“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” – Margaret J. Wheatley
Mental illness doesn’t mean someone is dangerous, incompetent, stupid or worthless. Anyone can and most do struggle with mental illness at some point in their lives. This hashtag was created as a way to bring awareness to mental illness and to stop the stigma so people can get help.
Chrissy Teigen and Allegheny Health Network launched #MyWishForMoms on May 1st for Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day. This hashtag aims to create open dialogue among women about postpartum depression and anxiety.
The #BelieveWomen hashtag arose as a show of solidarity with survivors of sexual assault during the Kavanaugh-Ford hearing. It is a political statement that challenges society’s default skepticism and criticism of survivors who talk about their experiences. It also invokes a long history of women’s voices being sidelined, ignored, and dismissed, and calls for more empathy.
When Dr. Christine Blasey Ford raised allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump tweeted his doubts. He argued that if it were true, she would have reported it right away. In response, a thousands of survivors (lead by actress/activist Alyssa Milano) took to the web to explain why it can take years to talk about an assault—because of shame, denial, fear of retribution, fear of not being believed, fear of being victim-blamed, because they knew the police would do nothing, because they wanted to protect their attacker, because society says this is just what men do and it’s normal, and a million other reasons.
This hashtag invites women to examine the gap between women’s legal rights and women’s lived reality. “Gender discrimination plays out in ways you may not see at first. For every “right” there’s a shadow side of “reality.” Lack of enforcement, power imbalances, social stigmas. Much remains to be done to achieve full gender equality in this country.” By shining light on everyday experiences of discrimination, women are exposing why the movement for gender equality still matters.
This hashtag was introduced on January 1, 2018 and has soared in popularity since then. “The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. It’s time to do something about it,” says TimesUpNow.com, which is an online resource for victims of sexual harassment, allies and advocates. The Times Up Legal Defense Fund also provides subsidized legal support for women seeking justice for sexual harassment in the workplace.
Coined in October 2017.
Activist Tarana Burke founded the Me Too campaign in 2006, but it did not take off until October 2017 when actresses started using the #MeToo hashtag on social media to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment. It followed on the heels of the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct allegations in which the Hollywood producer was accused of sexually assaulting 84 women, many of whom were actresses and models. Millions of women have used the feminist hashtag, many also sharing their stories of how they have survived sexual violence or manipulation. It took the Internet by such force and has brought the conversation about sexual harassment to the forefront.
On April 14, author Courtney Summers called on the women of social media to “take the opportunity to tell girls you know – and the ones you don’t – that they are seen, heard and loved.” Older women shared their encouragement and words of wisdom #ToTheGirls, tackling issues like self-esteem, body image, and confidence.
When news broke of Janay Palmer choosing to marry her fiancé pro football player Ray Rice after video surfaced of him knocking her unconscious in an elevator, writer Beverly Gooden shared her story of domestic violence and how she came out alive. Statistically, choosing to leave (and leaving) a domestic violence situation is the most dangerous time for a victim. Many women have been murdered or viciously attacked during this time. The #WhyIStayed hashtag raised awareness about the ugly power dynamics of domestic abuse and called for sympathy for survivors—including those who are unable to leave an abusive relationship.
The United Nations began the He For She program in March of 2014, but Emma Watson brought this hashtag to the forefront during the Summer of 2014 as the United Nations Woman Goodwill Ambassador. This campaign was meant as a call to action to men to fight alongside women for equity between the sexes. Many male celebrities, such as Tom Hiddleston and Steve Carrell, jumped on board in support of the movement.