#Hashtag: How Selected Texts of Popular Culture Engaged With Sexual Assault In the Context of the Me Too Movement in 2019

Anna Oleszczuk


The paper seeks to explore recent shifts within the popular culture with regard to oppression involving gender, class, race, and ethnicity that can be traced back to the #MeToo movement which was revived as a social media hashtag in October 2017 and has since spread all over the world. The paper starts with a brief overview of Western popular culture that “has recently been seen as a champion for feminism . . . with many high-profile female musicians and actresses visibly promoting the movement in their work” (Woodacre 2018, 21). Next, the paper discusses the origins of the Me Too Movement and the way it approaches the meaning of gendered oppressions as well as individualized and collective experiences of survivors of sexual abuse. This is later explored in the examination of the impact of the hashtag-led movement on three works of popular culture: Amazon’s TV series Lorena (2019), Nancy Schwartzman’s documentary Roll Red Roll (2019), and We Believe: the Best Men Can Be (2019) advertisement by Gillette. The entire case study is informed primarily by feminist theory understood as inseparable from feminist activism, following bell hooks’ Feminist theory from margin to center (1984).


MeToo, feminism, gender, abuse, popular culture

Full Text:



Brown, Dalvin. 2018. “#MeToo: How Much Impact Has the Hashtag Made Online.” USA Today. Accessed 20 December, 2019. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/10/13/metoo-impact-hashtag-made-online/1633570002/.

Boise, Sam de. 2019. “Editorial: Is Masculinity Toxic?” NORMA 14 (3): 147–51. doi:10.1080/18902138.2019.1654742.

Boyle, Karen. 2019. #MeToo, Weinstein and Feminism. Palgrave Pivot.

Burt, Martha R. 1980. “Cultural Myths and Supports for Rape.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 38 (2): 217–30. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.38.2.217.

Connell, R. W. 2005. Masculinities. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Evans, Michael R. 2018. “Queering Isabella: The ‘She-Wolf of France’ in Film and Television.” In Premodern Rulers and Postmodern Viewers: Gender, Sex, and Power in Popular Culture, edited by Janice North, Karl C. Alvestad, and Elena Woodacre, 263–82. Palgrave Macmillan.

Farrelly, Glen. 2009. “Does Rotten Tomatoes Spoil Users? Examining Whether Social Media Features Foster Participatory Culture”. Stream: Interdisciplinary Journal of Communication 1 (2): 38-48.

Geczy, Adam, and Vicki Karaminas. 2017. Fashion and Masculinities in Popular Culture. New York, NY London: Routledge.

Gillette. 2019. Our commitment. Accessed 20 December, 2019. https://gillette.com/en-us/our-committment.

Gill, Rosalind, and Shani Orgad. 2018. “The Shifting Terrain of Sex and Power: From the ‘Sexualization of Culture’ to # MeToo.” Sexualities 21 (8): 1313–24. doi:10.1177/1363460718794647.

hooks, bell. 1984. Feminist Theory from Margin to Center. Boston, MA: South End Press.

Jr, Harold E. Hinds, Marilyn F. Motz, and Angela M. S. Nelson, eds. 2006. Popular Culture Theory and Methodology: A Basic Introduction. Madison: Popular Press 2.

Kagal, Neha, Leah Cowan, and Huda Jawad. 2019. “Beyond the Bright Lights: Are Minoritized Women Outside the Spotlight Able to Say #MeToo?” In #MeToo and the Politics of Social Change, edited by Bianca Fileborn and Rachel Loney-Howes, 133–49. Palgrave Macmillan.

Kosloski, Anna E., Bridget K. Diamond-Welch, and Olivia Mann. 2018. “The Presence of Rape Myths in the Virtual World: A Qualitative Textual Analysis of the Steubenville Sexual Assault Case.” Violence and Gender 5 (3): 166–73. doi:10.1089/vio.2017.0067.

“Lorena - Rotten Tomatoes.” n.d. Accessed May 15, 2020. https://www.rottentomatoes.com/tv/lorena.

O’Donnel, Lilly. 2013. “Big Red Football: Anonymous Leaks Disturbing Video in Steubenville Rape Case.” Mic. Accessed 20 December, 2019. https://www.mic.com/articles/21878/big-red-football-anonymous-leaks-disturbing-video-in-steubenville-rape-case.

Ogaz, Charla. 2007. “On the Semiotics of Lorena Bobbitt.” In From Bananas to Buttocks: The Latina Body in Popular Film and Culture, edited by Myra Mendible, 201–18. Austin: University of Texas Press.

PBS. 2019. Roll Red Roll. Accessed 20 December, 2019. https://www.pbs.org/pov/watch/rollredroll/video-rollredroll/.

Piwowarski, Allison. 2019. “Why ‘Lorena’ Is The Perfect Story For A #MeToo Era, According To Lorena Bobbitt.” Bustle. Accessed 20 December, 2019. https://www.bustle.com/p/why-lorena-is-the-perfect-story-for-a-metoo-era-according-to-lorena-bobbitt-15950539.

Roll Red Roll Film. 2019. About. Accessed 20 December, 2019. https://rollredrollfilm.com/about/.

Sontag, Susan. 1966. Against Interpretation and Other Essays. New York: Delta.

Storey, John. 2012. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction. New York: Routledge.

Tambe, Ashwini. 2018. “Reckoning with the Silences of #MeToo.” Feminist Studies 44 (1): 197–203.


Trott, Verity. 2020. “Networked Feminism: Counterpublics and the Intersectional Issues of #MeToo.” Feminist Media Studies, April, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2020.1718176.

Woodacre, Elena. 2018. “Reappraising Female Rulers in the Light of Modern Feminism(s).” In Premodern Rulers and Postmodern Viewers: Gender, Sex, and Power in Popular Culture, edited by Janice North, Karl C. Alvestad, and Elena Woodacre, 20–25. Palgrave Macmillan.


Lorena. 2019. Directed by Joshua Rofé. Amazon. TV Series.

Roll Red Roll. 2019. Directed by Nancy Schwartzman. Multitude Films, Sunset Park Pictures. Film.

We Believe: The Best Men Can Be. 2019. Directed by Kim Gehrig 2019. Gillette. Short film.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17951/nh.2020.5.208-217
Data publikacji: 2020-09-04 12:41:44
Data złożenia artykułu: 2020-02-09 22:52:15


Total abstract view - 7813
Downloads (from 2020-06-17) - PDF - 0



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Anna Oleszczuk

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.