Construction Women Quotes

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Black and Third World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future.
Audre Lorde (Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches)
At the end of the warehouse was a dais constructed from pallets of books: stack of vampire novels, walls of James Patterson thrillers, and a throne from about a thousand copies of something called The Five Habits of Highly Aggressive Women.
Rick Riordan (The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus, #2))
The problem, if anything, was precisely the opposite. I had too much to write: too many fine and miserable buildings to construct and streets to name and clock towers to set chiming, too many characters to raise up from the dirt like flowers whose petals I peeled down to the intricate frail organs within, too many terrible genetic and fiduciary secrets to dig up and bury and dig up again, too many divorces to grant, heirs to disinherit, trysts to arrange, letters to misdirect into evil hands, innocent children to slay with rheumatic fever, women to leave unfulfilled and hopeless, men to drive to adultery and theft, fires to ignite at the hearts of ancient houses.
Michael Chabon (Wonder Boys)
The cultural constructions are clear: so many Chinese ghosts are hungry, angry, voiceless women. In taking Athena's legacy, I've added one to their ranks.
R.F. Kuang (Yellowface)
Deviant men have been constructed as criminal, while deviant women have been constructed as insane.
Angela Y. Davis (Are Prisons Obsolete?)
Men have constructed female sexuality and in so doing have annihilated the chance for sexual intelligence in women. Sexual intelligence cannot live in the shallow, predestined sexuality men have counterfeiteed for women.
Andrea Dworkin
Want to talk third wave feminism, you could cite Ariel Levy and the idea that women have internalized male oppression. Going to spring break at Fort Lauderdale, getting drunk, and flashing your breasts isn't an act of personal empowerment. It's you, so fashioned and programmed by the construct of patriarchal society that you no longer know what's best for yourself. A damsel too dumb to even know she's in distress.
Chuck Palahniuk (Snuff)
Disappointment over love affairs generally has the effect of driving men to drink, and women to ruin; and this, because most people never learn the art of transmuting their strongest emotions into dreams of a constructive nature.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich)
I know women. And when they clam up like this? They’re not just working one thought over in their brains. Nope, they’re constructing a complicated web of scenarios and what ifs, each thread layering over another, thickening and twisting until suddenly they’re mad about something that never even occurred to you.
Elle Kennedy (The Score (Off-Campus, #3))
Female is real, and it’s sex, and femininity is unreal, and it’s gender.
Germaine Greer
God has a global dream for his daughters and his sons, and it is bigger than our narrow interpretations or small box constructions of “biblical manhood and womanhood” or feminism;
Sarah Bessey (Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women)
Whenever the need for some pretense of communication arises, those who profit from our oppression call upon us to share our knowledge with them. In other words, it is the responsibility of the oppressed to teach the oppressors their mistakes. I am responsible for educating teachers who dismiss my children’s culture in school. Black and Third World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future.
Audre Lorde (Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches)
History is a construct...Any point of entry is possible and all choices are arbitrary. Still there are definitive moments...We can look at these events and say that after them things were never the same again.
Margaret Atwood (The Robber Bride)
It makes me really sad that women have been ejected from the seat of their power in this society in terms of what happens around childbirth. In other parts of the world, there are places where women can't drive a car, but they're still in charge of childbirth... The minute my child was born, I was reborn as a feminist. It's so incredible what women do. I find it metaphorically resonant that a pregnant woman looks like she's just sitting on a couch, but she's actually exhausting herself constructing a human being. The laborious process of growing a human is analogous to how 'women's work' is seen.
Ani DiFranco
A woman of color formation might decide to work around immigration issues. This political commitment is not based on the specific histories of racialized communities or its constituent members, but rather constructs an agenda agreed upon by all who are a part of it. In my opinion, the most exciting potential of women of color formations resides in the possibility of politicizing this identity – basing the identity on politics rather than the politics on identity.
Angela Y. Davis
I learned that effective communication starts with the understanding that there is MY point of view, (my truth), and someone else's point of view (his truth). Rarely is there one absolute truth, so people who believe that they speak THE truth are very silencing of others. When we realize and recognize that we can see things only from our own perspective, we can share our views in a nonthreatening way. Statements of opinion are always more constructive in the first person "I" form. The ability to listen is as important as the ability to speak. Miscommunication is always a two way street.
Sheryl Sandberg (Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead)
Did you think they did it alone? Built whole armies, and conquered thrones? Constructed promised lands that would outlive the sun resurrected prosperity from ash and bone? A crest is not just a manmade thing it is also created by generations of women who wield swords through guile and letters. Show me your kings, and I will show you the queens that willed them, that bred them, and taught them to do better.
Nikita Gill
Boys can wear makeup,” Tiggy said. “Not just for women. That a social construct.” I
T.J. Klune (A Destiny of Dragons (Tales From Verania, #2))
Power has for so long been a male construct that it distorted the shape of the first women who tried it on, only to find themselves in a sort of straitjacket.
Stacy Schiff
The disorder is more common in women." Note the construction of that sentence. They did not write, "The disorder is more common in women." It would still be suspect, but they didn't bother trying to cover their tracks. Many disorders, judging by the hospital population, were more commonly diagnosed in women. Take, for example, "compulsive promiscuity." How many girls do you think a seventeen-year-old boy would have to screw to earn the label "compulsively promiscuous"? Three? No, not enough. Six? Doubtful. Ten? That seems more likely. Probably in the fifteen-to-twenty range, would be my guess - if they ever put that label on boys, which I don't recall their doing.... In the list of six "potentially self-damaging" activities favored by the borderline personality, three are commonly associated with women (shopping sprees, shoplifting, and eating binges) and one with men (reckless driving). One is not "gender specific," as they say these days (psychoactive substance abuse). And the definition of the other (casual sex) is in the eye of the beholder.
Susanna Kaysen (Girl, Interrupted)
In the 1890s, when Freud was in the dawn of his career, he was struck by how many of his female patients were revealing childhood incest victimization to him. Freud concluded that child sexual abuse was one of the major causes of emotional disturbances in adult women and wrote a brilliant and humane paper called “The Aetiology of Hysteria.” However, rather than receiving acclaim from his colleagues for his ground-breaking insights, Freud met with scorn. He was ridiculed for believing that men of excellent reputation (most of his patients came from upstanding homes) could be perpetrators of incest. Within a few years, Freud buckled under this heavy pressure and recanted his conclusions. In their place he proposed the “Oedipus complex,” which became the foundation of modern psychology. According to this theory any young girl actually desires sexual contact with her father, because she wants to compete with her mother to be the most special person in his life. Freud used this construct to conclude that the episodes of incestuous abuse his clients had revealed to him had never taken place; they were simply fantasies of events the women had wished for when they were children and that the women had come to believe were real. This construct started a hundred-year history in the mental health field of blaming victims for the abuse perpetrated on them and outright discrediting of women’s and children’s reports of mistreatment by men. Once abuse was denied in this way, the stage was set for some psychologists to take the view that any violent or sexually exploitative behaviors that couldn’t be denied—because they were simply too obvious—should be considered mutually caused. Psychological literature is thus full of descriptions of young children who “seduce” adults into sexual encounters and of women whose “provocative” behavior causes men to become violent or sexually assaultive toward them. I wish I could say that these theories have long since lost their influence, but I can’t. A psychologist who is currently one of the most influential professionals nationally in the field of custody disputes writes that women provoke men’s violence by “resisting their control” or by “attempting to leave.” She promotes the Oedipus complex theory, including the claim that girls wish for sexual contact with their fathers. In her writing she makes the observation that young girls are often involved in “mutually seductive” relationships with their violent fathers, and it is on the basis of such “research” that some courts have set their protocols. The Freudian legacy thus remains strong.
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
Poverty is not caused by men and women getting married; it's not caused by machinery; it's not caused by "over-production"; it's not caused by drink or laziness; and it's not caused by "over-population". It's caused by Private Monopoly. That is the present system. They have monopolized everything that it is possible to monopolize; they have got the whole earth, the minerals in the earth and the streams that water the earth. The only reason they have not monopolized the daylight and the air is that it is not possible to do it. If it were possible to construct huge gasometers and to draw together and compress within them the whole of the atmosphere, it would have been done long ago, and we should have been compelled to work for them in order to get money to buy air to breathe. And if that seemingly impossible thing were accomplished tomorrow, you would see thousands of people dying for want of air - or of the money to buy it - even as now thousands are dying for want of the other necessities of life. You would see people going about gasping for breath, and telling each other that the likes of them could not expect to have air to breathe unless the had the money to pay for it. Most of you here, for instance, would think and say so. Even as you think at present that it's right for so few people to own the Earth, the Minerals and the Water, which are all just as necessary as is the air. In exactly the same spirit as you now say: "It's Their Land," "It's Their Water," "It's Their Coal," "It's Their Iron," so you would say "It's Their Air," "These are their gasometers, and what right have the likes of us to expect them to allow us to breathe for nothing?" And even while he is doing this the air monopolist will be preaching sermons on the Brotherhood of Man; he will be dispensing advice on "Christian Duty" in the Sunday magazines; he will give utterance to numerous more or less moral maxims for the guidance of the young. And meantime, all around, people will be dying for want of some of the air that he will have bottled up in his gasometers. And when you are all dragging out a miserable existence, gasping for breath or dying for want of air, if one of your number suggests smashing a hole in the side of one of th gasometers, you will all fall upon him in the name of law and order, and after doing your best to tear him limb from limb, you'll drag him, covered with blood, in triumph to the nearest Police Station and deliver him up to "justice" in the hope of being given a few half-pounds of air for your trouble.
