(UPDATE: If you like this post, check out the sequel!)
David at Manboobz recently posted a long-awaited debunking of this commonly propagated list of alleged feminist quotes. Misogynists, like creationists and Ron Paul supporters, seem to be fans of delicious copypasta, and you can often see some or all of the quotes on that list being posted to the comments sections of feminist blogs or forums. The gentleman who posted them then, one must presume, sits back in his chair, crosses his arms, and says, “That’ll show those damn women.” The funny thing about fans of copypasta is that they seem to be convinced that we haven’t seen all that shit before.
Go ahead and read the post on Manboobz. It’s good. I’ll wait. David does a good job debunking some of the quotes, but then he apparently starts thinking Arby’s and relents:
I don’t have the time or patience to fact-check the rest of the list. If anyone out there happens to have time and/or patience, or happens to own any of the books that are cited as sources, feel free to fact check it yourself and post your findings.
Challenge, as they say in the world of Internet memes, accepted. As a concession to my own laziness, I’ll use some of David’s responses to a few of the quotes, but I’ll try to keep it down to non-plagiaristic levels.
First, a summary of my findings:
Out of 42 quotes:
-4 were either fabricated or deliberately twisted to convey something the author does not actually believe
-10 could not be verified
-28 were (relatively) accurate quotes and citations
-Of those 28, 10 are quotes of Andrea Dworkin, a radical feminist who does not represent mainstream feminist opinion
-Of the remaining 18, only two or three struck me as genuinely hateful, though I suppose that’s a matter of perspective
UPDATE: David offers a correction that I’m too lazy to actually integrate into the post for right now:
One minor correction: the Dworkin quotes from Letters From a War Zone that you couldn’t find are indeed in in the edition of the book that I’ve got (paperback, 1993, from Lawrence Hill Books). I assume you have a different and shorter version of the book. (My edition includes the essay that you correctly cite as the source for one of the quotes, “Against the Male Flood: Censorship, Pornography, and Equality,” for example.)
HATEFUL QUOTES FROM FEMINISTS (ANNOTATED!)
(Just to reiterate, original source is here.)
These are actual quotes from a variety of mainstream feminists, stating their opinions and positions. The one common denominator is the obvious and blatant hatred of men. No reputable Father’s Rights advocate could get away with making statements such as these- any man daring to say these kinds of things about women would instantly be branded a “gender-supremacist”.
Okay, so we’re starting with the typical whining about how men can’t get away with the shit women get away with. They’re reading from the alternate-reality constitution, you see, so they think they should have a right to free speech but that their opponents shouldn’t have the right to criticize them.
What’s actually important about this introduction is that it claims that the quotes come from “mainstream feminists” and that they all express “obvious and blatant hatred for men.” As you’ll see in the upcoming annotations, both claims are extremely dubious. But let’s begin the quoting of feminazis!
“In a patriarchal society all heterosexual intercourse is rape because women, as a group, are not strong enough to give meaningful consent.” Catherine MacKinnon in Professing Feminism: Cautionary Tales from the Strange World of Women’s Studies, p. 129..
David: “This is not a quote from MacKinnon. The words were in fact written by Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge, the actual authors of “Professing Feminism,” a polemical book critical of feminism. They purport to summarize the views of MacKinnon and Dworkin, though, as Snopes points out in its debunking of the false quote, both M and D have specifically stated that they don’t believe intercourse is rape.”
“I claim that rape exists any time sexual intercourse occurs when it has not been initiated by the woman, out of her own genuine affection and desire.” From Robin Morgan, “Theory and Practice: Pornography and Rape” in “Going too Far,” 1974. .
This quote is genuine, but the extent to which it reflects contemporary, mainstream feminist sensibilities is questionable. Robin Morgan was a second-wave feminist, and the second wave had a tendency to use some pretty extreme rhetoric in an attempt to shake people out of their assumptions about sex and gender. Many of them, including in my opinion Morgan, did this to good effect. But it should also be noted that the second wave saw a lot of fracturing amongst feminists, because there were some wings of the movement that tended toward actual man-hating. That sort of extremism fell out of favor decades ago, and it certainly shouldn’t be taken as an indication of mainstream feminist ideology.
