Margaret Atwood – Feminism explained and criticised

I’m not advocating a return to door-mat status tor women, or even to the arrangement whereby women prop up and nurture and stroke and feed the egos of men without having men do at least some of the same for them. To understand is not necessarily to condone; and it could be pointed out that women have been ‘understanding’ men for centuries, partly because it was necessary for survival. If the other fellow has the heavy artillery, it’s best to be able to anticipate his probable moves. Women, like guerrilla fighters, developed infiltration rather than frontal attack as their favoured strategy. But ‘understanding’ as a manipulative tool – which is really a form of contempt for the thing understood – isn’t the kind I would like to see. However, some women are not in the mood to dish out any more understanding, of any kind; they’re feeling a lot like René Lévesque: the time for that is over, they want power instead. But one cannot deprive any part of humanity of the defi-
nition ‘human’ without grievous risk to one’s own soul. And for women to define themselves as powerless and men as all-powerful is to fall into an ancient trap, to shirk responsibility as well as to warp reality. The opposite also is true; to depict a world in which women are already equal to men, in power, opportunities and freedom of movement, is a similar abdication.

Writing the Male Character – CURIOUS PURSUITS, Occasional Writing, 2009 ed.

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