The #Me-Too Movement and Symbolic Interactionism Theory

The #Me-Too Movement and Symbolic Interactionism Theory




The #Me-Too Movement

The #Me-Too movement begun a powerful campaign led by women to raise awareness of sexual assault and harassment that women face daily worldwide. The movement’s goal is to increase awareness of this problem. As a consequence of the high levels of harassment experienced by women in Hollywood, which included assault, groping, rape, and molestation in 2017, the movement began in the United States of America 2017. The actress Alyssa Milano invited her followers on Twitter to respond with the hashtag “me too” if they have ever been the victim of sexual assault or harassment in any manner whatsoever. In a very short amount of time, more than 60,000 people answered, resulting in the movement’s name being established. The main of this is to look at the #Me-too movement and its relationship to symbolic interactionism theory to raise awareness on sexual harassment that women face.

One of the movement’s goals is to empower women while raising awareness about the many obstacles women regularly encounter in their everyday lives. According to Google, the movement has received extensive notoriety around the globe; the movement has been searched for in 196 countries, proving its broad popularity. To challenge and eliminate gender inequity and male hegemony, female activists have begun a cultural revolution that they hope will be successful. With the Me-Too movement, feminist activists deliver a message to a patriarchal society that women’s voices can no longer be ignored, and the world is finally taking notice.

The #Me-Too movement has resulted in a decrease in workplace harassment (inappropriate and unwanted touching, staring) according to around 60% of American working women since the campaign began. Researchers questioned more than 500 women in the United States in 2016 and then again in 2018. They discovered that the number of sexual harassment incidents reported by women has reduced, suggesting that the Me-Too campaign has been effective. As a result of the #Me Too movement, males are less likely to coerce or manipulate women’s sexual favors sexually. The number of women who have been sexually attacked or harassed has decreased. Stories like this show how the Me-Too movement has challenged conventional views of masculinity and masculinity in general. Men can no longer treat women as though they are only sexual objects while they are at work. As a consequence of the #MeToo movement, women have become more assertive in demanding respect and equality. Men are slowly starting to comply, putting their previously held hegemonic masculinity at risk.

#MeToo is a great interpretation of #metoo with symbolic interactionism. According to Symbolic interactionism, people’s thoughts come from social interaction. That’s why a social media movement can separate so rapidly. Also, sexual abuse and harassment are usually seemed to be taboo. People with sad experiences are less likely to talk about and share (Johnson III, 2020). There is not much information for women, or men, of course, to learn how to react and deal with it. This movement does provide opportunities and help victims to protect and speak out for themselves. Symbolic interactionism is based on that people understand the meanings by observation. Therefore, we can consider #metoo can raise people’s awareness and empathy of sexual harassment. Many times, women may not even know they have encountered harassment or think it is rude. On the other hand, this movement can prevent some men who used to do so from criminals.

According to sociologist Jen Schradie, movements with a well-established organizational structure are more likely to succeed than others (Moitra, 2020). Moreover, she asserts that the well-structured organizations with volunteers and staff members who are solely focused on maintaining the organization’s online presence are the ones that engage in the greatest amount of online engagement. #MeToo has nearly the same level of intensity as the civil rights movement in terms of energy. It also has a stronger online presence, which has built a significant amount of organizational structure.

When it comes to this kind of movement, men and women are often perceived as conflicting with one another, and males would suffer as a consequence if women gained greater influence. As a result of the #MeToo movement, it has become evident that men may be oppressed in the same ways that women are: by a biased system against them (Leung, 2019). As the movement has shown, a more respectful approach toward consensual sex may benefit both men and women. Many women have said that they have stopped blaming themselves for the sexual abuse they have suffered at the hands of other women worldwide after learning about the Me-Too movement. With the help of the campaign, women who have experienced sexual harassment in any form now have a safe space to recover and a platform to express themselves. With the ultimate goal of eliminating sexual harassment in the workplace and other facets of life by challenging the systems in place that allow sexual violence to thrive, the Me-Too movement has set itself a high bar for itself.

Although the Me-Too movement has had some success, men’s hegemonic masculinity over women in the workplace is slowly diminishing, while the unfairness women experience may be rising. Women polled in 2016 claimed that 76 percent of them had experienced workplace sexism; women polled in 2018 reported that the vast majority (almost all) had experienced it after the 2016 election. A possible explanation for men’s increased hostility toward women and sexism is the Me-Too movement, which advocates for sexual harassment and assault victims in the workplace. According to a survey conducted on male managers, males are even less inclined to work with women one-on-one, such as in training or mentorship. When working with women, older, more senior men are apprehensive of doing so, whether it’s over business lunches, business holidays, or private meetings. Given that women would no longer get executive mentoring and guidance, this will do little to address the imbalance that women now suffer.

