#metoo

Social media isn’t all bad: the pros and cons of social media

Sexplain discusses living in the digital age and the many positive changes it has brought to society, from taking feminist action to spreading awareness about climate change. However, there can also be a darker side, which usually are the concern for parents and teachers.

Written by sexplain youth consultant Vicky M.

Some notable advantages for parents and teachers:

Evie Karkera illustrations

Some important advantages social media serves is the speed in which messages can be spread, and the freedom it gives people to express themselves on any issues. This can be demonstrated in the #metoo campaign. This campaign was launched on Myspace by Burke (a civil rights activist), after speaking to a 13 year old girl who had been assaulted; the message was “empowerment through empathy”. It was an outcry for change. A year ago, allegations were held against Harvey Weinstein (a film producer), causing actor Alyssa Milano, to tweet “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

Ever since, the hashtags #metoo and #timesup have been trending worldwide on social media, for men and women to use who have experienced harassment or abuse. This highlighted the magnitude of sexual harassment within the film industry, as many famous actors used these hashtags to share their experiences.

Other areas in serious concern have also been addressed. If you weren’t aware of the recent student climate change protests in London, publicised in the news, you may have seen the awareness spread by teenagers all over social media. Social media has enabled young people to spread their concerns amongst fellow peers. Offering the opportunity for them to follow celebrities on social media platforms, such as Instagram, and to be inspired by their role models taking action on various issues.

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There have also been accounts made on social media, spreading the awareness for sexual consent, feminism and promoting gender equality. Some of these include @womensmarch, @timesupnow and @gurlstalk.

With all these significant positive changes and campaigns taking place, do come some more serious issues. These include the constant problem of the ever-changing ‘beauty standards’ and the complications this can create on an individual’s body image and self-esteem. Social media accounts, like many on Instagram, are constantly bombarded with ‘perfect’ pictures of people’s lives. Instagram allows it to be easy to use tools such as, facetune and photoshop, and use these to portray a facade of reality to your followers. Several influencers have been called out for photoshopping, and unfortunately, many have millions of followers who buy into these photoshopped images. This can have an extremely damaging impact on people’s mental health. Non-consensual sexting can also fall victim to the implications social media can cause. This is usually done under peer-pressure, or even threats. No one should ever feel pressured to send a sexual image of themselves. Parents and teachers should also consider the worrying effects of cyberbullying, and the steps that can be taken to prevent this from taking place.

But let’s remember, social media can be a fundamental place for solidarity and taking a step forward in equality.

Visit the #me too movement website; https://metoomvmt.org/

Celebrities speaking out about it; https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/krystieyandoli/lady-gaga-me-too-times-up