October 23 2017
Today we were introduced to the topic on which our Group Projects will be based. John chose the social media phenomenon #MeToo to focus on this semester. I was immediately excited about this as a topic as it is something I have followed and been interested in since its beginning. John explained that we will be working in groups to produce some form of presentation at the end of the semester that will recount our interpretation of this movement. It became clear that it was not just the final project that was important but they way in which we worked as a team and our process leading up to the presentation which John was interested in.
October 25 2017
In this class we began to discuss the MeToo hashtag which was a thoroughly interesting and insightful discussion for me as it is something I am already very passionate about. This class was perhaps the discussion I was most vocal in, however, with the introduction of the Sherkin Island students also, the class size made it difficult to have a consistent discussion as so many opinions were being voiced. John however managed to organise the class very well by touching on certain points and asking us questions to control the conversation. One point made, that I was not aware of was that the MeToo hashtag was not a 2017 invention and had actually been a movement created by a social activist called Tarana Burke in 2007 as a “campaign to serve sexual assault survivors in underprivileged communities.” However due to the lesser influence of social media at the time, the campaign never really took off. It was actress, Alyssa Milano who resurfaced the hashtag on Twitter, from which it spread to all social media platforms and to all corners of the globe.
Some students mentioned possible negative effects of the hashtag, which I had already considered. I suggested that perhaps it could be used for attention from false accusers, “jumping on the bandwagon” and therefore ruin the entire point of the campaign. This was discussed in the chat and it appeared others shared the same worries., that false accustaions are a huge problem and can be just as damaging. It was concluded that the best solution for this is stronger enforcement of repercussions for false accusers and that a prison sentence was not out of the question.
Following this class I hope to start communicating with the other members of my group, Bartek and Faye to begin planning our group project but in the meantime I plan to brainstorm interesting ways to present our project.