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Group project: #MeToo

October 23, 2017
alyssa-milano

Actor Alyssa Milano initiated the phenomenal response to the revelations around Weinstein.

The interweb, internet or web as we know it today is one of the most powerful tools of our time. Infact, when we consider it as a medium it is almost impossible to reflect on how much is has impacted our lives and influenced how we interact, with whom we engage and when. As far back as 1977 Marshall McLuhan declared that ‘the medium is the message’ which has been highlighted in many topical occurrences.

Watch: this two-minute introduction to McLuhan’s basic thesis from the Open University

To explore the mechanisms of this still new medium of the web, we will use the topical #MeToo meme created last month by actor Alyssa Milano following the revelations concerning unacceptable behaviour towards women by Hollywood motion picture producer Harvey Weinstein. His behaviour has resulted in his sacking by the company that carries his name and his expulsion from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Closer to home and earlier this year George Hook, radio presenter on Newstalk, was suspended from his job following his comments on a live broadcast concerning the rape of a young woman.

The multiple abuse allegations against Weinstein have led to #MeToo trending as women report that sexual abuse is a common experience in their lives. The hashtag has become a rallying point for those who remained silent, sometimes for years.

Perhaps the darkest aspect to emerge from these revelations is that Weinstein has been behaving in this manner for decades and it was pretty much common knowledge in entertainment circles. Put this together with Hook’s question about ‘women who put[s] themselves in danger’; the American President excusing his lewd and vulgar comments as acceptable ‘locker-room banter’; and the revelations some years ago concerning the former Italian Prime Minister’s ‘bunga bunga parties’; and it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that our society supports a culture of men who secretly prey on women.

The #MeToo hashtag is an example of how rapidly a topical incident can trend globally on social media. MeToo was originally founded by US activist Tarana Burke in 2007 when she started the campaign to serve sexual assault survivors in underprivileged communities. Now, it has been transformed into a global phenomenon. The aim of this project is to explore how the internet and its components impacted the emergence of the story and its increasing reach.

  1. Track how a local Los Angeles issue became a global phenomenon in a matter of days and present a timeline of its evolution.
  2. Demonstrate how it tapped into, or reflected the zeitgeist.
  3. Explore how it resulted in women around the world saying ‘me too’ and how this has been amplified, why they are doing so and what outcome is expected.
  4. Consider how the zeitgeist could be leveraged to change the latent acceptability of such behavior in society using the medium of the internet and it’s components.

Present your findings in an entertaining, informative and lively manner using whatever medium and format you wish as long as it can be stored for later review (e.g. a talk, short film, narration+visuals). Each team will also present its project live in Second Life. The presentation should be no shorter than five minutes and no longer than ten minutes. You are encouraged to use visual, audio or any other aids to support the presentation during which each member of the team must take part.

Each participant must also describe the progress of the project in a weekly blog post with particular emphasis on their contribution to the project. (What are you bringing to the group and how does it fit into the team’s work?) Discuss the details of the project and also the issues that arise in working collaboratively online. How easy is it meet up virtually and plan the project? What difficulties arise in development? How easy or difficult is communication? What particular problems arise and how do you deal with them? Focus on the experience rather than writing a ‘correct’ post or having an answer for every difficulty.

See page 6 Module assessment for assessment criteria applying to this project.

Important note: If you use images or sound be mindful of copyright, particularly as presentations will be posted to the module blog.

Presentations should be no less than 5 minutes and no more than 10 minutes in duration.

Your presentation can be made in the DIT campus or any appropriate venue selected by the group. Presentation date is normal class time on Thursday 6th December.

Reading list:

Explore one of the responses to #MeToo such at #HowIWillChange created by Australian journalist Benjamin Law. The meme #NotAllMen, which predates #MeToo and has been appropriated by various groups for their own ends, is also worth exploring. [accessed 22 October 2017].

Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood’s Oldest Horror Story. Maureen Dowd delves into the story for the New York Times, 14 October 2017. [accessed 22 October 2017].

George Hook should be challenged not silenced. Kitty Holland writes in The Irish Times that difficult as it might be such opinions need to be challenged so that society can improve, 14 September 2017. [accessed 22 October 2017].

Trump recorded having extremely lewd conversations about women in 2005. David Fahrenthold reports for the Washington Post on 8 October 2016. [accessed 22 October 2017].

#MeToo. Wikipedia traces the origin of the trend. [accessed 22 October 2017].

The Woman Who Created #MeToo Long Before Hashtags. Tarana Burke was originally inspired to develop the ‘Me Too’ campaign in the US when she met a thirteen-year-old girl who had been sexually abused in 1997. [accessed 22 October 2017].

One comment

  1. […] Glenn and John started the class by thanking you all for your attendance on Thursday last week and apologising for the change in schedule to those who were unable to make it. Then Locks Aichi joined us for a discussion about the brief for the group project #MeToo. […]



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