By now, almost every woman you know has likely shared the hashtag #MeToo to illustrate the reality of sexual harassment in the world today. But while the campaign has raised awareness and created solidarity among victims everywhere, many have noted that the hashtag isn't enough to create change.
As HuffPost editor Angelina Chapin put it, "Women can turn the whole internet into a list of 'Me toos,' but it won't make a difference until men ― all men ― acknowledge how they perpetuate misogyny and commit to making a change."
As a result, men heard us and responded with their own hashtag in return: #HowIWillChange.
Writer Benjamin Law came up with the hashtag and shared it on Twitter Monday asking men to share how they will be allies to women.
He then kicked off the campaign by sharing a list of his own plans to be an ally, including donating to women's shelters, calling out sexist men, and reporting rape. But perhaps the most important change he listed was his vow to change his mentality when it comes to sexual harassment.
#HowIWillChange: Acknowledge that if all women I know has been sexually harassed, abused or assaulted, then I know perpetrators. Or am one.— Benjamin Law 🌈 (@mrbenjaminlaw) October 16, 2017
#HowIWillChange: Recognise I don't need to be a perpetrator to be a bad guy. Questioning harassment, not doing anything about it—all as bad.— Benjamin Law 🌈 (@mrbenjaminlaw) October 16, 2017
Law's powerful tweet soon inspired many other men to share their own pledges of #HowIWillChange, from vowing to stop victim blaming to recognizing how their own actions can be harmful to women.
I will never blame a victim, and I will never stand and watch as a man makes unwanted advances on a woman #HowIWillChange— Michael (@TrippyTrappy_Jr) October 17, 2017
#HowIWillChange means acknowledging MY OWN capacity for harmful behaviour, and taking responsibility for unlearning that toxicity— biryani brah (@garliquorice) October 16, 2017
#HowIWillChange means not being a bystander while women expend emotional labour to protect their safety; no longer apathy, but action— biryani brah (@garliquorice) October 16, 2017
#HowIWillChange means sacrificing some of my own social capital so that male-centric spaces in which I am safe are also safe for women— biryani brah (@garliquorice) October 16, 2017
While Law's Twitter campaign had an overwhelmingly positive response, there were some men who were adamant that they're "not part of the problem." But as Law noted, these people are "the definition of the problem" because of their reluctance to acknowledge the issue at all.
Lots of fragile dudes in my mentions insisting they're "not part of the problem". You're the definition of the problem. Die angry about it. pic.twitter.com/SNff4whcxp— Benjamin Law 🌈 (@mrbenjaminlaw) October 17, 2017
Educator William Fujarczuk, of the Male Allies program of the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region in Ontario, previously emphasized to HuffPost Canada that men play a vital role when it comes to creating change regarding sexual harassment, which is why the conversation shift from "me too" to "I will" is so important.
Men need to recognize how they "have been socialized and what we do in our day-to day-lives that could perhaps be contributing to this culture of sexual violence," he said.
The #MeToo campaign was first started by actress Alyssa Milano on Sunday in response to Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault scandal. Since then it's taken over the internet and given a voice to those who have been victims of sexual assault and harassment. Many women have shared their stories, including famous names such as Evan Rachel Wood, Lady Gaga and Gabrielle Union.