Magazines are usually the go-to medium for light reads; next to the beach with a Mai Tai in hand, dreaded waiting rooms, airport departure lounges, hotel lobbies, and sometimes even on the bathroom throne. They offer a quick peak into pop culture trends, discussion topics, and from the latest book releases to technological breakthroughs – an update on what’s happening across the globe.
My latest magazine purchase brought my attention to the Editor’s note, which stated, “The hashtag was a solitary figure on the computer keyboard. In August 2007, however, that all changed. Today, the hashtag has united those with a shared goal. It’s given a voice to those who have felt voiceless. It’s bestowed strength on the weak and courage on the fearful. It has helped topple governments (#arabsprings), ignited global movements (#BlackLivesMatter) and exposed humanity’s darkest corners (#metoo).” – Farrah Storr, Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan.
And whilst it’s biggest use is on Twitter, hashtags are quite as popular on Instagram too, and our latest blog looks at movement campaigns that use hashtags to drive their message across, aka Hashtag Movements.
Starting first on our list is none other than #MeToo;
Whilst the hashtag, #metoo, is trending on Twitter, it still has a total of 2,092,572 posts on Instagram and the movement aims to end sexual violence and support survivors. “A true culture shift won’t happen until we are re-socialized about how we think about sexual violence, how we engage with each other, how we talk to each other, and how we take apart rape culture. Those things have to happen.” – Tarana Burke, Founder of the ‘me too’ Movement™.
Tarana Burke began ‘me too’ with young Black women and girls from low wealth communities. She developed culturally informed curriculum to discuss sexual violence within the Black community and in society at large. Similarly, the ‘me too’ movement seeks to support folks working within their communities to attend to the specific needs of their community/communities, i.e. supporting disabled trans survivors of colour working to lead and craft events/toolkits/etc. with other disabled trans survivors. Together, people can uplift and support each other to strengthen a global movement to interrupt sexual violence.
Building from #metoo, the hashtag; #hertoo emerged that further gives a voice to victims of sexual violence who don’t have the opportunity to speak up and are afraid to break the silence. In collaboration with UNICEF USA; high profile activist, Alyssa Milano; and #Metoo Movement founder Tarana Burke, the #hertoo movement aims to show these victims that they are not alone.
“#HerToo is about our deepest desire to ensure the dignity of every woman and girl is honoured. It’s about our personal dedication to building a culture of respect where it is sorely lacking. It is about UNICEF’s work – work we all must undertake – to end discrimination and violence against girls and women – and against all children suffering violence and harassment – worldwide, through education, protection and policy reform. When girls grow up in safety and dignity, they have the power to live up to their full potential. Equipped with the right resources, today’s girls can become leaders, entrepreneurs and changemakers. When we speak up to protect the rights of girls and women, we are not only preventing their suffering – we are protecting our shared future.” – Tarana Burke and Alyssa Milano.
Another inspiring global movement, #HeForShe
UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson, has been an activist for the #HeForShe movement since its launch on the 20th of September 2014, at the United Nations. Since then, hundreds of thousands of men from around the world including Heads of State, CEOs, and global luminaries, from all walks of life have committed to gender equality.
Whilst #HeForShe has just 321,005 posts, it’s supporting hashtag #genderequality has reached 1,008,956 posts on Instagram, building on the movements main message; solidarity for gender equality.
HeForShe is changing the traditional gender equality narrative to be more inclusive, recognizing that gender equality is a benefit to all. HeForShe invites men to take part in the gender equality movement in support of the women in their lives, but also as individuals who stand to benefit in a gender equal world. HeForShe is working to unpack and shed light on gender equality issues, especially gender stereotypes and assumptions, that are damaging to all genders. Equality cannot be achieved unless we are all equal, and that is what HeForShe is all about – equality for all.
Our third and final movement takes us to #Neveragain
The hashtag, #neveragain, was in response to a surge of gun violence in American schools and the 17 dead after the Parkland shooting. This brought rise to the #Marchofourlives Movement which saw protests beginning after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018. The hashtags, which takes several forms including; #marchofourlivesla and #marchofourlivesnyc, are indicative of the larger movement against gun violence, spread across social networks which went viral in early 2018.
Additionally, the movement organized walkouts in remembrance of the lives lost due to gun violence. In March 2018, hundreds of marches were organized across America in support of stricter gun laws, many of which were met with resistance from anti-protesters. Since February 2018 there have been 123 laws passed in the USA at state-level to address concerns of gun control.
Until the next one!