A Journal of
Libera t ion
"Reverend Sir, have you seen a woman pass this way?"
And the elder said:
"Was it a woman, or a man
That passed this way? I cannot tell.
But this I know, a set of bones
Is travelling upon this road."
Visuddhi Magga, ch. 1
A JOURNAL OF FEMALE LIBERATION Issue 2
What do you Women Want? ..........................
The Slave's Stake in the Home ....................
Sex Roles and Their Consequences:
Research in Female and Male Differences.....
"The Man & Woman Thing"
Review of an article in Look on Esalen......
The Oppression of the Male Today.................
"As I Went Out One Morning"
Lyrics of a song by the poet, Bob Dylan
Collage by Jean-Louis Brachet...............
On the Temptation To Be a Beautiful Object.......
Contemporary Capitalism: Drag Queen Intellect....
Who Is the Enemy? ................................
Against Liberals .................................
Marx, the Scientist and the Man...................
An Argument for Black Women's Liberation
As a Revolutionary Force.....................
Che's Achilles Heel ..............................
Sex and the Single Girl ..........................
Man As An Obsolete Life Form......................
"As I was walking along" a poem...................
"The Quaker" a story.............................
"Maternity" Excerpt from an
Autobiographical Essay ......................
American Radicalism: A Diseased Product of
A Diseased Society ..........................
Female Liberation as the Basis
For Social Revolution.......................
On Sisterhood ....................................
Sources of Information...........................
Dawn in the History of Women.....................
Address all correspondence to:
16 Lexington Street
.................. Editorial ................... 4
................ Indra Dean Allen ............13
................ Dana Densmore ...............14
................. Betsy Warrior ...............21
................. Roxanne Dunbar...............32
................ Dana Densmore ...............38
................. Edited by Roxanne Dunbar ....42
................ Dana Densmore ...............43
.................... ilary Langhorst ............ 48
................. Betsy Warrior ...............49
................. Roxanne Dunbar ..............51
................. Dana Densmore................60
................. .Edited by Dana Densmore..... 64
................. Mary Ann Weathers ...........66
................. Edited by Betsy Warrior..... 71
..................Dana Densmore ...............74
................ Betsy Warrior ...............77
................. Jayne West ..................80
..................Dana Densmore ...............81
..................Roxanne Dunbar.............. 103
..................Dana Densmore ..............116
................. Roxanne Dunbar.............. 120
..................Dawn Luthuli ...............127
..................Kitty Bernick ..............128
Cover design by
WHAT DO YOU WOMEN WANT?
The reactions to our first journal (un-
titled, unstructured, without page numbers or
table of contents or date of publication or
copyright, and barely escaping total anonymity)
have been many and varied.
The most consistent criticism from those
who enjoyed the journal was that we provided no
structure, no solutions. They say that although
we identified a whole array of problems and
feelings which touched them acutely, they felt
somewhat lost as to what could be done in their
The very layout of our first journal should
indicate the degree of our own dilemma. We simply
knew that we had to begin somewhere, and at least
speak out. So our first action was to publish a
We all felt strongly that our movement must
be grassroots, and emerge from the truth of our
suffering. We wanted to set an example of what
could be done. None of us was a professional
editor, nor did any of us have experience in or-
ganizing and fund-raising. Movement people were
hostile to our ideas and plans, so we had no
access to their experience and knowledge and
machinery. Our own interests and occupations
varied enormously--nurse's aid, poet and mother,
student, welfare mother, bio-chemist, teacher,
computer programmer, former prostitute.
But we did it: we produced a journal, do-
ing all the layout and production ourselves.
Then to pay for the publication costs we spon-
sored a showing of the film, "The Queen", at
the Kenmore Square Cinema in Boston. Thanks to
a sympathetic article in Boston After Dark by
Jane Steideman, our own leafleting, and the
nature of the film, we were able to get two
full houses in one evening, and make enough
money to largely offset the printing costs.
Now, five months after, men do not bait
us as viciously, and women do not shrink with
embarrassment, as they did back in October. The
movement has officially endorsed "Women's
Liberation" (in order to hold onto their own
women). But this is America, and we realize
that these are methods of absorption, not a
true reflection of changed attitudes. The mask
has changed, but underneath nothing has changed.
Our work has only begun. We have done no more
than scream, and we were heard. Before us lies
the necessity and labor of a thorough social
revolution--worldwide, not just in America.
Abstract analysis is important, but peo-
ple are right to look for specifics. We can
offer experiments, some of which we have tried
or heard of, some of which we should like to
see tried. No one of these problem-solving
methods or experiments nor all of them toge -
ter will constitute the revolution we envision
as absolutely necessary for individual as
well as group survival (survival of the species).
It is inhuman and cruel to condemn as
"reformist" anything which eases suffering. It
has never been proven that the most downtrod-
den are the most revolutionary. On the contrary,
until women are permitted to develop a human
self-image they will never challenge the male
structures and assumptions, even when these
are leading to world annihilation.
It is our duty to provide an analysis
that is so revolutionary, so inescapably true
and humane, that women cannot be co-opted into
the system that formerly enslaved them. If we
lack that analysis, we can't make up for it by
keeping them enslaved. It is inescapable today
that most enslaved women are in their own way
the MOST "co-opted" by the system, that is,
they look to it for everything they have,
through their men.
Our first suggestion to women has been to
encourage them to begin relating to their pro-
blems as women in small groups of friends or
neighbors or professional colleagues. From
those groups, theory and action will emerge,
as has happened with our own and other groups.
The first step is to identify the SOCIAL
nature of the oppression of women. It is help-
ful to make contact with other groups through-
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At the beginning, it is devastating to have
men in a group, because women will not speak
their minds, even if the men are strangers.
There is too strong an unconscious sense that
men are the enemy, too deeply ingrained train-
ing to let men do the thinking, and too en-
trenched habits of sexual game-playing. Both
women and men fall into their stereotyped roles,
and not much is accomplished, unless it is
turned into group therapy (T-group), which has
questionable value for the development of rat-
ional thought and theory.
We also have advised women to learn some
sort of self-defense. We have found karate and
its variations most appealing. Itis more of a
true conditioning of the body, enabling a woman
to meet an attacker aggressively. Judo empha-
sizes tricks whereby a woman, remaining weak,
can turn the strength of the attacker against
him by flipping him using his own momentum. In
karate a woman learns to make the most of her
strength by focussing it and striking or block-
ing with the force of her whole body, but she
also trains to become stronger. Most women,
even those who do strenuous housework, are fre-
quently pitifully weak, and the answer should
be to train the body to healthy competence,
not just to learn tricks. Judo, however, prob-
ably offers more immediate results for self-
defense on the street. And any martial art if
it is followed conscientiously over a long per-
iod provides the same benefits.
However, neither group meetings nor karate
solves the problems of day-to-day life. They
may only make it LESS bearable if one is
trapped, isolated, and burdened as a housewife
and mother. The principle complaints have come
to us from women in that situation.
We take a stand against the nuclear family.
This stand is very threatening to many people,
but we regard it as basic. The very term "family"
was invented by the Romans to denote a new social
organism, whose head ruled over the wife, child-
ren and slaves, and was invested under Roman
Law with rights of life and death over them all.
Famulus means domestic slave, and familiar
is the total number of slaves belonging to one
man. This unit is no longer economically nec-
essary, just as slavery is not. But it is psy-
chologically necessary for men who are trying
to live up to an identity based on this tradit-
ional but now obsolete power.
There is a subculture emerging in this
society which is establishing communal living
as its basis. Though the attempts are often
clumsy and uncomfortable, sex or drug motivated,
some have worked, usually if they have been
organized around a political ideology or project.
There is no way to escape the horrors of this
society, and a commune designed as an escape
is destined to failure. However, a commune set
up on the right basis (female liberation) seems
to offer the only humane arrangement for the
care of children.
It is essential for women to insist on at
least an equal number of women as men in a
commune. Otherwise she is likely to become a
domestic slave for many rather than for one man.
There should be absolute equality in all domes-
tic work, child-care, work outside the commune,
and education. Women should be willing to train
men in domestic work, and be trained by men in
"handyman" work, as well as attending school
to prepare for a chosen skill or profession.
Schooling should be seen as labor, not pleasure,
and counted as a contribution to the commune,
not a privilege to be paid for in extra chores.