Business leaders and executives are on edge due to the #Me-Too movement; women may be avoided and isolated at work, or they may not be hired at all. I find it fascinating that guys would prefer to stay away from interacting with women at work than treat them with decency and courtesy. Males are distancing themselves from women in the workplace due to the Me-Too movement since they see women as nothing more than consumable vessels (Gibson, 2019). Consequently, they cannot remain in the same room as women without being subjected to unwanted sexual advances. One-on-one engagement and mentoring foster the development of relationships and trust, which may result in a more positive and diverse workplace for both men and women; yet, women are denied this opportunity because of workplace discrimination and inequality (Airey, 2018). Despite efforts to advance gender equality in management, excluding women from the workforce and the diminishing share of female senior executives have brought the movement to a grinding halt. As shown by multiple studies, sexual harassment is more likely to occur in firms when the top executives are males; as a result, there should be a greater proportion of women in management roles. If there is still gender discrimination and a power imbalance in the office, sexual harassment will never be eliminated.

In addition to being a social movement, the Me Too movement aspires to bring about legal and political changes to the sexist institutions that now exist in our society. Me-Too campaigners advocate for legislation to address issues of gender parity, such as equal pay and a safe working environment, among other things (Pipyrou, 2018). They are especially interested in the progress of low-wage women and women of color, among other things. An organization called “Time’s Up” has been founded to financially aid women who seek to utilize the court system to oppose sexual harassment they have encountered. The GoFundMe campaign for this legal fund earned more than $21 million in less than two months, making it the most successful campaign in the company’s history. Women are taking males who have sexually harassed them to court due to the Me-Too campaign. This step would not have been possible without the financial assistance and support offered by activists and the Me-Too movement. As a result of the #MeToo movement, Males are being reminded directly that the days of women’s voices being ignored or not being heard are over.

In a nutshell, sexual harassment in any form is appalling, and the women who have had to suffer it in quiet while they were mistreated have finally had enough of being harassed and abused. Because of the #MeToo movement, the gender gap and conventional concepts of femininity and masculinity have been aggressively questioned and contested. It all started with a small group of Hollywood celebrities and has blossomed into a worldwide movement that enables women to speak up against patriarchal norms and values. The discrepancy between men and women in terms of opportunities and incomes exists.

Still, the #Me-Too movement, which is fighting injustice in the legal system, has begun to close some of the residual disparities in society, although slowly. It seems that the notion of femininity is shifting, and women are speaking out for themselves and making it apparent to men by their acts and words that their bodies are not intended for male consumption (PettyJohn, 2019). As long as there is an issue with sexual assault and harassment against both men and women, #MeToo will succeed and continue to grow in popularity. It is also successful since it addresses the issue with both men and women, rather than simply with women alone. This movement successfully rises the public’s awareness of sexual violence by using the particular function of the hashtag, which can be spread wildly and quickly through social media without time and space limit. It also changes the way people interact with others. People can share their experiences and thoughts by posting on social media instead of face-to-face. The influences of interaction between individuals have been more complex and wildly.


Airey, J. L. (2018). # MeToo. Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, 37(1), 7-13.

Johnson III, R. G., & Renderos, H. (2020). Invisible populations and the# MeToo Movement. Public Administration Review, 80(6), 1123-1126.

Leung, R., & Williams, R. (2019). # MeToo and intersectionality: An examination of the# MeToo movement through the R. Kelly scandal. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 43(4), 349-371.

Moitra, A., Hassan, N., Mandal, M. K., Bhuiyan, M., & Ahmed, S. I. (2020). Understanding the Challenges for Bangladeshi Women to Participate in# MeToo Movement. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 4(GROUP), 1-25.

PettyJohn, M. E., Muzzey, F. K., Maas, M. K., & McCauley, H. L. (2019). # HowIWillChange: Engaging men and boys in the# MeToo movement. Psychology of Men & Masculinities, 20(4), 612.

Pipyrou, S. (2018). # MeToo is little more than mob rule//vs//# MeToo is a legitimate form of social justice. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, 8(3), 415-419.

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