Robert Tressell (The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists)
You know how it is to want something. Desire builds like a little house in your head and it sits there, half-constructed in your mind. Women who want children are this way. Artists are this way about pictures. It doesn't go away. You may forget for a few months but then it's back, the unfinished pieces of what you want.
Deb Olin Unferth (Vacation)
Virginity is an abstract patriarchal social construct that has zero validity and exists for the sole purpose of commoditizing young women but go on, I’ll wait.
C.M. Stunich (Victory at Prescott High (The Havoc Boys, #5))
By the end of the war there was nothing about men and women that surprised him. Nothing about anything really. The whole edifice of civilization turned out to be constructed from an unstable mix of quicksand and imagination.
Kate Atkinson (A God in Ruins)
What does freedom mean if we accept the fundamental premise that humans are social beings, raised in certain social and historical contexts and belonging to particular communities that shape their desires and understandings of the world?
Lila Abu-Lughod (Do Muslim Women Need Saving?)
The Friend Zone An imaginary area filled with self-professed Nice Guys who've been sexually rejected by women they've been Nice to. See also: A convenient social construct designed to comfort men sho cannot cope with rejection. See also: A manipulative tool used by Nice Guys to make a woman feel guilty for not wanting to have sex with them.
Laura Steven (The Exact Opposite of Okay (Izzy O'Neill, #1))
To protect women’s rights, we must be able to say what a woman is. If postmodernism is correct—that the body itself is a social construct—then it becomes impossible to argue for rights based on the sheer fact of being female. We cannot legally protect a category of people if we cannot identify that category.
Nancy R. Pearcey (Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality)
It is pointless to construct a hierarchy of who hurt more, and whether one kind of pain was more or less justified than another.
Stephanie Coontz (A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique & American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s)
Perspective and perseverance are carved by time and constructed by wisdom.
A.D. Sams
A home is never finished, it’s only saved from decay.
Victor LaValle (Lone Women)
Whether we are speaking of a flower or an oak tree, of an earthworm or a beautiful bird, of an ape or a person, we will do well, I believe, to recognize that life is an active process, not a passive one. Whether the stimulus arises from within or without, whether the environment is favorable or unfavorable, the behaviors of an organism can be counted on to be in the direction of maintaining, enhancing, and reproducing itself. This is the very nature of the process we call life. This tendency is operative at all times. Indeed, only the presence or absence of this total directional process enables us to tell whether a given organism is alive or dead. The actualizing tendency can, of course, be thwarted or warped, but it cannot be destroyed without destroying the organism. I remember that in my boyhood, the bin in which we stored our winter's supply of potatoes was in the basement, several feet below a small window. The conditions were unfavorable, but the potatoes would begin to sprout—pale white sprouts, so unlike the healthy green shoots they sent up when planted in the soil in the spring. But these sad, spindly sprouts would grow 2 or 3 feet in length as they reached toward the distant light of the window. The sprouts were, in their bizarre, futile growth, a sort of desperate expression of the directional tendency I have been describing. They would never become plants, never mature, never fulfill their real potential. But under the most adverse circumstances, they were striving to become. Life would not give up, even if it could not flourish. In dealing with clients whose lives have been terribly warped, in working with men and women on the back wards of state hospitals, I often think of those potato sprouts. So unfavorable have been the conditions in which these people have developed that their lives often seem abnormal, twisted, scarcely human. Yet, the directional tendency in them can be trusted. The clue to understanding their behavior is that they are striving, in the only ways that they perceive as available to them, to move toward growth, toward becoming. To healthy persons, the results may seem bizarre and futile, but they are life's desperate attempt to become itself. This potent constructive tendency is an underlying basis of the person-centered approach.
Carl R. Rogers
Disappointment over love affairs, generally has the effect of driving men to drink, and women to ruin; and this, because most people never learn the art of transmuting their strongest emotions into dreams of a constructive nature.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Original 1937 Unedited Edition)
When the positive revolution takes hold it will no longer be enough for politicians to gain points through attack or being negative. Politicians will be expected to be constructive.
Edward de Bono (Handbook for the Positive Revolution)
Upon my soul!' Tietjens said to himself, 'that girl down there is the only intelligent living soul I've met for years.' A little pronounced in manner sometimes; faulty in reasoning naturally, but quite intelligent, with a touch of wrong accent now and then. But if she was wanted anywhere, there she'd be! Of good stock, of course: on both sides! But positively, she and Sylvia were the only two human beings he had met for years whom he could respect: the one for sheer efficiency in killing; the other for having the constructive desire and knowing how to set about it. Kill or cure! The two functions of man. If you wanted something killed you'd go to Sylvia Tietjens in sure faith that she would kill it: emotion, hope, ideal; kill it quick and sure. If you wanted something kept alive you'd go to Valentine: she's find something to do for it. . . . The two types of mind: remorseless enemy, sure screen, dagger ... sheath! Perhaps the future of the world then was to women? Why not? He hand't in years met a man that he hadn't to talk down to - as you talk down to a child, as he had talked down to General Campion or to Mr. Waterhouse ... as he always talked down to Macmaster. All good fellows in their way ...
Ford Madox Ford (Parade's End)
The patriarchal/kyriarchal/hegemonic culture seeks to regulate and control the body – especially women’s bodies, and especially black women’s bodies – because women, especially black women, are constructed as the Other, the site of resistance to the kyriarchy. Because our existence provokes fear of the Other, fear of wildness, fear of sexuality, fear of letting go – our bodies and our hair (traditionally hair is a source of magical power) must be controlled, groomed, reduced, covered, suppressed.
Yvonne Aburrow
This reinforced Rivers’s view that it was prolonged strain, immobility and helplessness that did the damage, and not the sudden shocks or bizarre horrors that the patients themselves were inclined to point to as the explanation for their condition. That would help to account for the greater prevalence of anxiety neuroses and hysterical disorders in women in peacetime, since their relatively more confined lives gave them fewer opportunities of reacting to stress in active and constructive ways. Any explanation of war neurosis must account for the fact that this apparently intensely masculine life of war and danger and hardship produced in men the same disorders that women suffered from in peace.
Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
For example, women have been incarcerated in psychiatric institutions in greater proportions than in prisons. Studies indicating that women have been even more likely to end up in mental facilities than men suggest that while jails and prisons have been dominant institutions for the control of men, mental institutions have served a similar purpose for women. That is, deviant men have been constructed as criminal, while deviant women have been constructed as insane.
Angela Y. Davis (Are Prisons Obsolete?)
In seeking to understand this gendered difference in the perception of prisoners, it should be kept in mind that as the prison emerged and evolved as the major form of public punishment, women continued to be routinely subjected to forms of punishment that have not been acknowledged as such. For example, women have been incarcerated in psychiatric institutions in greater proportions than in prisons. 79 Studies indicating that women have been even more likely to end up in mental facilities than men suggest that while jails and prisons have been dominant institutions for the control of men, mental institutions have served a similar purpose for women. That deviant men have been constructed as criminal, while deviant women have been constructed as insane. Regimes that reflect this assumption continue to inform the women’s prison. Psychiatric drugs continue to be distributed far more extensively to imprisoned women than to their male counterparts.
Angela Y. Davis
Because women tend to turn their anger inward and blame themselves, they tend to become depressed and their self-esteem is lowered. This, in turn, causes them to become more dependent and less willing to risk rejection or abandonment if they were to stand up for themselves by asserting their will, their opinions, or their needs. Men often defend themselves against hurt by putting up a wall of nonchalant indifference. This appearance of independence often adds to a woman's fear of rejection, causing her to want to reach out to achieve comfort and reconciliation. Giving in, taking the blame, and losing herself more in the relationship seem to be a small price to pay for the acceptance and love of her partner. As you can see, both extremes anger in and anger out-create potential problems. While neither sex is wrong in the way they deal with their anger, each could benefit from observing how the other sex copes with their anger. Most men, especially abusive ones, could benefit from learning to contain their anger more instead of automatically striking back, and could use the rather female ability to empathise with others and seek diplomatic resolutions to problems. Many women, on the other hand, could benefit from acknowledging their anger and giving themselves permission to act it out in constructive ways instead of automatically talking themselves out of it, blaming themselves, or allowing a man to blame them. Instead of giving in to keep the peace, it would be far healthier for most women to stand up for their needs, their opinions, and their beliefs.
Beverly Engel (The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing)
I noticed that women have a private language. A language not dependent on the constructions of men but structured by signs and expressions, and that uses ordinary words as code-words meaning something other.
Jeanette Winterson (Sexing the Cherry)
We need to let go of respectability politics and understand that whiteness as a construct will never approve of us, and that the approval of white supremacy is not something that we or any community should be seeking. We have to be willing to embrace the full autonomy of people who are less privileged and understand that equity means making access to opportunity easier, not deciding which opportunities they deserve.
Mikki Kendall (Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot)
We must pay attention to gender, but it is difficult to pay attention to gender all by itself…It emerges differently in women’s lives because it hooks onto other markers such as race, class, sexual orientation and age.
Sari Knopp Biklen (School Work: Gender and the Cultural Construction of Teaching (the series on school reform))
I must confess that I do not understand why things are so arranged, that women seize us by the nose as deftly as they do the handle of a teapot: either their hands are so constructed, or else our noses are good for nothing else.
Nikolai Gogol (The Overcoat and Other Works by Nicolai Gogol)
The truest kindness to any woman is to provide her with an opportunity for self-expression in some constructive field: to work, not at home with cook-stove and scrubbing brush, but outside, independently, in the world of men and affairs.