The commune should never be just another
kind of family unit. Each individual must be
autonomous, with complete privacy and oppor-
tunity for extended periods of solitude for
meditation, thinking, and working. Attention
should be given to the problem of the develop-
ment of emotional dependency on other members
of the commune. One can't work in a vacuum,
but neither can one work in an environment full
of distractions. The more difficult ones work
is the more disruptive the presence of others
is (even when they are in another room).
As for single women, we advise them to
remain single, and to deal with the problems
of being a woman alone and free, living
autonomously in control of her own life. The
most demanding and rewarding arrangement is to
live completely alone; however, this is some
times financially impossible. Female communes
offer a creative alternative. The commune should
be politically rather than socially oriented
(liberation, not snagging men, should be the
goal) and women should practice self-suffic-
iency individually and collectively. Possibil-
ities for learning from each other should be
exploited, while resisting temptation to fall
back on each other for entertainment.
We think one should avoid pregnancy (by
abortion if necessary) at this time. If one
has a talent for dealing with children, she
(or he) can work in a nursery school or an
orphanage or even set up a child care center.
If one has an overpowering need to possess a
child of one's own, there are many homeless
children and unwanted children soon to be born:
there is no need, where the world problem is
overpopulation and not underpopulation, to
bring still more into the world. However, if
one does feel a need to possess and mold a
child of one's own, perhaps that is a sign that
one has not achieved sufficient maturity and
autonomy and is seeking a hopeless fulfillment
through neurotic channels.
Some will say, but what of the glory, the
beauty, the ecstasy of childbirth? Why should
one glory childbirth more than life itself, or
for that matter than the birth of spring, or
the first snow, or the beauty of ecological
balance? The state of "nature"--its function-
ing, its balance--is in sad disrepair thanks to
the centuries of plundering Western male fortune
hunters. Let us consider all of nature, not just
one tiny aspect of it when we speak of "natural"
childbirth. When women begin to realize that it
is the LIFE of the child, not the process of
childbirth which is "natural", and when women
understand that this one thing is the only
single glory allowed to us, they will perhaps
demystify the process of "breeding"--a function
given to all female mammals, and really not
very special after all.
In a healthy, humane society, the burden
and responsibility for children would be on the
society, not on the woman who produces them. It
is not the duty of individual women to reproduce
the species; it is the concern of the society as
a whole. Support of the children would be on the
society and care of the children would be de-
legated to those who have the talent and inter-
est in child care, and they would be rewarded
for their work in the same way as bridge build-
ers or teachers. The private home as it now
exists will appear a torture chamber to post-
There are many things one can do right now
to move toward reclaiming oneself. For instance,
anyone can change her name, dropping any patri-
archal name or names she has required, father's
These patriarchal names specify whose
property she is, who her legal male protector
is. Until she is married, it's her father. When
he "gives her away" to her husband, he becomes
her protector. If you don't want to be property
you must give up the protection and honor of the
man's name, too.
Use your first and middle names, or choose
a new last name from someone you admire, or make
one up. Some women have taken liberation names
building from their mother's name (Sarachild,
Donnachild), just as men's surnames were often
formed from their father's names in the patri-
archal line. This is much more logical, since
it is the mother who bears the child and the
father's participation is minimal and, at least
with respect to the particular man who is
married to the mother, uncertain.
Rename yourself then to become your own
person. You have a common law right to change
your name at any time (provided it is not for
purposes of fraud) just by notifying everyone,
just as you do when you change your name to your
husband's. That change is not legally required,
but is just convention, done by declaration the
way the assumption of a liberation name would be.
Another thing anyone can do is to stop buy-
ing and wearing cosmetics, even if one has "bad
skin" or whatever. Men get along without cosme-
tics and they aren't really so frightening look-
ing. If you look sallow and unhealthy start get-
ting some strenuous exercise everyday. If you
care about being attractive, good health is more
attractive than the cleverest artifice. You can
still use chap-stick to protect your lips and
hand lotion to sooth dry hands--that's medicine.
WE don't have to let our hands crack and peel
and bleed the way men do.
For more thoughts on cosmetics and ones
self-image, see the article in this issue on
"The Temptation to be a Beautiful Object."
The same goes for clothes. Find what is
comfortable and wear it. This may mean wearing
pants all the time. If you must wear dresses to
work, they should be plain in style and color
(you can WEAR your flamboyant orange and pink
mod dresses, if you don't mind the sort of
attention they get you, but don't buy any NEW
ones like that).
Stop following fashions, looking at fashion
magazines, shopping. Bright colors and delight-
ful materials are wonderful to have around, but
do you really want to decorate your BODY with
them? On your body they cry out, "Look at me,
touch me, I'm swinging, I'm sexy, I'm female."
Moreover, we must break out of the whole neurotic
syndrome of expressing ourselves through our
appearance rather than by what we ARE and DO.
Creating "our image" through the way we dress.
Being exploited into endless consumption.
Ones whole outlook on life changes when
one begins to peel off the false layers society
has given one.
Another possibility for individual action
is confronting men on the street when they
follow, proposition, or bait you. This is only
possible when many people are around because
of the danger of physical assault and because
the point is to put the man on the spot and give
out the message that this sort of harassment
There are endless other kinds of actions--
civil rights oriented--like picketing and leaf-
leting Playboy Clubs or girlie films or burlesque
clubs where women are used and portrayed as ob-
jects and harrassing restaurants which illegally
bar women by sitting in and picketing.
A vitally important individual action is
simply to speak to people all the time in all
situations about female liberation, constantly
pointing out implications, deprogramming every-
thing. This becomes almost impossible to avoid
doing in the state of awakened consciousness.
Some people call us obsessive. We are. The
elements of our oppression, the invisible bars
on our cages, are everywhere, and there is no
escape. But the obsessive, uncompromising expos-
ure of the oppression is our way of heading
toward liberation. And that is what we want.
In the women of China the Communists possessed,
almost ready made, one of the greatest masses
of disinherited human beings the world has ever
seen. And because they found the key to the
hearts of these women, they also found one of
the keys to victory over Chiang Kai-shek.
quoted in Fanshen by W. Hinton
THE SLAVE'S STAKE IN TIE HOME
The only honorable career for a woman is marriage.
She is required by public opinion to devote herself to
a particular man and to defer to men in general.
She has been trained from birth to do this. Any
"personal' ambitions are secondary, and if she goes
against this she is flaunting values held universally
by society and internalized by her.
One might want to appeal to woman to exchange
obedience to the internalized values of society for
self-respect as an active free human being, but it is
just that feeling that is most lacking in women.
They have been taught to respect MEN, not them-
selves. They know they are passive, dependant, worthy
only to serve. No, part of the right order of things
is that they NOT have self-respect, so it is no use
asking them to substitute that for the approval of
Moreover, even if they wanted to move out of their
roles, they don't have the resources. Not only have
they been taught to lack self-confidence, taught that
they are thoroughly inadequate and incompetent in all
important things, they have not been trained to pursue
a career, and often have left off their education early.
And why not, since getting and keeping a man was the
only important thing?
They don't have the inner resources of independence,
self-discipline, and determination that boys are taught.
All their lives they have known they would be taken
care of, it was never necessary to develop such
Not only was it unnecessary, it was discouraged
actively in any girl who was foolish enough not to
take the easy way out from the start.
She is discouraged by parents, who don't want
her jeopardizing her marriage chances by unfeminine
behavior and pursuits, and by her peers, teenagers
being the most cruel and intolerant of all creatures,
ridiculing any behavior that is different.
Many women do "work", but it's just a deadly,
exhausting extension of the work at home. They work
at menial jobs under poor conditions with no advance-
ment for little pay.
(No man could be paid so little, but after all,
these women for the most part aren't supporting a
family, they are being supported, and consequently can
settle for sub-starvation wages.)
They work, then, and if they're lucky they form
some friendships at work and see a little more of the
world than their children; but then they come
home exhausted and cook supper for their families
and do all the house-cleaning, laundry, and ironing.
Don't tell these women that going to work is
emancipation. They'll laugh in your face. It's just
another slavery, served concurrently. And not entirely
honorable, at that, because what was wrong with her
that she couldn't get a husband who could support her?
Prejudices against women are not just a matter of
ignorance. They are always at least partly, and some-
times totally, ill-will and opportunistic exploitation.
