Quotable: Same “Sexual Revolution”, Different Day

20 Mar

Shulamith Firestone, “The Dialectic of Sex” (1970):

[T]he rhetoric of the sexual revolution, if it brought no improvements for women, proved to have great value for men. By convincing women that the usual female games and demands were despicable, unfair, prudish, old-fashioned, puritanical, and self-destructive, a new reservoir of available females was created to expand the tight supply of goods available for traditional sexual exploitation, disarming women of even the little protection they had so painfully acquired.

Rebecca Whisnant, “Beyond Multiple Choice” (2001):

For several years now, I’ve been doing a feminist slide presentation about pornography for classes, dorms, campus groups, conferences—pretty much whoever asks me. I do it because I think it’s crucial for women, especially young women, to know the truth about this massive industry that saturates their society, pollutes many of their intimate relationships, and makes their daily lives more dangerous and alienating. But I don’t always feel good about doing it. As the slide show goes on, some women duck their heads, while others slink down into their seats; a few leave abruptly in the middle. Those who stay look shell-shocked afterwards. Some ask questions, but most are silent. And sometimes I wonder if I’m doing the right thing here. Am I doing them more harm than good?

But then, at least two or three women come up to me afterwards and tell me about their fights with their boyfriends about pornography, or how they felt as a kid when they found their dad’s Penthouse collection, and how seeing the slide show and hearing me talk about it made them feel like they’re not crazy, not just prudish and uptight. And I keep doing the slide show because I believe that understanding pornography—like understanding radical feminist analysis in general—ultimately makes them stronger, not weaker.

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2 Responses to “Quotable: Same “Sexual Revolution”, Different Day”

  1. FAB Libber March 20, 2011 at 3:04 am #

    Rebecca Whisnant’s account of the effect of her slide show is interesting. The pornified mainsteam is obviously so strong and overwhelming, that YW’s own intuition of ‘something wrong with porn’ is over-ridden, and by seeing the presentation, they get that ‘permission’ to finally believe their instincts.

    I would hate to be a YW these days.

  2. Noanodyne March 23, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    Thanks for these quotes.

    Firestone: disarming women of even the little protection they had so painfully acquired

    The funfems and trans and patriarchy-apologists of every stripe want us to forget our history and forget the words of the brilliant women who came before because we already figured this shit out. It’s yet another way they continue working on disarming us. And the beat goes on.

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