Social media campaigns gloss over nuances, but still play a valuable role in discourse

Remember that time women were supposed to post a cryptic, one-word status update on Facebook a few years ago?

Instructions were circulated via a secret message, explaining that women should post the color of the bra they were wearing, in order to support breast cancer patients. Or was it to create awareness of breast cancer? I never really was quite sure. But I do remember thinking that most Facebook users, women in particular, were already quite aware of the existence of breast cancer, and that talking about bra colors didn’t do much to help women undergoing treatment for the disease.

Which brings me to the #MeToo hashtag that made the rounds last month. I saw a lot of good conversations come from women posting the hashtag, some of whom offered more information about their experiences with sexual harassment, and even more of whom did not offer additional details. And that, I think, was the root of my unease with the whole movement. It felt voyeuristic, in some ways, to be watching my friends share the post – without context, I think everyone was left wondering, their imaginations working overtime to figure out what kind of harassment or even assault their friends had been subjected to. 

Read more in the Nov. 15 edition.