The fear of freedom is strong in us. We call it chaos or anarchy, and the words are threatening. We live in a true chaos of contradicting authorities, an age of conformism without community, of proximity without communication. We could only fear chaos if we imagined that it was unknown to us, but in fact we know it very well.
Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves-to breakour own records, to outstrip our yesterday by our today."Stewart B. Johnson"Men rule because women let them. Male misogyny is real enough, and it has dreadful consequences, but female misogyny is what keeps women out of power.
So far it has been assumed that the only pregnancies which are aborted are accidental ones and the only foetuses destroyed those whose mothers could not bear the thought of their becoming children. In a just world this would be the case, but the world is far from just. Too many women are forced to abort by poverty, by their menfolk, by their parents. Poverty has many faces; it may be the poverty of the young, the unmarried, the student, the unemployed, the female or a combination of these.
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War is the admission of defeat in the face of conflicting interests: by war the issue is left to chance, and the tacit assumption that the best man will win is not at all justified. It might equally be argued that the worst, the most unscrupulous man will win, although history will continue the absurd game by finding him after all the best man.
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We can only afford two children' really means, 'We only like clean, well-disciplined middle-class children who go to good schools and grow up to be professionals', for children manage to use up all the capital that is made available for the purpose, whatever proportion it may be of the family's whole income, just as housework expands to fill the time available.
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What is certain is that he [the baby] has too much attention from the one person who is entirely at his disposal. The intimacy between mother and child is not sustaining and healthy. The child learns to exploit his mother's accessibility, badgering her with questions and demands which are not of any real consequence to him, embarrassing her in public, blackmailing her into buying sweets and carrying him.
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The love object occupies the thoughts of the person diagnosed as 'in love' all the time despite the probability that very little is actually known about it. To it are ascribed all qualities considered by the obsessed as good, regardless of whether the object in question possesses those qualities in any degree. Expectations are set up which no human being could fulfill. Thus the object chosen plays a special role in relation to the go of the obsessed, who decided that he or she is the right or the only person for him. In the case of a male this notion may sanction a degree of directly aggressive behavior either in pursuing the object or driving off competition.
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The chief means of liberating women is replacing of compulsiveness and compulsion by the pleasure principle. Cooking, clothes, beauty, and housekeeping are all compulsive activities in which the anxiety quotient has long since replaced the pleasure or achievement quotient. It is possible to use even cooking, clothes, cosmetics and housekeeping for fun. The essence of pleasure is spontaneity. In these cases spontaneity means rejecting the norm, the standard that one must live up to, and establishing a self-regulating principle.
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The most cursory examination of even the most progressive organs of information reveals a curious inability to recognize women as newsmakers, unless they are young or married to a head of state or naked or pregnant by some triumph of technology or perpetrators or victims of some hideous crime or any combiniation of the above. Women's issues are often disguised as people issues, unless they are relegated to the women's pages which amazingly still suvive. Senior figures are all male; even the few women who are deemed worthy of obituaries are shown in images from their youth, as if the last fourty years of their lives have been without achievement of any kind. If you analyse the by-lines in your morning paper, you will see that the senior editorial staff are all older men, supported by a rabble of junior females, the infinitely replacesable 'hackettes'.
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Love, love, love -- all the wretched cant of it, masking egotism, lust, masochism, fantasy under a mythology of sentimental postures, a welter of self-induced miseries and joys, blinding and masking the essential personalities in the frozen gestures of courtship, in the kissing and the dating and the desire, the compliments and the quarrels which vivify its barrenness.
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The older woman's love is not love of herself, nor of herself mirrored in a lover's eyes, nor is it corrupted by need. It is a feeling of tenderness so still and deep and warm that it gilds every grass blade and blesses every fly. It includes the ones who have a claim on it, and a great deal else besides. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
Every wife who slaves to keep herself pretty, to cook her husband's favourite meals, to build up his pride and confidence in himself at the expense of his sense of reality, to be his closest and effectively his only friend, to encourage him to rejectthe consensus of opinionand find reassurance only in her arms is binding her mate to her with hoops of steel that will strangle them both.
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Rather than seek to be squired and dated by their rivals why should it not be possible for women to find relaxation and pleasure in the company of their 'inferiors'? They would need to shed their desperate need to admire a man, and accept the gentler role of loving him. A learned woman cannot castrate a truck-driver like she can her intellectual rival, because he has no exaggerated respect for her bookish capacities. The alternative to conventional education is not stupidity, and many a clever girl needs the corrective of a humbler soul's genuine wisdom.
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Properly speaking, altruism is an absurdity. Women are self-sacrificing in direct proportion to their incapacity to offer anything but this sacrifice. They sacrifice what they never had: a self. The cry of the deserted woman, 'What have I done to deserve this?' reveals at once the false emotional economy that she has been following.
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The housewife is an unpaid worker in her husband's house in return for the security of being a permanent employee: hers is the reductio ad absurdum of the employee who accepts a lower wage in return for permanence of his employment. But the lowest paid employees can be and are laid off, and so are wives. They have no savings, no skills which they can bargain with elsewhere, and they must bear the stigma of having been sacked.
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