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Authors

Mikayla Pevac

Abstract

The MeToo movement has changed the public consciousness surrounding the topic of sexual violence. Throughout history, survivors of sexual violence have publicly disclosed their experiences in the hope that others would be spared similar fates. This paper looks at two such cases where survivors publicly accused prominent men in society of sexual violence and how news commentary preceding and following the MeToo hashtag have shifted. Case number one focuses on Dylan Farrow: the adopted daughter of filmmaker Woody Allen who accused him of sexually abusing her as a child in August 1992. Case number two is Anita Hill: the lawyer and academic who accused Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in October 1991. While both Farrow and Hill’s stories have found new awareness post-MeToo, the two cases diverge in the media framing of their allegations due to the racist bias of mainstream media. This paper argues that Farrow’s whiteness, and the whiteness of other prominent players within MeToo, have emboldened her claims in ways that Black or Brown survivors would not similarly experience—thus continuing the trend of prioritizing whiteness in the U.S. feminist tradition. By thematically comparing the public statements of Farrow and Hill and the resulting news commentaries, this paper will use intersectionality theory to analyze how MeToo has influenced the way that the news media frames discussions around the experiences of sexual violence survivors for survivors of different ethnic backgrounds.

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