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At the time I went to Bennington, there was no feminist consciousness there or anywhere else at all. Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique concerned housewives—we thought that it had nothing to do with us. Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics was not yet published. Shulamith Firestone’s The Dialectic of Sex was not yet published. We were in the process of becoming very well-educated women—we were already very privileged women—and yet not many of us had ever heard the story of the movement for women’s suffrage in this country or Europe. In the Amerikan history courses I took, women’s suffrage was not mentioned. The names of Angelina and Sarah Grimké, or Susan B. Anthony, or Elizabeth Cady Stanton, were never mentioned. Our ignorance was so complete that we did not know that we had been consigned from birth to that living legal and social death called marriage. We imagined, in our ignorance, that we might be novelists and philosophers. A rare few among us even aspired to be mathematicians and biologists. We did not know that our professors had a system of beliefs and convictions that designated us as an inferior gender class, and that that system of beliefs and convictions was virtually universal—the cherished assumption of most of the writers, philosophers, and historians we were so ardently studying. We did not know, for instance, to pick an obvious example, that our Freudian psychology professor believed along with Freud that “the effect of penis-envy has a share … in the physical vanity of women, since they are bound to value their charms more highly as a late compensation for their original sexual inferiority.” In each field of study, such convictions were central, underlying, crucial. And yet we did not know that they meant us. This was true everywhere where women were being educated.

As a result, women of my age left colleges and universities completely ignorant of what one might call “real life.” We did not know that we would meet everywhere a systematic despisal of our intelligence, creativity, and strength. We did not know our herstory as a gender class. We did not know that we were a gender class, inferior by law and custom to men who were defined, by themselves and all the organs of their culture, as supreme. We did not know that we had been trained all our lives to be victims—inferior, submissive, passive objects who could lay no claim to a discrete individual identity. We did not know that because we were women our labor would be exploited wherever we worked—in jobs, in political movements—by men for their own self-aggrandizement. We did not know that all our hard work in whatever jobs or political movements would never advance our responsibilities or our rewards. We did not know that we were there, wherever, to cook, to do menial labor, to be fucked.

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"People want to believe gender is something that’s essential, and people repeat these essentialist ideas all the time. “Oh, women do that” and “Oh, men do that” and the reality is that all women don’t anything. We as individuals do what we do, you know, and sometimes that’s informed by gender and sometimes it’s just who we are. And I think all that just makes people really, really uncomfortable because they don’t want to think about who they are."

thevoicecalledcheesecake:

In case you still don’t understand how badly women have had it, when anaesthetic was first invented doctors weren’t allowed to give it to women who were giving birth because the church said that the pain of childbirth was God punishing women for not being men

(via morsputativa)

rapunzelie:

catcalls and other street harassment are a form of violence and expressed hatred for women and don’t ever think of it as anything but that because a man on the street can go from “hey baby you look sexy tonight” to “bitch don’t fucking ignore me” in .002 seconds
it’s not about appreciating a woman’s beauty or boosting her ego with a little compliment, it’s intimidation and a source of empowerment for them

(via halfhandsome)