BY: CAITLIN BRUNNOCK
The phrase “Me Too” was coined by Tarana Burke–a victim of sexual assault–in 2006 to give voices to women and girls who are survivors of sexual assault. The phrase gained popularity again in 2017 when Ashley Judd accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. The case against Weinstein led women in Hollywood to not only tell their stories involving Weinstein, but also tell stories involving other high profile men in Hollywood such as Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, R. Kelly, and many more. The end 2017, “The Silence Breakers” were named Time’s Person of the Year. In a society that continually denied women’s claims, people were finally starting to listen. While some of the industry’s biggest male icons began to fall from their thrones, women began to gain control and receive the credit they deserved.
While there is still an immense amount of work to be done, Hollywood has experienced a monumental shift in the industry in the past two years. This shift has occurred particularly within the content of films and commercials. One of the greatest ways for the world to hear important stories is through filmmaking. In the past two years,Ruth Baider Ginsberg was honored with the documentary RBG and On the Basis of Sex, The Favourite (Co-written and co-directed by a woman) was nominated for many Oscars and Golden Globes, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (written and directed by a woman) received national praise, and Birdbox (directed by a woman) sent the internet into a frenzy. In addition to the rise in female empowerment in films, many brands are focusing their marketing campaigns on empowering women. Bumble’s SuperBowl commercial featuring Serena Williams, Nike’s Dream Crazier commercial featuring female athletes, and the rise in the celebration of International Women’s Day are just a few examples of the way advertising has changed to reflect the #MeToo movement.
One film in particular stands out as the greatest shift in this movement: the short film “Period. End of Sentence.” This documentary was directed by a woman and won Best Documentary Short at this year’s Oscars. The #MeToo movement created a path which made it possible for a film about periods to win an Oscar. Throughout this film, audience members see women in a small town 60km outside of New Delhi, India learn more about their periods and the steps they can take to change their habits surrounding this subject. This film gives people, especially Americans, a view of what many women struggle with daily in regards to their periods. These women do not have access to proper hygiene products, they are not allowed to attend church with their periods, and men have little to no knowledge about periods. This film highlights the women’s journey to creating their own business of period hygiene products. It instills a sense of purpose and confidence in these women that would otherwise be absent without this new business. With a film such as “Period. End of Sentence.” people around the world are learning about the benefits of encouraging women to participate in the job field and empowering women to open up about difficult topics. The film “Period. End of Sentence” allows for a view into these benefits, as well as many other female empowerment films that were released in the wake of the #MeToo era.