"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Sunday, May 6, 2007

May Quotefest

If you've ever clicked on the top link on the sidebar of the page (the one that says "Delicious Rhetoric: My Reading List"), you've seen a list of books I have read and noticed that I will read just about anything I can get my hands on that directly or indirectly deals with feminism. I like learning as much as I can about women of every kind and feminism of every flavor. (If you ever have any recommendations, send them my way, and I can add them to my ridiculously long list of things I want to read.) So, I thought I would just share a rather random selection of my favorite quotes from feminist writers:

“Female fear of an open season of rape, and not a natural inclination toward monogamy, motherhood, or love, was probably the single causative factor in the original subjugation of women by man, the most important key to her historic dependence, her domestication by protective mating.” –Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will

"In place of equal respect, the nation offered women the Miss America pageant, established in 1920 - the same year women won the vote." -Susan Faludi, Backlash

“The ceiling isn’t glass. It’s a very dense layer of men.” – Anne Jardim, quoted in Inga Musico's Cunt

“So long as clothing was made at home, the dimensions of the garment could be adjusted to the particular body intended to wear it. But with store-bought clothes, the body had to fit instantaneously into standard sizes that were constructed from a pattern representing a norm. When clothing failed to fit their bodies, particularly a part as intimate as the breasts, young women were apt to perceive that there was something wrong with their bodies. In this way, mass-produced bras in standard cup sizes probably increased, rather than diminished, adolescent self-consciousness about the breasts.” -Joan Jacobs Brumberg, The Body Project

“Meanwhile, little boys are taught to accept emotional support without learning how to give this kind of nurturing and loving in return. Therefore, when a young woman finally achieves the social reward of marriage, she finds that it rarely provides either the nurture she still needs, or an opportunity for independence and self-development. To be a woman is to live with the tension of giving and not getting.” -Susie Orbach, Fat is a Feminist Issue

“…a dad who knows the name of his kids’ pediatrician and reads them stories at night is still regarded as a saint; a mother who doesn’t as a sinner.” -Susan J. Douglas and Meredith Michaels, The Mommy Myth

On the serpent tempting Eve…
“He did not try to tempt her from the path of duty by brilliant jewels, rich dresses, worldly luxuries or pleasures, but with the promise of knowledge, with the wisdom of the Gods. Like Socrates or Plato, his powers of conversation and asking puzzling questions were no doubt marvelous, and he roused in the woman that intense thirst for knowledge, that the simple pleasures of picking flowers and talking with Adam did not satisfy.” -Elizabeth Cady Stanton, The Woman's Bible

“All too often, the anti-feminist perspective is the only voice that masses of black people have the opportunity to hear. It is the voice that most intimately addresses black folks across class. Progressive black women and men often end up speaking the most to mainstream white culture.” -bell hooks, Killing Rage

“Being a bride is like being sent back to the seventh grade, and not just because you are supposed to keep a scrapbook and try on eighteen shades of lipstick. Seventh grade is the first time girls run headfirst onto a set of cultural expectations for them as girls that often clash directly with who they’ve begun to be as people.” -Kamy Wicoff, I Do, But I Don't

“I contend that all girls growing up in this culture are sexually abused – abused by the pornographic images of female sexuality that surround them from birth, abused by all the violence against women and girls, and abused by the constant harassment and threat of violence.” -Jean Kilbourne, Can't Buy My Love

“Feminism’ is the only f-word as scary or scarier than the word ‘fat.” -Wendy Shanker, The Fat Girl's Guide to Life

“I’m outing myself as one of those women who hold PhDs in nuclear physics (actually, mine’s in literature, but you get my meaning) who turn into adoring little girls in the presence of men we so long to be loved by. This is me, knock-kneed, walking the tightrope between a feminist rhetoric of equality and a feminine appeal for male benevolence.” –Merri Lisa Johnson, Jane Sexes it Up

“It is a chokingly bitter irony that feminism accomplishes most within the superpower that grinds the life out of the world’s women, makes war on them and starves their children. The identification of feminism with the United Sates has diminished it around the world.” -Germaine Greer, The Whole Woman

“Whether virginity is revered or denigrated, judging girls and women solely on the basis of our sexual behavior limits who we are.” -Boston Women's Health Collective, Our Bodies, Ourselves

“Today, with the defeat of the ERA, the tightening economy, and increased conservatism, it is easier once again for white women to believe the dangerous fantasy that if you are good enough, pretty enough, sweet enough, quiet enough, teach the children to behave, hate the right people, and marry the right man, then you will be allowed to co-exist with the patriarchy in relative peace, at least until a man needs your job or the neighborhood rapist happens along.” -Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider

“Of course, the housewife also served economic purpose by staying in the home. As the person in charge of goods and services consumed by the family, she was capitalism’s secret agent. Accordingly, advertisers and manufacturers targeted wives as the ‘chief purchasing agents’ for their families, a development that would establish the premise that women are ‘born to shop.” - Ann Kingston, The Meaning of Wife

“Gradually, men gave up trying to dissuade women from sports altogether. Instead they scurried to redefine female athleticism as sexy or romantic, intended not for women’s health, enjoyment, or empowerment, but for men’s pleasure.” -Mariah Burton Nelson, The Stronger Women Get, The More Men Love Football