The #MeToo movement has inspired thousands of women to come forward with their stories of sexual assault and many have credited actress Alyssa Milano. This needs to stop. Now.
The movement started getting attention publically when Milano tweeted in October,
“If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”
With more and more women coming out, especially celebrities, the whole hashtag has become a movement. And Alyssa Milano has become the face.
Not only is this completely inaccurate, but it’s highly disturbing. The words “Me Too” were originated 11 years ago with activist Tarana Burke, who worked tirelessly to give a voice to WOC survivors of sexual abuse.
Technically, Alyssa gave credit Burke credit when she tweeted out a story about the origins of the Me Too movement, but she didn’t explicitly name Burke in the tweet. And in all her interviews, Alyssa has had no problem taking credit. She told The Guardian,
“It was the perfect storm to happen and I feel really blessed I was the vessel, the messenger. It’s very special, probably the greatest thing I’ve felt.”
She’s said similar things in her other interviews.
Recently, due to TIME’s issue about the movement (which was extremely problematic in its own right), Milano did an interview with Burke on Good Morning America. Other than that, Milano has done little to include Burke in the public conversation.
Alyssa’s actions are certainly not surprising. Her lack of acknowledgment is part of a bigger trend of white women constantly marginalizing WOC, whether on purpose or by accident. Me Too was started specifically to give WOC a chance to speak out, and now their stories are being drowned out by white women of power.
Think about all the celebrities who came forward against Weinstein and have since become associated with the movement. The group is 99% white women. And even those not associated with Weinstein have gotten all the press and the attention. Taylor Swift getting credit for being “the silence breaker,” as TIME calls it? That’s just plain wrong.
It’s really great when anyone uses their platform and privilege to amplify an issue. But what’s not ok is when you only give a voice to people like you.
We need to fix this. And celebrating a movement for only white women is not the way to do it.
Photo by Mihai Surdu
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and The Challenge. When she’s not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her taking an absurd amount of photos of her tuxedo cat Tom.