A good manager knows perfectly well that women
are more stable, not less stable, in employment. They
may not be in the labor force all their lives, but they
stay at any given job longer than the man, who is
always trying to better his position.
He knows that they often work harder than men, out
of loyalty, accept less pay for the same work, do the
work without the title, go on indefinitely without
promotion, and not quit, whatever goes wrong, staying
out of loyalty to the father-figure boss (who plays on
her guilt and desire to please).
They stay BECAUSE they aren't pursuing a career,
they know the home comes first and what happens at work
is not important; and anyway they'll be quitting
eventually so they might as well stick it out now.
Still they are hired only for the most menial jobs
and paid the minimum and not promoted all on the excuse
that they are unstable and not loyal to the company.
Women see stupid, incompetent men being given
prestigious positions, while competent, hard-working
women are kept at the menial jobs.
This is emancipation? By comparison, the prison of
the home is a cozy haven. There at least they are free
from insults, there at least they are queen.
Stepping out of her role, then, goes against the
woman's own values and sense of the rightness of things.
Moreover, she lacks the self-confidence, the sense
of independence and of her own worth; she has always
been told she is incompetent and she has never had the
opportunity to test or develop her abilities.
In order to free herself from male domination, she
must stop being dependent on him, but the conditions
for her to earn her own living are so unpleasant as to
To tell these women that they are as good as their
men, to tell them to free themselves from their oppres-
sion and to take charge of their own destinies, to tell
them they are being weak and parasitic, existing in a
degraded state, is to make them feel inexplicably
slapped in the face: they will not understand what you
are talking about or what could make you want to attack
them that way.
Since to free themselves is out of the question
within the current givens of the situation, your exhorta-
tions only accuse them once again of inadequacy.
A buried part of them in some cases perhaps does
harbor a certain regret for wasted talents, a regret
generating guilt generating and hidden by a nameless
formless anxiety, the regret being suppressed for the
good of the organism in a society where a woman's place
is in the home and where the smart woman never competes
with her man.
Your words threaten to bring this guilt and regret
to the surface and so the organism immediately generates
a heavy defensive smokescreen of hostility.
But don't think that the fact that such a buried
regret exists gives you a wedge, if only you can get
them to admit it.
It has probably been conscious before and the
rational decision of the organism was to suppress it.
It is in conflict with the cdnands on her by society,
by her husband, by her family, by other values of her
own, values stronger than the regrets.
This is the important thing. Women have been
PROGPRAIED, not just coerced. They aren't at home
because hubby locks the door as he leaves each morning
She is at home because her mother and all her
friends are at home, and when she turns on the televi-
sion or opens a magazine she has reinforced the idea
that being at home is honorable, creative, and fulfill-
ing, that she is lucky to have this leisure, or to be
self-employed, as it were, even if she is too busy to
have much leisure.
She does not have to go out into the hard ugly
world so full of 'noisy brutalities' of various sorts
to slave for another at meaningless work without
recognition. Instead she works for herself and her
loved ones, in her own home, surrounded by love.
Moreover, it is the opinion of her mother and
everyone she knows, again reinforced by the media, that
only women who are frustrated and neurotic and selfish
insist on going outside the home; that true women,
feminine women, want to stay at home, love staying at
home, consider themselves lucky to be at home.
This attitude is not one she arrived at rationally
by examinining the facts. If it were, more facts could
But it seeped in beginning at birth, looking around
her, watching her parents, watching the neighbors,
Before she could talk she knew that the men held
the power and the women ran the home. Young children
don't question these things; they assume that there is
something in the nature of women that keeps them at
home, something in the nature of man that gives him
power. Her horizon was closed off that early.
Later, of course, when she gets old enough to
question, another element is brought in against her,
just to make sure she doesn't start wondering if it is
It is the necessity for pleasing the boys in order
to have dates, male attention, female status, and a
social life at all. All the coyness and role-playing
she played at as a child are brought in for real this
time, and a lot of new tricks she has to learn for the
first time. Not only doesn't she have time to question
the woman's role in life, she has to spend all her
energies perfecting her role-playing and feminine sub-
servience just to survive.
From "please boys or have no social life" it slips
hopelessly into "please men or you won't get a husband,"
the hysteria increasing all the way until the dull hope-
less realization after the man has been caught
and the prize examined that this is all it was about.
Her first reaction is to put up a big show to
cover her disappointment. Gradually she adjusts.
Television and magazines assure her that she has
the best of all possible worlds. True, it isn't what
she'd hoped, but evidently it's the best there is, and
certainly the alternatives are unthinkable (the social
So she makes the best of it. She prides herself
on doing a good job, tells herself she's not just a
housekeeper, but the one who knows how to do things
in the special ways that please her husband best, tells
herself that it would be unthinkable for anyone else
to care for herchildren. She, as the bearer of the
womb from which they sprang, is the only one qualified
to care for them.
The media agree and applaud her. She is convinced.
Most women never had the time to seriously consider
being a concert violinist (substitute any serious under-
taking). They were too busi pursuing their social life
or worrying about the fact that they had no social life.
Moreover they grew up, and still live, in a social
group in which the only honorable career for women is
marriage and any other interests are only hobbies per-
missible only to the extent that they make one more,
not less, desirable to men.
But suppose there was one young girl who harbored
secret desires to be a concert violinist but buried
these dreams as inimical to her actual career as wife
She might have liked to be a concert violinist
but in fact she knows she doesn't have the determination
and self-discipline to make her stand and to go through
the long years of hard, lonely work and deprivation,
even if she were totally convinced that she had the
Her husband wants a wife, PERIOD. She would get
no sympathy from him. And she loves and feels great
responsibility for her children, so she couldn't leave
her family, even if she could take the social stigma,
which, by the way, she couldn't.
So don't talk to these women unless you can find
something to say that is so obviously true and revolu-
tionary that it cuts through all that conditioning and
all that helplessness.
And don't tell them to go out and work because
only if you're educated, able and ambitious can you hope
to get a job you might enjoy.
And in any case these women will still be expected
to do all the housework and kow tow to their husbands,
perhaps more than ever if he feels his ego threatened
by the fact that she's working.
He won't respect her for contributing to the
family finances. He'll feel threatened and denigrate
her work and be resentful if she comes home tired.
She's his wife and if she goes out to work it's just
to keep herself occupied or get over a financial crisis;
she'll never be a partner in the providing business,
only a wife who also works.
She is not liberatable until the conditions that
hold her in slavery are alleviated, until liberation
comes to appear feasable and respectable. A new set
of social expectations must replace the ones that
now program her for and confine her within the woman's
You women whose egos WEREN'T hopelessly crippled,
you who long for independence and have the resources
to go after it, YOU do something.
But don't just go out to work and think that just
because you've gone into the man's world and succeeded
at his game you've done something for women.
That doesn't prove to anybody that women are the
equals of men. It only proves that you have a man's
And you do, you have to, to play his game well.
Well, so what. The woman's role is so phony you might
as WELL play the man's. But don't have any illusions
about it. Nobody is going to let you rewrite the rules.
You can't say, "Now that we women are playing we're
going to change the way this whole thing is done. It's
stupid and entirely male-oriented and a big web of
childish power plays and pretige fights and dehumaniz-
ing manipulation of people. It's all built around the
pandering to and exploiting of the male ego and all
headed toward goals that no sane human being would
want. If we're both going to work at running this
world we're going to run it in a human way."
You can't say any of that, because it's an illusion
entirely that women are playing. WOMEN are still at
home, like they always were.
Certain freaks in female bodies but with male
minds and willing to play by male rules are permitted
into the game, but they must prove that they are "com-
petent" by showing respect and enthusiasm for the male
rules and institutions.
The problem isn't that women aren't working, any
more than the problem was that they weren't voting.
As long as we have male supremacy women are
going to be kept helpless and oppressed and they will
be given :privileges` only when it is to the man's
advantage. (She can vote, at his bidding and for his
candidates; she can go to work, at the jobs that
are too menial for him, and if she then comes home
and does all the other work too; she can sleep with
him without being married to him.)
So: no more fun and games. No more us taking
all the blame. No more us trying to imitate men and
prove we are just as good. Frontal attack. It's all
HOW SAD IT IS TO BE A WOMAN!
NOTHING ON EARTH IS HELD SO CHEAP.
BOYS STAND LEANING AT THE DOOR
LIKE GODS FALLEN OUT OF HEAVEN.