William Moulton Marston
The huge difficulty that so many women and men have in seeing femininity and masculinity as socially constructed rather than natural, attests to the strength and force of culture. Women are, of course, understood to be ``different'' from men in many ways, ``delicate, pretty, intuitive, unreasonable, maternal, non-muscular, lacking an organizing character''. Feminist theorists have shown that what is understood as ``feminine'' behaviour is not simply socially constructed, but politically constructed, as the behaviour of a subordinate social group. Feminist social constructionists understand the task of feminism to be the destruction and elimination of what have been called ``sex roles'' and are now more usually called ``gender''.
Sheila Jeffreys (Beauty and Misogyny: Harmful Cultural Practices in the West)
Because of the way society sets them up, women never again experience the need to develop independence - until some crisis in later life explodes their complacency, showing them how sadly helpless and undeveloped they've allowed themselves to be.
Colette Dowling (The Cinderella Complex: Women's Hidden Fear of Independence)
Early one morning words were missing. Before that, words were not. Facts were, faces were. In a good story, Aristotle tells us, everything that happens is pushed by something else. Three old women were bending in the fields. What use is it to question us? they said. Well it shortly became clear that they knew everything there is to know about the snowy fields and the blue-green shoots and the plant called “audacity,” which poets mistake for violets. I began to copy out everything that was said. The marks construct an instant of nature gradually, without the boredom of a story. I emphasize this. I will do anything to avoid boredom. It is the task of a lifetime. You can never know enough, never work enough, never use the infinitives and participles oddly enough, never impede the movement harshly enough, never leave the mind quickly enough.
Anne Carson (Short Talks)
All my girlhood I always planned to do something big…something constructive. It’s queer what ambitious dreams a girl has when she is young. I thought I would sing before big audiences or paint lovely pictures or write a splendid book. I always had that feeling in me of wanting to do something worth while. And just think, Laura…now I am eighty and I have not painted nor written nor sung.” “But you’ve done lots of things, Grandma. You’ve baked bread…and pieced quilts…and taken care of your children.” Old Abbie Deal patted the young girl’s hand. “Well…well…out of the mouths of babes. That’s just it, Laura, I’ve only baked bread and pieced quilts and taken care of children. But some women have to, don’t they?...But I’ve dreamed dreams, Laura. All the time I was cooking and patching and washing, I dreamed dreams. And I think I dreamed them into the children…and the children are carrying them out...doing all the things I wanted to and couldn’t.
Bess Streeter Aldrich (A Lantern in Her Hand)
If a man loves a girl who is in the first place young and inexperienced; who in the second place is educated with a background of caveman tradition, a middle-ground of poetry and romance, and a foreground of unspoken hope and interest all centering upon the one Event; and who has, furthermore, absolutely no other hope or interest worthy of the name - why, it is a comparatively easy manner to sweep her off her feet with a dashing attack.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Herland (The Herland Trilogy, #2))
Once established, the young girl's dependency is systematically supported as she proceeds through childhood. For being "nice" - nonchallenging, nonconfronting, noncomplaining - she's rewarded with good grades, the approval of her parents and teachers, and the affection of her peers. What reason is there for her to turn deviant or nonconformist? The going is good, so she conforms. Increasingly, she patterns herself after what's expected of her.
Colette Dowling (The Cinderella Complex: Women's Hidden Fear of Independence)
(Popular singer Eddie Fisher, appearing on This is Show Business, told Kaufman that women refused to date him because he looked so young.) Mr. Fisher, on Mount Wilson there is a telescope that can magnify the most distant stars up to twenty-four times the magnification of any previous telescope. This remarkable instrument was unsurpassed in the world of astronomy until the construction of the Mount Palomar telescope, an even more remarkable instrument of magnification. Owing to advances and improvements in optical technology, it is capable of magnifying the stars to four times the magnification and resolution of the Mount Wilson telescope - Mr. Fisher, if you could somehow put the Mount Wilson telescope inside the Mount Palomar telescope, you still wouldn't be able to detect my interest in your problem.
George S. Kaufman
Finally, the myth seeks to discourage all young women from identifying with earlier feminists—simply because these are older women. Men grant themselves tradition to hand down through the generations; women are permitted only fashion which each season renders obsolete. Under that construct, the link between generations of women is weakened by definition: What came before is rarely held up for admiration as history or heritage, but derided by fashion's rigid rule as embarrassingly démodé.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
If I – as a beneficiary of that exact formula – will concede that my own life was indeed enriched by that precise familial structure, will the social conservatives please (for once!) concede that this arrangement has always put a disproportionately cumbersome burden on women? Such a system demands that mothers become selfless to the point of near invisibility in order to construct these exemplary encironments for their families. And might those same social conservatives – instead of just praising mothers as “sacred” and “noble” – be willing to someday join a larger conversation about how we might work together as a society to construct a world where healthy children can be raised and healthy families can prosper without women have to scrape bare the walls of their own souls to do so?
Elizabeth Gilbert (Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage)
This utopian notion of a sexuality freed from heterosexual constructs, a sexuality beyond "sex", failed to acknowledge the ways in which power relations continue to construct sexuality for women even within the terms of a "liberated" sexuality for women even within the terms of a "liberated" heterosexuality or lesbianism.
Judith Butler (Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity)
Even the term violence against women is problematic. It's a passive construction, there's no active agent (of violence) in the sentence. It's a bad thing that happens to women. It's a bad thing that happens to women, but when you look at that term 'violence against women' nobody is doing it (acts of violence) to them, it just happens, men aren't even a part of it." Jackson Katz, PHD from his Ted talk 'violence against women it's a mens issue
Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark (Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide)
In the 1890s, when Freud was in the dawn of his career, he was struck by how many of his female patients were revealing childhood incest victimization to him. Freud concluded that child sexual abuse was one of the major causes of emotional disturbances in adult women and wrote a brilliant and humane paper called “The Aetiology of Hysteria.” However, rather than receiving acclaim from his colleagues for his ground-breaking insights, Freud met with scorn. He was ridiculed for believing that men of excellent reputation (most of his patients came from upstanding homes) could be perpetrators of incest. Within a few years, Freud buckled under this heavy pressure and recanted his conclusions. In their place he proposed the “Oedipus complex,” which became the foundation of modern psychology. According to this theory any young girl actually desires sexual contact with her father, because she wants to compete with her mother to be the most special person in his life. Freud used this construct to conclude that the episodes of incestuous abuse his clients had revealed to him had never taken place; they were simply fantasies of events the women had wished for when they were children and that the women had come to believe were real. This construct started a hundred-year history in the mental health field of blaming victims for the abuse perpetrated on them and outright discrediting of women’s and children’s reports of mistreatment by men.
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
The large, gaping flaws in the construction of the stories--mad wives in the attic, strange apparitions in Belgium--are a representation of the life she could not face; these gothic subterfuges represent the mind at a breaking point, frantic to find any way out. If the flaws are only to be attributed to the practicce of popular fiction of the time, we cannot then explain the large amount of genuine feeling that goes into them. They stand for the hidden wishes of an intolerable life.
Elizabeth Hardwick (Seduction and Betrayal: Women and Literature)
While we avoid taking credit for success, women leap at the opportunity to take responsibility for failure. Men tend to externalize the reasons for their failure, putting it off on something or someone else. Not so women, who absorb blame as if they were born to be societys doormats. (Some women like to speak of their willingness to take blame as if it were a form of altruism. It isn't. Women take the blame because they find it scary to confront those who are actually culpable of wrongdoing.)
Colette Dowling (The Cinderella Complex: Women's Hidden Fear of Independence)
Secondly, you can spend your whole life being a story that happens to somebody else. You can twist and cram and shave down every aspect of your personality that doesn’t quite fit into the story boys have grown up expecting, but eventually, one day, you’ll wake up and want something else, and you’ll have to choose. Because the other thing about stories is that they end. The book closes, and you’re left with yourself, a grown fucking woman with no more pieces of cultural detritus from which to construct a personality. I tried and failed to be a character in a story somebody else had written for me. What concerns me now is the creation of new narratives, the opening of space in the collective imagination for women who have not been permitted such space before, for women who don’t exist to please, to delight, to attract men, for women who have more on our minds. Writing is a different kind of magic, and everyone knows what happens to women who do their own magic - but it’s a risk you have to take.
Laurie Penny
We have only one real shot at "liberation", and that is to emancipate ourselves from within. It is the thesis of this book that personal, psychological dependency - the deep wish to be taken care of by others - is the chief force holding women down today. I call this "The Cinderella Complex" - a network of largely repressed attitudes and fears that keeps women in a kind of half-light, retreating from the full use of their minds and creativity. Like Cinderella, women today are still waiting for something external to transform their lives.
Colette Dowling (The Cinderella Complex: Women's Hidden Fear of Independence)
Yes, it is true women of color have been the targets of a setup of monumental proportions, something that amounts to nothing short of a covert war against us. But it is also true that these attacks are their own proof of just how serious a threat to the status quo all women of color really are. So serious, in fact, that the very concept of the innocent white woman was constructed to keep us firmly in our place.
Ruby Hamad (White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color)
It should not be a surprise to find that s/m fantasy is significant in women's sex lives. Women may be born free but they are born into a system of subordination. We are not born into equality and do not have equality to eroticise. We are not born into power and do not have power to eroticise. We are born into subordination and it is in subordination that we learn our sexual and emotional responses. It would be surprising indeed if any woman reared under male supremacy was able to escape the forces constructing her into a member of an inferior slave class.
