For a mother the project of raising a boy is the most fulfilling project she can hope for. She can watch him, as a child, play the games she was not allowed to play; she can invest in him her ideas, aspirations, ambitions, and values -- or whatever she has left of them; she can watch her son, who came from her flesh and whose life was sustained by her work and devotion, embody her in the world. So while the project of raising a boy is fraught with ambivalence and leads inevitably to bitterness, it is the only project that allows a woman to be -- to be through her son, to live through her son.
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I love, cherish, and respect women in my mind, in my heart, and in my soul. This love of women is the soil in which my life is rooted. It is the soil of our common life together. My life grows out of this soil. In any other soil, I would die. In whatever ways I am strong, I am strong because of the power and passion of this nurturant love.
Three, community built on androgynous identity will mean the end of transsexuality as we know it. Either the transsexual will be able to expand his/her sexuality into a fluid androgyny, or, as roles disappear, the phenomenon of transsexuality will disappear and that energy will be transformed into new modes of sexual identity and behavior.
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Feminist art is not some tiny creek running off the great river of real art. It is not some crack in an otherwise flawless stone. It is, quite spectacularly I think, art which is not based on the subjugation of one half of the species. It is art which will take the great human themes -love, death, heroism, suffering, history itself -and render them fully human. It may also, though perhaps our imaginations are so mutilated now that we are incapable even of the ambition, introduce a new theme, one as great and as rich as those others -should we call it joy?
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Romantic love, in pornography as in life, is the mythic celebration of female negation. For a woman, love is defined as her willingness to submit to her own annihilation. The proof of love is that she is willing to be destroyed by the one whom she loves, for his sake. For the woman, love is always self-sacrifice, the sacrifice of identity, will, and bodily integrity, in order to fulfill and redeem the masculinity of her lover.
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In her heart she is a mourner for those who have not survived. In her soul she is a warrior for those who are now as she was then. In her life she is both celebrant and proof of women's capacity and will to survive, to become, to act, to change self and society. And each year she is stronger and there are more of her.
I need the money, people are very coy about money, and the ladies arent just coy, they are sci fi about money... people ask, well, dont sweet things happen? yes, indeed, many sweet things, but sweet doesnt keep you from dying, making love doesnt keep you from dying unless you get paid, writing doesnt keep you from dying unless you get paid, being wise doesnt keep you from dying unless you get paid, facts are facts, being poor makes you face facts which also does not keep you from dying.
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She will try to find the nice way to exercise intelligence. But intelligence is not ladylike. Intelligence is full of excesses. Rigorous intelligene abhors sentimentality, and women must be sentimental to value the dreadful silliness of the men around them. Morbid intelligence abhors the cheery sunlight of positive thinking and eternal sweetness; and women must be sunlight and cheery and sweet, or the woman could not bribe her way with smiles through a day. Wild intelligence abhors any narrow world; and the world of women must stay narrow, or the woman is an outlaw. No woman could be Nietzsche or Rimbaud without ending up in a whorehouse or lobotomized. Any vital intelligence has passionate questions, aggressive answers; but women cannot be explorers; there can be no Lewis or Clark of the female mind.
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Often, to keep the family together, the woman will accept repeated beatings and rapes, emotional battering and verbal degredation; she will be debased and ashamed but she will stick it out, or when she runs he will kill her. Ask the politicians who exude delight when they advocate for the so-called traditional family how many women are beaten and children raped when there is no man in the family. Zero is such a perfect and encouraging number, but who, among politicians in male-supremacist cultures, can count that high?
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When I say that we must establish values with originate in sisterhood, I mean to say that we must not accept, even for a moment, male notions of what non-violence is. These notions have never condemned the systematic violence against us. The men who hold these notions have never renounced the male behaviours, privileges, values and conceits which are in and of themselves acts of violence against us.
I listened; I wrote; I learned. I do not know why so many women trusted me enough to speak to me, but underneath anything I write one can hear the percussive sound of their heartbeats. If one has to pick one kind of pedagogy over all others, I pick listening. It breaks down prejudices and stereotypes; it widens self-imposed limits; it takes one into another's life, her hard times and, if there is any, her joy too.
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Male supremacy is fused into the language, so that every sentence both heralds and affirms it. Thought, experienced primarily as language, is permeated by the linguistic and perceptual values developed expressly to subordinate women. Men have defined the parameters of every subject. All feminist arguments, however radical in intent or consequence, are with or against assertions or premises implicit in the male system, which is made credible or authentic by the power of men to name. No transcendence of the male system is possible as long as men have the power of naming... As Prometheus stole fire from the gods, so feminists will have to steal the power of naming from men, hopefully to better effect.
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The intelligence of women is not out in the world, acting on its own behalf; it is kept small, inside the home, acting on behalf of another. This is true even when the woman works outside the home, because she is segregated into women's work, and her intelligence does not have the same importance as the lay of her ass.
The object, the woman, goes out into the world formed as men have formed her to be used as men wish to use her. She is then a provocation. The object provokes its use. It provokes its use because of its form, determined by the one who is provoked. The carpenter makes a chair, sits on it, then blames the chair because he is not standing. When the object complains about the use to which she is put, she is told, simply and firmly, not to provoke.
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Inferiority is not banal or incidental even when it happens to women. It is not a petty affliction like bad skin or circles under the eyes. It is not a superficial flaw in an otherwise perfect picture. It is not a minor irritation, nor is it a trivial inconvenience, an occasional aggravation, or a regrettable but (frankly) harmless lapse in manners. It is not a 'point of view' that some people with soft skins find ' offensive. ' It is the deep and destructive devaluing of a person in life, a shredding of dignity and self-respect, an imposed exile from human worth and human recognition, the forced alienation of a person from even the possibility of wholeness or internal integrity. Inferiority puts rightful self-love beyond reach, a dream fragmented by insult into a perpetually recurring nightmare; inferiority creates a person broken and humiliated inside. The fragments- scattered pieces and sharp slivers of someone who can never be made whole-are then taken to be the standard of what is normal in her kind: women are like that. The insult that hurt her-inferiority as an assault, ongoing since birth-is seen as a consequence, not a cause, of her so-called nature, an inferior nature. In English, a graceful language, she is even called a piece. It is likely to be her personal experience that she is insufficiently loved. Her subjectivity itself is second-class, her experiences and perceptions inferior in the world as she is inferior in the world. Her experience is recast into a psychologically pejorative judgment: she is never loved enough because she is needy, neurotic, the insufficiency of love she feels being in and of itself evidence of a deep-seated and natural dependency. Her personal experiences or perceptions are never credited as having a hard core of reality to them. She is, however, never loved enough. In truth; in point of fact; objectively: she is never loved enough. As Konrad Lorenz wrote: ' I doubt if it is possible to feel real affection for anybody who is in every respect one's inferior. ' 1 There are so many dirty names for her that one rarely learns them all, even in one's native language.
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I don't believe rape is inevitable or natural. If I did, I would have no reason to be here. If I did, my political practice would be different than it is. Have you ever wondered why we [women] are not just in armed combat against you? It's not because there's a shortage of kitchen knives in this country. It is because we believe in your humanity, against all the evidence.