For my own part, I don’t find the above quote overly shocking. There are feminists today who argue for replacing the “no means no” paradigm with its seeming opposite, “yes means yes.” In other words, that consent should be assumed not to exist unless explicated. I actually think it’s a good idea, given the unspoken pressure many women, especially young women, feel with regard to sex.
“When a woman reaches orgasm with a man she is only collaborating with the patriarchal system, eroticizing her own oppression…” Sheila Jeffrys
I couldn’t find this quote in context. Searches for it revealed only other anti-feminist quote lists. To be frank, however, it’s not entirely out of line with various other things Jeffreys said. But Sheila Jeffreys is by no means a mainstream feminist. She really did believe that all feminists should refuse to have sex with men. The feminists I know definitely wouldn’t agree, especially the ones who have had sex with me (booyah!). But seriously. Again, this is the second wave here. It’s not that there weren’t any moderate feminists in the second wave. But the second wave is a motherlode in which misogynists love to go quote-mining, because as I said before, there were a some bona fide anti-male feminists writing back then, but to call them mainstream is a deliberate misrepresentation. People like Dworkin and Jeffreys seem to discount the possibility of genuinely feminist men existing, and as a feminist man I have a slight problem with that.
“Heterosexual intercourse is the pure, formalized expression of contempt for women’s bodies.” Andrea Dworkin
David: “According to Wikiquote, this quote is quite literally fictional.” To summarize, it’s a quote from a fictional feminist who appears as a character in a decidedly non-feminist novel.
“Sex is the cross on which women are crucified … Sex can only be adequately defined as universal rape.” Hodee Edwards, ‘Rape defines Sex’
Again a quote that I could only find on other anti-feminist quote lists. David was able to find only sparse references to Hodee Edwards, so it’s safe to say that she doesn’t represent mainstream feminism when Google can’t turn up any feminist websites that talk about her or her ideas. Plus, she doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page, and let’s be honest, in this day and age that’s like being an unperson.
“Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat.” Hillary Clinton, First Ladies’ Conference on Domestic Violence in San Salvador, El Salvador on Nov. 17, 1998
This quote is genuine. The real question is, in what sense is this hateful? Our culture has enough narratives about men performing heroic deeds in combat. So Clinton brings up the people left behind, the ones with no direct involvement in war but who have to suffer the consequences of it nonetheless, to raise kids and maintain a home alone, in a society where women are almost never going to make enough money to do that without a husband… and this is hateful of her? Please.
“MAN: … an obsolete life form… an ordinary creature who needs to be watched … a contradictory baby-man …”
“TESTOSTERONE POISONING: … ‘Until now it has been though that the level of testosterone in men is normal simply because they have it. But if you consider how abnormal their behavior is, then you are led to the hypothesis that almost all men are suffering from ‘testosterone poisoning.’” from A Feminist Dictionary”, ed. Kramarae and Treichler, Pandora Press, 1985
The “testosterone poisoning” quote is an interesting one. It’s cited from A Feminist Dictionary, presumably because that sounds like a scary feminazi tome, but the Dictionary is itself quoting the original source, an article called “What Every Woman Should Know About Men,” by none other than Alan Alda. Yes, Hawkeye from M*A*S*H. Alda was, in fact, a strident feminist, and that article is certainly superficially male-bashing, but it’s intended humorously. The point underlying the humor is certainly critical as well, but ultimately the article is simply a deconstruction of our cultural assumptions that the male body is the normative one. Alda simply turns that idea on its head. The result is not pretty, but it’s a fair response to a patriarchal culture.
It’s also worth considering that if the editors of A Feminist Dictionary truly loathed all men, they probably wouldn’t quote one. Wouldn’t want his testosterone poisoning tainting their dictionary, after all.
