The Wave Of #MeToo

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The Me Too movement (or #MeToo movement), with many local and international alternative names, is a movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault.#MeToo spread virally in October 2017 as a hashtag on social media in an attempt to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace. It followed soon after the sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Tarana Burke, an American social activist and community organizer, began using the phrase “Me Too” as early as 2006, and the phrase was later popularized by American actress Alyssa Milano, on Twitter in 2017. Milano encouraged victims of sexual harassment to tweet about it and “give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem”.This was met with success that included but was not limited to high-profile posts from several American celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow,Ashley Juddi Jennifer Lawrence,] and Uma Thurman.

The Me Too movement in India is a manifestation of the international Me Too movement that is currently taking place in parts of Indian society including government, media, and the Bollywood film industry. In India, the Me Too movement is seen as either an independent outgrowth influenced by the international campaign against sexual harassment of women in the workplace, or an offshoot of the American “Me Too” social movement.Me Too began gaining prominence in India with the increasing popularity of the international movement, and later gathered sharp momentum in October 2018 in the entertainment industry of Bollywood, centered in Mumbai, when actress Tanushree Dutta accused Nana Patekar of sexual harassment.This led to many women in the news media, Indian films, and even within the government to speak out and bring allegations of sexual harassment against a number of men.

The movement in India first originated in the Malayalam Film Industry, but it created a wave when Tanushree Dutta  accused Nana Patekar of sexual harassment. Later various people from the industry opened up with this. It had a huge impact on the entertainment and bollywood industry. The first effect was seen in the phantom films in which director Vikas Bahl was accused which led to the shut down of phantom films. A popular standup comedian and youtuber Utsav Chakravarthy who works as a freelancer with All India Bakchod was accused of sending lewd images and messages to a women. On 12 October 2018, after accusations from several women of abusive and perversive sexual behavior, director Sajid Khan announced that he would step back from the production of his upcoming film Housefull 4 until he could clear his name. Later Alok Nath was also there in the list. This was not limited to the film industry, it also effected many other industry such as news and media, politics and education.

India’s Me Too movement differs in key ways from the movement in the United States. The allegations against Harvey Weinstein were investigated by reliable sources in the US, while in India, accusations emerged on social media, where women posted their grievances. In addition, laws against defamation in India allow the prosecution of women who are unable to prove their allegations, with a maximum jail term of two years, while the First Amendment protects such rights in the United States. As a result, activists began to work towards strengthening the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, which was implemented poorly since its establishment.

As of mid-October 2018, the social “Me Too” campaign of India has continued to grow and be covered by major media outlets as a topic of importance, with victims outing their abusers on a nearly daily basis. The movement has since resulted in major social consequences for several of those accused, such as firing or resignation from their jobs, condemnation and disassociation from members of their respective industries, and indignation against their actions from their fans and/or the public at large. Similarly, accusers have also been the target of countersuits from the accused, even as they often have social support and added coverage from the media.

Thus, MeToo was a wave that was first originated in Hollywood and then later it was adopted in many countries as a tool to fight sexual abuses. This was a key arm that women used to deploy men. Though the legality behind it was limited, it proved to be a good tool. In India it got a boost and the women in the society also got the courage to open up. Also, it had to face many criticism from well known personalities who where against this movement.

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