Women around the world joined #MeToo in to post their stories on social media, including in Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan and India. French women called their campaign “Expose Your Pig” (#BalanceTonPorc). It became more controversial when actress Catherine Deneuve and 100 other women published a letter in January of 2018 criticizing the movement for being too Puritan and a witch hunt while supporting male flirting and gallantry. Chinese feminist “silence breakers” who tried to organize their own #MeToo movement with petitions demanding investigation into sexual harassment and Internet logos of fists with painted nails were blocked by government censors who deleted petitions and blocked social media use of phrases like “anti-sexual harassment” or “#MeTooChina. They also demanded more women in high office. “We are angry and shocked,” declared activist Zhang Leilei, age 24.[i] Journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin, 30, created a social media platform to report sexual harassment, observing, “We’re not brave enough to stand out as one individual. But together, we can be strong.” One brave individual, Luo Xixi posted an online essay read by more than three million people, describing sexual harassment by her professor at Beihang University. She moved to the US.
Muslim women started #DearSister to express their voices. In Pakistan, the controversial film Verna (2017) tells the story of a teacher who is abducted and raped by the son of a governor. The Central Board of Film Censors banned the film for “maligning state institutions,” but an appellate board lifted the ban due to the #UnbanVerna campaign.
[i] Javier Hernandez and Zoe Mou, “’Me Too,’ Chinese Women Say,” New York Times, January 23, 2018.
Brave: Young Women’s Global Revolution.
Two volumes: 1) Global Issues, 978-0-938795-58-2 and 2) Regional Activism, 978-0-938795-60-5.
Gayle Kimball, Ph.D.
Each volume is $29.99. Volume 1 is 400 pages. Volume 2 is 600 pages.
What makes Brave revolutionary is its global rather than regional reach and its rare inclusion of many young women’s actual voices from around the world. Brave explores young women’s global activism, based on hundreds of interviews—some videotaped and on YouTube, and over 4,000 surveys from 88 countries. The book includes popular cultural references and feminists’ critiques of the economic and political system. Volume 1 is about global issues and Volume 2 is about regional activism. Discussion questions and activities are included, along with extensive references for changemakers.
Volume 1 discusses: The Future is Female, Global Desire for Equality, Global Status of Young Women, Consumerism Targets “Girl Power,” and Global Media Both Helps and Inhibits Girls. Volume 2 includes chapters on the West, Development, Muslim Countries, Egypt, Latin America, Africa, India, China, and Russia.
Gayle Kimball, Ph.D., is the author or editor of 16 books and was the first Coordinator of Women’s Studies at CSUC. She blogs at https://globalyouthbook.wordpress.com/.
Incredible! Carmen Rios, Ms. Magazine editor
Finally, we hear the authentic voices of young women from around the globe. Listen–they are the future. Encompassing views from traditional to radical, Brave is a work unlike any other in the fields of women’s, youth, and global studies. Rigorously researched, and including input from young women everywhere, it is a work not to be ignored. Morgan Brynnan, MLS
The Global Feminisms Project is a collaborative international project that examines the history of feminist activism, women’s movements and academic women’s studies in China, India, Poland, and the United States. We are examining the histories of feminism in local contexts by collecting ten videotaped oral histories of women’s movement activists and women’s studies scholars in each country. The Project is based in the Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWG) at UM, which is also the home for the US site research team.
The #MeToo campaign started by actor Alyssa Milano in response to revelations about sexual harassment by producer Harvey Weinstein in 2017 generated millions of responses from women reporting sexual assault or harassment. It generated even more hits than #EverydaySexism that started in England[i] with millions of responses from women reporting sexual assault or harassment (more than six million hashtags were posted from October to December). Women around the world joined in to post their stories on social media, including in Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan and India. French women called their campaign “Expose Your Pig” (#AlanceTonPorc) Muslim women started #DearSister to express their voices. In Pakistan, the controversial film Verna (2017) tells the story of a teacher who is abducted and raped by the son of a governor. The Central Board of Film Censors banned the film for “maligning state institutions,” but an appellate board lifted the ban due to the #UnbanVerna campaign. (Saving Face about the victim of an acid attack and A Girl in the River, about an attempted honor killing, also addressed violence against Pakistani women.)
Public awareness of sexual harassment was sparked in 1991 when Anita Thomas was seen on TV testifying to the all white male Judiciary Committee about Clarence Thomas, which incited more women to enter politics especially when the committee wouldn’t allow other women to testify against Thomas. Currently about 40% of women say they have experienced unwanted sexual attention or coercion at work, but one study found three-quarters of people who spoke up about harassment faced retaliation. What makes women vulnerable is their low status and lack of power at work: Women are 35% more likely to live in poverty than men. In Scandinavia women have more independence because the “nanny state” provides cradle-to-the-grave security. The #MeToo Twitter campaign again raised public awareness around the world and resulted in some prominent harassers like Harvey Weinstein being fired; articles about him published in October of 2017 resulted in action. The movement also encouraged the 19 women who accuse Trump of harassment to speak out and one of them, Summer Zervos, filed a suit against me for defamation of character for calling her and the other liars.[ii] Some solutions are stronger and more unions, raising boys differently, more women in power, and restricting nondisclosure agreements. The TIME Magazine persons of the year were the “Silence Breakers.”
Over 300 women prominent in the entertainment energy, featuring women of color (i.e., Shonda Rhimes, Eva Longoria, America Ferrera), developed “Time’s Up” announced on January 1, 2018. They secured $13 million in donations to a Legal Defense Fund to help blue-collar women, promote legislation to penalize companies with ongoing harassment, and a push for gender equality in the entertainment industry. Their webpage with resources is https://www.timesupnow.com. They asked women to wear black at the Golden Globes film awards and to talk about the problem rather than who designed their dresses. Leaderless, they organize in working groups in Los Angeles, New York and London. Rhimes explained, “We just reached this conclusion in our heads that, damn it, everything is possible. Why shouldn’t it be?”[iii] Rheese Witherspoon said, “We have been siloed off from each other….We’re now locking arms in solidarity with each other….”
[ii] “The 19 Women who Accused President Trump of Sexual Misconduct,” The Atlantic, December 7, 2017.
[iii] Cara Buckley, “Powerful Hollywood Women Unveil Anti-Harassment Action Plan,” New York Times, January 1, 2018.