THEIR HEARTS BRAVE THE FOUR OCEANS,
THE WIND AND DUST OF A THOUSAND MILES.
NO ONE IS GLAD WHEN A GIRL IS BORN:
BY HER THE FAMILY SETS NO STORE.
quoted in Fanshen
by William Hinton
SEX ROLES AND THEIR CONSEQUENCES
RESEARCH IN FEMALE AND MALE DIFFERENCES
RECOGNITION OF FEMALES IN HISTORY
Looking back through history, it would seem that
women have contributed very little in relation to what
mans contribution has been. This should be a surpris-
ing fact, considering half the worlds population is
In 1904 Ellis made a study of British genius.
He had 1,030 subjects, out of this group only 55 were
female. In 1903 J.Mc KCattel compiled a list of the
1,000 most outstanding persons in history.Out of this
1,000 only 32 were female. Of these women some were
only listed because they were royalty, not on account
of great personal merit.
In 1913 Castle made a study of 868 females in
history, and found that the most prominent were not
distinguished by their individual merit, but by the
fact that they happened to be the wives or mothers or
mistresses of famous men, or they were of royal birth.
All this and other similar accounts would lead us
to have a very low opinion of the capabilities of
women, in comparison to men.
In past eras men (and women too), just took it
for granted, females were inferior to males. Because
of biological differences probably.
More observant people spotted glaring contradic-
tions in this supposition, which led to a great deal
of research and investigation into female and male
differences. Sociologists, psychiatrists, anthropol-
ogists, psychologists, biologists, behavioral scient-
ists, and others have contributed statistics and find-
ings in the area of sex differences, that lead to very
Keeping in mind the historical performance of
adult females mentioned previously, let us look at the
performance records of girls in school. Our first
striking paradox shows up.
In all studies of school achievement one fact
consistently comes out. Girls as a whole always do
better than boys as a group do.
Given the academic achievement pattern of the
girls as compared to the boys, one would expect women
to far outshine men in adult achievement, but we've
just seen that the opposite is true.
To come to this conclusion investigators used a
great variety of tests, criteria, and methods for
measuring school success.
It was also show that girls are less often re-
tarded than boys, and they are more often above aver-
age intellectually, than boys. Yet out of 1,030 gen-
iuses in the Ellis study only 55 were femalell
A typical example of what research findings have
been is a survey by Northby (1958) 12,826 subjects
were used in this test. They were 83 per cent of the
students that graduated from the entire state of Conn.
in 1956. The students were divided into ten
Of the top category, 72 per cent were girls and
only 28 per cent were boys. In the very bottom tenth
the boys made up 64 per cent of the group, while the
girls were only 36 per cent of it.
All these statistics indicate that females aren't
living up to their potential. Somewhere along the
line their abilities are frustrated, misused, abused,
discouraged, atrophied, or lack means of expression.
One theory used to explain the striking superior-
ity of girls in academic achievement, is the fact that
girls mature more quickly than boys. But this has
been disproved by the evidence that mental and physic-
al characteristics aren't connected.
One explanation for the difference between
school performance and later performance by females is
that people who are docile, submissive, and passive,
(as females are supposed to be) aren't likely to
assume positions of leadership, or have the necessary
competitiveness to make a place at the top for
In 1964 Ames and Ilg made a study of 33 boy-girl
pairs. They were carefully matched for age, social
and economic status, and I.Q. The girls scored much
higher than the boys on all the four types of tests
Outside the purely academic area, women do better
than men in tasks involving manual dexterity. This
showed up on tests like the O'connor Finger Dexterity
test, the O'connor Tweezer Dexterity Test and the
Purdue Pegboard. In memory tests using the procedure
of reproducing exactly a series of numbers, words or
drawing a geometric figure after a brief study, or
reciting something that has been read aloud, the rule
of female superiority shows up again.
In quick perceptual response to detail, the
difference between female and male is large and un-
questionable, and it shows up at all grade and age
levels. A summary of data from several sources by
Schneider and Paterson (1942), showed that only about
twenty per cent of the males exceed the mean for
There has been another type of finding in sex
difference, but it only shows at a higher age and
grade level. This is in schoolwork involving problem-
solving with numbers and spatial relationships. On a
high-school level differences in math and science
favored the boys.
However tests by Mc Andrew in 1943, and other
studies show that at the preschool and primary level
there is no differences between the sexes in abilities
like comprehending causal relationships which under-
lie achievement in science and math.
At a symposium on sex differences in Berkely,
Calif. D.W. Taylor gave evidence that the difference
between boys and girls in the area of problem-solving
is largely a matter of attitude toward problems and is
a result of training.
The fact that males are more proficient at higher
grade and age levels only, in math and science means
that this is something that develops as part of the
educational process itself.
It seems that as females are exposed to the outer
environment, they adopt a defeatist attitude toward
problem-solving, or what psychologists prefer to call
traits of passive-acceptance, docility and submissive-
Cognitive style is the way a person reacts to
outer stimuli, such as sights, sounds and things
touched.Each person has a different style in utilizing
this perceptual stimuli in solving problems.
Investigations into the cognitive style of in-
dividuals have given much evidence to substantiate
the theory of attitude difference formed by contact
with the culture.
There is a high correlation between cognitive
style and personality temperament) The difficulty
females have in problem-solving is related to the
Witkin finding that the total structure of a situation
influences females more than it does males.
In cognitive tests women proved to be significant
ly more field-dependent than males. This means in
tests trying to grasp a perceptual pattern embedded
in a visual field, females had a harder time disre-
garding the background than males did. Males showed
much more field-independence.
In tilting chair experiments, females utilized a
procedure of passive-acceptance. They assumed at
first that the room was upright, instead of utilizing
different cognitive clues to figure out the situation.
Males did much better in orientation tests. The
success was from their ability to keep an object isol-
ated from compelling background forces. This is
Some of the personality traits related to field-
independence are: actively dealing with ones environ-
ment, instead of passively accepting it, self-esteem,
self-acceptance, and self-realization.
Children higher on field-dependence were found to
come from homes where more coercive procedures were
used, more stress was placed on conformity, and child-
ren were pushed more consistently towards goals and
standards set by the parents.
The significantly higher scores for females on
field-dependence do not show up until adulthood. This
shows that females are forced to adopt roles which
society thinks are fitting for them. They are coerced
into conforming to a sex role not of their choosing.
The damage done by this shows up in the lack of
problem-solving ability in females, as well as in many
The field-independent type, carried to the extreme
is the simple man of action who scorns complexities,
and does not even see fine distinctions, a rigid
authoritarian with an intolerance for ambiguity.
In fact the higher the person scores on masculinity,
the more apparent the fascist traits become in the
personality. A scale called the F scale (pre Fascism)
was devised to measure the personality variable direct-
ly. A high scorer on this scale is characterized by:
repression rather than awareness of his own unaccept-
able motives, externalization or projection which
leads him to suspect and blame others and to avoid
introspection, conventionalism or conformity, an
orientation toward others in terms of power rather
than love, (the instrumental goal oriented behavior),
rigidity rather than flexibility.
The field-dependent female bears great resembl-
ance to the child who displays withdrawn behavior,
rather than using aggressive action to deal with their
environment. The apathy and depression of these child-
ren is abundantly clear. This was not behavior that
made trouble for the parents or the community. It was
the behavior of the hopeless, despair and defeat.
These children did not risk overtures that could
bring rebuff, or initiatives that might end in defeat.
They trusted no one and expected little but rejection.
In effect they withdrew from life.
Dreams must substitute for action, fantasy for
reality. At least in dreams hopes can always be ful-
filled, and defeat is only the fate of the villain.
But dreams build no self-confidence, and fantasy
teaches no pitfalls.
These are the children who may in a few years
join the growing number of mentally ill. When life
demands action they cannot act. The most typical
responses to reality were to deny, to run away from it,
then submit passively to the consequences.
There is to all this what amounts to almost an
abnegation of living. An acceptance of defeat so
complete that action is irrelevant.
Defeatism is a spiritual poison too often encour-
aged by their experiences in the family, When they
meet with defeat and indifference in the community too,
it is hard to see where incentive for change can come
These personality traits aren't found only among
females, but are characteristic of all oppressed
INTERESTS AND VALUES
In the area of motivation and interest, great
differences between men and women show up again. In
the Allport-Vernon Study of Values, men showed greater
interest in economic, political and theoretical values,
they were motivated by a desire for practical success,
influence and power over others were their goals for
Women showed a strong interest in aesthetic,
social and idealistic values, and were motivated by a
concern for the welfare of others as a goal for living.