The “man is an obsolete life form” quotation originally comes from one Betsy Warrior, who appeared to be expressing frustration at the difficulty of finding genuinely feminist men in the radical leftist circles of decades past. (As a liberal, I have to say with sadness that this is still largely the case.) It was common for second wave feminists to accuse white men of attempting to hijack various leftist movements – environmentalism, sexual liberation, etc. – in an attempt to steer them in a more patriarchy-friendly direction while still claiming to be radical and open-minded. Guess what? The second wave feminists were pretty much right about that.
“Patriarchy requires violence or the subliminal threat of violence in order to maintain itself… The most dangerous situation for a woman is not an unknown man in the street, or even the enemy in wartime, but a husband or lover in the isolation of their home.” Gloria Steinem in Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem, pp. 259-61
The quote is genuine, and Gloria Steinem is an influential, and arguably mainstream, feminist. To say it’s hateful is stretching things a bit, however. All told, the statement is fairly accurate. It’s not an attack on men, nor a claim that all men are rapists; it is an unapologetic assault on the patriarchy. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
The fact of the matter is that a woman is far more likely to be raped by somebody close to her, a friend or family member, than by a stranger in a dark alley. In, I would argue, the majority of cases, the friend or family member gets away with it, and he knows he’s likely to get away with it. The reason the home can be such a dangerous situation for women isn’t because most men are rapists. Most men aren’t rapists, but most men don’t have to be in order for the threat to be there, and the threat is the point. It’s intended to keep women in line, to make them afraid to go anywhere without a man to “protect” them, to remind them that men can exercise dominance over them at any time, and quite possibly get away with it.
The reason the home can be dangerous for women is because, if rape or domestic violence happens there, in all but the most blatant and undeniable cases, society simply probably won’t care. What happens behind closed doors, people tell themselves, isn’t my business. The idea that a man’s family belongs to that man, and he can treat them however he pleases, persists to this day, primarily in the form of willful ignorance on the part of everyone else.
“Women take their roles of caretakers very seriously and when they hear of someone who’s taken advantage of a child, they react more strongly than men do.” – Kathleen C. Faller, professor of social work at the University of Michigan
David: “Faller, if she did indeed say this, may or may not be correct, but it’s hard to see how this is “hateful.” Women on average spend much more time caring for children than men do and it may well be that, on average, they react more strongly than men. I couldn’t find the quote in question — again, this is because the listmaker didn’t actually provide the source — but her faculty web page is here.”
“I believe that women have a capacity for understanding and compassion which a man structurally does not have, does not have it because he cannot have it. He’s just incapable of it.” – Former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan
The quote is genuine. I strongly disagree with Jordan here – I believe that gender essentialism is a large contributor to the oppression and othering of women, and turning it around and making positive essentialist statements about women doesn’t help that any. Most contemporary mainstream feminists feel the same way. And while Jordan is mainstream in a political sense, enough so to be elected to Congress at any rate, she’s not really an influence on feminist thought and ideology.
And really, while I think the quote is wrongheaded and harmful, it’s no worse than the various dumb shit I heard in the average college class discussion. College students can be pretty dumb, male and female alike of course, and many college-age feminists haven’t really matured enough to see beyond gender essentialism. Jordan, though substantially older, doesn’t appear to have either.
Melbourne City Councilwoman Pat Poole announced her opposition to renaming a street for Martin Luther King: “I wonder if he really accomplished things, or if he just stirred people up and caused a lot of riots.”
See, once again, the intro to this whole list promised quotes from “mainstream feminists,” and a lot of them are from pretty obscure sources. They’re really kind of grasping at straws here.
David: “Who the hell is Pat Poole? I looked her up, and yes, she was a city councilwoman in Melbourne, Florida, but I was unable to find out much beyond that. Is the quote accurate? I don’t know. There’s no source given, and I can’t find the original quote online. Is she actually a feminist, or is the author of the list simply assuming she is one because she’s a woman?”
