Twitter as Consciousness-Raising: An Analysis of the 2017 #MeToo Movement


Twitter as Consciousness-Raising: An Analysis of the 2017 #MeToo Movement
Erin Worley
Faculty Sponsor
Dana Schowalter
Gavin Keulks
Sexual assault and harassment have always been a societal taboo. Individuals who have shared their experiences with sexual misconduct in the past have been heavily shamed and ridiculed, which prevented a lot of individuals from sharing their experiences, out of a fear of being labeled a liar, or worse. However, sexual assault and harassment are not uncommon in society, and the #MeToo movement allowed the discourse surrounding these issues to be brought to the forefront of society. This thesis sought to analyze the discourse within and surrounding the 2017 #MeToo movement, ignited on Twitter by actor and activist Alyssa Milano. To do this, I developed a comprehensive background to the movement, including a discussion surrounding the concept of consciousness-raising groups and the historical context of such groups. I analyzed select tweets from both Milano and other prominent Twitter accounts from October 15, 2017, which I separated into four key themes. Also included is a discussion surrounding the lack of intersectionality within the movement, and why that is ultimately harmful to the cause. In addition to the inherent importance of speaking out against the occurrences of sexual assault and sexual harassment, this thesis explores the use of social media as digital consciousness-raising groups, with a specific focus on the social media site Twitter. This thesis has determined that Milano was able to create a Twitter consciousness-raising group, as well as discussing how the #MeToo movement represents social media’s contribution to creating social change.
Honors Thesis
Honors Program
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