The week in hashtags: #BeenRapedNeverReported, #Catcalling, #iStandSunday, #NaNoWriMo

From raising awareness and hijacking hate to moustaches and writer’s block, here are the biggest hashtags from the past week…


One of the most powerful hashtags of late, #BeenRapedNeverReported was started on Thursday night by Antonia Zerbisias, a writer for the Toronto Star, as a defence of Canadian actress Lucy DeCoutere, one of nine women to accuse TV host Jian Ghomeshi of sexual violence (and topic of another of the week’s big hashtags, #ibelievelucy). While we might not be too familiar with the stars of Canadian media, the stories of violence bravely shared using the hashtag had a universal resonance.

‘If all women who’ve been raped stepped out of our shame & shared, we would make the stigma go away!’ tweeted Zerbisias, who had such a big response that she was still up interacting with the ‘tsunami’ of tweeters on Monday morning.



Continuing our North American news education (and also teaching us that people in the US are still using the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ trope we thought was finally dead forever), last week saw a classic Twitter hijacking in the form of campaigns for the US midterm elections on Tuesday.

With polls indicating it’s likely the Republican party will take over control of the Senate, Democrats used the hashtag to share reasons that this would be a bad thing… with GOP supporters doing, quite predictably, the opposite.

   (That’s veterans, not veterinarians, for anyone else momentarily confused.)        



Twitter loves a backfiring hashtag, and here’s another good one. When anti-gay campaigners started the hashtag #iStandSunday to promote an anti-equality rally in Houston this weekend, it was quickly co-opted by LGBTQ activists (and, you know, everyone else) to share positive messages of pride and solidarity.   



If you’ve not seen the video, then you’ve certainly heard the furore. Anti-street harassment campaign group Hollaback! and director Rob Bliss filmed a woman walked fro 10 hours through the streets of New York, with hidden camera and microphones, to record every instance of catcalling and unwanted male attention she received in that time – 108 in all.

Cue a tidal wave of debate and commentary, with many women keen to confirm that yes, this is an everyday experience for us too. In a grimly predictable twist, soon after the video went viral on Wednesday, its star, Shoshanah Roberts, received rape threats on Twitter. Meanwhile critics pointed out that the harassers featured in the video were predominantly non-white, giving it an unfair racial bias.

And a guy who tried to mansplain that ‘there is nothing a woman likes to hear more than how pretty she is’ was greeted with a pretty conclusive response on CNN. The hollering doesn’t look set to end any time soon (though sadly nor does the harassment).



It’s that time again! And before we get to the point where the whole male contingent of our social circle looks like Tom Selleck moonlighting as a Victorian strongman (at best, Kip from Napoleon Dynamite at worst), we have several days of ‘remember when not everyone had a beard?’ nostalgia as they all shave off their facial fuzz and return to a state of adorable barefaced innocence.

Bonus points for anyone who had a go at a Craig David pencil goatee in the process.   

Homer's moustache



Taking part in National Novel Writing Month is now one of the most popular forms of Twitter activity during November, perhaps second only to mocking National Novel Writing Month. As participants struggle to up their word count in pursuit of the 30-day 50,000 word deadline, everyone else displays a seemingly limitless supply of tips, jokes and inspiration. The jury’s out on which group is less likely to get published.   


Lauren Bravo