“Our culture is depicting sex as rape so that men and women will become interested in it.” Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth, p. 138
Real quote, but not especially inflammatory or hateful. Wolf is arguing that rape fantasies are harmful. This is an issue that feminists tend to be divided on, not to mention people in general. Coming out against rape fantasies doesn’t come anywhere near equating to man-bashing.
“Under patriarchy, no woman is safe to live her life, or to love, or to mother children. Under patriarchy, every woman is a victim, past, present, and future. Under patriarchy, every woman’s daughter is a victim, past, present, and future. Under patriarchy, every woman’s son is her potential betrayer and also the inevitable rapist or exploiter of another woman,” Andrea Dworkin, Liberty, p.58
David: “Dworkin never wrote a book called Liberty. But I found the quote in what seems to be a scholarly work; it’s evidently from Dworkin’s book Our Blood”
Dworkin was an extremist who does not find a great deal of support in contemporary mainstream feminist circles, as David discusses in his post. She was extremely inflammatory, yes, but is in no way representative of most feminists’ ideology.
I’ve met a couple man-hating “feminists” in my life, many of whom sounded a lot like Dworkin. As a feminist, I consider it important not to take someone’s gender into account when forming reactions to them and opinions about them. Man-haters’ failure to do the same ultimately leads me to decide that they’re not genuine feminists, just bitter, well, man-haters. So yes, such women exist. But the vast majority of feminists aren’t hateful.
It’s funny that I chose now to say all that, because the Dworkin quote in question is actually one of her least offensive of all time. It’s about how the patriarchy victimizes women. This is fairly evident to anyone who’s not a misogynist.
“Compare victims’ reports of rape with women’s reports of sex. They look a lot alike….[T]he major distinction between intercourse (normal) and rape (abnormal) is that the normal happens so often that one cannot get anyone to see anything wrong with it.” Catherine MacKinnon, quoted in Christina Hoff Sommers, “Hard-Line Feminists Guilty of Ms.-Representation,” Wall Street Journal, November 7, 1991.
This quote is real. McKinnon isn’t conflating all sexual intercourse with rape in the way her critics often claim she is, however. Her argument is that our society’s customary and legal notions of consent are simply inadequate given the social construct in which men are presumed to be entitled to women’s bodies. This ties into the “no means no” paradigm I mentioned earlier. McKinnon points out that our legal notion of consent is that it’s presumed unless it’s explicitly withdrawn. This, she argues, leads to numerous instances of sexual intercourse in which the woman is not really a willing participant, but failed to explicitly refuse consent.
So far, not a terrible thing to say, in my opinion. But McKinnon does get pretty extreme when she claims that, as a result of this, most instances of sex in our culture are probably rape. Again, this is an issue that contemporary feminists are divided on, and McKinnon’s point of view shouldn’t be taken as some monolithic representation of feminist ideology.
“The fact is that the process of killing – both rape and battery are steps in that process- is the prime sexual act for men in reality and/or in imagination.”. Andrea Dworkin, Letters from a War Zone, p. 22
The quote is real. All the usual caveats about Dworkin apply.
“Man’s discovery that his genitalia could serve as a weapon to generate fear must rank as one of the most important discoveries of prehistoric times, along with the use of fire, and the first crude stone axe.” Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape, p. 5
The quote is real. But so what? Rape is used as a weapon of fear, particularly in time of war. This isn’t even really a controversial point.
“The newest variations on this distressingly ancient theme center on hormones and DNA: men are biologically aggressive; their fetal brains were awash in androgen; their DNA, in order to perpetuate itself, hurls them into murder and rape.” Andrea Dworkin, Letters from a War Zone, p. 114
David: “It’s a weird quote, which sounds a lot like it’s coming from the the middle of a complicated argument. That’s because it is. And when you read what precedes it, it becomes clear that it’s NOT a statement of Dworkin’s own beliefs. She was in fact summarizing (in her own words) the beliefs of “male supremacist” sociobiologists like Edward O. Wilson. It may or may not be a fair summary of their views, but that’s not the point: it’s NOT what she thought. Later in the paragraph, in fact, she compared these views to Hitler’s.”
