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Old 01-13-2018, 02:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Am I a Bad Feminist

Before you comment, please please read the article in full. I know Bad Feminist sounds like a gamer gate type term, but this is an opinion piece by Margaret Atwood, author of Alias Grace and Handmaids Tale so she not only has earned some voice on the matter but she’s extremely well spoken.

From the term Witch to #MeToo to comments on Human Rights and Justice, this article will definitely make you think. Here is a sample:

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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.
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https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opin...ticle37591823/

A good portion of the article is about a Canadian case you might not be familiar with, but I think many of her points apply anywhere and to all of us.

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A war among women, as opposed to a war on women, is always pleasing to those who do not wish women well. This is a very important moment. I hope it will not be squandered.
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Old 01-13-2018, 04:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The way Bill Cosby's accusers were treated over the decades helps illustrate how the justice system absolutely didn't give a shit. I'm really happy that they have incentive to take it more seriously. I'm hopeful that instances of powerful men doing this drops drastically just because they now know they can't get away with it.

But I absolutely agree that this needs to shift back to the justice system, and not the mob. I think any sane person can agree with that. I know women I really trust who have had stuff like this happen to them, but I also know a couple who would make it up maliciously.
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Old 01-13-2018, 05:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Good article. I absolutely agree that this needs to shift back to to the legal system, if not in criminal courts, at least with civil filings. The problem is that most courts require some sort of corroborating evidence. In more than 70% of these cases, you simply have one person making a claim against another, often over something that occurred years ago. The result would be a lot of people being found not guilty and I am not sure the social media public will accept that. Then where do you go?
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Old 01-13-2018, 05:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Leno a couple years ago:

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“I don’t know why it’s so hard to believe women,” Leno told comedian Tom Papa, who moderated the conversation. “You go to Saudi Arabia and you need two women to testify against a man. Here you need 25.”
Jay Leno on Bill Cosby:
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Old 01-13-2018, 07:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soda Sullivan View Post
Good article. I absolutely agree that this needs to shift back to to the legal system, if not in criminal courts, at least with civil filings. The problem is that most courts require some sort of corroborating evidence. In more than 70% of these cases, you simply have one person making a claim against another, often over something that occurred years ago. The result would be a lot of people being found not guilty and I am not sure the social media public will accept that. Then where do you go?
I don't know about the law on evidence in the USA, but certainly in the UK the law requires only that the case be proved to the appropriate standard, civil or criminal, depending on the type of case.

Corroborating evidence is very helpful, certainly, in any case, but, in the nature of things, cases involving sexual assault often come to down to the complainant's word against that of the defendant.

Nevertheless, prosecutors manage to get convictions in criminal cases and plaintiffs manage to win in civil cases based only of the live evidence to the two parties concerned. In a criminal case, be it a sexual assault or anything else, the (rightly) high standard of proof required means that guilty defendants will be acquitted, since if as a juror I'm reasonably, or even almost, sure he's guilty, I still have to vote to acquit. I have to be sure of his guilt before I can find him guilty.

However, in a civil case, where the plaintiff has to prove the case only to the balance of probabilities (is it the preponderance of evidence in the US?), then that's not such an issue.

The fact that a particular section of "the social media public" will or won't accept something seems to me not wholly to the point. If significant decisions are to be taken on the basis of what particular sections of the social media public make of things, then God help us.
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Old 01-13-2018, 07:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I love this article, because it does come down to, 'Did so and so really do this? Or are a few people making it up.'

But US courts are especially bad [and seem to be getting worse] about prosecuting men over the word of women. Even when found guilty, they seem to get a slap on the wrist, especially if they are powerful, or white, or come from rich families. Even in cases where underage victims are involved.
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Old 01-13-2018, 11:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I honestly don't think American society is convinced that rape is a crime. It doesn't know what consent is. It often condones violence by persons with authority in a variety of settings, in families and institutions. A lot of society is simply not modern, and we have a very long way to go before the ethics we take for granted becomes the popular consensus.
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Old 01-14-2018, 12:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Some men (and fucking atheists) are actually trying to restore the reputation of convicted serial child rapist Jerry Sandusky.

