Tag Archives: quotable

Quotable: Prevention of Privacy

7 Nov

Valerie Solanas, SCUM Manifesto:

Although the male, being ashamed of what he is and almost of everything he does, insists on privacy and secrecy in all aspects of his life, he has no real regard for privacy. Being empty, not being a complete, separate being, having no self to groove on and needing to be constantly in female company, he sees nothing at all wrong in intruding himself on any woman’s thoughts, even a total stranger’s, anywhere at any time, but rather feels indignant and insulted when put down for doing so, as well as confused — he can’t, for the life of him, understand why anyone would prefer so much as one minute of solitude to the company of any creep around.

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.

Quotable: Material Matters

29 Jan

Martha Nussbaum, from “The Professor of Parody”. . . on Judith Butler, parody, and theory without real-life application:

“For women who are hungry, illiterate, disenfranchised, beaten, raped, it is not sexy or liberating to reenact, however parodically, the conditions of hunger, illiteracy, disenfranchisement, beating, and rape. Such women prefer food, schools, votes, and the integrity of their bodies. I see no reason to believe that they long sadomasochistically for a return to the bad state. If some individuals cannot live without the sexiness of domination, that seems sad, but it is not really our business. But when a major theorist tells women in desperate conditions that life offers them only bondage, she purveys a cruel lie, and a lie that flatters evil by giving it much more power than it actually has.”

The entire article can be read here (opens as a PDF).
For a summary of the main points of the article, check out this page.

Quotable: Only One Body

22 Jan

Mary Anne Warren, “The Moral Significance of Birth”:

There is room for only one person with full and equal rights inside a single human skin.

(A pdf of the essay is available here.)

Robin Morgan Essay, “Goodbye to All That”

21 Dec

In yesterday’s post, I quoted from Robin Morgan‘s 1970 essay “Goodbye to All That”, originally linked to in this post at Tiger Beatdown. The essay is still relevant as ever, unfortunately, and I want to make sure that feminists of “my generation” read it. Know your roots, my fellow youngins!

Morgan also did a second part to this essay in 2008 in support of Hillary Clinton’s presidential run, which was posted at Heart’s blog, Womensspace.

Here is the original essay below the fold, as well as the preface given from the website it was on.

Continue reading

Quotable: Domination is Not Inevitable

10 Dec

Audre Lorde, in an interview with Susan Leigh Star:

Sadomasochism is an institutionalized celebration of dominant/subordinate relationships. And, it prepares us either to accept subordination or to enforce dominance. Even in play, to affirm that the exertion of power over powerlessness is erotic, is empowering, is to set the emotional and social stage for the continuation of that relationship, politically, socially, and economically. [. . .]

The s/m concept of “vanilla” sex is sex devoid of passion. They are saying that there can be no passion without unequal power. That feels very sad and lonely to me, and destructive. The linkage of passion to dominance/subordination is the prototype of the heterosexual image of male-female relationships, one which justifies pornography. Women are supposed to love being brutalized. This is also the prototypical justification of all relationships of oppression—that the subordinate one who is “different” enjoys the inferior position. [. . .]

As women, we have been trained to follow. We must look at the s/m phenomenon and educate ourselves, at the same time being aware of intricate manipulations from outside and within.

Quotable: Woman’s Pleasure

23 Sep

Lucy Irigaray, This Sex Which is Not One

Woman, in this sexual imaginary, is only more or less complacent facilitator for the working out of man’s fantasies. It is possible, and even certain, that she experiences vicarious pleasure there, but this pleasure is above all masochistic prostitution of her body to a desire that is not her own and that leaves her in her well-known state of dependency. Not knowing what she wants, ready for anything, even asking for more, if only he will “take” her as the “object” of his pleasure, she will not say what she wants. Moreover, she does not know, or no longer knows, what she wants.

[. . .]

[I]n order for woman to arrive at the point where she can enjoy her pleasure as a woman, a long detour by the analysis of the various systems of oppression which affect her is certainly necessary. By claiming to resort to pleasure along as the solution to her problem, she runs the risk of missing the reconsideration of a social practice upon which her pleasure depends.

Quotable: Compromising with Patriarchy for Popularity

17 Aug

Rebecca Whisnant on sex-poz/third-wave feminism:

Now think about it: in this cultural and political context, a feminism that acquiesces to certain key male entitlements, while simultaneously presenting itself as bold and liberated and rebellious, is likely to be appealing to many women. A version of feminism that supports girls’ and women’s desired self-conception as independent and powerful, while actually requiring very little of them as far as confronting real male power, will similarly have wide appeal.

On adaptive preferences:

The basic idea is simple: if I can’t have something (or think I can’t have it), then it behooves me not to want that thing. Conversely, if I’m going to get something whether I like it or not, then I’ll be happier if I can get myself to want it and like it. So people adapt their desires to fit their situations, rather than vice versa, thus minimizing the pain and cognitive dissonance of continuing to want something that they don’t think they can get: “if you can’t have what you want,” as the saying goes, “then want what you have.”

The concept of adaptive preferences is indispensable to understanding the self-reproducing dynamics of oppressive systems. In particular, I think it can help us understand the new brand of feminism[. . .]

Quoting a blogger:

“Fuck-me feminism … is a school of thought that suggests [women] are empowered by reclaiming and controlling our own sexual objectification, by reclaiming the power of pornography and the sex industry for ourselves, and by flaunting our desire and willingness to have sex. In other words, being a man’s sexual object can’t hurt me if I want to be objectified; pornography and the sex industry can’t degrade me if I enjoy it or if I profit from it; being used for sex can’t devalue me if I’m using him too; being regarded as nothing more than a pussy to fuck can’t dehumanize me if I want him to fuck my pussy.”