I just read a brilliant opinion piece in The Guardian by Sarah Solemani. “The Aziz Ansari furore isn’t the end of #MeToo. It’s just the start”
Older feminists are dismayed and fretting that #MeToo has become a ‘witch hunt’ that is tarring too many men with the same brush, threatening to dissipate the movement itself. They are speaking up, cautioning that women need to respect due legal process, that we risk alienating all men in our rush to indict all. Seemingly unfettered and empowered on social media, younger women need to take care or risk losing all of their hard-won gains.
Younger feminists like Lalonde have come rudely roaring back — stand back and shut up, older feminists, you no longer have the mic. Your years of catering to and accepting men’s behaviour are over, you have been complicit, ignorant and oh so privileged. It’s time to recognize that your experiences and your perspectives add no value to today’s discussions.
And I’ve been watching all this fallout, mostly just pissed off that women are fighting each other again.
Maybe it’s the middle child in me. Can’t we find a way to get along better, or at least argue better in public? We’re supposedly on the same team.
It’s the same reaction I have to women dumping on last weekend’s women’s march for not being inclusive enough, or for being too political, or (OUCH!) too full of white women trying to take credit for the repudiation of a president 53% of them voted for.
What makes us turn on each other like this, when solidarity is so vital at this time in our history? How can we move forward if we can’t even get our own act together?
When I researched Runaway Wives, the great divide cropped up a few times. The shelter founders were deeply hurt that many younger feminists view the whole second-wave movement with contempt. They didn’t ‘get’ intersectionality; they didn’t ‘get’ how privileged they were. I hoped the book might bridge that gap, show younger feminists how and why these women did what they did. They were in their twenties once, too.
But having read Solemani’s essay, I have come to the conclusion that it is indeed time for older women to shut up and listen and learn. We need to support those now on our front lines, unreservedly and with love.
The future is in good hands.
Read the whole thing. Then read again the last paragraph and know that this is true:
Let’s at least permit ourselves to picture life in a new reality, wandering the spaces men roam freely – a strange pub perhaps, or India, or the nighttime. Imagine going to a nightclub on your own just because you like the music. Imagine boarding a bus, not noticing it was full of men, because you were enjoying the view. Imagine a really good orgasm as standard. Imagine the decent bloke you know being the norm, not the exception. Imagine the movement you were a part of that changed everything. Imagine. Imagine. I dare you.