#MeToo, Sex Wars 2.0 and the Power of Law

in The Asian Yearbook of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

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Abstract

This article argues that feminist controversies surrounding the #MeToo movement should be seen through the lens of the return of the sex wars. It reviews the feminist sex wars of the 1970s and 1980s and argues that the current feminist debates over sexuality are reproducing the earlier sex wars, with all their bitter hostilities and unproductive standoffs. It situates contemporary controversies around sexual harassment and sexual assault within the same disagreements around sexuality, consent and law that characterized the feminist sex wars of the 1970s and 1980s. The article then turns to the #MeToo movement, and particularly, the feminist disagreements within it. It reviews and challenges the generational narrative that has been discussed about these controversies, arguing instead that they should be seen through the lens of the sex wars. The article explores the #MeToo controversies as tracking the same disagreements around sexuality, consent and law seen in the sex wars, both then and now.

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