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Thursday, March 5, 2009

In Another Country

I just finished reading 2 essays by Gore Vidal. One titled Women's Liberation, Feminism And Its Discontents written on July 22, 1971. The other is titled The Birds And The Bees. Both are about the position of women in society and how men have a superiority complex. Mr. Vidal was sporting a rag bandana around his head and typing on his typewriter using the ends of 2 sawed off shotguns to hit the keys as he gently puffed on a cigar. Nah! but what i found fascinating about his writing is how he is capable to cram a library of information and either allude to it, such as many references to women's position in Biblical examples and context, or use it as a quote or his witness to it and flex it into his writing style. It was almost like a satire of the current events happening in 1971. Reading this reminds me of America (the Book): A Citizens Guide to Democracy, somewhat. The general reaction i believe Mr. Vidal is seeking is an "Oh-hooo! snap!". I'll provide exerts from Women's Liberation: Feminism and Its Discontents:

"The Founding Father [God] had strong views on the position of woman (under the man) and one of the few mistakes he ever admitted to was the creation of Lilith as a mate for Adam. Using the same dust as his earthly replica... but let us hear it in his own words, rabbinically divined in the fifth century

Adam and Lilith never found peace together; for when he wished to lie with her, she took offense at the recumbent posture he demanded. "Why must i lie beneath you?" she asked. "I also was made of dust, and am therefore your equal." Because Adam tried to compel her obedience by force, Lilith, in a rage, uttered the magic name of God, rose into the air and left him.

The outcast Lilith is still hanging about the Zeitgeist, we are told, causing babies to strangle in their sleep, men to have wet dreams, and Kate Millett, Betty Friedman, Germaine Greer, and Eva Figes to write books."

" Patriarchalists know that women are dangerously different from men, and not as intelligent (though they have their competencies; needlework, child-care, detective stories). When a woman does show herself to be superior at, say, engineering, Freud finessed that anomaly by reminding us that since she is a bisexual, like everyone else, her engineering skill simply means she's got a bit too much of her tomboy in her, as W. C. Fields once remarked to Grady Sutton on a similar occasion
Women are not going to make it until the Patriarchalists reform, and that is going to take a long time. Meanwhile the current phase of the battle is intense and illuminating. Men are on the defensive, shouting names; they think that to scream "dyke" is enough to make the girls burst into tears, but so far they have played it cool. Some have even admitted to a bit of dyking now and then along with warm mature heterosexual relationships of deeply meaningful fruitful kind that bring much needed children into the world ("Good fucks make good babies" - N. Mailer). I love you Marion and I love you too, Marvin..."

"... the peripheral male and female roles are carefully taught us. A little girl is given a doll instead of a chemistry set. That she might not like dolls, might prefer a chemistry set, will be the start of a nice neurosis for her, a sense of guilt that she is not playing the part society wants her to play..."

"Figes quotes Levi-Strauss. "Men do not act as members of a group, in accordance with what each feels as an individual; each man feels as a function of the way in which he is permitted or obliged to act. Customs are given as external norms before giving rise to internal sentiments of individuals as well as the circumstances in which they may, or must, be displayed.""

"In a society where men have an overriding interest in the acquisition of wealth, and where women themselves have become a form of property, the link between sexuality and money becomes inextricable." This is grim truth. Most men buy their wives, though neither party would admit to the nature of the transaction, preferring such euphemisms as Marvin is a good provider and Marion is built. Then Marion divorces Marvin and takes him to the cleaners, and he buys with whatever is left a younger model. It is money, not sex, that Puritans want. After all, the English word for "coming" used to be "spending": you spend your seed in the woman's bank and, if the moon is right, nine months later you will get an eight-pound dividend."

[he goes on to talk about sex, sexuality and a 'war' raging between feminist and men waged in book writing and meetings]

"...the forces of reaction are very much in the saddle (in every sence), and women must fight for their equality in a system which wants to keep them in manageable family groups, buying consumer goods, raising future consumers, until the end of time-or the world's raw resources, which is rather closer at hand...we are breeding ourselves into extinction. We cannot feed the people now alive. In thirty-seven years the world's population will double unless we have the "good luck" to experience on the grandest scale famine, plague, war. To survive we must stop making babies at the current rate, and this can only be accomplished by breaking the ancient stereotypes of man the warrior, woman the breeder. The patriarchal roar is that of our tribal past, quite unsuitable, as the old Stalinists used to say, to new necessities...free the sexes,,.and the system will have to change. There will be no houswife to be conned into buying thins she does not need. But all this is in the future. The present is the battleground, and the next voice you hear will be that of a patriarch, defending his attitudes-on a stack of bibles"

2 comments:

one billion daleks said...

Hello Alan,

Just a quick note to say Thank Q! for providing a link to my blog via your sidebar. I have now set up a reciprocal link on a separate dalek blog here, and this blog can be accessed from the sidebar of the OBD Home Blog.

All The Best!

Alan (my planet is mars) said...

you're awesome :3