The past year has been an interesting one for Hollywood, as the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have transformed the industry. While these two movements may not seem synonymous, they’re deeply connected, and have inspired a new wave of solidarity and support in the form of creative campaigns and industry-wide activism.
Perhaps the biggest story of the year has been the #MeToo campaign, which began with a simple tweet from Tarana Burke:
“MeToo is for all women. We deserve to be heard. Nobody should be victimizing anyone ever again,” the social media strategist and activist said in October. A movement that began with the hashtag quickly went viral, with dozens of women using the platform to share their own experiences and speak out against workplace sexual misconduct and abuse.
Since then, the hashtag has become an instant catchphrase, helping to amplify and drive many of the 2018’s biggest stories (and the year’s most talked-about films). #MeToo launched a movement, and while it may be too soon to tell, it appears that 2019 will be the year of the woman. Whether it’s boldfaced names like Gretchen Carlson and Rosanna Pansino leading the charge in Washington or women rising to power in the boardrooms of blue-chip companies, what’s becoming clear is that women are finally ready to make their voices heard and be counted.
The Rise Of The #MeToo Movement
The seeds for the #MeToo movement were planted back in 2016, when a now-famous photo of Harvey Weinstein’s backside being humped by a mountain lion went viral. The following year brought the downfall of many of the industry’s biggest stars, with dozens of women coming forward to accuse the mogul of sexual misconduct. Weinstein was eventually charged with multiple counts of rape, and many of his colleagues either resigned or were fired from their positions.
The industry was shaken, as was the entire world. The allegations were shocking, and the scope of the reputational damage inflicted upon Weinstein (and the ensuing fallout) was unprecedented. We could see that something had changed, and a movement was brewing.
Weinstein’s case was just one of many that helped to fuel the #MeToo movement, as dozens of high profile figures were accused of misconduct and even criminal activity. The movement reached record numbers of participants (over 140 million), with hundreds of thousands of women using the hashtag to share their own stories and show their support for other survivors. According to a CNN survey, almost half of the respondents said that the movement was a “very big” factor in determining the direction their careers would take.
Many of the industry’s biggest stars fell as a result of the movement, as it became clear that powerful men in positions of authority had abused their power and attacked those weaker than them. The fallout saw many women promoted to prominence in the industry, with prominent figures like Annabelle Adams and Anna Faris moving into a leadership role in the wake of the scandal.
The Future Of Hollywood?
It’s fair to say that 2019 has seen the emergence of a new sexual politics in Hollywood. Gone are the days when male dominance was so blatant that it didn’t even feel necessary to point out to strangers that you were a woman — or when celebrities could get away with asking people to meet them “for a drink” (they always intended to sleep with you).
The industry is changing as a result of the #MeToo movement, and while it may be too soon to tell, the future of Hollywood looks exciting. While many of the older generation remain firmly in place, those who have broken barriers and spoken out against abuse may well see their opportunities multiply — and so too, may those who have stood beside them.