Sheila Jeffreys (Anticlimax: A Feminist Perspective on the Sexual Revolution)
It is a mistake to think of the expatriate as someone who abdicates, who withdraws and humbles himself, resigned to his miseries, his outcast state. On a closer look, he turns out to be ambitious, aggressive in his disappointments, his very acrimony qualified by his belligerence. The more we are dispossessed, the more intense our appetites and illusions become. I even discern some relation between misfortune and megalomania. The man who has lost everything preserves as a last resort the hope of glory, or of literary scandal. He consents to abandon everything, except his name. [ . . . ] Let us say a man writes a novel which makes him, overnight, a celebrity. In it he recounts his sufferings. His compatriots in exile envy him: they too have suffered, perhaps more. And the man without a country becomes—or aspires to become—a novelist. The consequence: an accumulation of confusions, an inflation of horrors, of frissons that date. One cannot keep renewing Hell, whose very characteristic is monotony, or the face of exile either. Nothing in literature exasperates a reader so much as The Terrible; in life, it too is tainted with the obvious to rouse our interest. But our author persists; for the time being he buries his novel in a drawer and awaits his hour. The illusion of surprise, of a renown which eludes his grasp but on which he reckons, sustains him; he lives on unreality. Such, however, is the power of this illusion that if, for instance, he works in some factory, it is with the notion of being freed from it one day or another by a fame as sudden as it is inconceivable. * Equally tragic is the case of the poet. Walled up in his own language, he writes for his friends—for ten, for twenty persons at the most. His longing to be read is no less imperious than that of the impoverished novelist. At least he has the advantage over the latter of being able to get his verses published in the little émigré reviews which appear at the cost of almost indecent sacrifices and renunciations. Let us say such a man becomes—transforms himself—into an editor of such a review; to keep his publication alive he risks hunger, abstains from women, buries himself in a windowless room, imposes privations which confound and appall. Tuberculosis and masturbation, that is his fate. No matter how scanty the number of émigrés, they form groups, not to protect their interests but to get up subscriptions, to bleed each other white in order to publish their regrets, their cries, their echoless appeals. One cannot conceive of a more heart rending form of the gratuitous. That they are as good poets as they are bad prose writers is to be accounted for readily enough. Consider the literary production of any "minor" nation which has not been so childish as to make up a past for itself: the abundance of poetry is its most striking characteristic. Prose requires, for its development, a certain rigor, a differentiated social status, and a tradition: it is deliberate, constructed; poetry wells up: it is direct or else totally fabricated; the prerogative of cave men or aesthetes, it flourishes only on the near or far side of civilization, never at the center. Whereas prose demands a premeditated genius and a crystallized language, poetry is perfectly compatible with a barbarous genius and a formless language. To create a literature is to create a prose.
Emil M. Cioran (The Temptation to Exist)
The main problem for women trying to emulate male sexuality is that as a ruling-class sexuality, it is constructed around the fact that they have a subordinate class on whom to act sexually. Women are that subordinate class. The elements that constitute male sexuality depend upon the possession of ruling-class status such as objectification, aggression, and the separation of sex from loving emotion. Women are bound to be unsuccessful in seeking to acquire a form of sexuality which depends upon the possession of ruling-class power. It might be possible for some lesbians to seek a close emulation of ruling-class sexuality because they are able to practise on other women. Heterosexual women cannot practise ruling-class sexuality on men because they are not the ruling class. All that heterosexual women are in a position to do is to accommodate male sexual interests... In male supremacy men's sexual access to women gives them power and status. It does not make much difference who initiates the act, the men still gain the advantage.
Sheila Jeffreys (Anticlimax: A Feminist Perspective on the Sexual Revolution)
Standing on your own feet, naturally, is as tiresome and dangerous as standing your ground; and when the wild dogs begin to circle grinning round you with their dripping tongues hanging out and you know that with mock servility they like to go for your toes first, why, then, you should stand on someone else’s feet, or head if necessary. It is a point of faith for me never to be Hitler; he stood his ground in his own two shoes in his own little hole almost to the end, the fool. But I may disguise myself as any other animate or inanimate object in what follows. I can be eight lame women with falsies, eight cracked chamber pots, or -- let’s get right to the point -- a gladiator who is actually constructed of old clothes, brooms, and a paper plate with a face daubed on in finger-paints, not to mention two vagrants inside each shirt-sleeve and pant-leg, moving Goliath’s limbs at my say-so; but as long as you believe in the gladiator, you are whipped, and the Museum people will set out on your track, and then once they catch you, don’t think I won’t come study your exhibit until I can convince your own sweetheart that I am you come back from the dead. For I am Big George, the eternal winner.
William T. Vollmann (You Bright and Risen Angels (Contemporary American Fiction))
A significant driver of opposition to abortion is the social construction of the Ideal Woman. In a culture that rarely, if ever, allows women simply to be people, value is ascribed based on a woman's relation to something other than herself. A woman on her own is like a bit of driftwood floating in the ocean. She is a broken object with no purpose, waiting either to wash up on the shore and be put to use as part of something else, or to sink and be forgotten forever.
Clementine Ford (Fight Like a Girl)
Here is part of the problem, girls: we’ve been sold a bill of goods. Back in the day, women didn’t run themselves ragged trying to achieve some impressively developed life in eight different categories. No one constructed fairy-tale childhoods for their spawn, developed an innate set of personal talents, fostered a stimulating and world-changing career, created stunning homes and yardscapes, provided homemade food for every meal (locally sourced, of course), kept all marriage fires burning, sustained meaningful relationships in various environments, carved out plenty of time for “self care,” served neighbors/church/world, and maintained a fulfilling, active relationship with Jesus our Lord and Savior. You can’t balance that job description. Listen to me: No one can pull this off. No one is pulling this off. The women who seem to ride this unicorn only display the best parts of their stories. Trust me. No one can fragment her time and attention into this many segments.
Jen Hatmaker (For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards)
Hell, there're already too many psychologists; too many everythings. Too many engineers, too many chemists, too many doctors, too many dentists, too many sociologists. There aren't enough people who can actually do anything, really know how to make this world work. When you thing about it; when you look at the way it really is; God, we've got - well, let's say, there's 100 percent. Half of these are under eighteen or over sixty-five; that is not working. This leaves the middle fifty percent. Half of these are women; most are so busy having babies or taking care of kids, they're totally occupied. Some of them work, too, so let's say we're down to 30 percent. Ten percent are doctors or lawyers or sociologists or psychologists or dentists or businessmen or artists or writers, or schoolteachers, or priests, ministers, rabbis; none of there are actually producing anything, they're only servicing people. So now we're down to 20 percent. At least 2 or 3 percent are living on trusts or clipping coupons or are just rich. That leaves 17 percent. Seven percent of these are unemployed, mostly on purpose! So in the end we've got 10 percent producing all the food, constructing the houses, building and repairing all the roads, developing electricity, working in the mines, building cars, collecting garbage; all the dirty work, all the real work. Everybody's just looking for some gimmick so they don't have to actually do anything. And the worst part is, the ones who do the work get paid the least.
William Wharton
The psychological need to avoid independence - the "wish to be saved" - seemed to me an important issue, quite probably the most important issue facing women today. We were brought up to depend on a man and to feel naked and frightened without one. We were taught to believe that as women we cannot stand alone, that we are too fragile, too delicate, needful of protection. So that now, in these enlightened days, when our intellects tell us to stand on our own two feet, unresolved emotional issues drag us down.
Colette Dowling (The Cinderella Complex: Women's Hidden Fear of Independence)
We talk about how many women were raped last year, not about how many men raped women. We talk about how many girls in a school district were harassed last year, not about how many boys harassed girls. We talk about how many teenaged girls got pregnant in the state of Vermont last year, rather than how many men and teenaged boys got girls pregnant. So you can see how the use of this passive voice has a political effect. It shifts the focus off men and boys and onto girls and women. Even the term violence against women is problematic. It's a passive construction. There's no active agent in the sentence. It's a bad thing that happens to women. It's a bad thing that happens to women, but when you look at that term violence against women, nobody is doing it to them. It just happens. Men aren't even a part of it! Jackson Katz, Ph.D., from his Ted talk "violence against women: it's a men's issue
Jackson Katz
Claiming that the past was socially better than the present is also a hallmark of white supremacy. Consider any period in the past from the perspective of people of color: 246 years of brutal enslavement; the rape of black women for the pleasure of white men and to produce more enslaved workers; the selling off of black children; the attempted genocide of Indigenous people, Indian removal acts, and reservations; indentured servitude, lynching, and mob violence; sharecropping; Chinese exclusion laws; Japanese American internment; Jim Crow laws of mandatory segregation; black codes; bans on black jury service; bans on voting; imprisoning people for unpaid work; medical sterilization and experimentation; employment discrimination; educational discrimination; inferior schools; biased laws and policing practices; redlining and subprime mortgages; mass incarceration; racist media representations; cultural erasures, attacks, and mockery; and untold and perverted historical accounts, and you can see how a romanticized past is strictly a white construct. But it is a powerful construct because it calls out to a deeply internalized sense of superiority and entitlement and the sense that any advancement for people of color is an encroachment on this entitlement.
