Nearly five years after the #MeToo hashtag appeared on social networks, 18-25 year olds look back at the changes this movement has initiated to expose sexist and sexual violence. For some “it doesn’t work anymore and we say so”.
“In second grade, every time I or any girl went to the blackboard, the boys whistled at us, made comments, stared at our buttocks”says Laurine Baron, 21, a student from Lyon. “At the time I felt uncomfortable, but I didn’t find it problematic. Today I wouldn’t accept it anymore. †
Thanks to the #MeToo movement? For Laurine, it’s more subtle. “It was the specific period of adolescence, when you search for yourself. Today I am more sure of myself”, she explains. But she admits that “seeing women speaking out” helped her realize “it wasn’t normal.”
An awareness shared by Victor de Saint-Sauveur, 23, in the second year of a PhD in law at Caen. “Thinking about it, I’ve made comments to amuse the gallery that may have been badly taken”† Follower of Twitter, where he follows video game content, gradually saw the hashtag pop up in his thread through his friends and said he was surprised by the magnitude of the movement.
For Ambre Monnerie, 24, economics, management and human resources trainer in Marseille, “colleagues complimenting us on our outfits instead of our work […] it doesn’t work anymore and we say it”. She has the impression that things are moving in her business, thanks to her generation. An observation shared by Noémie Wuchsa, 19, who studies in Paris. For her, “even though they are not always on board, the guys are more attentive”†
Victor explains that after reading certain testimonials or talking to his friends, he has changed his behavior, especially at night on the street. † If I come home late and see a woman alone, I can slow down or change the sidewalk.” so she doesn’t feel like she’s being followed, he explains.
For Arthur Farret, a 20-year-old from Toulouse, the timepiece caused loss of bearings. He was 16 when the first testimonies were broadcast. To discover “His sexuality, love, flirting during #Metoo is complicated. All the codes we had until then have flown away”† He is quite shy by nature and explains that he “doesn’t see the signs” when a woman approaches him in the evening. “I really don’t want to be wrong because there’s a misunderstanding and it’s called abuse”he says.
If the testimonials multiply, if Iris Cassagne, 22, dares to say “stop, it’s sexist so stop” for someone whistling her in the street, there’s still a long way to go.
“If there’s no consideration behind it and real actions… It doesn’t change much. †
“I often see in the banners of news channels: ‘A woman has been attacked’, while you have to say ‘a man has attacked a woman’. He is the culprit! †outraged Noémie, the Parisian student. “I know today that I am no longer the problem”†
According to Lena Ben Ahmed, 20, an activist with the feminist collective #NousToutes, sexism is a “less tolerated (today) because we now know that these minor acts of violence are not insignificant, they lead to more serious acts of violence such as rape”.