Strong evidence shows that the much lower aspir-
ations of females aren't because of a lesser need to
accomplish, but because their aspirations aren't arous-
ed as mens are, in a competitive money oriented society.
This is reflected in the different values and motiva-
tions of women and men,
Another contributing factor to the lower goal
aspirations in women is that they have less self-assur-
ance, less self-confidence, and a lower opinion of
themselves in general.
This remarkable fact should be quite surprising,
considering girls have consistently done much better
in school than boys. Knowing the girls superior per-
formance in school one would expect them to have much
higher aspirations than boys.
Walter and Marzolf (1961) made a test of boys and
girls at several grade and age levels, on the Rotter
Aspiration Board. They found that girls had signific-
antly lower scores at all grade levels regardless of
being good or poor students.
A study by Bennet and Cohen (1959) sums up the
basic differences, that have been corroborated in many
other studies as well:
1) Masculine thinking is a modification downward in
intensity of feminine thinking. This would give one
cause to think that psychologically, males should be
defined relative to females, rather than than the other
2) Masculine thinking is oriented more in terms of the
self, while feminine thinking is oriented more in terms
of the environment. This is related to their response
in problem solving.
3) Masculine thinking anticipates rewards and punish-
ments determined more as a result of the adequacy or
inadequacy of the self, while feminine thinking
anticipates rewards and punishments determined more as
a result of the friendship or hostility of the environ-
ment. This shows the attitude of passive-submission
adopted by females, and their lack of belief in their
4) Masculine thinking is associated more with a desire
for personal achievement, feminine thinking is associ-
ated more with a desire for social love and friendship.
This is strongly reflected in the choice of values and
interests of each of the sexes.
5) Masculine thinking finds more value in malevolent
and hostile actions against a competitive society,
while feminine thinking finds value more in freedom
from restraint in a friendly and pleasant environment.
Indicating a lack of fulfilling outlets for female
qualities under a harsh capitalist system.
All these findings shed light on the reasons for
the great disparity between the actual potentialities
of females and their retrograde preformance in later
Other research into female and male interests
has shown males to be more interested in occupations
involving physical exertion, machinery and tools,
science, physical phenomena, business, commerce,
adventure and exploit.
On the last two items some contradictory evidence
has shown up in the field of psychobiology. In a test
gauging behavior response in males and females to
emotion-evoking stimuli, females tended to be more
exploratory than males. This would lead one to expect
females to be more adventurous. The contradiction
between what females are capable of and what they act.
ually do, can be explained by the sex-role concept,
and how it affects them. This will be gone into in
greater detail later
Females showed a greater interest in aesthetic
objects and occupations, personal affairs, occupations
more directly ministrative to the needs of other
people, especially the young, helpless, unfortunate or
The males showed greater aggressiveness and self-
assurance, more hardiness and fearlessness, more
roughness of manner, language and sentiment.
The females showed and expressed more compassion,
sympathy, and aesthetic sensitivity. They were more
expressive of emotion in general, severer moralists,
yet admitting in themselves more weaknesses.
STABLE PERSONALITY TRAITS
In differences in personality between the sexes,
the most stable trait found in females was "passive
reaction to frustration". We shall see this trait
shows up markedly in other oppressed groups too,al-
though in these groups its defined differently and
referred to as "choking back anger"
The most stable sex characteristic of the male
personality is aggression. This indicates that person-
ality traits that are in keeping with the way society
expects the members of each sex to act (the sex-role),
are more likely to be brought out and reinforced.
Personality traits that don't conform to the sex-
role concept, will be frustrated, modified, crushed or
or atrophied. It is now recognized how great a part
sex-roles play in the shaping of a personality. These
concepts influence behavior on many different levels
and effect all areas of the personality.
Besides directly constraining behavior with dis-
criminatory laws, customs, conventions, unequal edu-
cation, and opportunities, sex-roles become internal-
ized attitudes people hold about themselves and their
capabilities. These attitudes will determine a persons
outlook on life, what they learn, how they behbve,
what they aspire to, and how they interpret life.
A test that will give us an indication of how
females are perceived in this society was done by
McKee and Sherriffs (1957). A group of boys and girls
were asked to vote who possessed each of nineteen good
traits and fourteen bad traits. In the older groups
both boys and girls ascribed all the good traits to
boys. The fact that during these school years girls
were behaving better and making better marks, shows the
influence of sex-role concepts outweights even reality.
In a test on university students 84 per cent of
the girls accredited more of the unfavorable traits to
women. Another indication of the repugnance of the
female image is Grey's finding that for boys percieved
similarity to the father went with acceptance by ones
peers, but for girls identification with the mother
was related negatively to peer acceptance.
We can clearly trace the gensis of aggression in
boys. It was found that girls showed no more or less
aggression, whether they came from homes where the
father was present or absent. On the other hand boys
who came from homes where the father was absent start-
ed showing aggression at about the age of five, coin-
ciding with the time they started school. These boys
acquired their concept of the male role mostly outside of
Boys with the father at home started showing
aggressiveness at about the age of two or three. Their
idea of masculine behavior allowed them to express more
aggression than any of the other children and at an
It has been observed that both boys and girls learn
their sex-roles from their father. Because the mother
doesn't react as differently to boys and girls as the
The father because of his instrumental, goal
oriented masculine behavior, shows his boys how to "be
a man" by imitating his behavior. The girls trying to
please the father adopt the feminine role. This is why
girls who are more feminine (passive) have fathers who
are more masculine (aggressive).
MALADJUSTMENT AND MENTAL ILLNESS
Women tend to be much more maladjusted and neurot-
ic than men. Because this sex difference doesn't
occur until high-school, it can be directly attributed
to the effects of the female sex-role.
The Bernreuter Personality Inventory shows women
to be more neurotic, more introverted, more dependent,
less self-confident, less self-sufficient and less
dominant than men. These differences in contrast to
interest differences do not show up until high-school
age. The role to be played by women leaves little
room for change from the dependent, submissive, obed-
ient child, to an independent, self-assured adult.
The rigidity of this stereotype makes for malad-
justment and mental illness. Research shows that
women who conformed were more popular and less neurotic
than non-conforming females. Also, conservative girls
who were willing to go along with accepted standards,
even if they thought they might be wrong, were happier
and better adjusted than liberal girls who had a tend-
ency to think for themselves.
This is damning evidence that if females don't
buckle under, they're broke. The females who accept
their roles are just as damaged. These females have
given up using their own minds. Even though sex-role
concepts do not fit actual human beings, any deviation
from them incurs subtle psychological punishment, if
not a more overt kind.
Many people argue that this isn't so any more.
Females were treated as inferiors only in bygone days.
We can see just how false this assumption is, first by
the dates of the research, and secondly by the amazing
similarity between the mental problems of southern
blacks, lower social and economic groups, and females.
Personality tests show blacks to be definitely
more maladjusted than whites. Hospitalization rates
for all the major mental disorders are higher among
blacks, (Frumkin 1954). These differences become
noticeable at higher age levels.
In a study by Karon (1958) southern blacks had
personality differences that were attributable to
"caste sanctions" prevalent in the south. The most
striking differences were in the area of aggression.
There was a denial of aggressive feelings of all kinds.
kn intuitive choking back of anger. There are many
secondary effects in the personality that are an out-
growth of this suppression,
R.E. Clark found that among 12168 mental patients,
those with the lowest income and job prestige got
mentally ill at a younger age and their mental disord-
ers were more serious. The better paying the job, and
the more prestige, the higher the age at the time of
mental breakdown, and the less serious the illness.
Schizophrenia is eight times more prevalent in
the lowest socio-economic groups than in the
two upper ones (Hollingshead and Redlich 1958).
School children gain or lose in academic
achievement according to what class they belong
to. The lower class girls tend to show a loss
earlier than the lower class boys. This can be
accounted for by the fact that the lower
classes have a less liberal and more rigid view
of the place of women in this society.
The oppression of women is still a fact
in the twentieth century.
SEXISM AND SEXISTS
Vanauken suggests (in "Freedom for Move-
ment Girls--Now" printed by SSOC, Box 6403,
Nashville, Tenn.) that we use the word "Sexism"
rather than male chauvanism or male supremacy.
