers in the Twitter. Her followers share her status through the social media. Every time people share the message out, their friends can see the tweet of Alyssa Milano about the campaign. Twitter is becoming an effective communication tool to spread the message out. Twitter’s role is transformed from a social media for communication among friends to an effective communication channel.
Comparing to the traditional media, such as print media, the message is not easy to spread worldwide. The print media mostly include the subjective opinion. However, the social media is a bit different. There are millions of people expressing their opinion. It brings the awareness to the commonality of sex crime among women indeed. People can judge it by themselves, not by the subjective media reported.
Although there are thousands of responses and supports, there are not bringing Hong Kong into the #metoo campaign to the general public. However, the media did influence some people. More and More people determine to speak up and encourage people to face the issues.
Finally, this case shows that the social media assisting with the sexual harassment and assault problem, such as encourage victims to speak up, leading to the next movement, #HowIWillChange, etc. Also, the
Lui is a hero. She came forward for three reasons: to increase public awareness of sexual assault against children; to encourage victims to speak up; and to let the public understand that sex is not a shameful or taboo subject.
Thank you for your courage and your #MeToo, and thank you for giving Hong Kong a gift on your 23rd birthday.
– Alice Wu, South China Morning Post (2017)
In 2017, an Athlete called Vera Lui Lai-Yiu in Hong Kong joining the #metoo movement through the Facebook. She posted a status on Facebook that aims to increase the public awareness of sexual harassment. Also, encouraging victims to speak up. Her action is increasing the public awareness about this issues, including the local news. The news media is also helping to assist with and support this social campaign. In the news article, the media describe Lui is as brave as a hero and keep showing thanks to her. (Alice, W., 2017)
In this case, the power of the celebrities is also shown. For the very beginning, Alyssa Milano brings the movement into the spotlight. Because of her high popularity among the public, the message spread virtually in the world.
Second, the media helps to change the social norms and widen the assisting with the sexual issues. As I mentioned, many people treat the sexual issues as personal issues, even it is a sexual harassment. The #metoo campaign is helping the issues through the media.
After the #metoo made a waking call for the public, many men use the #metoo on Twitter as a turning point to acknowledge the steps that men can take to help those who have suffered abuse or harassment. Then, an Australian male Twitter user suggested men respond to the #metoo with the new hashtags, #HowIWillChange.
He made a list of suggestions for how men can dismantle rape culture. The recommendations are including the donation for women’s shelters, reporting known sexual assailants, and recognizing that you can be complicit in sexual harassment and assault without being a perpetrator yourself. #HowIWillChange has gathered over 1,500 retweets and 4,000 likes. It is a big difference compared to what I mentioned before. The assisting with the sexual harassment is not only start for the angle of victims. It is around the general public. (Wang, E., 2018).
In conclusion, this case shows that how media assisting with the sexual harassment and assault problem, such as encourage victims to speak up, leading to the next movement, #HowIWillChange, etc. Also, the power of the celebrities is also shown. The message spreading of the celebrities is much efficient than the traditional print media.
Paludi, Michele A.; Barickman, Richard B. (1991). “Definitions and incidence of academic and workplace sexual harassment". Academic and workplace sexual harassment: a resource manual. Albany, New York: SUNY Press. pp. 2–5. ISBN 9780791408308.
Dziech, B. W., & Weiner, L. (1990). The lecherous professor: Sexual harassment on campus. University of Illinois Press.
South China Morning Post. (2018). #MeToo momentum shows there’s much more to be done. [online] Available at: http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/2130347/metoo-momentum-shows-theres-much-more-do-gender-equality [Accessed 30 May 2018].
South China Morning Post. (2017). Monsters or men? Woman who interviewed 100 rapists in India said they had ‘power to make you feel sorry for them’. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/2110815/monsters-or-men-woman-who-interviewed-100-rapists-india. [Accessed 30 May 2018].
RollingStone. (2017). Alyssa Milano Wants Her ‘Me Too’ Campaign to Elevate Harvey Weinstein Discussion. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/alyssa-milano-on-her-me-too-campaign-weinstein-conversation-w509345. [Accessed 30 May 2018]
Alice, W.(2017). Brave Vera Lui brings Hong Kong #metoo campaign against. [online] South China Morning Post. Available at: http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/2122483/brave-vera-lui-brings-hong-kong-metoo-campaign-against [Accessed 22 June 2018].
Wang, E. (2018). Men Are Responding to the #MeToo Tweets With Promises of #HowIWillChange. [online] Teen Vogue. Available at: https://www.teenvogue.com/story/men-tweeting-how-i-will-change-me-too-social-media-campaign [Accessed 21 Jun. 2018].