Beyond the Hashtag: Exploring the #MeToo Movement in News Media

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The phrase “me too” was originally coined by African American women’s rights activist Tarana Burke in 2006 to build solidarity among survivors of sexual assault (Mendes et al., 2018). However, the #MeToo movement gained traction on Twitter on October 2017 when actress Alyssa Milano used the hashtag in response to allegations of sexual assault against former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein (CBS, 2017). Milano compelled multitudes of Twitter users to tweet their own narratives with the hashtag, exhibiting the prevalence and magnitude of sexual assault and gender violence. This thesis problematizes the depiction of the #MeToo movement within traditional news discourse, particularly in news magazines. News media’s engagement and representation of social movements critically influence the public’s perception of these groups and contribute to its failure or success in effecting social change (Barker-Plummer, 2010; Gitlin, 1980). Through feminist discursive analysis, I examine the ways in which news media establish the narrative around #MeToo for readers. This research aims to contribute to the ongoing scholarly discussion of feminist media studies, chiefly in how traditional news attempts to impose order on feminist activism occurring in a digital setting.
#metoo, social media, digital feminist activism, #metoo in the news, news media discourse, discourse analysis, news magazine, visual analysis, power and knowledge, michel foucault, intersectional feminism, feminist media studies, intersectional feminist theory, news media and social movements, traditional news media versus social media, hashtag activism, pink wave
Jimenez, A. N. (2021). Beyond the Hashtag: Exploring the #MeToo Movement in News Media (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from