Summary of How #MeToo Revealed the Central Rift Within Feminism Today

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Feminism is a large, unwieldy movement, populated by diverse people in disparate circumstances. As such, an “individualist” feminist might disagree with many of the ideas that parade under the banner of feminism. The #MeToo movement and the criticism it inspired have made this clear. Where do you fall along these divisive and poorly demarcated lines? In this Guardian article, writer Moira Donegan defines the rift in feminism, petitioning individualist anti-#MeToo feminists not to dismiss the movement so readily. getAbstract recommends this article to feminists of all stripes and to anyone who views feminists as a homogenous group.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why feminists are having varied reactions to #MeToo,
  • How individualist feminism and social feminism differ, and
  • Where individualist and social feminism originated.
 

About the Author

Moira Donegan has written for N+1, The New Yorker, Bookforum and The Paris Review. She is also the author of the Shitty Media Men list.

 

Summary

The #MeToo movement has exposed a division within modern feminism. "Individualist” feminists tend to dismiss many #MeToo reactions to perceived sexual harassment as naive. Such situations are inevitable, they argue, and can be resolved with a firm no and a swift exit. “Social” feminists question the inevitability of such situations, imagining a world where harassment is rare and consent is everyone’s responsibility. They recognize that whereas saying no and leaving is an ideal solution, it’s not always possible. Betty Freidan’s The Feminine Mystique and Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In represent individualist feminism; their books primarily speak to relatively privileged white women. Kimberlé Crenshaw’s article “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex” and the concept of intersectionality better represent social feminism, which recognizes how the combination of systemic inequalities leads to diverse experiences of oppression.


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