The hashtag #MeAt14 started trending on Twitter this weekend, not to share embarrassing, braces-ridden photos of chunky highlights and over-zealous dance routines, but for a far more disturbing reason: to make the statement that 14 is too young to consent to sexual activity with an adult.
Four women came forward to The Washington Post this week with allegations that Alabama politician Roy Moore (R) pursued them romantically when they were in their teens (and he was in early 30s) — and one, Leigh Corfman, alleges she was only 14 years old when Moore made advances on her.
While Moore denied the allegations, calling them “prime example of fake news,” he also responded to Sean Hannity’s radio interview question of whether he used to date teen girls in his 30s with the not-so-reassuring answer of: “Not generally, no.”
Now, The Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead is responding to the accusations by making a point about what girls are really like at age 14.
“This is me at 14,” she tweeted with a school picture. “I was on the gymnastics team and sang in the choir. I was not dating a 32 year old man.” She then invited her followers to tweet out using the hashtag #MeAt14 to strengthen her point.
They delivered. The hashtag quickly caught on, with even a few celebrities adding their own anecdotes.
“I was eating a lot of chocolate chip cookie dough,” Katie Couric shared with an old picture.
“I was happy. I was innocent,” Alyssa Milano wrote.
Read more wholesome encounters of people riding horses, loving gummy worms, getting their braces tightened, and struggling in Spanish class below.
While most of the submitters recall days of studying for algebra tests, reapplying lip gloss, and prank calling their friends, others are driving the hashtag home by opening up about encounters of sexual abuse and assault when they were 14.
“It took me decades to realize the most of the bad things that happened to me were NOT MY FAULT,” one person tweeted.
“I was raped by a stranger at 14,” another user wrote, “my canines weren’t fully in yet.”
One of the most common refrains from all of the #MeAt14 submissions, though, is that many of them didn’t recognize how immature, and childish — in the best way — they were at that age until they looked back on it.
“I wanted to ask people to put pictures of their 14-year-old selves up, and tell us what we were like at 14, and what we were doing, and that we were not dating 32-year-old men,” Winstead told Bustle in an interview.
“I hope that seeing this young, innocent wonderful lives in their feeds will remind them that there is no place for a 32-year-old man to be literally inserting himself.”