#Hashtivism Tackles Sexual Harassment

By: Julie Frechette  

Lifelong civic engagement for social change includes feminist approaches to media literacy that encourage critical analysis of corporate media practices that perpetuate gender inequities and injustices. The recent international social media activism brought to light by the #MeToo campaign affords a poignant and timely case study for assessing how media literacy activism can unify and mobilize the NetGeneration to challenge antiquated attitudes and behaviors that keep women marginalized in media sectors, public life, and business careers. Along with the recent slew of celebrity revelations of sexual harassment brought on by the Harvey Weinstein exposé, women -- and some men -- have used hashtag campaigns to share personal stories of sexual harassment and assault. #MeToo caught fire when actress Alyssa Milano tweeted a call-out to victims to provide the public with a sense of the seriousness and magnitude of the problem. Drawing from what I’ve defined as “The sexual harassment scandals of U.S. Media Celebrities Donald Trump, Bill O’Reilly and Harvey Weinstein,” and data provided by the 2017 Report of The Status of Women in the U.S. Media, I analyze the correlation between male domination of media enterprises and the continued systematic marginalization and oppression of women within and outside U.S. media enterprises. The goal is to connect media literacy education with feminist scholarship and pedagogy as a catalyst for lifelong civic engagement and social justice activism.

Media Literacy, Feminism
Media Literacies
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Julie Frechette

Professor, Worcester State University, United States
Massachusetts, United States

Julie Frechette, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at Worcester State University in Massachusetts,where she teaches courses on media studies, critical cultural studies, media education, and feminism. Her most recent book, Media Education for a Digital Generation (Routledge Press, 2016), provides a framework for developing critial digital literacies by exploring the necessary skills and competencies for engaging students as citizens of the digital world. She is co-editor and co-author of the book Media In Society (2014), as well as numerous articles and book chapters on media literacy, critical cultural studies, and femism. Her book, Developing Media Literacy in Cyberspace: Pedagogy and Critical Learning for the Twenty-First Century Classroom (2002), was among the first to explore the multiple literacies approach for the digital age. She serves as Co-President of the Actional Coalition for Media Education (ACME), a national orgnaization that champions corporate-free critical media literacy education.