“Today, all young adults have already heard of consent”

Five years after the birth of the #metoo movement, the teenagers of that time have become young adults. They grew up and built their identity and their relationship with others in the movement, the liberation of the word and the fight for equality.

Although the precise impact of #metoo remains difficult to measure, Arthur Vuattoux, professor of sociology at Sorbonne-Paris-Nord University and co-author of the survey Young people, sexuality and the Internet (Les Pérégrines, 2020), believes that the spread of the movement on social networks has made it possible to raise awareness among all adolescents, with a smaller gap between the city and the countryside.

Read the report: Article reserved for our subscribers #metoo: five years later, six young people tell how the movement has forged their relationship with others

Has the emergence of #metoo affected this generation of adolescents and the construction of their social relationships?

It is an impact that is still quite difficult to measure precisely due, above all, to the lack of hindsight. However, we managed to formulate hypotheses that are partially verified during our interviews, in particular that of a kind of diffusion of a gender consciousness or feminist consciousness among these young adults. We owe it in particular to the fact that #metoo has managed to go beyond the insider circles of social networks to export itself to the media.

Thus, it is estimated that today, all young people have already heard of consent –whether they have integrated and opted to apply the concept or not–, which probably was not the case at all ‘ten years ago. According to the first conclusions of the ongoing qualitative and quantitative surveys, young people who, due to their social or territorial profile, were not familiar with these concepts, are increasingly aware of the subject.

Is there a difference between urban and rural youth?

The #metoo movement was born and spread first on social media, reducing the difference in impact between urban and rural youth. We enjoy the same access to the Internet in almost the entire territory, and young people are more or less all connected in the same way, although the uses differ according to their educational, economic or cultural capital.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers In Saint-Denis, the difficult #metoo of working-class neighborhoods

However, disparities between the city and the countryside persist due to a difference in access to resources, especially at the time of sexual debut. In urban areas, for example, it is easier to find a family planning center or sex education workers in schools. But these are fairly classic effects of unequal access to information.

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