In 2006, Tarana Burke founded a nonprofit organization called “Me Too” to support girls and women of color who were victims of sexual violence. In 2017, that movement went viral as the hashtag #MeToo was shared twelve million times on social media in 48 hours. Like flipping on a light switch in a dark room, the #MeToo movement revealed anew the widespread existence of sexual abuse and gender discrimination. Leigh Gilmore examines how a new level of accountability emerged in response to the spontaneous global emergence of #MeToo as a graphic witness. She will show how testimony by survivors and a range of images circulated together to transform public discourse about sexual violence.
Leigh Gilmore is a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Wellesley. She is the author of Tainted Witness: Why We Doubt What Women Say About Their Lives; The Limits of Autobiography: Trauma and Testimony, Autobiographics: A Feminist Theory of Women’s Self-Representation, and coeditor of Autobiography and Postmodernism. She has published articles on autobiography, law and literature, and feminist theory in Feminist Studies, Signs, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and Biography, among others, and in numerous collections.