Call out culture: shedding light on media platforms

Call out culture: shedding light on media platforms

Jackie Au



Twitter is an amazing platform that allows millions of individuals to interact and share ideas on a level previously unseen in human history. Actually, pretty much all aspects of the internet succeed in connecting the world’s ideas and beliefs, and it’s changing the way we interact with one another. 

However, call out culture, the act of publicly naming instances of oppressive behavior, is not a new behavior exclusive to the rise of the internet. For as long as humans could speak, there have been differing opinions, and with differing opinions comes instances of oppression, prejudice, and the creation of the “other” complex. However, with the rise of conflict, there are often times a desire to “call out” or make one accountable for their actions and opinions. And thus, call out culture was born. 

Call out culture acts in two very important ways; first by bringing to light the offensive opinions and actions of an individual through “calling out,” as well as the subsequent call for accountability for the actions of the individual. On paper, this seems like a perfectly viable method of social activism, and apart from the few outliers, call out culture actually works. 

In the case of the sexual harassment by media mogul Harvey Weinstein, the Twitter call out started by actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd served as the catalyst for the resurgence of the “Me Too” movement, providing people all over America and the world the platform to publically speak about the continued presence of sexual abuse and harassment by people in power. 

Because of these changes, the silence surrounding sexual abuse began to lift and the voices of the countless people subjected to abuse were able to speak out and usher in an era of change. To say the silence was completely lifted, however, is an unfounded belief. The presence of sexual assault and sexual abuse that women face is rampant and the eventual silence of these women are not due in part to their own lack of courage to speak up, but rather the lacking platform for their voices to be heard. The presence of call out culture chips away at the lacking platform and actually provides people of all genders with a way to show the world that the actions of men such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Louis C.K. are not acceptable and will be “called out” accordingly. 

The continuation of calling out on Twitter not only allows for the oppressive dialogues of individuals to be identified as wrong, but it also serves to create accountability on the individual for the rhetoric and actions of the person. 

It seems like a simple concept; a person does something bad, they are called out for that action, and should be held accountable for said action. So, in a world where we can share ideas on a level previously unseen, the presence of call out culture allows us to bring forward the accountability for those who perform offensive and oppressive actions, and in turn allows marginalized populations a platform previously unseen in order to speak out against oppression. So keep collecting those #receipts and keep on slayin’, babes.