Robin DiAngelo (White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism)
Radical feminist work around the world daily strengthens political solidarity between women beyond the boundaries of race/ethnicity and nationality. Mainstream mass media rarely calls attention to these positive interventions. In Hatreds: Radicalized and Sexualized Conflicts in the 21st Century, Zillah Eisenstein shares the insight: Feminism(s) as transnational - imagined as the rejection of false race/gender borders and falsely constructed 'other' - is a major challenge to masculinist nationalism, the distortions of statist communism and 'free'-market globalism. It is a feminism that recognizes individual diversity, and freedom, and equality, defined through and beyond north/west and south/east dialogues. No one who has studied the growth of global feminism can deny the important work women are doing to ensure our freedom. No one can deny that Western women, particularly women in the United States, have contributed much that is needed to this struggle and need to contribute more. The goal of global feminism is to reach out and join global struggles to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.
bell hooks (Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics)
A common and traditionally masculine marital problem is created by the husband who, once he is married, devotes all his energies to climbing mountains and none to tending to his marriage, or base camp, expecting it to be there in perfect order whenever he chooses to return to it for rest and recreation without his assuming any responsibility for its maintenance. Sooner or later this “capitalist” approach to the problem fails and he returns to find his untended base camp a shambles, his neglected wife having been hospitalized for a nervous breakdown, having run off with another man, or in some other way having renounced her job as camp caretaker. An equally common and traditionally feminine marital problem is created by the wife who, once she is married, feels that the goal of her life has been achieved. To her the base camp is the peak. She cannot understand or empathize with her husband’s need for achievements and experiences beyond the marriage and reacts to them with jealousy and never-ending demands that he devote increasingly more energy to the home. Like other “communist” resolutions of the problem, this one creates a relationship that is suffocating and stultifying, from which the husband, feeling trapped and limited, may likely flee in a moment of “mid-life crisis.” The women’s liberation movement has been helpful in pointing the way to what is obviously the only ideal resolution: marriage as a truly cooperative institution, requiring great mutual contributions and care, time and energy, but existing for the primary purpose of nurturing each of the participants for individual journeys toward his or her own individual peaks of spiritual growth. Male and female both must tend the hearth and both must venture forth. As an adolescent I used to thrill to the words of love the early American poet Ann Bradstreet spoke to her husband: “If ever two were one, then we.”20 As I have grown, however, I have come to realize that it is the separateness of the partners that enriches the union. Great marriages cannot be constructed by individuals
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
Fundamental to a radical and lesbian feminist politics is the understanding that 'the personal is political'. This phrase has two interrelated meanings. It means that the political power structures of the 'public' world are reflected in the private world. Thus, for women in particular, the 'private' world of heterosexuality is not a realm of personal security, a haven from a heartless world, but an intimate realm in which their work is extracted and their bodies, sexuality and emotions are constrained and exploited for the benefits of individual men and the male supremacist political system. The very concept of 'privacy' as Catharine MacKinnon so cogently expresses it, 'has shielded the place of battery, marital rape, and women's exploited labor'. But the phrase has a complementary meaning, which is that the 'public' world of male power, the world of corporations, militaries and parliaments is founded upon this private subordination. The edifice of masculine power relations, from aggressive nuclear posturing to take-over bids, is constructed on the basis of its distinctiveness from the 'feminine' sphere and based upon the world of women which nurtures and services that male power. Transformation of the public world of masculine aggression, therefore, requires transformation of the relations that take place in 'private'. Public equality cannot derive from private slavery.
Sheila Jeffreys (Unpacking Queer Politics: A Lesbian Feminist Perspective)
Women retain their dependence needs long past the developmental point at which those needs are normal and healthy. Unbeknownst to others - and worse, unbeknownst to ourselves - we carry dependency within us like some autoimmune disease. We carry it with us from kindergarten through college and graduate school, into our careers, and into the convenient "arrangement" of our marriages. (...) Much of the time - for many of us, all of the time - our unwillingness to stand on our own two feet goes unnoticed because it's expected. Women are relational creatures. They nurture and need. This, we have been told for many, many years, is nature. And although it cripples us, we have to let it go unquestioned.
Colette Dowling (The Cinderella Complex: Women's Hidden Fear of Independence)
(...) performance anxiety [in the worplace] is connected to other, more general fears which have to do with feeling inadequate and defenseless in the world: the fear of retaliation from someone with whom one disagrees; the fear of being critisized for doing something wrong; the fear of saying "no"; the fear of stating one's needs clearly and directly, without manipulating. These are the kinds of fears that affect women in particular, because we were brought up to believe that taking care of ourselves, asserting ourselves, is unfeminine. We wish (...) to feel attractive to men: non-threatening, sweet, "feminine". This wish crimps the joy and productiveness with which women could be leading their lives.
Colette Dowling (The Cinderella Complex: Women's Hidden Fear of Independence)
Marie-Louise von Franz says that Western civilization has put a little gnomish man on the shoulder of every woman and that this gnome does nothing but tell the woman that she’s wrong, wrong, wrong. Thus a kind of artificial, oppressive Watcher has been installed. When I mention this image to women (especially writer women) they enthusiastically agree with von Franz: that’s their experience, an almost literal voice buzzing in their ear saying, “No, no, your work’s no good, it’s worthless, you’re wrong.” In von Franz’s construct (though she’d use different terms), women have to learn to ignore that gnome and recognize their real Watcher, whom civilization did not put there and whom civilization cannot take away.
James Hillman (We've Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy: And the World's Getting Worse)
It was the kind of upheaval, smack in the middle of adulthood, which was messy enough to make me consider, back then, the wisdom of early marriage. When we’re young, after all, our lives are so much more pliant, can be joined without too much fuss. When we grow on our own, we take on responsibility, report to bosses, become bosses; we get our own bank accounts, acquire our own debts, sign our own leases. The infrastructure of our adulthood takes shape, connects to other lives; it firms up and gets less bendable. The prospect of breaking it all apart and rebuilding it elsewhere becomes a far more daunting project than it might have been had we just married someone at twenty-two, and done all that construction together. The
Rebecca Traister (All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation)
Fear (...) that has no relation to capabilities or even to reality is epidemic among women today. Fear of being independent (that could mean we'd end up alone and uncared for); fear of being dependent (that could mean we'd be swallowed by some dominating "other"); fear of being competent and good at what we do (that could mean we'd have to keep on being good at what we do); fear of being incompetent (that could mean we'd have to keep on feeling shlumpy, depressed, and second class). (...) Phobia has so thoroughly infiltrated the feminine experience it is like a secret plague. It has been built up over long years by social conditioning and is all the more insidious for being so thoroughly acculturated we do not even recognize what has happened to us. Women will not become free until they stop being afraid. We will not begin to experience real change in our lives, real emancipation, until we begin the process - almost a de-brainwashing - of working through the anxieties that prevent us from feeling competent and whole.
Colette Dowling (The Cinderella Complex: Women's Hidden Fear of Independence)
Tired as I was of conflict, I felt that I must not shrink from the fight, nor abandon in cowardice the attempt to prove, as no theories could ever satisfactorily prove without examples, that marriage and motherhood need never tame the mind, nor swamp and undermine ability and training, nor trammel and domesticise political perception and social judgement. Today, as never before, it was urgent for individual women to show that life was enriched, mentally and spiritually as well as physically and socially, by marriage and children; that these experiences rendered the woman who accepted them the more and not the less able to take the world's pulse, to estimate its tendencies, to play some definite, hard-headed, hard-working part in furthering the constructive ends of a political civilisation
Vera Brittain (Testament of Youth)
The assumption that femininity is always structured by and performed for a male gaze fails to take seriously queer feminine desire. The radical feminist critiques of femininity also disregarded the fact that not all who are (seen as) feminine are women. Crucially, what is viewed as appropriately feminine is not only defined in relation to maleness or masculinity, but through numerous intersections of power including race, sexuality, ability, and social class. In other words, white, heterosexual, binary gender-conforming, able-bodied, and upper- or middle-class femininity is privileged in relation to other varieties. Any social system may contain multiple femininities that differ in status, and which relate to each other as well as to masculinity. As highlighted by “effeminate” gay men, trans women, femmes, drag queens, and “bad girls,” it is possible to be perceived as excessively, insufficiently, or wrongly feminine without for that sake being seen as masculine. Finally, the view of femininity as a restrictive yet disposable mask presupposes that emancipation entails departure into neutral (or masculine) modes of being. This is a tenuous assumption, as the construction of selfhood is entangled with gender, and conceptions of androgyny and gender neutrality similarly hinge on culturally specific ideas of masculinity and femininity.
Manon Hedenborg White (Double Toil and Gender Trouble? Performativity and Femininity in the Cauldron of Esotericism Research)
Frosh (2002) has suggested that therapeutic spaces provide children and adults with the rare opportunity to articulate experiences that are otherwise excluded from the dominant symbolic order. However, since the 1990s, post-modern and post-structural theory has often been deployed in ways that attempt to ‘manage’ from; afar the perturbing disclosures of abuse and trauma that arise in therapeutic spaces (Frosh 2002). Nowhere is this clearer than in relation to organised abuse, where the testimony of girls and women has been deconstructed as symptoms of cultural hysteria (Showalter 1997) and the colonisation of women’s minds by therapeutic discourse (Hacking 1995). However, behind words and discourse, ‘a real world and real lives do exist, howsoever we interpret, construct and recycle accounts of these by a variety of symbolic means’ (Stanley 1993: 214). Summit (1994: 5) once described organised abuse as a ‘subject of smoke and mirrors’, observing the ways in which it has persistently defied conceptualisation or explanation. Explanations for serious or sadistic child sex offending have typically rested on psychiatric concepts of ‘paedophilia’ or particular psychological categories that have limited utility for the study of the cultures of sexual abuse that emerge in the families or institutions in which organised abuse takes pace. For those clinicians and researchers who take organised abuse seriously, their reliance upon individualistic rather than sociological explanations for child sexual abuse has left them unable to explain the emergence of coordinated, and often sadistic, multi—perpetrator sexual abuse in a range of contexts around the world.