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This topic should not really be about women, as least in regards to certain Western countries. It's about how white men have been in charge for far too long, and how to change it.
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Old 01-14-2018, 01:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aribeth Zelin View Post
I love this article, because it does come down to, 'Did so and so really do this? Or are a few people making it up.'

But US courts are especially bad [and seem to be getting worse] about prosecuting men over the word of women. Even when found guilty, they seem to get a slap on the wrist, especially if they are powerful, or white, or come from rich families. Even in cases where underage victims are involved.
There are a lot of men, especially black men, who are sitting in jail right now who would disagree with you.
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Old 01-14-2018, 02:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Yes she is a bad feminist. Or whatever you want to call it. She’s also a shitty person who is grandstanding for her friend instead of doing anything to help the women actually trying to change things or the students being taken advantage of.

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Old 01-14-2018, 02:47 AM   #11 (permalink)
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There are a lot of men, especially black men, who are sitting in jail right now who would disagree with you.

Women of color are even less likely to see their attackers get convicted.

It really boils down to a hierarchy of power with white men permitted to use sexual violence in many situations. That racism is in the picture doesn't mean that misogyny isn't also in the same picture.

Nine of this is new. We have to push for the rule of law and a non-racist rule of law at the same time. Abandoning the rule of law will not move us toward a modern society. Pushing to have a less racist judiciary is perfectly compatible with pushing to have a less sexist one.

I don't see anyone with power trying to push for thoughtless authoritarian solutions, except the right.
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Old 01-14-2018, 10:32 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aribeth Zelin View Post
I love this article, because it does come down to, 'Did so and so really do this? Or are a few people making it up.'

But US courts are especially bad [and seem to be getting worse] about prosecuting men over the word of women. Even when found guilty, they seem to get a slap on the wrist, especially if they are powerful, or white, or come from rich families. Even in cases where underage victims are involved.
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There are a lot of men, especially black men, who are sitting in jail right now who would disagree with you.
See above under the especially. I'm well aware a good number of black men end up in jail, but what about Cosby [who is rich and powerful]?
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Old 01-14-2018, 12:00 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Ms. Atwood wrote about three different things: An answer to her most virulent critics, the UBC case, and she thinks society should proceed now after the #Metoo happenings. She doesn't usually like to pronounce herself (on talk-shows and such) on feminist issues for many reasons, and frankly, I don't blame her. Her fiction should be left to speak for itself. I think she should have stuck to the UBC case, debate it with those close to the case if she wished.

Saying that we should now let the justice system do what it's there for isn't exactly ground-breaking. No offence to Margaret Atwood, I love her as an author and find her humorous and yes, a feminist, just by being herself and leading a life worth looking up to. But.

Since she doesn't usually like to speak about feminist issues in public, or at least, it always seems as she does so reluctantly, I wish she would continue to not do so instead of waiting for just the ''right'' moment, like some great poobah of wisdom, to say something like ''The #MeToo moment is a symptom of a broken legal system.''

As if all women who have spoken up these last months are raving lunatics who haven't already thought and spoken these exact words.
How do we do this, though? This is where we are at, no? She is welcomed to get down and dirty with the rest of us and talk it out, and yes argue if she wishes - that's not a war - or she can stay the way she is, a more contemplating type who prefers to contribute through fiction, and the occasional ''blog'' post, or opinion piece. However she chooses to express herself, for me, she remains a feminist.
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Old 01-14-2018, 12:04 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Old 01-14-2018, 12:18 PM   #15 (permalink)
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It just personally rubs me the wrong way when people keep quiet, wait for the perfect moment to spring something very reasonable that others have been saying, without risking being wrong by speaking all along with everyone. Does this make sense?

Like on forums... you can stand back from a debate, not contribute, not post, not push buttons, then *vlang* a ''reasonable'' post or new thread built on everyone else's thoughts and words and first-impressions (sometimes wrong but that is how we all learn).