When asked: “You [Greer] were once quoted as saying your idea of the ideal man is a woman with a dick. Are you still that way inclined?”
Dr Greer (denying that she said it): “I have a great deal of difficulty with the idea of the ideal man. As far as I’m concerned, men are the product of a damanged gene. They pretend to be normal but what they’re doing sitting there with benign smiles on their faces is they’re manufacturing sperm. They do it all the time. They never stop. I mean, we women are more reasonable. We pop one follicle every 28 days, whereas they are producing 400 million sperm for each ejaculation, most of which don’t take place anywhere near an ovum. I don’t know that the ecosphere can tolerate it.” Germaine Greer, at a Hilton Hotel literary lunch, promoting her book #34; The Change– Women, Aging and the Menopause#34; . From a newsreport dated 14/11/91
Ah, Germaine Greer. Possibly the most influential feminist on this list. Certainly in the top three. So did she say this? It’s impossible to tell – I wasn’t able to track it down beyond the usual laundry list of misogynist sites and blogs. The “newsreport” from which it allegedly came never turned up in my searches, which doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, of course. Google Books did turn up a couple of books that attribute this quote to Greer as well, but I’m going to call it a “maybe” until that newsreport shows up.
That being said, despite Greer being such an incredibly influential feminist, this statement isn’t very telling. Some kind of incoherent rant about men constantly producing sperm? I dunno what the fuck. It doesn’t make any sense.
“One can know everything and still be unable to accept the fact that sex and murder are fused in the male consciousness, so that the one without the imminent possibly of the other is unthinkable and impossible.” Andrea Dworkin, Letters from a War Zone, p. 21
Real quote. Dworkin, etc.
“Cosmetic surgery and the ideology of self-improvement may have made women’s hope for legal recourse to justice obsolete.” Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth, p. 55
I have trouble seeing this statement as being in any way hateful. It seems like the misogynists regard any complaint of social difficulty faced by women as hatred, which is certainly revealing. More to the point, out of context I’m not even sure what Wolf’s statement above means. So let’s look it up, shall we?
Ah. Basically she’s saying that women shouldn’t have to conform to social standards of beauty in order to improve their career prospects or social standing, and she’s worried that cosmetic surgery may threaten that right. Okay… so… hateful? Hardly.
“Sex as desired by the class that dominates women is held by that class to be elemental, urgent, necessary, even if or even though it appears to require the repudiation of any claim women might have to full human standing. In the subordination of women, inequality itself is sexualized, made into the experience of sexual pleasure, essential to sexual desire.” Andrea Dworkin, Letters from a War Zone, p. 265
This quote is from Dworkin, but not from Letters from a War Zone. It’s actually from an article she wrote called “Against the Male Flood: Censorship, Pornography, and Equality.” So some sloppy citation, but it doesn’t really invalidate the list’s point.
But I have to be frank – as things Dworkin says go, I find this one relatively agreeable.
“AIDS education will not get very far until young men are taught how not to rape young women and how to eroticize trust and consent; and until young women are supported in the way they need to be redefining their desires.” Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth, p. 168
Real quote. But again, not hateful. Really people, Naomi Wolf is one of the least anti-male feminists I’ve ever seen. Why do you keep quoting her and pretending she’s being hateful? She’s attacking the patriarchy, certainly, but that’s a good thing.
Immediately before the above quote, she reminds us that 1 in 4 young women report that they’ve had at least one sexual encounter during which they felt control was denied them. Control being getting to dictate what goes where, what level of protection will be used, etc. Wolf’s comment about AIDS education addresses that – as long as there’s a chance that women will be denied control during sex, they can’t take effective preventative measures against AIDS. Seems fair to me.
