Margaret Atwood's "bad feminist" backlash

Gay, Roxane. Bad Feminist: Essays. Olive Editions, 2014.

Roxane Gay’s ground-breaking essays were published into a book into 2014, and it was lauded as a highly influential third-wave feminist texts. This piece is a secondary source and also an interesting side plot among the storm of hate being sent Margaret Atwood's way. Many feminists on Twitter accused the author of appropriating the term "bad feminist" from the black feminist essayist, author and PhD Roxane Gay. Gay herself commented on the situation via Twitter, saying “With all due respect to Margaret Atwood, this is not what I meant when I said ‘Bad Feminist’” (paraphrasing). Upon my reading of this book, I find that the introductory essay “Feminist (n): Plural” backs up Margaret’s ideas in her op-ed piece for the Globe and Mail. Gay discusses how feminism is flawed because human beings are flawed, with differences in opinion and experiences. Conflicting opinions will always arise among the feminist community, but they all stem from a good place and people trying to use their voice and make a difference in an very imperfect world. I can also understand why Gay would dislike Atwood's use of the term, since she was not credited or mentioned in the letter, and Margaret Atwood basically used the term to scoff at her accusers. However, I also think Atwood had a right to defend herself in light of the terrible accusations being thrown her way. After almost 50 years of being a female writer and activist, I believe Margaret Atwood deserves more respect and credit from younger feminists. Without the work of her and fellow female writers, there would not be modern feminism. Hopefully Atwood will comment on whether she was aware of Gay's book or not, however I still don't think the term "bad feminist" is unique enough to say she stole/erased the works of Roxane Gay. Both pieces are politically charged, controversial, brutally honest and unapologetic. I appreciate both women for using their voices and making themselves heard. 

 

Kingsolver, Barbara. “#MeToo Isn't Enough. Now Women Need to Get Ugly.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 16 Jan. 2018, www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/16/metoo-women-daughters-harassment-powerful-men?CMP=share_btn_tw

This secondary source article well reflected my thoughts about the problem with the movement. Kingsolver gracefully pointed out all the good which has come from the movement, and also points out where it needs to go and how the short-comings can be solved. To quote directly from the text, “the #MeToo movement can’t bring justice to a culture so habituated to misogyny that we can’t even fathom parity, and women still dread losing the power we’ve been taught to use best: our charm.” There is a lot of noise being made regarding change in the male dominated sexual culture. However, not a lot of long terms solutions are being put in place or made a prevalent discussion among the feminist community. The article states how this movement has proved the pervasive daily threats women face in our society, yet Kingsolver  also implores her readers to take this shift in the cultural narrative as a chance to find their voice. Women must be empowered by the word "no", use it whenever they feel so inclined, and teach the future generation of girls how to say no as well. This movement needs to be more than a hashtag: it must translate to everyday lives, cultural expectations and institutions nationwide.