Maragret Atwood, eine gefeierte feministische Autorin, übt Kritik am heutigen Feminismus, indem sie fragt, ob sie – inzwischen – eine schlechte Feministin ist:
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.
So let us suppose that my Good Feminist accusers, and the Bad Feminist that is me, agree on the above points. Where do we diverge? And how did I get into such hot water with the Good Feminists?
(sie beschreibt einem Fall, in dem ein Beschuldigung wegen sexueller Übergriffe trotz Freispruch weiter verfolgt wurde)
The not-guilty verdict displeased some people. They continued to attack. It was at this point that details of UBC’s flawed process began to circulate, and the UBC Accountable letter came into being.
A fair-minded person would now withhold judgment as to guilt until the report and the evidence are available for us to see. We are grownups: We can make up our own minds, one way or the other. The signatories of the UBC Accountable letter have always taken this position. My critics have not, because they have already made up their minds. Are these Good Feminists fair-minded people? If not, they are just feeding into the very old narrative that holds women to be incapable of fairness or of considered judgment, and they are giving the opponents of women yet another reason to deny them positions of decision-making in the world.
A digression: Witch talk. Another point against me is that I compared the UBC proceedings to the Salem witchcraft trials, in which a person was guilty because accused, since the rules of evidence were such that you could not be found innocent. My Good Feminist accusers take exception to this comparison. They think I was comparing them to the teenaged Salem witchfinders and calling them hysterical little girls. I was alluding instead to the structure in place at the trials themselves.
There are, at present, three kinds of „witch“ language. 1) Calling someone a witch, as applied lavishly to Hillary Clinton during the recent election. 2) „Witchhunt,“ used to imply that someone is looking for something that doesn’t exist. 3) The structure of the Salem witchcraft trials, in which you were guilty because accused. I was talking about the third use.
This structure – guilty because accused – has applied in many more episodes in human history than Salem. 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. 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.
Such things are always done in the name of ushering in a better world. Sometimes they do usher one in, for a time anyway. Sometimes they are used as an excuse for new forms of oppression. As for vigilante justice – condemnation without a trial – it begins as a response to a lack of justice – either the system is corrupt, as in prerevolutionary France, or there isn’t one, as in the Wild West – so people take things into their own hands. But understandable and temporary vigilante justice can morph into a culturally solidified lynch-mob habit, in which the available mode of justice is thrown out the window, and extralegal power structures are put into place and maintained. The Cosa Nostra, for instance, began as a resistance to political tyranny.
The #MeToo moment is a symptom of a broken legal system. 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.
If the legal system is bypassed because it is seen as ineffectual, what will take its place? 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.