“In everything men make, they hollow out a central place for death, let its rancid smell contaminate every dimension of whatever still survives. Men especially love murder. In art they celebrate it, and in life they commit it. They embrace murder as if life without it would be devoid of passion, meaning, and action, as if murder were solace, still their sobs as they mourn the empitness and alienation of their lives.” Andrea Dworkin, Letters from a War Zone, p. 214
Sigh. Dworkin again. All right, I’ll check its source anyway.
…Interestingly, this one doesn’t show up in Letters from a War Zone. In fact, the only printed source I found for it was a book called The Revolt of the Primitive, which supplies the above quote and does indeed cite it to Letters from a War Zone. The book’s author, Howard Schwartz, is himself a MRA, however, so he may have pulled it from the same lists as far as I know. I’ll mark this one as dubious.
Plus, it’s Dworkin, so I mean… whatever.
“One of the reasons that women are kept in a state of economic degradation- because that’s what it is for most women- is because that is the best way to keep women sexually available.” Andrea Dworkin, Letters from a War Zone, p. 145
The quote is real. Again I think you could find far more extreme rhetoric from the likes of Dworkin. These guys need to try harder.
“Romance is rape embellished with meaningful looks.” Andrea Dworkin in the Philadelphia Inquirer, May 21, 1995
I couldn’t find the source of this. Just other quotes, mostly in the same misogynist lists. Other blogs quoting it approvingly, but they weren’t any more reliable in their citations. So we’ll mark this one “maybe.” Again, though, it’s Dworkin, so yeah.
“Ninety-five percent of women’s experiences are about being a victim. Or about being an underdog, or having to survive…women didn’t go to Vietnam and blow up things up. They are not Rambo.” Jodie Foster in The New York Times Magazine, January 6, 1991, p. 19
The quote is real. As an alleged expression of man-hatred it’s a mixed bag. In context, Foster’s statement is that portraying women who are Rambo-style characters wouldn’t be true to her life experiences or those of, in her opinion, most women. The idea that women are likelier to be victims than aggressors is contentious, obviously, unless you’re talking solely about physical violence in which case it’s fucking obvious.
To be fair to the men who fought in Vietnam, many of them were drafted. But an all-male draft is a product of the patriarchy, too. Women didn’t come up with it so they could sit at home and chillax while men went off to war, although if you ask a MRA that’s probably exactly what he’d say.
“All men are rapists and that’s all they are.” Marilyn French in People, February 20, 1983
David: “Oh, the quote is real — she wrote it — but it is not a statement of French’s beliefs. Nor did it originate in People magazine. It is a line of dialogue from her book The Woman’s Room. Wikipedia, take it away.”
David expounds, and his elaboration is worth reading, but I think the above suffices for my purposes. Fictional. Goddamn. Character. There’s no reason to believe that Nabakov enjoyed having sex with 12-year-olds, after all.
“All men benefit from rape, because all men benefit from the fact that women are not free in this society; that women cower; that women are afraid; that women cannot assert the rights that we have, limited as those rights are, because of the ubiquitous presence of rape.” Andrea Dworkin, Letters from a War Zone, p. 142
The citation is correct. I’ve seen some crazy-ass quotes from Dworkin that aren’t on this list, so it’s genuinely amusing to see quotes like this one on there. It’s an expression of female victimhood – that’s not hatred, men, that’s just reality. The threat of rape, even for women who are never raped, is most definitely a tool of social control and a means of oppressing women. I would elaborate but there are whole books written about this topic (and many many blog posts). Maybe I’ll talk about it later, but go read Pandagon if you’re interested.
“Men who are unjustly accused of rape can sometime gain from the experience.” Catherine Comins, Vassar College Assistant Dean of Student Life in Time, June 3, 1991, p. 52
The Assistant Dean of Student Life at Vassar College doesn’t really qualify as a mainstream, influential thinker. You lied to me again, list! But the quote allegedly appeared in Time, so okay, we’ll look into it.
