Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: #MeToo Can Withstand a Few Bumps

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: #MeToo Can Withstand a Few Bumps

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: #MeToo can withstand a few bumps


An editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press, published Jan. 29:

The #MeToo movement entered Canadian politics last week, taking down two provincial Progressive Conservative party leaders and a federal Liberal cabinet minister in the wake of sexual-misconduct allegations.

Reaction was mixed, with some observers declaring a cleanup of Canadian politics overdue, and others -- including newspaper columnist Christie Blatchford, who called the forced resignation of Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown "fundamentally wrong" -- expressing concerns about the death of due process in the #TimesUp era.

These north-of-the-border developments come on the heels of an op-ed in the Globe and Mail in which Margaret Atwood asked if she's a bad feminist. The celebrated author's alleged misdeed involved signing a petition calling out the University of British Columbia for its handling of a former employee who was accused of sexual assault. Atwood didn't defend him so much as she defended his right to due process.

The reaction to Ms. Atwood's op-ed served as another example of #MeToo's generational divide. Older women concerned the movement might be infantalizing women are dismissed as out-of-touch, irrelevant old biddies, while younger women are being told what they have experienced is "not that bad." This, despite the fact everyone is fighting for the same thing: a world in which women are not used as sexual playthings.

Ms. Atwood argued that #MeToo is a symptom of a broken justice system, and it's a fair point. For victims who feel as though they have little recourse within the justice system, outing an abuser online is an appealing alternative -- it's immediate and it might protect someone else.

Whisper networks or bad-guy lists have existed in some form for centuries, which is why every time an accused famous man's name is flashed across TV screens on red scrolling banners, there is a percentage of women for whom that news isn't news at all. …

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