I continued for too long to do things that I already knew how to do, or to write stories that I was assigned instead of fighting for stories that I couldn't get, or doing ones that I thought were important on my own. The wasting of time is the thing I worry about the most. Because time is all there is.
If we're by ourselves we come to feel crazy and alone. We need to make alternate families of small groups of women who support each other, talk to each other regularly, can speak their truths and their experiences and find they're not alone in them, that other women have them, too ... It makes such a huge difference.
When I was growing up, you were supposed to marry and therefore didn't plan ahead. Planning ahead is one of the few reliable measures of class in the sense that rich people plan for generations forward and poor people plan for Saturday night, and by that measure, women have been lower class. We were less likely to plan ahead because we're more likely to think that who we marry and our children are going to dictate our plans.
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I want us to organize, to tell the personal stories that create empathy, which is the most revolutionary emotion. The truth of the mater is that hierarchy and violence can't be remedied by more hierarchy and violence. The end doesn't justify the means, the means we choose decide the end we get. The means are the end.
If you're raised in a house where it's okay for one group to eat and another to cook, or for one group to get more education money than the other or to be more free than the other, or where one parent gives in to the will of the other or may be verbally or even physically abused by the other. This gives you an idea of human worth.
The gender prism is just descending upon us. For instance, when we're girls of nine or 10 we may be climbing trees and saying, "I know what I want. I know what I think." And then suddenly at 11 or 12, the gender role takes hold, and adults tell us, "How clever of you to know what time it is." It happens to boys, too and even sooner - between five and eight. Before that, boys cry and express uncertainty.
When you stand up for yourself and try to be autonomous and self-determining, you're called a lot of names that we all know and that are very common. You may lose your job. You may lose custody of your child. You may be blamed for the failure of your marriage even though it was the man who couldn't tolerate an equal relationship.
It's important that we recognize how extreme the Republicans are in almost every case and how against our self-interest it is to vote for them whether or not we are disappointed with the current crew. At least they believe in the Constitution. At least they have an idea of economic justice. The Republicans are devoted to creating more rich folks.
you never know which thing you do is going to turn out to be important. I'm sure we've all done very small things that had very great impact and very big things that didn't make any difference. So, create the means that best reflect the ends we want. Try to make each moment authentic, and you'll get to an authentic end.
No wonder male religious leaders so often say that humans were born in sin-because we were born to female creatures. Only by obeying the rules of the patriarchy can we be reborn through men. No wonder priests and ministers in skirts sprinkle imitation birth fluid over our heads, give us new names, and promise rebirth into everlasting life.
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I didn't hear words that were accurate, much less prideful. For example, I never once heard the word clitoris. It would be years before I learned that females possessed the only organ in the human body with no function than to feel pleasure. (If such an organ were unique to the male body, can you imagine how much we would hear about it-and what it would be used to justify?)
It still would be years before I understood the seriousness of my change of view. Much later, I recognized it in "Revolution, " the essay of Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski, who describes the moment when a man on the edge of a crowd looks back defiantly at a policeman - and when that policeman senses a sudden refusal to accept his defining gaze - as the imperceptible moment in which rebellion is born. "All books about all revolutions begin with a chapter that describes the decay of tottering authority or the misery and sufferings of the people, " Kapuscinski writes. "They should begin with a psychological chapter - one that shows how a harassed, terrified man suddenly breaks his terror, stops being afraid. This unusual process - sometimes accomplished in an instant, like a shock - demands to be illustrated. Man gets rid of fear and feel free. Without that, there would be no revolution.
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In short, we would discover, as we should already, that logic is in the eye of the logician. (For instance, here's an idea for theorists and logicians: if women are supposed to be less rational and more emotional at the beginning of our menstrual cycle when the female hormone is at its lowest level, then why isn't it logical to say that, in those few days, women behave the most like the way men behave all month long? I leave further improvisation up to you.)
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As an activist, you do find yourself directed more toward public action. But I've always tried to use stories from my own life in my writing for instance. It has always been clear to me that the stories of each other's lives are our best textbooks. Every social justice movement that I know of has come out of people sitting in small groups, telling their life stories, and discovering that other people have shared similar experiences. So, if we've shared many experiences, then it probably has something to do with power or politics, and if we unify and act together, then we can make a change.
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I can only tell you the kind of power I want, which is the power to persuade. But I do not want the power to tell other people what to do. Persuade assumes that the other person is going to make the decision. Especially as a writer and an activist, I want the power to put ideas and possibilities out there, but I understand that they will only work if they are freely chosen, so I don't want the power to dictate or to force the choice, ever.
The first problem for all of us, men and woman, is not to learn, but to unlearn. We are filled with the popular wisdom of several centuries just past, and we are terrified to give it up. Patriotism means obedience, age means wisdom, woman means submission, black means inferior: these are preconceptions imbedded so deeply in our thinking that we honestly may not know that they are there.
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Any group of people that has been subordinate absorbs the idea of our own subordination, and that it is natural, and comes to think that the only way to survive is to identify with the powerful. And I think that is not surprising, and it is what happens to a lot of right-wing women. I mean they think they better do what the powerful tell them do otherwise they'll be in even more trouble.
I live in the land of delight - of just walking in the street, and the sun is shining, and I'm on my way to Starbucks and I'm feeling good. I also live for those aha! moments when you understand something new, when you see two things fitting together to make a surprising third. There's actually a chemical that's produced in the brain by learning that gives you that little ecstatic moment of, Oh, that's why.
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We've learned that women can and should do 'men's jobs,' for instance, and we've won the principle (if not the fact) of getting equal pay. But we haven't yet established the principle (much less the fact) that men can and should do 'women's jobs': that homemaking and child-rearing are as much a man's responsibility, too, and that those jobs in which women are concentrated outside the home would probably be better paid if more men became secretaries, file clerks, and nurses, too.
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I didn't hear words that were accurate, much less prideful. For example, I never once heard the word clitoris. It would be years before I learned that females possessed the only organ in the human body with no function than to feel pleasure. (If such an organ were unique to the male body, can you imagine how much we would hear about it""and what it would be used to justify?)