A sexist, then, is a person who promotes
sexism. We thank Vanauken for giving our
movement this important word which so clearly
expresses the syndrome we are fighting.
UNCLE TOM WAS A WOMAN
UNCLE TOM WAS
HARRIET BEECHER STOWE
"The Man & Woman Thing"--Review of an article
The December 24, 1968 issue of Look Magazine
features a spread called, "The Man & Woman Thing"
by George Leonard (p. 55-72). Under the guise of
being an analysis of the relation of men and women
in America today, it is actually an advertisement
for monogamous marriage and the Esalen Institute.
It begins and ends with space-age jargon. Apparent-
ly, this jargon has some 'manly' appeal which evokes
this statement: "we could see that changing a
marriage wouldn't be easy. It would demand the
skill, the dedication--the heroism, even--usually
reserved for politics, war or such epic endeavors
as the conquest of space." (p. 68)
The author brushes off any possibility of
developing a sense of community or new ways to raise
children under communal care. He offers as represent-
ative of communalism: a hippie commune; nine middle-
class adults sharing living quarters; two couples
living together for practical reasons. These 'exper-
iments' are seen as failures; therefore, the only
hope is the nuclear family. However, he adds, that
"the kind of isolation visited upon the tight little
family in its tight little house or apartment" has
to end. One possible solution, he suggests, is to
establish networks between couples "to monitor each
others' marriages and give homes feedback" on how
they can be improved. And to bolster that innovation,
marriage could be styled in two stages (like a rocket)
with one stage for trial with no strings and no child-
ren; the other with children and strings, hard to
get into and out of.
The long, hopeful article ends on a strange note
of warning to men if they do not behave, and go along
with this new plan (which by implication throughout
is an expression of woman's eternal desire). "Within
ten years, scientists tell us, we may be able to
choose the sex of our offspring. And experimenters
already are working on ways to reproduce living or-
ganisms without mating male and female cells. This
means it will someday be possible to have a world
with only one sex, woman, and thereby avoid the
squabbles, confusions and heartaches that have dogged
this whole business of sex down the centuries. A
manless world suggests several science-fiction scen-
arios. The most pessimistic would have society chang-
ing not at all, but continuing on its manly ways of
eager acquisition, hot competition and mindless aggress-
ion. In which case, half the women would become 'men'
and go right on getting ulcers, shouting "Charge" and
pinning medals on each other." (p. 72). He fails
to mention what the other "science-fiction scenarios"
It is interesting that Mr. Leonard assumes that
females would be necessary to produce test-tube babies.
The whole point of the artificial womb is that the
reproductive organs are not used at all. So why would
either sex be needed for reproduction? The assumption
that men had better make themselves better lovers
and monogamous, or they will be exterminated, certain-
ly narrows the range of possibilities for human
beings with advanced technology. The artificial
womb could be a human and liberating development for
women. Not only does he omit mentioning its effect
upon females, the whole article glories in child-
birth, femininity, motherhood, domesticity. But
Leonard does point out that genocide is possible.
The only problem is that men hold the power in the
society and choose how any scientific development
will be used. If any group is exterminated, it will
be women, not men. But surely the imagery calls to
mind hordes of castrating Valkries, enough to keep
the old myths active.
Just what is Esalen, and why is it receiving
free advertisement in the major magazines and on
TV talk shows? The publicity is not coming from
notoriety, but rather the reverse. Dr. William
Schutz, a onetime consultant for RAND Corporation
is the chief mover of the Esalen operations, includ-
ing its publicity. His book, Joy, Expanding Human
Awareness is a best seller. What he says makes
sense. Who can deny the value of joy, sensitivity,
awareness? The words are absolutely unobjectionable.
The book jacket blurb describes the book thus: "He
(Schutz) demonstrates how, in special surroundings
removed from everyday activities, one can develop
a more integrated personality, deeper consciousness,
and greater physical and psychic powers. Through
group thinking, talking, touching, hugging, and act-
ing out life-situation, one can transform suspicion
into trust, hostility into love, and dullness into
Groups like Esalen have 'sprung up' (actually
formed by psychologists) all over the country.
Clearly there is a problem of alienation in Emperial
American society. The people are isolated into
tiny units, often actually solitary, always power-
less. They are not correctly informed as to what
'their' government is doing in their names. Their
only connection with reality is the television which
cans its presentation, programming its viewers to
the official government policies. They are told
about all the problems at home and abroad, making
clear to them that the American people are sacrific-
ing and fighting a war of liberation (for ten million-
aires) abroad, and at home these same people are told
that they are violent racists (by the media and pol-
iticians). Occasionally, they are allowed to vote.
Then all the TV newsmen make it sound as if they have
made a choice, and they feel proud that they have the
right to vote, and how lucky they are to be free
Americans. From the same television, they are in-
formed about the poor lives people live in other
societies, with horrible dictators like Castro,
Ho Chi Minh, and Mao Tse-Tung.
The people live in couples with a couple of
children usually. Life is hectic, time-consuming,
but essentially boring. Alcohol, tranquillizers,
and pain-killers are essential parts of it. A
couple usually has several other couples for friends,
and a degree of honesty exists between them, some-
times a little sex. They seem more than anything to
bolster one another's egos. They seem always just
on the edge of panic.
Esalen proposes to refine this situation, 'ration-
alize' it, program it, propagate it. We know things
can be made to work that have no function; most of
the space-age garbage are toys or tools of destruction,
not machinery for human welfare. Esalen is a space
age game, but one should not underestimate the power
of a game. Esalen proposes to make marriage, the
Young couples, who are trying to make their
marriages work, are very defensive of the institution.
Even when they admit its many faults, they are convinced
that it is the only way to avoid loneliness and
insecurity and even terror--especially the women.
The men need a built-in housekeeper, and mother of
their children. They also need a buffer for their
relations (business and personal) with other men.
Esalen was created for these people--the ordinary
Esalen is not interested in human relations.
Esalen is a counter-revolutionary institution,
which plans to replace or become the glue for the
crumbling institution. There is movement in this
country for change, even among the white folks.
There is little reality in the human relations in
this society, and least of all in marriage. Ask
the children what they think of the institution which
supposedly exists for their upbringing, their
benefit. All the love between "Man & Woman" in the
world will not make that tiny unit any less lonely,
any less perverted to the child who is raised with-
in it. Surely ghetto children, raised on the
streets, are psychologically better off and closer
to reality than these poor children of the clerical
working class, so often referred to as the "middle-
class" even by leftists.
Esalen is not an objective interloper simply
trying to open people up to others, to sensitivity,
to reality--like to the War, to poverty, to American
abundance based on the starvation of non-Americans,
to assassinations of popular leaders (the Kennedy's,
Martin Luther King, Malcolm X) by the CIA (whose
counter-insurgents receive their information from
RAND Corporation, Schutz's organ). In fact,
Esalen induces its participants to look inward, to
trust rather than mistrust, and to solve their
'personal' problems with their marriage mate, or
to get married and reach fulfillment therein. Such
a project in this society, or in a world in revolution,
is not even theoretically possible of working out,
but it is enough to keep people busy and mislead for
a long time, and most important--on the wrong track.
It is no accident that Life and Look give
dozens of pages of free advertisement to Esalen.
The media is the propaganda machine for the corporate
structure that is the political-economy of this
country. Every single real feeling, word, and idea
that has emerged from the movement has been
perverted and used by the system to further
imprison the people in this society. A con-
tingent of vipers feed off the naivete of
"the people", and the people identify with
their enemy--the corporate managers. Even
radicals often think they have achieved a
coup when the media picks up on their message.
Women are particularly the victims of
the machination, programmed as we are to be
wife, mother, childbirth expert, sex object,
career woman, stay-at-home, mechanic, chauffeur
and yet offered as the stylistic model a mod,
free jet-setter. What this does is keep her
buying things which symbolize those roles,
since playing all of them is impossible, and
buying things that symbolize freedom like
bright colored clothes, jewelry, etc. She
is coddled as a consumer, and feels flattered.
She finds her reality, her identity in fantasy.
Men, too, are completely manipulated by
the system from birth, and constantly re-
programmed by the media (including the "under-
ground" media), which uses their sexual hang-
ups to the fullest, to keep them in the role,
and to cover up any holes in it, butmainly
to get them to buy the product which will
create the right facade, and remain powerless.
