#MeToo and the ‘woke’ generation didn’t happen overnight | Letters | World news


Moira Donegan (#MeToo and the rift within feminism, The long read, 11 May) appears to believe that it is the current “woke” generation who first noticed that “meaningful liberation from misogyny will only be achieved collectively, with changes at the structural, cultural and institutional levels”. And yet it was exactly this understanding that fuelled the women’s liberation movement of the 1970s.

There is nothing new about bitter ideological rifts between women who identify as feminists, and yes, some “famous western feminists” have promoted an individualist agenda, oblivious to race and class privilege. But lots of non-famous feminists, black and white, have argued and campaigned tirelessly for decades in exactly the spirit of solidarity that Donegan identifies as the hallmark of #MeToo.

All the feminists I know of my age (60-plus) are cheering on the #MeToo movement: at last, the outrage that has fired us up for nearly 50 years has reached the mainstream.

But cultural change on this scale does not happen overnight: it has taken two generations for the insights of the second wave of feminists – mostly dismissed at the time as the ravings of extremists – to become mainstream.

It is second-wave feminists and their allies, striving away as campaigners, lawyers, lawmakers in parliament, trade unionists, journalists, academics, psychotherapists, writers, artists (you name it!) who have created a world where #MeToo eventually became inevitable. Above all, second-wave feminists, working as teachers in millions of classrooms and mothers in millions of homes, have raised a generation who take equality and diversity for granted and can’t imagine how anyone could ever have accepted anything less.

Yes, there is still rampant sexism and racism, and many other injustices, at large in our society. And there will always be counter-revolutionaries in any revolution. A luta continua!
Lucy Whitman
London





Laura Bates



Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

It was odd for a British reader of Moira Donegan’s article not to see any mention of the impact of the book Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates on the current wave of feminism. The book, and the blog that started it, gathered together the different male prejudices to provide absolute proof of their existence, in a way that had never been done before. It made a huge impact on feminists of all ages and types in the UK; yet it seems as though US feminists such as Moira Donegan have never heard of it. Can this be true? They only seem to have #Me Too, which, as a loose alliance, is already under attack. Everyday Sexism is a fact-finding feminist project that must be maintained, and Laura Bates deserves a knighthood (er, ladyhood? Damehood?).
Virginia Cumming
London

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