MARGARET ATWOOD IS A BAD FEMINIST AND NEEDS TO BE PUNISHEDThe Canadian author live in her own Handmaid’s Tale:

It seems that I am a “Bad Feminist.” I can add that to the other things I’ve been accused of since 1972, such as climbing to fame up a pyramid of decapitated men’s heads (a leftie journal), of being a dominatrix bent on the subjugation of men (a rightie one, complete with an illustration of me in leather boots and a whip) and of being an awful person who can annihilate – with her magic White Witch powers – anyone critical of her at Toronto dinner tables. I’m so scary! And now, it seems, I am conducting a War on Women, like the misogynistic, rape-enabling Bad Feminist that I am.

What would a Good Feminist look like, in the eyes of my accusers?

My fundamental position is that women are human beings, with the full range of saintly and demonic behaviours this entails, including criminal ones. They’re not angels, incapable of wrongdoing. If they were, we wouldn’t need a legal system.

Nor do I believe that women are children, incapable of agency or of making moral decisions. If they were, we’re back to the 19th century, and women should not own property, have credit cards, have access to higher education, control their own reproduction or vote. There are powerful groups in North America pushing this agenda, but they are not usually considered feminists.

Furthermore, I believe that in order to have civil and human rights for women there have to be civil and human rights, period, including the right to fundamental justice, just as for women to have the vote, there has to be a vote. Do Good Feminists believe that only women should have such rights? Surely not. That would be to flip the coin on the old state of affairs in which only men had such rights.

Atwood thinks that the whole #MeToo phenomenon is now leading us, as a society, into some dangerous places, where the internet has replaced the entire judicial system as the judge, the jury and the executioner (not to mention the accuser and the prosecutor). There has never been any due process in the court of the public opinion, and the standard of proof is significantly lower than the civil one, much less the criminal one, hence perhaps as a consequence the punishments meted out have been much lighter. Nowadays, however, people – or men so far – are losing their reputation, jobs and livelihoods because at some point in their lives they might have brushed against somebody else or made some ill-advised remark. This is not only dangerous, but it also blurs the line between sexual assault/harassment and significantly less serious interactions between the sexes. This, as Atwood points out, does a disservice to women as a whole, whom it infantilises, and, one may add, to the victims of rape, for example, whose experiences it trivialises the same way that calling Trump Hitler trivialises the victims of the Holocaust.

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