“Handmaid’s Tale” author Margaret Atwood weighed in today on the highly contentious gender identity/terminology debate, and in the aftermath, pearls are being clutched as many in her vast left-wing fan base are having to come to terms with the fact that even a legendary literary icon who is highly revered in feminist circles can see that as a society, western countries like the U.S. and her’s (Canada) are going down the wrong path with their aggressive push to mollify gender identity fanatics by eliminating gendered terms from the public debate in the name of “tolerance.”
It all started with a recent piece written by Toronto Star current affairs and sports columnist Rosie DiManno, who like many women who have also weighed in is very alarmed at the direction we’re headed on this issue. In her column, DiManno wondered, “Why can’t we say ‘woman’ anymore?” in the headline before outlining recent instances where supposedly “woke” organizations like the ACLU and The Lancet Medical Journal got caught eliminating all references to the term “women” in pieces they wrote or shared that were specifically about women.
Noting that all of this was “directly a phenomenon resulting from trans activism run amok,” DiManno, who appears to lean to the left on other issues, argued that a “whiff of misogyny” could be seen taking place in some of the crusades to gender neutralize language:
There’s more than a whiff of misogyny to it. Why “woman” the no-speak word and not “man?” Why not “persons who urinate standing up” or “people who eject semen?”
Certainly there are words — they are slurs mostly — that are no longer acceptable. “Woman” shouldn’t be one of them.
The battleground of language has turned into a baffleground of agendas.
I am woman and I am roaring.
Atwood, apparently liking what she read, shared the piece on Twitter this morning – causing an uproar among her fans, many of who per the comments and quote RTs were shaking or whatever over her supposedly traitorous rhetorical question (which, of course, was the headline of the column):
— Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) October 19, 2021
In response to the wave of fans reaching for the fainting couches, Atwood encouraged them to read the piece before weighing in (a novel approach, I know), alerting critics to the fact that DiManno could hardly be considered a “TERF” (a term transgender rights proponents use to describe what they call “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists”).
Atwood’s one tweet is reminiscent of the hot water popular “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling found herself in in late 2019 after she took to the Twitter machine to defend a British woman (Maya Forstater) who lost her job after old tweets were dug up where she stated biological men could not be women.
As I wrote before, women like Rowling and tennis legend Martina Navratilova, who has also been a force to be reckoned with in this debate, are showing how it’s done. They don’t fit the mold of a typical critic of gender identity politics, but nevertheless are bold enough to speak their minds and not back down when the going gets tough.
Hopefully, Atwood will end up holding the line as well, but only time will tell.
For conservative women who have been among the most vocal opponents of effectively erasing “female” and “woman” from the public lexicon, the alliance with women with who we otherwise don’t have a lot in common has been an odd one. But it’s a necessary one because this is definitely one of those turning points in our history where if we temporarily put our differences aside and unite together in this battle we will stand tall and strong and emerge victorious on behalf of future generations of women.
But if divided, we absolutely will fall – and at that point, there will be no turning back.