The Backlash! - What Everyone Should Know about Feminist Issues - Feminism Unmodified: 1994 - 1996
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Feminism Unmodified: 1994 - 1996
By Rod Van Mechelen
Where we turn the soapbox over to the feminists, themselves. Compilation from the 1994 through 1996 issues of The Backlash!
"A major purpose of femininity is to mystify or minimize the functional aspects of a woman's mind and body that are indistinguishable from a man's, and our legs have borne the brunt of this more than we care to acknowledge." - Susan Brownmiller, Femininity

"The brilliance of objectification as a strategy of dominance is that it gets the woman to take the initiative in her own degradation (having less freedom is degrading)." - Andrea Dworkin, Intercourse

"When we think of what it is that politicizes people it is not so much books or ideas but experience." - Irene Peslikis, Resistances to Consciousness

"The marriage institution does not free women; it does not provide for emotional and intellectual growth; and it offers no political resources. Were it not for male-legislated discrimination in employment, it would show little economic advantage." -- Judith Brown, Toward a female liberation movement

"The mainstream law of equality assumes that society is already fundamentally equal. It gives women legally no more than they already have socially, and little it cannot also give men. Actually doing anything for women under sex equality law is thus stigmatized as special protection or affirmative action rather than simply recognized as nondiscrimination or equality for the first time. So long as sexual equality is limited by sex difference -- whether valued or negated, staked out as ground for feminism or occupied as the terrain of misogyny -- women will be born, degraded, and die. Protection will be a dirty word and equality will be a special privilege." - Catharine MacKinnon, Toward a Feminist Theory of the State

"Power can be taken, but not given. The process of the taking is empowerment in itself." -- Gloria Steinem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions

"To put things into perspective in the media, the term "domestic violence," which sounds rather homey, should be changed to what it actually describes: male violence against women." - June Stephenson, Ph.D., Men Are Not Cost-Effective: Male Crime in America

"While sexual and emotional alliances with men may continue to be of some benefit the peculiar domestic institution is not." - Judith Brown, Toward a female liberation movement

"Personal violence against women is a tissue of individual acts given firm backing by entrenched institutions." - Marilyn French, The War Against Women

"The evidence suggests that, for many women, Thelma & Louise is no longer a fantasy." - Naomi Wolf, Fire with Fire: The New Female Power and How to Use It

"A sociological fact of the 1980s is that female competition for two scarce resources -- men and jobs -- is especially fierce." - Susan Brownmiller, Femininity

"In self-defense she sometimes adopted frilly blouses or another innocuous version of the feminine protest. ... M.D. or Ph.D., those hats and frilly blouses say, let nobody question our femininity." - Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique

"While men strut and fret their hour upon the stage, shout in bars and sports arenas, thump their chests or show their profiles in the legislatures, and explode incredible weapons in an endless contest for status, an obsessive quest for symbolic "proof" of their superiority, women quietly keep the world going." - Marilyn French, The War Against Women

"Every time a woman has been burned at the stake, at war or at work, other women have been near enough to hand over the torch and whisper words of encouragement to the executioner." - Tara Roth Madden, Women Vs. Women: The Uncivil Business War

"Women are systematically beaten in our homes by men with whom we are close. It is estimated that between one quarter and one third of married women experience serious violence in their homes -- some studies find as many as 70 percent." - Catharine MacKinnon, Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law

"The more a man tries to control his lusts, the more powerful they become." - Eva Figes, Patriarchal Attitudes

"One of the serious flaws in most radical male thinking is the substitution of goals for tactics." - Judith Brown, Toward a female liberation movement

"I'm all for the feminist movement because it tends to make men more cautious and easier to control." - Alexandra, Working Woman, August 1994

"In England there was what was known as "the rule of thumb," meaning a man couldn't beat his wife with anything thicker than his thumb." - June Stephenson, Ph.D., Men Are Not Cost-Effective: Male Crime in America

"The "rule of thumb," however, turns out to be an excellent example of what may be called a feminist fiction. It is not to be found in William Blackstone's treatise on English common law. On the contrary, British law since the 1700s and our American laws predating the Revolution prohibit wife beating, though there have been periods and places in which the prohibition was only indifferently enforced." - Christina Hoff Sommers, Who Stole Feminism?

"In conditions of severe hardship, like famine or war, women and men struggle together for survival; in periods of tight control, men exclude women. Women can use their talents only marginally in times that have margins." - Marilyn French, Beyond Power: On Women, Men and Morals

"Unlike most radical women, working class women have no freedom of alternatives, no chance of achieving some slight degree of individual liberation." - Kathy McAdee and Myrna Wood, Voices from Women's Liberation

"But if their parents, teachers, preachers, have abdicated purposes larger than personal emotional adjustment, material success, security, what larger purpose can the young learn?" - Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique

"American women live in a patriarchy in which the most dangerous man in town isn't the marauder or rapist, but their husband or lover." - Gloria Steinem, New York Times

"We can refuse to support an Equal Rights Amendment which would have (1) thrown away protective labor legislation, (2) made it more difficult for a woman to get "alimony" (i.e., reparations for unpaid labor), (3) made women eligible for the draft (when neither men nor women should be drafted to fight genocidal wars)." - Robin Morgan, Going Too Far: The Personal Chronicle of a Feminist

"The strip clubs for me are pagan shrines where men go to worship women's power." - Camille Paglia

