Framing #MeToo: Assessing the Power and Unintended Consequences of a Social Media Movement to Address Sexual Assault

  • Aubri F. McDonald


This chapter applies framing to the #MeToo movement to better understand the ways in which the #MeToo frame creates meanings and influences certain perspectives and actions regarding the issue of sexual assault. A “frame” is a “central organizing idea” that provides meaning to and generally guides how issues are understood. As people are increasingly living online and using mobile devices, social media has become a predominant way for people to express themselves, interact with others, and learn what is going on in the world. In the Fall of 2017 millions of social media users affixed the phrase #MeToo to their experiences of being sexually assaulted and harassed. The collection of responses spurred a cultural movement that has illuminated the universality of sexual assault and harassment. The #MeToo movement has encouraged victims to break their silence about the abuse they have suffered. Social media empowers individuals by giving them a voice. It provides a forum where people can disclose their sexual assault, connect with allies, and secure resources. Unintended consequences of the #MeToo movement are discussed with regard to their impact on politics, identity, policy, and gender relations Social media is discussed in terms of its potential advantages and risks as a justice-seeking tool.


Sexual assault Social media Framing Frames Social movements #MeToo #BelieveWomen 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aubri F. McDonald
    • 1
  1. 1.Criminal Justice DepartmentUniversity of Wisconsin-ParksideKenoshaUSA

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