Michael Salter (Organised Sexual Abuse)
It isn’t really possible for men to understand how much the world doesn’t want women to be complete people. The most important thing a woman can be, in our society—more important, even, than honest or decent—is identifiable. Even when Libby’s evil—perhaps most of all when she’s evil—she’s easy to categorize, to stick to a board with a pin like some scientific specimen. Those men in Stillwater are terrified of her because being terrified lets them know who she is—it keeps them safe. Imagine how much harder it would be to say, yes, she’s a woman capable of terrible anger and violence, but she’s also someone who’s tried desperately to be a nurturer, to be a good and constructive human being. If you accept all that, if you allow that inside she’s not just one or the other, but both, what does that say about all the other women in town? How will you ever be able to tell what’s actually going on in their hearts—and heads? Life in the simple village would suddenly become immensely complicated. And so, to keep that from happening, they separate things. The normal, ordinary woman is defined as nurturing and loving, docile and compliant. Any female who defies that categorization must be so completely evil that she’s got to be feared, feared even more than the average criminal—she’s got to be invested with the powers of the Devil himself. A witch, they probably would have called her in the old days. Because she’s not just breaking the law, she’s defying the order of things.
Caleb Carr (The Angel of Darkness (Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, #2))
No institution of learning of Ingersoll's day had courage enough to confer upon him an honorary degree; not only for his own intellectual accomplishments, but also for his influence upon the minds of the learned men and women of his time and generation. Robert G. Ingersoll never received a prize for literature. The same prejudice and bigotry which prevented his getting an honorary college degree, militated against his being recognized as 'the greatest writer of the English language on the face of the earth,' as Henry Ward Beecher characterized him. Aye, in all the history of literature, Robert G. Ingersoll has never been excelled -- except by only one man, and that man was -- William Shakespeare. And yet there are times when Ingersoll even surpassed the immortal Bard. Yes, there are times when Ingersoll excelled even Shakespeare, in expressing human emotions, and in the use of language to express a thought, or to paint a picture. I say this fully conscious of my own admiration for that 'intellectual ocean, whose waves touched all the shores of thought.' Ingersoll was perfection himself. Every word was properly used. Every sentence was perfectly formed. Every noun, every verb and every object was in its proper place. Every punctuation mark, every comma, every semicolon, and every period was expertly placed to separate and balance each sentence. To read Ingersoll, it seems that every idea came properly clothed from his brain. Something rare indeed in the history of man's use of language in the expression of his thoughts. Every thought came from his brain with all the beauty and perfection of the full blown rose, with the velvety petals delicately touching each other. Thoughts of diamonds and pearls, rubies and sapphires rolled off his tongue as if from an inexhaustible mine of precious stones. Just as the cut of the diamond reveals the splendor of its brilliance, so the words and construction of the sentences gave a charm and beauty and eloquence to Ingersoll's thoughts. Ingersoll had everything: The song of the skylark; the tenderness of the dove; the hiss of the snake; the bite of the tiger; the strength of the lion; and perhaps more significant was the fact that he used each of these qualities and attributes, in their proper place, and at their proper time. He knew when to embrace with the tenderness of affection, and to resist and denounce wickedness and tyranny with that power of denunciation which he, and he alone, knew how to express.
Joseph Lewis (Ingersoll the Magnificent)
So my unsolicited advice to women in the workplace is this. When faced with sexism or ageism or lookism or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: “Is this person in between me and what I want to do?” If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people who were jerky to you. If the answer is yes, you have a more difficult road ahead of you. I suggest you model your strategy after the old Sesame Street film piece “Over! Under! Through!” (If you’re under forty you might not remember this film. It taught the concepts of “over,” “under,” and “through” by filming toddlers crawling around an abandoned construction site. They don’t show it anymore because someone has since realized that’s nuts.) If your boss is a jerk, try to find someone above or around your boss who is not a jerk.* If you’re lucky, your workplace will have a neutral proving ground—like the rifle range or the car sales total board or the SNL read-through. If so, focus on that. Again, don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions. Go “Over! Under! Through!” and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.
Tina Fey (Bossypants)
My unsolicited advice to women in the workplace is this. When faced with sexism or ageism or lookism or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: “Is this person in between me and what I want to do? If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people who were jerky to you. If the answer is yes, you have a more difficult road ahead of you. I suggest you model your strategy after the old Sesame Street film piece, "Over! Under! Through!” (If you’re under forty, you might not remember this film. It taught the concepts of, “over,” and “under,” and “through” by filming toddlers crawling around an abandoned construction site. They don’t show it anymore because someone has since realized that’s nuts.) If your boss is a jerk, try to find someone above or around your boss who is not a jerk. If you’re lucky, your workplace will have a neutral proving ground- like the rifle range or a car sales total board of the SNL read-through. If so, focus on that. Again, don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions. Go “Over! Under! Through!” and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.
Tina Fey (Bossypants)
Women (...) have been encouraged since they were children to be dependent to an unhealthy degree. Any woman who looks within knows that she was never trained to be comfortable with the idea of taking care of herself, standing up for herself, asserting herself. At best she may have played the game of independence, inwardly envying the boys (and later the men) because they seemed so naturally self-sufficient. It is not nature that bestows this self-sufficiency on men; it's training. Males are educated for independence from the day they are born. Just as systematically, women are taught that they have an out - that someday, in some way, they are going to be saved. That is the fairy tale, the life-message (...) We may venture out on our own for a while. We may go away to school, work, travel; we may even make good money, but underneath it all there is a finite quality to our feelings about independence. Only hang on long enough, the childhood story goes, and someday someone will come along to rescue you from the anxiety of authentic living. (The only savior the boy learns about is himself.)
Colette Dowling (The Cinderella Complex: Women's Hidden Fear of Independence)
I will say this as bluntly as I know how: I am a transsexual, and therefore I am a monster. Just as the words “dyke”, “fag”, “queer”, “slut”, and “whore” have been reclaimed, respectively, by lesbians and gay men, by anti assimilationist sexual minorities, by women who pursue erotic pleasure, and by sex industry workers, words like “creature”, “monster”, and “unnaturaI” need to be reclaimed by the transgendered. [...] Hearken unto me, fellow creatures. I who have dwelt in a form unmatched with my desire, I whose flesh has become an assemblage of incongruous anatomical parts, I who achieve the similitude of a natural body only through an unnatural process, I offer you this warning: the Nature you bedevil me with is a lie. Do not trust it to protect you from what I represent, for it is a fabrication that cloaks the groundlessness of the privilege you seek to maintain for yourself at my expense. You are as constructed as me; the same anarchic womb has birthed us both. I call upon you to investigate your nature as I have been compelled to confront mine. I challenge you to risk abjection and flourish as well as have I. Heed my words, and you may well discover the seams and sutures in yourself.
Susan Stryker (My Words to Victor Frankenstein above the Village of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage)
Romantic literature often presents the individual as somebody caught in a struggle against the state and the market. Nothing could be further from the truth. The state and the market are the mother and father of the individual, and the individual can survive only thanks to them. The market provides us with work, insurance and a pension. If we want to study a profession, the government’s schools are there to teach us. If we want to open a business, the bank loans us money. If we want to build a house, a construction company builds it and the bank gives us a mortgage, in some cases subsidised or insured by the state. If violence flares up, the police protect us. If we are sick for a few days, our health insurance takes care of us. If we are debilitated for months, social security steps in. If we need around-the-clock assistance, we can go to the market and hire a nurse – usually some stranger from the other side of the world who takes care of us with the kind of devotion that we no longer expect from our own children. If we have the means, we can spend our golden years at a senior citizens’ home. The tax authorities treat us as individuals, and do not expect us to pay the neighbours’ taxes. The courts, too, see us as individuals, and never punish us for the crimes of our cousins. Not only adult men, but also women and children, are recognised as individuals. Throughout most of history, women were often seen as the property of family or community. Modern states, on the other hand, see women as individuals, enjoying economic and legal rights independently of their family and community. They may hold their own bank accounts, decide whom to marry, and even choose to divorce or live on their own. But the liberation of the individual comes at a cost. Many of us now bewail the loss of strong families and communities and feel alienated and threatened by the power the impersonal state and market wield over our lives. States and markets composed of alienated individuals can intervene in the lives of their members much more easily than states and markets composed of strong families and communities. When neighbours in a high-rise apartment building cannot even agree on how much to pay their janitor, how can we expect them to resist the state? The deal between states, markets and individuals is an uneasy one. The state and the market disagree about their mutual rights and obligations, and individuals complain that both demand too much and provide too little. In many cases individuals are exploited by markets, and states employ their armies, police forces and bureaucracies to persecute individuals instead of defending them. Yet it is amazing that this deal works at all – however imperfectly. For it breaches countless generations of human social arrangements. Millions of years of evolution have designed us to live and think as community members. Within a mere two centuries we have become alienated individuals. Nothing testifies better to the awesome power of culture.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Given our socialization into dependency, women are also poor risk takers. (...) We avoid new situations, job changes, moves to different parts of the country. Women are afraid that if they should make a mistake, or do "the wrong thing", they'll be punished. Women are less confident than men in their ability to make judgments, and in relationships will often hand over the decision-making duties to their mates, a situation which only ensures that they will become less confident in their powers of judgment as time goes by. Most shockingly of all, women are less likely than men to fulfill their intellectual potential. (...) In fact, as women proceed into adulthood, they get lower and lower scores on "total intelligence", owing to the fact that they tend to use their intelligence less and less the longer they're away from school. Other studies show that the intellect's ability to function may actually be impaired by dependent personality traits. (...) Confidence and self-esteem are primary issues in women's difficulties with achievement. Lack of confidence leads us into the dark waters of envy. (...) envy must be recognized, seen, and fully comprehended; it can too easily be used as a cover-up for something that is far mroe crucial to women's independence - our own inner feelings of incompetence. These must be dealt with - directly - if we are ever to achieve confidence and strength.