Ah, well as it turns out, this isn’t a quote from Comins at all, it’s a paraphrase of her opinion. An accurate one, admittedly. What the Time article says is, “Comins argues that men who are unjustly accused can sometimes gain from the experience.” See? Not a direct quote. That said, Comins does basically say this, but the opinion of one Assistant Dean of Student Life at one college doesn’t really prove the existence of the femocracy. It’s a wrongheaded opinion, certainly, but contrary to MRA beliefs, it hasn’t exactly been codified into law.
“We have long known that rape has been a way of terrorizing us and keeping us in subjection. Now we also know that we have participated, although unwittingly, in the rape of our minds.” Historian Gerda Lerner in Who Stole Feminism: How Women Have Betrayed Women, p. 55
Real quote. And not altogether inaccurate. Allow me to repeat ad nauseam: criticizing the patriarchy is not man-hatred. Deal with it.
“Only with the occasional celebrity crime do we allow ourselves to think the nearly unthinkable: that the family may not be the ideal and perfect living arrangement after all – that it can be a nest of pathology and a cradle of gruesome violence,… Even in the ostensibly “functional,” nonviolent family, where no one is killed or maimed, feelings are routinely bruised and often twisted out of shape. There is the slap or the put-down that violates a child’s shaky sense of self, the cold, distracted stare that drives a spouse to tears, the little digs and rivalries… Barbara Ehrenreich in Time Magazine
David: “I can’t help but notice that a number of the allegedly hateful quotes are in fact not hateful at all. Take, for example, Barbara Ehrenreich’s quote about the family, which is in fact part of a sharply written essay on “family values.” You can find it here.”
Indeed, many feminists are extremely critical of the entire fundamental notion of the nuclear family. I’m one of them. But this is yet another issue that feminists tend to disagree on, and it’s not an inherently feminist issue at any rate. As far as I can tell, the point of adding quotes like this to the list is to portray feminists as some sort of scary conspirators out to destroy the family and take away our freedoms and ban NASCAR. Well, count me among the people who wouldn’t mind destroying – in a nonviolent way, of course – our existing social structure. But that desire is not born of hate. Quite the contrary.
“The nuclear family is a hotbed of violence and depravity.” Gordon Fitch
David: “Gordon Fitch? Never heard of the guy, and can’t find anything about him online.” Whoever he is, he’s not wrong.
“How will the family unit be destroyed? …[T]he demand alone will throw the whole ideology of the family into question, so that women can begin establishing a community of work with each other and we can fight collectively. Women will feel freer to leave their husbands and become economically independent, either through a job or welfare.” Roxanne Dunbar in Female Liberation
The full title of the article is “Female Liberation as the Basis for Social Revolution,” published in Robin Mogan’s anthology Sisterhood is Powerful. A desire for women to be “economically independent” isn’t exactly hateful. But, y’know, misogynists.
“Feminists have long criticized marriage as a place of oppression, danger, and drudgery for women. Barbara Findlen, “Is Marriage the Answer? Ms Magazine, May – June, 1995
I wasn’t able to verify this one. Barbara Findlen is a feminist writer, though not a particularly prominent one. And it’s a pretty believable statement for a feminist to make, being as it is, y’know, correct. That marriage is a patriarchal institution, and one of many tools the patriarchy uses to restrict female freedom, is something feminists have been saying since way back in the first wave. Again, people, it’s not hateful to ask for equality.
Anyway, we’ll mark this one as “probably.” It seems believable enough.
“We can’t destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage. Robin Morgan, from Sisterhood Is Powerful (ed), 1970, p. 537
That sentence indeed exists within that book. It’s not clear that Robin Morgan wrote it, since it’s an anthology of which she’s the editor, but such hair-splitting is unnecessary. Again, it’s a fairly basic statement born of a desire for equality, not hatred, and not something feminists need to apologize for.
