#MeToo Movement and the Fight for Women’s Rights
Sophia Gardner, Student, Fitchburg State University
When browsing through hundreds of options for artifacts to be included in this exhibition, it was clear that photographs of major events spoke the loudest. These powerful moments, both in early history and ones from not too long ago, were captured so that they could be looked back on for generations to come. The theme of the #MeToo movement and the struggling fight for women’s rights were found in the essence and spirit of these photographs. However, what all three of these photographs have in common is that they all demonstrate both the influence and power of large groups and also the determination of these women who are fighting for equal treatment.
The #MeToo movement started off extremely small and has grown to the large and millions of members organization that it is today. It started off with just one Tweet, and this was then followed by hundreds of thousands of responds of women repeating this phrase, so that others knew they were not alone. It only took this one person saying that it is okay to admit that you are a victim for an entire dam of allegations and stories from hurt women who were too embarrassed to admit what had happened to them to take any course of action against their attackers. But once that one person stood up and decided enough was enough, then that was enough for these other women to realize that they do not have to be abused or harassed anymore and if it happens then they certainly do not and will not stay silent any longer. Flash forward a couple years to what this statement has become: an entire organization with the central goal of making women feel safe and ending violence against them. This photograph had been taken during a protest composed of thousands of women walking up and down streets with the founder of the #MeToo organization, Tarana Burke, marching right along with them.
The second photograph is much older than the other two, but all that means is it holds so much history and significance in showing how far women have come in this fight to end violence against women and progress with equal opportunities for all. This photograph displays many women standing on a street in Boston in the middle of winter holding signs and protesting for the right to vote for all women. This photograph was chosen because it connects with the other major theme that all of these artifacts display: the determination of women. These women were freezing cold, standing in the street all bundled up, just trying to get the attention of the president so that he would allow them to vote like any other male citizen. They refused to move because they knew they were fighting for not only the right to vote, but the future for all women.
The last photograph is the moving picture of hundreds of people flooding the streets of Boston the night before Brett Kavanaugh’s vote to be inducted into the Supreme Court. They were even blocking traffic in order to get their point across. This point was that men cannot treat women however they feel and not deal with the consequences of their actions. Brett Kavanaugh had several sexual assault allegations against him, and this vote almost seemed like they were rewarding him for this horrendous behavior. This photograph presents both main themes connected to my exhibition topic: determination and the power of large group dynamics by coming together in a loud and prideful type of way and showing that they are no longer scared to stand up against any man who puts his selfish needs above a women’s safety, even if that man is a powerful government employee.
Kannan, Vani, et al. “‘Warriors, Not Victims’: Precious Knowledge, the Fight for ETHNIC Studies, and Accountability to the #MeToo Movement.” Radical Teacher, vol. 118, 2020, doi:10.5195/rt.2020.775.
Pflum, M. “A year ago, Alyssa Milano started a conversation about #MeToo. These women replied.” NBCNews, 16 Oct. 2018, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/year-ago-alyssa-milano-started-conversation-about-metoo-these-women-n920246.