What do you predict is next in this current wave of feminist protests?
Ursula Le Guin has a very good thing on anger, in which she says anger is a tool. So you have a tool, it’s a powerful tool and you use it, but then there's the hard slog of making real changes. So in what areas are those real changes going to be made? A good place to start would be the law.
The whole angry ‘name, shame and blame’ process only works with people who are in the public eye and have something to lose by loss of public favour. It includes people in the entertainment industry, it includes politicians, and it includes CEOs of publicly traded corporations that sell things to the public. If you are making widgets for tanks, you are not in that category. So that leaves a vast penumbra where these shaming techniques are not very effective.
Which is where the law comes in. We need fairer laws and better processes for criminal charges. But in the United States right now I think it would be only on a state level that you might see changes. But on a federal level, with this government? I don’t think so. Institutions in the public eye have also got to look at their processes and Hollywood, which is like a little kingdom of its own, must look at its reporting and accountability procedures.
But in all of this, you need to go back to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the companion document that has to do with women, and see what the rights are actually supposed to be. It gives you an idea of what the standard is and what people signed, what they are supposed to be doing, otherwise you don’t have anything to base your demand for rights upon.
The other area that we have been hearing a lot about is social behaviour: what is supposed to go on, what is expected to go on, in the area we could loosely call dating. This is something that young people are going to have to sort out, to come up with an idea of how they would like it to be different.
One thing that happened between, say, 1960 and now is the advent of the Pill. It changed everything. It meant that because you could, you had to. People have to have a rethink about that. The other thing that happened was the hook-up culture – dating apps and the pornographication of the imagination. Why should anybody be expected to have such a rotten time? I hated being 22, but not for those reasons. Different reasons.