Quote
"Taking that step would have helped them. If only they had been able to slip on the tragic hood of the victim, even temporarily. Then they would have been able to face the thing openly and kindle rage at what had happened inside them… But rage was not within their reach…"

— Patrza Romto, A Deafening Silence: Hidden Violence against Women and Children

(Source: seebster)

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"Somehow every indignity the female suffers ultimately comes to be symbolized in a sexuality that is held to be her responsibility, her shame. Even the self-denigration required of the prostitute is an emotion urged upon all women, but rarely with as much success: not as frankly, not as openly, not as efficiently. It can be summarized in one four-letter word. And the word is not fuck, it’s cunt. Our self contempt originates in this: in knowing we are cunt. This is what we are supposed to be about—our essence, our offense."

— Kate Millett, The Prostitution Papers

(Source: seebster)

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"

So I jumped on the tznius* bandwagon.
After all, we were taught that the woman holds the power
She is the one that brings down man.
So I must have not been modest enough
and that’s why I was punished with the abuse.
Now, I can cover up, stay out of sight
and nothing will happen to me again.

I was wrong, of course.

Sitting on my high horse,
I had to convince myself
that being tznius really did make me a better person.
Otherwise, he might see through my act and get to me again.

But then it happened.
This time involving someone else.
Someone meant to be my equal.
But he didn’t respect my boundaries.
He had to have what he couldn’t have.

And I was raped.

My shame in my body grew stronger.
Religion was no longer a priority.
After all, I didn’t want to be anything like my abusers.
My “holy” abusers.
But I still kept up the tznius facade.
I hid behind my skirts and buttoned up blouses,
hoping no one would realize how provocative I really was
and what disgusting things I had done with my body…

I dress modestly but for all the wrong reasons.

"

excerpt from Why I Dress Modestly, in response to PopChasid’s An Appeal to Women for Modesty

(*Tznuis is the word used by Jews broadly to describe the virtue of humility, but mostly is used with regards to modesty of dress and is most commonly applied to women’s clothing.)

(Source: seebster)

Quote
"When I was young I believed in intellectual conversations:
I thought the patterns we wove on stale smoke
Floated off to the heaven of ideas.
To be certified worthy of high masculine discourse
like a potato on a grater I would rub on contempt,
suck snubs, wade proudly through the brown stuff on the floor.
They were talking of integrity and existential ennui
while the women ran out for six-packs and had abortions
in the kitchen and fed the children and were auctioned off.
Eventually of course I learned how their eyes perceived me:
when I bore to them cupped in my hands a new poem to nibble,
when I brought my aerial maps of Sartre or Marx,
they said, she is trying to attract our attention,
she is offering up her breasts and thighs.
I walked on eggs, their tremulous equal:
they saw a fish peddler hawking in the street.
Now I get coarse when the abstract nouns start flashing.
I go out to the kitchen to talk cabbages and habits.
I try hard to remember to watch what people do.
Yes, keep your eyes on the hands, let the voice go buzzing.
Economy is the bone, politics is the flesh,
watch who they beat and who they eat,
watch who they relieve themselves on, watch who they own.
The rest is decoration."

— Marge Piercy (1982)

(Source: seebster)

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"

The “when does life begin” debate is nothing but smoke and mirrors to obfuscate the reality…It is the worst kind of intellectual dishonesty to indulge this garbage argument about irreconcilable disagreement over when life begins. It doesn’t matter even if life does begin at conception. The calculus thus becomes which life matters more, which is an assessment we are willing to make in dozens of other situations across our political and cultural landscape.

Concede their point. Then make the argument that we must actually value the actual lives of actual people who have actually been born over fetuses.

The question is not really when life begins. The question is whether we recognize women and other people with uteri as humans whose lives have intrinsic value and the rights of agency, bodily autonomy, and consent. It is only because such a vast swath of our population cannot or will not answer a resounding and unqualified “yes” to that question that there is even space for a reprehensible debate about when life begins.

"

— Melissa McEwan, With Allies Like These… at Shakesville

(Source: seebster)

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"[I]t is not surprising that women are depressed. Oppression is depressing, and depression paradoxically is often the strongest protest that people can muster in a dehumanizing situation… Whether the depression is obviously severe or not, it is absolutely essential to nurture depressed women. We need to care for and validate them."

