Feminist legal scholar on the butterfly politics of #MeToo

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"We are here in the middle of the first mass movement against sexual abuse in the history of the world,” said Catharine MacKinnon, a professor of law at the University of Michigan, about the progress of the #MeToo movement. "This one sprung from the law of sexual harassment, quickly overtook it, and is shifting law, cultures, and politics everywhere. At the same time, electrifyingly demonstrating what I’m calling butterfly politics in action … butterfly politics means that the right, small intervention in the structure of an unstable political system can ultimately produce systemic change. … To ask what made #MeToo possible is to ask what, for the first time, made it harder to keep the sexual abuse inside than to put it out.”

MacKinnon, a feminist legal scholar who pioneered the legal claim for sexual harassment as sex discrimination in employment and education, spoke at a three-day Berkeley Law conference, "The Worldwide #MeToo Movement: Global Resistance to Sexual Harassment and Violence.” The conference, which took place May 13-15, was attended by more than 200 women, leaders, scholars and activists attended the conference.

Read more about the conference on Berkeley Law.

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