"The heart of woman's oppression is her child-bearing and child-rearing role." - Shulamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution

"Women are marked for marriage and prostitution by a wound between the legs, acknowledged as such when men show their strange terror of women. Intelligence neither creates nor destroys this would; nor does it change the uses of the wound, the woman, the sex." - Andrea Dworkin, Right Wing Women

"If we can control our reproduction, we can control our lives." - Patricia Ireland, What Women Want

"Like race, and to a more hidden extent, class, gender has become a code through which some groups and individuals are deemed deserving of protection and respect, while others are vilified as demons responsible for society's ills. Authors of women's history books have understood this code for decades, and today their craft has reached new levels of sophistication, complexity, and diversity." - Elaine Tyler May, Ms., March/April 1995

"In all generations, we still lack that confidence to seize power and have a tendency to wait to be invited." - Congresswoman Susan Molinari, Working Woman, October 1996

"I believe that the "violence" of the oppressed is inherently a form of extended self- defense -- that is, a desperate response to the older violence of the oppressor." - Robin Morgan, Going Too Far: The Personal Chronicle of a Feminist

"It is not exclusivity of sex that feminists oppose, but sexual exclusivity of power." - Marilyn French, Beyond Power: On Women, Men and Morals

"Violence is the authentic proof of each one's loyalty to himself, to his passions, to his own will; radically to deny this is to deny oneself any objective truth, it is to wall oneself up in an abstract subjectivity; anger or revolt that does not get into the muscles remains a figment of the imagination. It is a profound frustration not to be able to register one's feelings upon the face of the world." - Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (Vintage)

"Men need to change." - Ruth Ginsberg, A Century of Women

"Most women in the real contemporary world are, of course, relegated to ancillary, unsatisfying or degrading work,..." - Susan Faludi, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women

"Women are disadvantaged in every area of life." - Marilyn French, The War Against Women

"Women are probably closest to God. We make life." - Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Rolling Stone, September 5, 1996

"When we got divorced, my husband and I split the house. He got the outside." - Susan Savannah, Jokes for Women Only 3

"Men use power one way, women another, but both tend to deny their power, like rich people who want to believe that people love them for themselves and not their money." -- Molly Haskell, Working Woman, August 1994

"Sexual harassment exposed men's deep, unacknowledged sexual hatred of women and the censored fact that men are the agents of women's oppression." -- Marilyn French, The War Against Women

"Androphobia may have a scientific ring, but it's not based on scientific research -- or any research at all." -- Susan Faludi, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women

"For sad if obvious reasons, women (especially white women who are seduced by access to the powerful) are the only discriminated against group whose members seem to think that, if they don't take themselves seriously, someone else will." -- Gloria Steinem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions

"The right to ask questions is the chief jewel in the treasury of rights assumed by men and withheld from women." -- Naomi Wolf, Fire with Fire: The New Female Power and How to Use It

"If you, brother, can't get a hard-on for a woman who doesn't grovel at your feet, that's your hangup; and sister, if you can't turn on to a man who won't club you and drag you off by the hair, that's yours. Keep your hangups the hell out of this revolution." - Lilith's Manifesto

"The basic Ameircan institution for oppressing females is marriage, and this institution exists for the purpose of extorting domestic and personal services, including production and care of offspring, who become subordinates of the male- supremacist state." - Suzie Olah, 1970, Voices from Women's Liberation

"Today's system of marriage is again just a way to get cheap labor - economics is all it is." - Gloria Steinem, 1970, Voices from Women's Liberation

"The types of women that our society has produced in the past, the roles they have played or failed to play, sprang from the dictates and expectations of men." - Eva Figes, Patriarchal Attitudes

"After all, to a great extent so many men have clung to sole-provider status as their proof of manhood because so many women have expected it of them." - Susan Faludi, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women

"If we want a society that learns early to live together in harmony, collective child rearing is essential. To participate in child rearing would enlarge and enrich men's experience." - Marilyn French, Beyond Power: On Women, Men and Morals

"Men in general spend most of their hours in pursuits and passions that are not sexual, and have less need to make sex expand to fill the time available." - Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique

"Most women are not distinct, private individuals to most men; and so the fuck tends toward the class assertion of dominance." - Andrea Dworkin, Intercourse

"By 1980, a landmark sex survey of 106,000 women conducted for Cosmopolitan found that 41 percent of women had extramarital affairs, up from 8 percent in 1948." - Susan Faludi, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women

"In the real world in 1988, 8 percent of AIDS victims were women." - Susan Faludi, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women

"Research on lesbian domestic violence is scanty at best, but the few studies done suggest that violence between women occurs at about the same rate as it does among heterosexuals." -- Achy Obejas, Ms. magazine, Sept./Oct. 1994

"(M)ale circumcision involves cutting the tip of the protective "hood" of skin that covers the penis, an area whose number of nerve endings are analogous to those in the earlobe, but not damaging to the penis." - Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions

"Old ideas and attitudes die hard, they are perpetuated through the very structure of family life, and one of the main hindrances to a really fundamental change of attitude is the institution of marriage itself." -- Eva Figes, Patriarchal Attitudes

"Personality tests show blacks to be definitely more maladjusted than whites." -- Betsy Warrior, Voices from Women's Liberation

"Our bodies have been taken from us, mined for their natural resources (sex and children), and deliberately mystified." -- Robin Morgan, Going Too Far: The Personal Chronicle of a Feminist


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