Colette Dowling (The Cinderella Complex: Women's Hidden Fear of Independence)
We propose that use of the term “false memory” to describe errors in memory for details directly contributes to removing the social context of abuse from research on memory for trauma. As the term “false memories” has increasingly been used to describe errors in details, the scientific weight of the term has increased. In turn, we see that the term “false memories” is treated as a construct supported by scientific fact, whereas other terms associated with questions about the veracity of abuse memories have been treated as suspect. For example, “recovered memories” often appears in quotations, whereas “false memories” does not (Campbell, 2003).The quotation marks suggest that one term is questioned, whereas the other is accepted as fact. Accepting “false memories” of abuse as fact reflects the subtle assimilation of the term into the cognitive literature, where the term is used increasingly to describe intrusions of semantically related words into lists of related words. The term, rooted in the controversy over the accuracy of abuse memories recalled during psychotherapy (Schacter, 1999), implies generalization of errors in details to memory for abuse—experienced largely by women and children (Campbell, 2003)." from: What's in a Name for Memory Errors? Implications and Ethical Issues Arising From the Use of the Term “False Memory” for Errors in Memory for Details, Journal: Ethics & Behavior
Jennifer J. Freyd
While women suffer from our relative lack of power in the world and often resent it, certain dimensions of this powerlessness may seem abstract and remote. We know, for example, that we rarely get to make the laws or direct the major financial institutions. But Wall Street and the U.S. Congress seem very far away. The power a woman feels in herself to heal and sustain, on the other hand--"the power of love"--is, once again, concrete and very near: It is like a field of force emanating from within herself, a great river flowing outward from her very person. Thus, a complex and contradictory female subjectivity is constructed within the relations of caregiving. Here, as elsewhere, women are affirmed in some way and diminished in others, this within the unity of a single act. The woman who provides a man with largely unreciprocated emotional sustenance accords him status and pays him homage; she agrees to the unspoken proposition that his doings are important enough to deserve substantially more attention than her own. But even as the man's supremacy in the relationship is tacitly assumed by both parties to the transaction, the man reveals himself to his caregiver as vulnerable and insecure. And while she may well be ethically and epistemically disempowered by the care she gives, this caregiving affords her a feeling that a mighty power resides within her being. The situation of those men in the hierarchy of gender who avail themselves of female tenderness is not thereby altered: Their superordinate position is neither abandoned, nor their male privilege relinquished. The vulnerability these men exhibit is not a prelude in any way to their loss of male privilege or to an elevation in the status of women. Similarly, the feeling that one's love is a mighty force for the good in the life of the beloved doesn't make it so, as Milena Jesenka found, to her sorrow. The feeling of out-flowing personal power so characteristic of the caregiving woman is quite different from the having of any actual power in the world. There is no doubt that this sense of personal efficacy provides some compensation for the extra-domestic power women are typically denied: If one cannot be a king oneself, being a confidante of kings may be the next best thing. But just as we make a bad bargain in accepting an occasional Valentine in lieu of the sustained attention we deserve, we are ill advised to settle for a mere feeling of power, however heady and intoxicating it may be, in place of the effective power we have every right to exercise in the world.
Sandra Lee Bartky (Femininity and Domination: Studies in the Phenomenology of Oppression (Thinking Gender))
After all, the media have been and are the major dispenser of the ideals and norms surrounding motherhood: Millions of us have gone to the media for nuts-and-bolts child-rearing advice. Many of us, in fact, preferred media advice to the advice our mothers gave us. We didn't want to be like our mothers and many of us didn't want to raise our kids the way they raised us (although it turns out they did a pretty good job in the end). Thus beginning in the mid-1970s, working mothers became the most important thing you can become in the United States: a market. And they became a market just as niche marketing was exploding--the rise of cable channels, magazines like Working Mother, Family Life, Child, and Twins, all supported by advertisements geared specifically to the new, modern mother. Increased emphasis on child safety, from car seats to bicycle helmets, increased concerns about Johnny not being able to read, the recognition that mothers bought cars, watched the news, and maybe didn't want to tune into one TV show after the next about male detectives with a cockatoo or some other dumbass mascot saving hapless women--all contributed to new shows, ad campaigns, magazines, and TV news stories geared to mothers, especially affluent, upscale ones. Because of this sheer increase in output and target marketing, mothers were bombarded as never before by media constructions of the good mother. The good mother bought all this stuff to stimulate, protect, educate, and indulge her kids. She had to assemble it, install it, use it with her child, and protect her child from some of its features.
Susan J. Douglas (The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women)
If the body is no longer a site of otherness but of identification, then we have urgently to become reconciled with it, repair it, perfect it, turn it into an ideal object. Everyone treats their bodies the way men treat women in projective identification: they invest them as a fetish, making an autistic cult of them, subjecting them to a quasi-incestuous manipulation. And it is the body's resemblance to its model which becomes a source of eroticism and 'white' seduction -- in the sense that it effects a kind of white magic of identity, as opposed to the black magic of otherness. This is how it is with body-building: you get into your body as you would into a suit of nerve and muscle. The body is not muscular, but muscled. It is the same with the brain and with social relations or exchanges: body-building, brainstorming, word-processing. Madonna is the ideal specimen of this, our muscled Immaculate Conception, our muscular angel who delivers us from the weaknesses of the body (pity the poor shade of Marilyn!). The sheath of muscles is the equivalent of character armour. In the past, women merely wrapped themselves in their image and their finery -- Freud speaks of those people who live with a kind of inner mirror, in a fleshly, happy self-reference. That narcissistic ideal is past and gone; body-building has wiped it out and replaced it with a gymnastic Ego-Ideal -- cold, hard, stressed, artificial self-reference. The construction of a double, of a physical and mental identity shell. Thus, in `body simulation', where you can animate your body remotely at any moment, the phantasy of being present in more than one body becomes an operational reality. An extension of the human being. And not a metaphorical or poetic extension, as in Pessoa's heteronyms, but quite simply a technical one.
Jean Baudrillard (The Perfect Crime)
Men like my father, and men like him who attend Trump rallies, join misogynistic subcultures, populate some of the most hateful groups in the world, and are prisoners of toxic masculinity, an artificial construct whose expectancies are unattainable, thus making them exceedingly fragile and injurious to others, not to mention themselves. The illusion convinces them from an early age that men deserve to be privileged and entitled, that women and men who don’t conform to traditional standards are second-class persons, are weak and thus detestable. This creates a tyrannical patriarchal system that tilts the world further in favor of men, and, as a side effect, accounts for a great deal of crimes, including harassment, physical and emotional abuse, rape, and even murder. These men, and the boys following in their footsteps, were socialized in childhood to exhibit the ideal masculine traits, including stoicism, aggressiveness, extreme self-confidence, and an unending competitiveness. Those who do not conform are punished by their fathers in the form of physical and emotional abuse, and then further socialized by the boys in their school and community who have been enduring their own abuse at home. If that isn’t enough, our culture then reflects those expectations in its television shows, movies, music, and especially in advertising, where products like construction-site-quality trucks, power tools, beer, gendered deodorant, and even yogurt promise to bestow masculinity for the right price. The masculinity that’s being sold, that’s being installed via systemic abuse, is fragile because, again, it is unattainable. Humans are not intended to suppress their emotions indefinitely, to always be confident and unflinching. Traditional masculinity, as we know it, is an unnatural state, and, as a consequence, men are constantly at war with themselves and the world around them.