In any case, by setting up her opinion piece with the opening paragraph about extreme lefts and extreme rights and her accusers, etc, I think the real issue is that 'she' has felt attacked (and not her thoughts on feminism and the #Metoo happening whatever that's called). And yes, unfortunately, among feminists, as in all types of political/social groups, there will be infighting.
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Old 01-14-2018, 12:49 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isabeau Imako View Post
Ms. Atwood wrote about three different things: An answer to her most virulent critics, the UBC case, and she thinks society should proceed now after the #Metoo happenings.
It was probably too difficult for her to accomplish, but if she had been able to keep herself out of the narrative and the natural desire to defend herself, and focused on the issue and on what UBC needs for itself going forward, at the very least I might not have spent the whole time I was reading it feeling like I've read this way too many times before.
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Old 01-14-2018, 12:57 PM   #17 (permalink)
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It just personally rubs me the wrong way when people keep quiet, wait for the perfect moment to spring something very reasonable that others have been saying, without risking being wrong by speaking all along with everyone. Does this make sense?
It makes a whole lot of sense.

It's absolutely standard in politics to give evasive answers to everything or even contradictory answers until it's really safe to say something real.

Not to thread hijack, but this is what I keep thinking about Hilary Clinton's 2013 announcement that she supported gay marriage. She largely sat out of the debate until it was nice and safe to take a stand. I fully understand why she did it, but I can't believe she's some champion of civil rights.
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Old 01-14-2018, 12:59 PM   #18 (permalink)
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It makes a whole lot of sense.

It's absolutely standard in politics to give evasive answers to everything or even contradictory answers until it's really safe to say something real.
Atwood is not a politician. And if you were to argue with her that she fits into your point, she'd probably wretch.
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Old 01-14-2018, 01:10 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Atwood is not a politician. And if you were to argue with her that she fits into your point, she'd probably wretch.
I'm not familiar with Atwood's work, so I was just making a general point about something she said that I thought was a more general point.

But what I said can apply to anyone who makes their living talking politics, if not Atwood personally.

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Old 01-14-2018, 01:20 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Not to thread hijack, but this is what I keep thinking about Hilary Clinton's 2013 announcement that she supported gay marriage. She largely sat out of the debate until it was nice and safe to take a stand. I fully understand why she did it, but I can't believe she's some champion of civil rights.
I've had my issues with Clinton's late awakening on that particular topic, but being a champion for something does not make you a hero of it. Late to the party or not, she did end up supporting gay marriage, especially as a presidential candidate.

And Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State "came out" in 2011 in a big way for gay rights. So I have trouble believing she sat out the debate.
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Old 01-14-2018, 01:23 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I'm not familiar with [Margaret] Atwood's work, so I was just making a general point about something he said
Obviously.
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Old 01-14-2018, 01:26 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I'm not familiar with Atwood's work,
Familiarizing wouldn't be a waste of your time.
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Old 01-14-2018, 03:08 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I think anyone that says “let the justice system handle it” given the current statistics on how that plays out needs to fuck off. The likelihood of anyone facing criminal consequence over these revelations is near impossible, but if they do, it won’t be because of Twitter, it’ll be because there are witnesses and evidence. And even then we all see the outcomes.

As for individuals finally facing social and employment consequences? Employers will cover their own asses, so the legal system will take care of that, too.

What this really is are a bunch of women who think other women shouldn’t compare notes in public and should stick to the traditional whisper networks. Those days are, hopefully, over. So they can fucking evolve.
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Old 01-14-2018, 03:19 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
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It was probably too difficult for her to accomplish, but if she had been able to keep herself out of the narrative and the natural desire to defend herself, and focused on the issue and on what UBC needs for itself going forward, at the very least I might not have spent the whole time I was reading it feeling like I've read this way too many times before.
*cough* Lena Dunham *cough*

Let’s be real? Her own narrative was the only reason she penned the article. If it hadn’t been for wanting to address how this affected her personally, she’d have kept her “I’m so above this” silence. As the frustrated women at UBC have been pointing out, if she actually gave a fuck, shed have been using her influence to help them with reform long before now. But she has no skin in the game.

It’s easy to say things like “women should have equal pay” or write a story that showcases inequality. But i side-eye any feminist who wants to lecture about “extremes” while letting everyone else do the difficult work. And as a white feminist myself, I have to say, this is a problem that is largely based on white feminist elitism. You don’t see many high profile feminist women of color that have open mouths and idle hands.
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Old 01-14-2018, 03:25 PM   #25 (permalink)
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