• Palakh Dutta, Hayley Lemm

#MeToo Movement: A Vox Populi

“I am only one person. What can I actually do?” said a girl who lives in a country known for its democracy and model of freedom rights including freedom of speech. #MeToo: 6 months on, is not just a movie but an extremely vivid portrayal of local voices of London on a burning issue – women’s equality and their rights in contemporary society. The #MeToo movement was originally created by Tarana Burke, a civil rights activist who started the ‘Me Too Group’ for survivors of sexual violence around 12 years ago. Little did she know that the movement would grow to become a cultural phenomenon and enable people to step forward and talk about their experiences on various social media platforms. The #MeToo movement gained prominence as acquisitions of sexual harassment surfaced against Hollywood star Producer Harvey Weinstein. Post Weinstein, it was as if the world had suddenly been woken up – Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, Bill O’Reilly, and several others were accused of having misused their position of privilege.

The #MeToo campaign gained huge momentum and was hailed as revolutionary, not just for Hollywood, but for victims of sexual abuse across the globe. While the movement must be appreciated for finally creating an ecosystem for women to atleast have their say on such matters, the sobering reality that it took 12 years for the movement to fructify is in itself a reminder of the long path ahead of us.

Revolutions don’t happen overnight but when the momentum exists, it must be built upon. Hayley Lemm and Palakh Dutta, students of the University of Westminster, made this short film to showcase the voices of local people and start a conversation about the #MeToo movement, 6 months since the Weinstein accusations, which clearly brought forth a radically different phase. The aim of the film was to showcase a broad spectrum of British opinion on something that has been so widely covered in the media. We went on the streets of London to find out if #MeToo was still as big as when it began – and if the movement had lost credibility amidst charges of violating due process. We wanted to know what impact it on had on the local voices – and if they believed talking alone was not good enough anymore. We wanted to know if the movement had carried its momentum, six months since it had been catapulted on the international stage. Most importantly, we wanted to understand the change it brought upon people. Was it revolutionary enough to change the course of history or was this going to be another generation that passed on its problems to the next?

With these questions, we went onto the streets of London. As our film progressed, some powerful messages came out. We don’t think we could do justice to all those voices by scribbling them down, so here is the film for all of you to see. And remember to carry on the conversation. Tweet with #MeTooPerspectives and have your voice heard.

About The Creators

Palakh Dutta is a Doctoral Research student at the University of Westminster. An extremely enterprising student, Palakh has been responsible for the initiation and management of several social projects in the UK and outside. She has been vocal in espousing important social causes such as women's health and literacy and is an intern at the Democratic Education Network. Palakh also holds a graduate degree in History from Hansraj College, Delhi University.

Hayley Lemm is a Multimedia Practitioner and student at Westminster University, United Kingdom. She is receiving training from the General Assembly and her films have been screened at several exhibitions including InFlux and Clean State Art.

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