Now they are told that if they do not continue
to play the phony role, and improve upon it
(really believe it), they will be exterminated.
The most sickening aspect of Esalen
propaganda is its assumption that men and
women will be approaching each other as equals.
Women are incredibly oppressed in this society
(men playing the oppressive role very well,
albeit programmed for it). The inconsistency
of their husbands is perhaps the least of
their problems, though "catting" certainly
symbolizes their helplessness. Having to wear
a mask, a disguise, the garb of honor for a
professional actor or a clown, is humiliating
to women, and psychologically damaging. Having
to speak and behave like an artifice, and being
programmed for "lightweight" information,
women are retarded by the society. They are
damaged in America by these physical bonds as
surely as the women of China were made cripples
by their feet being bound. It is unfortunate
for the Bourbon Slave holders that Rand tech-
nology was not developed a century earlier so
that African Slavery could have been programmed
under the heading "The Master & Slave Thing".
Esalen has nothing to do with the liber-
ation of anyone. Esalen offers opportunities
to an excess of poorly trained sick psycholog-
ists, and a new class of entrepreneur space age
vipers, and a government which must keep its
slaves occupied with nothingness and mindless-
ness (1984 style), so it is not questioned,
and an economy which would collapse without
war and excess consumption of objects which
never fill the gaping hole of terror and
hopelessness which lies barely under the con-
sciousness of every American.
I'm an Island.
THE OPPRESSION OF THE MALE TODAY
Women today probably accept the oppression by men
with more cynicism than ever before in history. They
don't really respect men in many cases, and in truth
there is little to respect.
Men don't respect themselves very much. They are
passive and conforming; what energy they do expend is
expended at the office to keep up with the other rats.
When a man comes home he is a passive exhausted
blob unwilling (or unable) to give anything of himself,
expecting to be waited on.
His best efforts are never wasted on his wife, she
is just the agent of his will will at home, keeping his
retreat, his nest, his castle cozy. As far as he's
concerned, as long as he is paying the bills she can
have no complaint. If he's too exhausted at night to
be human, well, it was only because he was slaving so
hard for HER.
Despite the highly competitive nature of his activi-
ties in the working world, he is essentially passive
there too, because he has to accept the system no matter
how oppressive and dehumanizing it is to him; the compe-
tition is between him and the other equally oppressed
and dehumanized rats.
He has been trained and conditioned and educated
to be passive and unquestioning in this way, just as
women have been trained not to question their oppression
at male hands.
The corporation may be in fact oppressing him brutal-
ly, but he has been taught that the corporation is the
source of the good life, the efficient generator of
all the material goods the worker craves and so he
can't think of condemning it.
Likewise man is woman's protector and the source
of all material goods and she can't condemn the rela-
But in both cases they need the protection because
they have been deprived of the freedom and power to
live autonomously and they crave the material goods
because, deprived of being, they substitute consuming;
they drown their sorrows and frustrations in THINGS,
seek fulfillment and self-expression and status and
power through them.
They can't act on the WORLD but they can act on
the THINGS they have bought. Aided by the advertising
world they build the illusion that they must be of
great personal worth if they own so many lovely things.
This is the woman's solace particularly, it is
her only solace outside of power over children, but
increasingly it is man's too.
Where formerly the concentration was on the woman
as the consumer, men more and more are being conditioned
to consume and to develop great emotional involvement
with the process of consumption.
A combination of the expanding markets required by
by capitalism and a necessary sop to men whose working
lives become less and less meaningful, allowing for
less and less individuality and free thought.
It is moving into more advanced stages now:
beyond the power tool toys and the swimming pool
toys into the realms of cosmetics and clothes,
traditionally exclusively female domains.
The female, being nothing, APPEARED: painted,
perfumed, coiffed, clothed in the latest most appeal-
ing fashions. She WAS her body and therefore took
expensive care to decorate herself in order to offer
herself and in order to give herself a sense of worth.
But now men are being seduced by an onslaught
of advertising designed to pulled them into the
markets of cosmetics and scents, colorful and fashionable
clothes. They are becoming fops, peacocks.
Traditionally having too much self-respect to
decorate their bodies, relying on their talents,
personalities and characters, they are now being
urged to cast off the "chains" of "conformity" and
rejoice in the "self-expression" being offered by
the world of fashion.
All other means of self-expression being denied
to them, their character and personality no longer
sufficient (society making people all alike, cogs
without minds) they too must decorate their bodies for
the illusion of self-expression through self-
Society, then, is making men into women.
They are helpless before the system, the corpora-
tion, the government, conditioned and educated to
passively accept things the way they are.
And, afraid of losing the few goodies they have,
they think it is for the best, the best being measured
by the quantity and quality of goodies delivered.
They are taken care of, they don't have to think.
And in fact thinking gums up the works and is dis-
couraged in subtle and unsubtle ways.
Helpless, passive, dependant, finding self-
expression only through consuming, these men are
hardly male in any traditional sense, and it takes a
good deal of self-deception for a woman to convince
herself that this passive clod is an admirable,
respectable he-man male.
But what happens? Do they recognize each other
as sisters and at least develop a comaraderie in
They do not. Men try even harder than ever to
play the he-man, to rule their own roosts, to keep
their women (often just as competent as they) in line,
keep them walking behind, keep them putting their man
Less communication than ever occurs, because
men have this awful secret to hide, the fact that they
are not men but mice. They must keep up the farce,
however transparent it becomes, keep up the desperate
battle for a noble image before their woman, so that
at least they can be a hero there, in that fantasy
world that is their home, so that they can puff their
wounded egos back up and tell themselves once again
that they are real men.
What forces them to keep up this cruel game? The
fact that, after reducing men to women, society contin-
ues to extoll the virtues of manliness in male-female
relations; women will only respect and love the virile
he-man type, gentleness is contemptible, to be on a
basis of equality with your woman puts you very low
The myth then continues unabated. Only virile
men appear in advertisements and men's magazines. The
model is clear, but the resources for imitating the
model are stripped away. The posturings are hollow.
The exercises of power may become more brutal
as they become more ridiculous, as they become more
and more power exercised arbitrarily and submitted to
Or else the men descend into women's tricks, whin-
ing and exercising irrational obstinacy to get their
way: women's tricks, but used to enforce male domina-
Men are made into women while in fact in theory
it is demanded that they retain the appearance of
virility. No wonder they are constantly falling short
of the ideal of manhood they have internalized, no
wonder they doubt their masculinity.
No wonder they feel desperately attached to the
formulas by which they keep up the deception (or pre-
tend they are keeping it up). These formulas are
male superiority, male dominance, female dependance
and passivity, and rigidly defined, nonoverlapping
roles for male and female.
The frustration and humiliation of having no real
power, no real virility have repercussions not only in
the man's relationships with women but in his whole
life, which is one long struggle to present the
appearance of virility.
Backed by the super-weapons developed by the
efficient corporations, he defends his national honor
by making wars and fighting them; however unequal the
odds might be, a victory is a victory and will convince
his uncritical ego of its virility.
He fights his co-rats tooth and nail, he relentlessly
seeks out and destroys those weaker.
He is envious of anyone's good fortune or ability,
very much afraid that someone will get something with-
out having to suffer sufficiently for it. He spends
his time fighting imaginary enemies who want, he thinks,
to take what he has.
Driven by the knowledge of his own inadequacy, he
can never relax but wears himself out in fierce games
As I went out one morning/ To breathe the air
around Tom Paine
I spied the fairest damsel/That ever did walk in
I offered her my hand/ She took me by the arm
I knew that very instant /She meant to do me harm.
Depart from me this moment/ I told her with my
Said she but I don't wish to/Said I but you have
Ibeg you sir she pleaded/From the corners of her
I will secretly accept you /And together we'll
Just then Tom Paine himself/Came running across
Shouting at this lovely girl/And commanding her
And as she was letting go her grip/Up Tom Paine
I'm sorry sir he said to me/I'm sorry for what
ON THE TEMPTATION TO BE A BEAUTIFUL OBJECT
We are constantly bombarded in this society by
the images of feminine beauty. There is almost an
obsession with it.
It is used extensively in advertising, particu-
larly in advertising directed at women: be like this,
they are saying, use our product.