“Marriage as an institution developed from rape as a practice. Rape, originally defined as abduction, became marriage by capture. Marriage meant the taking was to extend in time, to be not only use of but possession of, or ownership. Only when manhood is dead–and it will perish when ravaged femininity no longer sustains it” Andrea Dworkin
That’s a rather incomplete citation. The quote is real, however, and it’s from Dworkin’s book Pornography: Men Possessing Women. I haven’t said it for a while, so let me reiterate: Dworkin does not represent mainstream feminist opinion.
“The cultural institutions which embody and enforce those interlocked aberrations–for instance, law, art, religion, nation-states, the family, tribe, or commune based on father-right–these institutions are real and they must be destroyed.” Andrea Dworkin
Also real, from Dworkin’s Our Blood: Prophecies and Discourses on Sexual Politics. Again, calling for social change isn’t necessarily hateful. But also it’s Dworkin. Man, those misogynists love them some Dworkin.
“I was struck by what a beneficial alternative to the nuclear family this arrangement [communal housing and child raising] was for these women and children.” Lenore Walker, after visiting one of the early shelters for battered women, as cited in The Battered Woman, p.195
Real. And Lenore Walker is an influential, mainstream feminist, I’ll give them that. But here’s a question that’s becoming a rather common theme in my response to this list: So what? She’s telling us that these women are better off in a communal housing situation than they were with their abusive husbands. Do misogynists have a problem with this?
I mean, of course they do, but misogynists usually at least pretend they’re not in favor of violence against women. It’s a very thin ruse.
“The nuclear family must be destroyed, and people must find better ways of living together…. Whatever its ultimate meaning, the break-up of families now is an objectively revolutionary process…. No woman should have to deny herself any opportunities because of her special responsibilities to her children… Families will be finally destroyed only when a revolutionary social and economic organization permits people’s needs for love and security to be met in ways that do not impose divisions of labor, or any external roles, at all.” Linda Gordon, “Functions of the Family,” WOMEN: A Journal of Liberation, Fall, 1969
While I couldn’t find the article in question, I did find enough convincing citations to conclude that the quote is accurate. Here’s one that provides a little more context on Gordon’s beliefs. Like most feminists who are opposed to the nuclear family structure, it turns out she wasn’t some militant revolutionary who wants to topple society and watch the world burn. She just wanted to improve people’s lives. Go figure.
Let’s be clear on something that should be obvious: Disagreeing with accepted social customs is not hatred.
“God is going to change. We women… will change the world so much that He won’t fit anymore.” Naomi Goldenberg, Changing of the Gods: Feminism and the End of Traditional Religions (Quoted at beginning of From Father God to Mother Earth)
David: “The quote is real; Goldenberg is indeed a feminist theologian. But here’s a little newsflash: There are lots of people in the world, feminist and non-feminist, who do not believe in traditional notions of God. Or in God at all. Nietzsche famously said “God is Dead,” Richard Dawkins says God is “a delusion,” and about 80 zillion internet athiests (many of them not feminists in the slightest) regularly compare belief in God to belief in unicorns, fairies, and Santa Claus.”
“We are, as a sex, infinitely superior to men…” Elizabeth Stanton, One Woman, One Vote, Wheeler, p. 58
Yes, Elizabeth Stanton said this. She’s certainly entitled to her opinion. She also lived in the 19th century. Feminist ideology has changed a tiny bit since then.
“Who cares how men feel or what they do or whether they suffer? They have had over 2000 years to dominate and made a complete hash of it. Now it is our turn. My only comment to men is, if you don’t like it, bad luck – and if you get in my way I’ll run you down.” Signed: Liberated Women, Boronia. (Herald-Sun, Melbourne, Australia – 9 February 1996)
You know what? I’m not even going to bother trying to track this one down. Yeah, somebody probably said this, and it may well have been in that newspaper on that date. I’ve seen crazier things in the letters to the editors section. But I was promised “mainstream feminists,” dammit! Not crazy shut-ins who haven’t discovered Usenet yet! Whatever. I’m done.
In conclusion, misogynists are dumb and they don’t like reality and stuff. Christ I need a drink.