Head to Head

Has #MeToo failed?

Feminist icon Germaine Greer on why she criticises the #MeToo movement.

In this episode of Head to Head, Mehdi Hasan challenges public intellectual and feminist icon Germaine Greer on why she criticises the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault.

When the Harvey Weinstein scandal erupted in Hollywood in October 2017, a tsunami of accusations of sexual harassment and assault followed, accompanied by a hashtag: #MeToo. 

Dozens of high-profile men have been implicated in the campaign, which rapidly morphed into a global phenomenon, crossing industries and borders and reaching the powerful.

Many feminists see #MeToo as a seismic shift, but Greer has questioned the value and efficacy of the movement, arguing that “there hasn’t been a reckoning … it actually didn’t get anywhere. And it has a downside as well, which is presenting women as victims”.

Greer has been one of the world’s most influential feminist voices since the 1970 publication of her bestselling The Female Eunuch. She has also come under fire for her provocative remarks on subjects ranging from rape to transgender identity.

“When somebody tells me that you’re more likely to suffer PTSD as a rape victim than you are as a veteran of foreign wars, something has gone seriously wrong,” Greer told the audience at Oxford Union. 

We ask her why she thinks #MeToo has gone nowhere, and also challenge some of her more incendiary statements.

We are joined by a panel of three experts:

  • Laurie Penny – award-winning journalist and feminist activist, contributing editor at the New Statesman, and author of Bitch Doctrine: Essays for Dissenting Adults.

  • Minna Salami – feminist writer and speaker and founder of the award-winning pan-African feminist blog MsAfropolitan.

  • Zoe Strimpel – journalist, author, historian of gender and relationships and research fellow at the University of Sussex. 

Has #MeToo failed? with Germaine Greer will be broadcast on August 10 at 20:00 GMT and will be repeated on August 11 at 12:00 GMT, August 12 at 01:00 GMT and August 13 at 06:00 GMT.

Head to Head is Al Jazeera’s forum for ideas, a gladiatorial contest tackling big issues such as faith, nationalism, democracy and foreign intervention in front of an opinionated audience at the Oxford Union. 

Follow us on: https://www.facebook.com/AJHeadToHead; and @AJheadtohead

Watch previous Head to Head shows here.