People

Margaret Atwood responds to #MeToo comment backlash

Posted by
Emily Reynolds
Published

Margaret Atwood is a feminist hero. But her latest comments, on #MeToo and due process, have faced a social media backlash.

From her novels to her non-fiction, Margaret Atwood has long been a champion of women’s rights, with work including The Handmaid’s Tale and The Edible Woman as relevant now as when they were first written. 

But now her latest comments, in an op-ed for Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail,  have caused a little more controversy. 

In the piece, entitled ‘Am I a bad feminist?’, Atwood questions what will happen post #MeToo. “If the legal system is bypassed because it is seen as ineffectual, what will take its place?” she writes. “Who will be the new power brokers?”. 

“It won’t be the Bad Feminists like me. We are acceptable neither to Right nor to Left. In times of extremes, extremists win.”

“Their ideology becomes a religion, anyone who doesn’t puppet their views is seen as an apostate, a heretic or a traitor, and moderates in the middle are annihilated. Fiction writers are particularly suspect because they write about human beings, and people are morally ambiguous. The aim of ideology is to eliminate ambiguity.”

Even more controversially, Atwood describes the movement as “temporary vigilante justice” that has the potential to “morph into a culturally solidified lynch-mob habit”.

“The Cosa Nostra, for instance, began as a resistance to political tyranny,” she writes.

And her comments were not well received. 

Atwood has responded to some of the criticism. 

“Endorsing basic human rights for everyone is not warring against women,” she wrote in response to one tweet. “In order to have rights for women you have to have rights, period. Me being a blood-drinking monster does not make that untrue.” 

Image: Rex Features