Every year on International Women's Day we unitedly celebrate the achievements of women across the world regardless of their race, culture, economic or political origin.
As our world became more available online, social media platforms acted like a hub for us to come together and hold discussions about everything from memes to activism. Hashtags have played a pivotal role in helping us swift through the chaos online. With this came the on-going hashtag culture that transformed the way our conversations build on some of our most pressing social issues and evils. There have been countless hashtags that have not only raised awareness but also empowered millions of women globally.
This International Women's Day calls for us to recognise some of these viral hashtags.
#Metoo India was inspired by a global social media movement that found its origin in Hollywood a year ago when top actresses shared their stories of sexual assault and harassment to expose some of the most powerful men in the entertainment industry, like Harvey Weinstein. This hashtag gained people's attention in India when actress Tanushree Dutta broke her silence and accused Nana Patekar of inappropriate behavior on the sets of a film they were shooting for in 2008. This encouraged women from all walks of life to tell their stories of sexual misconduct at workplaces using the hashtag #metoo
This became a natural successor and a response to the already prevailing #Metoo movement. The movement gained momentum after the news of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's accusations against Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault surfaced. While the movement empowered the victims of sexual assaults it also called out the practice of victim shaming.
It all began when a 27-year old man was acquitted of rape charges of a 17-year-old rape complainant when her lacy thong was held in the criminal court room of Cork city. In the defence lawyer's closing speech, the jury was encouraged to consider the choice of alleged victim's underwear. Following the trial, a viral campaign in Ireland saw angry women posting images of their own underwear on social media, with the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent. It spread like wildfire and women from across the globe shared the images of their underwear to protest against the jury's unjust decision of implying consent by using an underwear.
Coined on 1 January, 2018 the hashtag has soared in popularity ever since the Oscars 2018 honored #TimesUp movement, which also saw many Hollywood celebrities wearing a small pin in support of it. The Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (US organisation) honored the brave voices of women in Hollywood who exposed the producer Harvey Weinstein for his sexual misconduct. Time published the letter and revealed that it was written on behalf of at least 700,000 female farm workers from the US.
In April 2015 author Laura Bates, founder of The Everyday Sexism Project encouraged thousands of people on social media to share the instances in which sexism affects them. People used the hashtag to confront and broaden the conversations on sexism and shared experiences ranging from microaggressions to blatant misogyny from their everyday life.