Some of us have a very personal view of the world. We say
that what happens to us in our lives as women happens to us
as individuals. We even say that any violence we have experienced in our lives as women —for instance, rape or assault by a husband, lover, or stranger—happened between two individuals. Some of us even apologize for the aggressor—we feel sorry for him; we say that he is personally disturbed, or that he was provoked in a particular way, at a particular time, by a particular woman.
Men tell us that they too are “oppressed.” They tell us that
they are often in their individual lives victimized by women—
by mothers, wives, and “girlfriends. ” They tell us that women
provoke acts of violence through our carnality, or malice, or
avarice, or vanity, or stupidity. They tell us that their violence
originates in us and that we are responsible for it. They tell us
that their lives are full of pain, and that we are its source.
They tell us that as mothers we injure them irreparably, as
wives we castrate them, as lovers we steal from them semen,
youth, and manhood—and never, never, as mothers, wives, or
lovers do we ever give them enough.
And what are we to think? Because if we begin to piece
together all of the instances of violence—the rapes, the assaults,
the cripplings, the killings, the mass slaughters; if we read their novels, poems, political and philosophical tracts and see that they think of us today, what the Inquisitors thought of us yesterday; if we realize that historically gynocide is not some mistake, some accidental excess, some dreadful fluke, but is instead the logical consequence of what they believe to be our god-given or biological natures; then we must finally understand that under patriarchy gynocide is the ongoing reality of life lived by women. And then we must look to each other—for the courage to bear it and for the courage to change it.
“The problem with liberal feminism is that a focus on gender equality and women’s rights solely in abstract terms is inadequate - and hence not nearly radical enough. The dominance of this kind of approach in mainstream debate leaves only a weak political voice for the collective demands that are required to transform family and economic life, and support better choices than those currently available. Furthermore, the suggestion of linear progress for women risks reaffirming the current economic and political model, and in doing so could undermine such demands. The task ahead is not one of an unfinished process of enlightenment. The political and economic crises facing us require deep rethinking and radical change. But if mainstream feminist debates today are primarily concerned with middle-class women’s interests, as Turner and Lammy suggest, this is a reflection and not a cause of the dominant political and economic model of the last thirty years.”—
“Individuals who want to believe that there is no fulfillment in love, that true love does not exist, cling to these assumptions because this despair is actually easier to face than the reality that love is a real fact of life but is absent from their lives.”—bell hooks in All About Love: New Visions (via guayasamins)