Literary legend and national treasure Margaret Atwood recently headlined the Person’s Day power breakfast put on by the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund. The event marks the 87th anniversary of the legal decision to include (some) women in the definition of “persons,” allowing them the right to be appointed to senate. “It’s more agreeable to be a person than not to be one,” Atwood quipped during her keynote speech. “And it’s more helpful to society at large to be a person than merely a chattel or a piece of ass.”
She’s partly referring to the scary musings of a certain presidential candidate. With her usual incisive wit, Atwood spoke directly about Donald Trump’s misogynistic rhetoric — and how it exposes the fragility of women’s progress. Here are five unforgettable quotes on the American election from her speech and the interview with Globe and Mail columnist Elizabeth Renzetti that followed.
On the campaign in general: “We’ve seen an outpouring of misogyny not seen since the witchcraft trials of the 17th century.”
On the Trump supporters pushing to #repealthe19th, stripping American women of their voting rights: “This is a reminder to us that the hard-won rights for women and girls that many of us now take for granted could be snatched away. Culturally, those rights are very shallowly embedded, by which I mean that they haven’t been around that long, historically, and that they are not fervently believed in by everyone in the culture. It seems like the male candidate for president of the United States does not believe in them. That’s a pretty interesting role model for boys and men.”
On what a Trump presidency would mean for Canadians: “As the saying goes, when Washington has a cold, Canada sneezes. We’ll want to know whether it’s time to hide the silver, not to mention the young girls — get some bear spray. Better still, get an old-style 1950s Playtex rubber panty girdle.”
On a potential Trump administration: “We are looking at a neo-Mussolini, neo-fascist kind of thing. Once you start talking about jailing your political opponent and some of the other things he’s been talking about, not to mention the alt-right connections… and disregard for the rule of law. Once you have a legal system that’s firmly joint at the hip with the government in power, you have either Stalin’s USSR or Hitler’s Germany.”
On Trump inciting violence: “Something’s out of the box, and it’s interesting to have it out of the box so you can see it.”
The sperm donor who lied — and the couple that’s fighting back
Tru-do’s and Tru-don’ts: A review of Justin Trudeau’s PR wins and losses
Great boots for curvy calves do exist. Here’s where I find them
Get Chatelaine in your inbox!
Our very best stories, recipes, style and shopping tips, horoscopes and special offers. Delivered every weekday morning.