The #MeToo movement has shined a much-needed spotlight on the issues of sexual harassment and assault in our society. But as the #MeToo movement continues to grow, so does the criticism, unfortunately. Margaret Atwood is the latest person of note to express skepticism about #MeToo. The Handmaid’s Tale author wrote an essay called “Am I a bad feminist?” which was published to Canadian news site The Globe and Mail on Saturday, January 13th.
“The #MeToo moment is a symptom of a broken legal system,” Margaret Atwood wrote in the essay. “All too frequently, women and other sexual-abuse complainants couldn’t get a fair hearing through institutions – including corporate structures – so they used a new tool: the internet. Stars fell from the skies. This has been very effective, and has been seen as a massive wake-up call. But what next? The legal system can be fixed, or our society could dispose of it. Institutions, corporations and workplaces can houseclean, or they can expect more stars to fall, and also a lot of asteroids.”
Basically, Atwood believes that while the #MeToo movement has been powerful, it undermines the legal system and puts it at risk.
Margaret Atwood also discussed the “guilty because accused” nature of the #MeToo movement.
She said that “vigilante justice” like this can inspire a “lynch-mob habit” that threatens legal structures. But many think that this belief, in a way, undermines the importance of believing women and victims.
After Atwood’s essay was published, many people tweeted their disappointment.
Author Roxane Gay, who wrote the popular essay collection titled Bad Feminist, also responded.
Margaret Atwood herself responded to some of the criticism.
And in the midst of all this, Atwood also tweeted an article written by a man who has even more criticism for #MeToo. It didn’t go over well.
Atwood followed up by saying that her sharing the article was not necessarily an endorsement. Nonetheless, fans still seem disappointed that she would elevate that writer’s voice.
Hopefully, we can all continue to work together to support those who have spoken out as part of #MeToo.