Famed Canadian author of such novels as The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood asks “am I a bad feminist?” in a controversial new piece.
“It seems that I am a ‘Bad Feminist,'” Atwood writes in an op-ed for The Globe and Mail. “I can add that to the other things I’ve been accused of since 1972…”
Continuing, “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.”
Atwood had previously drawn criticism for signing a letter of support for writer and former UBC professor Steven Galloway, who has been accused by multiple students of sexual harassment and assault, and that is the focus of Atwood’s new piece: “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.”
“My fundamental position is that women are human beings, with the full range of saintly and demonic behaviours this entails, including criminal ones,” she explains. “They’re not angels, incapable of wrongdoing. If they were, we wouldn’t need a legal system.”
Equality is a two-way street as far as the Canadian is concerned. “I believe that in order to have civil and human rights for women there have to be civil and human rights, period,” she says. “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 goes on to detail the circumstances around the Galloway case. Her op-ed has elicited both supportive and critical feedback from the Twitterverse.