Margaret Atwood wants activists who have deemed her a “Bad Feminist” for questioning elements of the #MeToo movement to know that she will not buckle under pressure.
The author of “The Handmaid’s Tale” told fans that she will be leaving social media due to online vitriol over her scrutiny of a cultural movement aimed at exposing sexual misconduct. The 78-year-old has drawn hackles from critics since she signed a letter last year in favor of due process for a University of British Columbia professor battling allegations of sexual misconduct.
“It seems that I am a ‘Bad Feminist,’ ” the author recently wrote for Canada’s Globe and Mail. “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.”
Ms. Atwood said critics are upset that she calls the #MeToo movement a “symptom of a broken legal system.”
“My fundamental position is that women are human beings, with the full range of saintly and demonic behaviors this entails, including criminal ones. They’re not angels, incapable of wrongdoing. If they were, we wouldn’t need a legal system,” the author wrote on Saturday.
Ms. Atwood added that a population of #MeToo supporters have gravitated toward a “guilty because accused” mentality seen throughout history.
“It tends to kick in during the ‘Terror and Virtue’ phase of revolutions — something has gone wrong, and there must be a purge, as in the French Revolution, Stalin’s purges in the USSR, the Red Guard period in China, the reign of the Generals in Argentina and the early days of the Iranian Revolution,” she said. “The list is long and Left and Right have both indulged. Before ‘Terror and Virtue’ is over, a great many have fallen by the wayside. Note that I am not saying that there are no traitors or whatever the target group may be; simply that in such times, the usual rules of evidence are bypassed.”
“A war among women, as opposed to a war on women, is always pleasing to those who do not wish women well. This is a very important moment. I hope it will not be squandered,” Ms. Atwood concluded.