— B. Burstow, Radical feminist therapy: Working in the context of violence (1992)

(Source: seebster)

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"

I had come to believe I was nothing, if I was something I deserved everything that was slowly killing me.

I could [not] know I was being raped, I could not know I was being tortured, I could not know how many times I nearly died – I could see what was straight in front of me. This deep denial is the only way to somehow survive long-term prostitution – deep denial that you are in conditions of the enslaved, deep denial that you have no access to the language of consent, deep denial that any prostitute at any time and in any place [could] be made to disappear.

Tell me how else can any prostitute can survive without being inside this deep denial. How would you survive with constant rapes without going into deep denial – how would you survive never knowing when a punter [would] be violent or not without being in deep denial – and tell me would you know you are no longer human but goods?

Exiting prostitution is terrifying for it is a slow progress to unravel that deep denial. It is a slow progress to know your own truths, slow progress to shred the guilt and self-hate. It is a slow progress to see and know you had no real choices, no access to real freedom, and to know how much you were lied to. To know you have been stripped of access to real choices is deeply devastating – it is seen with sudden clarity how effective the sex trade was and is at stripping away all humanity from the prostituted.

There cannot be access to real choice when your only purpose is to be [bought] and sold as sexual goods. There cannot be access to real choice when all punters know just by buying any type of prostitute that he owns her – and she cannot say no, for he can force her without any consequences.

"

— Rebecca Mott, The Personal Made My Politics

(Source: seebster)

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"To excuse based on the ignorance not only centers the abuser’s experience, rather than the victim’s, but it also creates an ongoing ability for abusers to either pretend ignorance or judiciously cultivate it in themselves to excuse their ongoing, current abuse…
It is the victim’s experience that defines abuse. Whether that abuse was the product of malice, negligence, ignorance, a misguided attempt at benevolence, or any combination of the above, the victim is still abused and the abuser is still responsible. Other people in the same culture and the same situation have always managed to not be abusers. We’re not mindless, programmed entities, but people with the capacity for empathy and compassion; either we use it and listen to it enough to not harm people, or we don’t. When we don’t, that needs addressing, not excusing."

— comment by Kyra_Cat_Soul at Shakesville, Richard Dawkins Again

(Source: seebster)

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"To decline to be the Other, to refuse to be a party to the deal—this would be for women to renounce all the advantages conferred upon them by their alliance with the superior caste. Man-the-sovereign will provide woman-the-liege with material protection and will undertake the moral justification of her existence; thus she can evade at once both economic risk and the metaphysical risk of a liberty in which ends and means must be contrived without assistance. Indeed, along with the ethical urge of each individual to affirm his subjective existence, there is also the temptation to forgo liberty and become a thing. This is an inauspicious road, for he who takes it—passive, lost, ruined—becomes henceforth the creature of another’s will, frustrated in his transcendence and deprived of every value. But it is an easy road; on it one avoids the strain involved in undertaking an authentic existence. When man makes of woman the Other, he may, then, expect her to manifest deep-seated tendencies toward complicity. Thus woman may fail to lay claim to the status of subject because she lacks definite resources, because she feels the necessary bond that ties her to man regardless of reciprocity, and because she is often very well pleased with her role as Other."

— Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex

(Source: seebster)

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"

The pin-up girl image replicates some of the most damaging, clichéd, commercialized stereotypes of women’s sexualities — that we exist to invite the male, heterosexual gaze, that we need to “perform” sexiness publicly in order to be viewed as authentic sexual women — that we cannot conjure up any authentic sexual feelings without catering to a man’s desire first…

Even if you individually feel aroused by pin-up images of women as a woman, she is not meant to be your source of liberation. She is meant to be a symbolic tool of men’s oppression towards women. Her image is used as a discursive lesson: that life as a woman can be so easy if you just follow the gendered rules. All you have to do is flaunt your body and use your commodified femininity, and you will be celebrated. What better celebration can there be than men AND women gazing at your sexualized body and hanging your image on their wall for their needs?

We cannot conflate women’s natural sex drives with commercialized institutionalized mass-produced images of “sexy” women by men. If we do, we are being bamboozled into believing that women’s liberation can ever be *celebrated* in a patriarchal sexist culture that takes every opportunity to dehumanize women.

"

— Aphrodite Kocięda, Pin-ups, porn culture, and white-centered postfeminism: On Hilda, the forgotten, plus-size pin-up at Feminist Current

(Source: seebster)