Jared Yates Sexton (The Man They Wanted Me to Be: Toxic Masculinity and a Crisis of Our Own Making)
Entering the office, Evie found Sebastian and Cam on opposite sides of the desk. They both mulled over account ledgers, scratching out some entries with freshly inked pens, and making notations beside the long columns. Both men looked up as she crossed the threshold. Evie met Sebastian’s gaze only briefly; she found it hard to maintain her composure around him after the intimacy of the previous night. He paused in mid-sentence as he stared at her, seeming to forget what he had been saying to Cam. It seemed that neither of them was yet comfortable with feelings that were still too new and powerful. Murmuring good morning to them both, she bid them to remain seated, and she went to stand beside Sebastian’s chair. “Have you breakfasted yet, my lord?” she asked. Sebastian shook his head, a smile glinting in his eyes. “Not yet.” “I’ll go to the kitchen and see what is to be had.” “Stay a moment,” he urged. “We’re almost finished.” As the two men discussed a few last points of business, which pertained to a potential investment in a proposed shopping bazaar to be constructed on St. James Street, Sebastian picked up Evie’s hand, which was resting on the desk. Absently he drew the backs of her fingers against the edge of his jaw and his ear while contemplating the written proposal on the desk before him. Although Sebastian was not aware of what the casual familiarity of the gesture revealed, Evie felt her color rise as she met Cam’s gaze over her husband’s downbent head. The boy sent her a glance of mock reproof, like that of a nursemaid who had caught two children playing a kissing game, and he grinned as her blush heightened further. Oblivious to the byplay, Sebastian handed the proposal to Cam, who sobered instantly. “I don’t like the looks of this,” Sebastian commented. “It’s doubtful there will be enough business in the area to sustain an entire bazaar, especially at those rents. I suspect within a year it will turn into a white elephant.” “White elephant?” Evie asked. A new voice came from the doorway, belonging to Lord Westcliff. “A white elephant is a rare animal,” the earl replied, smiling, “that is not only expensive but difficult to maintain. Historically, when an ancient king wished to ruin someone he would gift him with a white elephant.” Stepping into the office, Westcliff bowed over Evie’s hand and spoke to Sebastian. “Your assessment of the proposed bazaar is correct, in my opinion. I was approached with the same investment opportunity not long ago, and I rejected it on the same grounds.” “No doubt we’ll both be proven wrong,” Sebastian said wryly. “One should never try to predict anything regarding women and their shopping.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3))
And barbarians were inventors not only of philosophy, but almost of every art. The Egyptians were the first to introduce astrology among men. Similarly also the Chaldeans. The Egyptians first showed how to burn lamps, and divided the year into twelve months, prohibited intercourse with women in the temples, and enacted that no one should enter the temples from a woman without bathing. Again, they were the inventors of geometry. There are some who say that the Carians invented prognostication by the stars. The Phrygians were the first who attended to the flight of birds. And the Tuscans, neighbours of Italy, were adepts at the art of the Haruspex. The Isaurians and the Arabians invented augury, as the Telmesians divination by dreams. The Etruscans invented the trumpet, and the Phrygians the flute. For Olympus and Marsyas were Phrygians. And Cadmus, the inventor of letters among the Greeks, as Euphorus says, was a Phoenician; whence also Herodotus writes that they were called Phoenician letters. And they say that the Phoenicians and the Syrians first invented letters; and that Apis, an aboriginal inhabitant of Egypt, invented the healing art before Io came into Egypt. But afterwards they say that Asclepius improved the art. Atlas the Libyan was the first who built a ship and navigated the sea. Kelmis and Damnaneus, Idaean Dactyli, first discovered iron in Cyprus. Another Idaean discovered the tempering of brass; according to Hesiod, a Scythian. The Thracians first invented what is called a scimitar (arph), -- it is a curved sword, -- and were the first to use shields on horseback. Similarly also the Illyrians invented the shield (pelth). Besides, they say that the Tuscans invented the art of moulding clay; and that Itanus (he was a Samnite) first fashioned the oblong shield (qureos). Cadmus the Phoenician invented stonecutting, and discovered the gold mines on the Pangaean mountain. Further, another nation, the Cappadocians, first invented the instrument called the nabla, and the Assyrians in the same way the dichord. The Carthaginians were the first that constructed a triterme; and it was built by Bosporus, an aboriginal. Medea, the daughter of Æetas, a Colchian, first invented the dyeing of hair. Besides, the Noropes (they are a Paeonian race, and are now called the Norici) worked copper, and were the first that purified iron. Amycus the king of the Bebryci was the first inventor of boxing-gloves. In music, Olympus the Mysian practised the Lydian harmony; and the people called Troglodytes invented the sambuca, a musical instrument. It is said that the crooked pipe was invented by Satyrus the Phrygian; likewise also diatonic harmony by Hyagnis, a Phrygian too; and notes by Olympus, a Phrygian; as also the Phrygian harmony, and the half-Phrygian and the half-Lydian, by Marsyas, who belonged to the same region as those mentioned above. And the Doric was invented by Thamyris the Thracian. We have heard that the Persians were the first who fashioned the chariot, and bed, and footstool; and the Sidonians the first to construct a trireme. The Sicilians, close to Italy, were the first inventors of the phorminx, which is not much inferior to the lyre. And they invented castanets. In the time of Semiramis queen of the Assyrians, they relate that linen garments were invented. And Hellanicus says that Atossa queen of the Persians was the first who composed a letter. These things are reported by Seame of Mitylene, Theophrastus of Ephesus, Cydippus of Mantinea also Antiphanes, Aristodemus, and Aristotle and besides these, Philostephanus, and also Strato the Peripatetic, in his books Concerning Inventions. I have added a few details from them, in order to confirm the inventive and practically useful genius of the barbarians, by whom the Greeks profited in their studies. And if any one objects to the barbarous language, Anacharsis says, "All the Greeks speak Scythian to me." [...]
Clement of Alexandria (Stromateis, Books 1-3 (Fathers of the Church))
I want to be married,” I blurted. “I want you to marry me.” Fuuuuuuuck. And so my entire carefully constructed speech was thrown out the window. My grandmother’s antique ring was in a box in the dresser—nowhere near me—and my plan to kneel and do everything right just evaporated. In the circle of my arms, Chloe grew very still. “What did you just say?” I had completely botched the plan, but it was too late to turn back now. “I know we have only been together for a little over a year,” I explained, quickly. “Maybe it’s too soon? I understand if it’s too soon. It’s just that how you feel about the way we kiss? I feel that way about everything we do together. I love it. I love to be inside you, I love working with you, I love watching you work, I love fighting with you, and I love just sitting on the couch and laughing with you. I’m lost when I’m not with you, Chloe. I can’t think of anything, or anyone, who is more important to me, every second. And so for me, that means we’re already sort of married in my head. I guess I wanted to make it official somehow. Maybe I sound like an idiot?” I looked over at her, feeling my heart try to jackhammer its way up my throat. “I never expected to feel this way about someone.” She stared at me, eyes wide and lips parted as if she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. I stood and ran over to the dresser, pulling the box from the drawer and carrying it over to her. When I opened the box and let her see my grandmother’s antique diamond and sapphire ring, she clapped a hand over her mouth. “I want to be married,” I said again. Her silence was unnerving, and fuck, I’d completely botched this with my rambling nonsense. “Married to you, I mean.” Her eyes filled with tears and she held them, unblinking. “You. Are such. An ass.” Well, that was unexpected. I knew it might be too soon, but an ass? Really? I narrowed my eyes. “A simple ‘It’s too soon’ would have sufficed, Chloe. Jesus. I lay my heart out on the—” She pushed off the bed and ran over to one of her bags, rummaging through it and pulling out a small blue fabric bag. She carried it back to me with the ribbon hooked over her long index finger, and dangled the bag in my face. I ask her to marry me and she brings me a souvenir from New York? What the fuck is that? “What the fuck is that?” I asked. “You tell me, genius.” “Don’t get smart with me, Mills. It’s a bag. For all I know you have a granola bar, or your tampons, in there.” “It’s a ring, dummy. For you.” My heart was pounding so hard and fast I half wondered if this was what a heart attack felt like. “A ring for me?” She pulled a small box out of the bag and showed it to me. It was smooth platinum, with a line of coarse titanium running through the middle. “You were going to propose to me?” I asked, still completely confused. “Do women even do that?” She punched me, hard, in the arm. “Yes, you chauvinist. And you totally stole my thunder.” “So, is that a yes?” I asked, my bewilderment deepening. “You’ll marry me?” “You tell me!” she yelled, but she was smiling. “Technically you haven’t asked yet.” “Goddamnit, Bennett! You haven’t, either!” “Will you marry me?” I asked, laughing. “Will you marry me?” With a growl, I took the box and dropped it on the floor, flipping her onto her back.
Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bitch (Beautiful Bastard, #1.5))
One could understand feminism generally as an attack on woman as she was under “patriarchy” (that concept is a social construction of feminism). The feminine mystique was her ideal; in regard to sex, it consisted of women’s modesty and in the double standard of sexual conduct that comes with it, which treated women’s misbehavior as more serious than men’s. Instead of trying to establish a single standard by bringing men up to the higher standard of women, as with earlier feminism, today’s feminism decided to demand that women be entitled to sink to the level of men. It bought into the sexual revolution of the late sixties and required that women be rewarded with the privileges of male conquest rather than, say, continue serving as camp followers of rock bands. The result has been the turn for the worse. ... What was there in feminine modesty that the feminists left behind? In return for women’s holding to a higher standard of sexual behavior, feminine modesty gave them protection while they considered whether they wanted to consent. It gave them time: Not so fast! Not the first date! I’m not ready for that! It gave them the pleasure of being courted along with the advantage of looking before you leap. To win over a woman, men had to strive to express their finer feelings, if they had any. Women could judge their character and choose accordingly. In sum, women had the right of choice, if I may borrow that slogan. All this and more was social construction, to be sure, but on the basis of the bent toward modesty that was held to be in the nature of women. That inclination, it was thought, cooperated with the aggressive drive in the nature of men that could be beneficially constructed into the male duty to take the initiative. There was no guarantee of perfection in this arrangement, but at least each sex would have a legitimate expectation of possible success in seeking marital happiness. They could live together, have children, and take care of them. Without feminine modesty, however, women must imitate men, and in matters of sex, the most predatory men, as we have seen. The consequence is the hook-up culture now prevalent on college campuses, and off-campus too (even more, it is said). The purpose of hooking up is to replace the human complexity of courtship with “good sex,” a kind of animal simplicity, eliminating all the preliminaries to sex as well as the aftermath. “Good sex,” by the way, is in good part a social construction of the alliance between feminists and male predators that we see today. It narrows and distorts the human potentiality for something nobler and more satisfying than the bare minimum. The hook-up culture denounced by conservatives is the very same rape culture denounced by feminists. Who wants it? Most college women do not; they ignore hookups and lament the loss of dating. Many men will not turn down the offer of an available woman, but what they really want is a girlfriend. The predatory males are a small minority among men who are the main beneficiaries of the feminist norm. It’s not the fault of men that women want to join them in excess rather than calm them down, for men too are victims of the rape culture. Nor is it the fault of women. Women are so far from wanting hook-ups that they must drink themselves into drunken consent — in order to overcome their natural modesty, one might suggest. Not having a sociable drink but getting blind drunk is today’s preliminary to sex. Beautifully romantic, isn’t it?
Harvey Mansfield Jr.