The image sells everything, not just beauty
products, but the beauty products reap the benefits
of the image having sunk so well into everyone's
And oh! those beauty products. Shimmering,
magical, just waiting to turn the plainest girl into
a heartbreakingly beautiful, transfixing graven image.
Or so they claim and imply, over and over, with
extravagent hypnotizing advertising copy and photo-
graph after photograph of dewy-fresh perfect faces.
Inevitably it penetrates the subconscious in an
insidious and permanent way.
We may be sophisticated enough (or bitter enough)
to reject specific advertising claims, but we cannot
purge the image from us: if only we could get that
look with a few sweeps of a lambsdown buffer dusting
on translucent powder making our faces glow like
satin, accented with shimmery slicked-on lip glow, a
brush of glittery transparent blusher, eyes soft-
fringed and luminous, lash-shaded and mysteriously
shadowed...suppose we could get the look they promise
from their products and the look they all sell in
their advertising? Ah, how few could resist!
Many of us are scarred by attempts as teenagers
to win the promised glamor from cosmetics. Somehow
it always just looked painted, harsh, worse than ever,
and yet real life fell so far short of the ideals
already burned into our consciousness that the defeat
was bitter too and neither the plain nor the painted
solution was satisfactory.
How often the date sat impatiently below while
the girl in anguish and despair tinged with self-
loathing applies and wipes away the magical products
that despite their magic are helpless against her
horrifying plainness. She will never be a woman,
Then, as we grew older and better looking, our
faces more mature and our handling of cosmetics more
expert, there are times when nature and artifice
combine to make us unquestionably beautiful, for
a moment, an hour, or an evening.
The incredible elation of looking in a mirror
(the lighting just right...) and seeing, not the
familiar, plain, troublesome self, but a beautiful
object, not ourself, but a thing outside, a beauti-
ful thing, worthy of worship...no one could resist
falling in love with such a face.
The lighting changes, or the evening wears on,
and the face slips imperceptibly back into plainness,
harshness. Happy gaity becomes forced gaity, we
laugh louder because we must make up for the ugliness
we suddenly found, must distract attention from it.
Or we crawl back into ourselves in an agony of
humiliated self-consciousness. We had thought our-
selves beautiful, and carried on, attracting attention
to what we thought was irresistable beauty but had
somehow shifted into plainness again. How they must
be laughing at us.
We we do succeed we make ourselves objects,
outside ourselves, something we expect others to
admire because we admire, and which we admire through
But it's not us really. Narcissism is not really
love of the self, because self is the soul, the
personality, and that is always something quite
different, something complex and complicated, something
strange and human and very familiar and of this earth.
That beautiful object we stand in awe before has
nothing to do with the person we know so well, it is
altogether outside, separate, object, a beautiful
image, not a person at all. A feast for the eyes.
A feast for the eyes, and not for the mind.
That beautiful object is just an object, a work of
art to look at, not to know, total appearance, bearing
no personality or will. To the extent that one is
caught up in the beauty of it, one perceives object
and not person.
This goes for others as well as for ourselves.
The more beautiful we are, the more admired our appear-
ance, the closer we approach the dream of the incredi-
ble beauty, the less reality our personality or intell
lect or will have.
It is unthinkable that this work of art has a will,
especially one which is not as totally soft and agree
able as the face it presents. You cannot be taken
seriously, people will not even hear what you say.
(If they did they would be shocked and displeased--
but since they do not take it seriously they say
"You are too pretty to be so smart"--by which they
mean, you are an object, do not presume to complicate
the image with intellect, for intellect is complex
and not always pleasing and beautiful. Do not dare
to spoil my pleasure in your beauty by showing it
to be only the facade of a real person; I will not
believe that, you will only succeed in marring your
How can anyone take a manikin seriously? How,
even, can one take a heartbreakingly beautiful face
seriously? One is far too caught up in admiration
of the object presented. It is merely beautiful,
but it becomes an object when it is presented to
This only goes for women, of course; men's
character and personality and will always shine through
their appearance, both men and women look at them
that way. But one is taught in society by the
emphasis on the images of feminine beauty to view
women differently. The important thing is not the
mind, the will, but the appearance. You ARE your
And if your appearance is pleasing, you are sunk,
for no one will ever look beyond. You have fulfilled
all that is expected of you and you may rest (this
all assumes you have the feminine womanly virtues of
noncharacter such as kindness, gentleness, and the
In fact, if you are beautiful, or if you have
made yourself beautiful, you had BETTER leave it at
that, because you have no chance of compelling people
to look beyond. They are so enchanted with what they
They adore you for your appearance. If you are
"brainy" it will be taken as quaint, a charming
affectation. If you are disagreeable it is offensive,
a particularly stinging affront, disrespect for your
beauty, the sacrilege of a work of art. (This does
not detract from the mystique of the beautiful bitch.
That is just another form of flirtation, tantalizing
the man by simultaneously alluring with the beauty
and playing hard to get by putting up a verbal fence--
a fence, by the way, which the man sees himself
ultimately surmounting in triumph.)
It is true that this is part of the burden of
being a woman. We are expected to be beautiful and
not being beautiful does not make us automatically
accepted as people. To some extent and for some
people we are never more than our appearance.
If we are ugly and plain men demand angrily
(at least in their own minds) why we don't DO
something with ourselves; surely a more becoming
hairdo, better meake-up, or even (if the situation
is bad enough) a new nose.
Women react the same way to women. All are
victimized by the image of woman as object, appear-
ance. "Why doesn't she DO something with herself?"
A man who is neat and clean may get away with
being ugly; if he is intelligent and personable he
may even be immensely popular, but for a woman being
neat and clean is never enough if she is still plain,
if she doesn't at least TRY to improve on nature with
the most flattering hairdo (however limp or unruly
her hair is, however many hours of effort and frustra-
tion she must put into the endeavor), the newest
make-ups artfully and painstakingly applied, every
new exercise and diet fad, the newest and chicest
clothes. The ugly woman who does her best in this
way will still be a"dog" but she won't be a threat
and may even be popular if she has the other qualifica-
tions, popular as a "sister".
If you are truly ugly it is always an offense
against your role as woman. You can never be truly
feminine, womanly. Always an affront to men and
women both, trapped as they are in the myth of
How dare you be ugly? You are a woman, an object,
you exist to please the eye, and yet you fail so
utterly. They will still be obsessed with your
appearance, only this time they are affronted rather
They will still have difficulty listening to
what you are saying, this time because they are so
busy wondering why on earth you don't get a nose job
Still, being ugly has its advantages. At least
they will not be lulled into hypnotic admiration with
you as a beautiful object.
You will be a constant gadfly, shattering their
preconceived notions. At least they cannot say "you"re
too pretty to be so smart." They will have to say
"You had better be smart because you're certainly not
pretty" This is certainly a healthier situation for
an individual who wishes to be more than a passive
The most fortuitous situation for a woman might
be to be inoffensively plain, thoroughly nondescript.
It would be very difficult for her to win initial
attention, for with a woman one notices only the
beautiful (admirable) and the ugly (repulsive); one
does not offer a woman a chance to show by words or
actions what her personality or character is in the
way one automatically does to a man.
But when one does command attention there would
be least distraction from the person by the appearance,
least temptation for the woman to be made an object
in the minds of the beholders.
And yet this thoroughly nondescript looking woman
is the one cosmetics advertisements aim at. They want
to take the mouses and with their magic powders and
creams transform them into princesses.
And for many mice they can succeed. Even men,
as we have seen in the case of drag queens, can often
make themselves into beautiful women with enough of
the magic powders and creams.
But to the extent that we keep our self-image
as persons as we manipulate our appearance in this
way, it will seem artificial and unnatural, and look
strange and perhaps even frightening.
Only as we slip into the schizophrenic world of
play-acting and narcissism will we be able to enjoy
the beauty we create. And then we will be imprisoned
within the walls of the object we created in the minds
of others and in our own minds--we will no longer be
able to function as persons, or only fitfully, self-
consciously, and puzzling others by our strange
"DRAG QUEEN INTELLECT"
PHASE III CAPITALISM
LEVEL 3-AREA 7-ADVERTISING
COMPETITIVE SUBDIVISION C
The consumer is all consuming, Everything can be
made into a product. It is not impossible to see how
the body is groomed and the manner refined to make the
most advantagous deal possible, with the material at
hand, Its sometimes subtle, but the analogy is obvi-
ous. There is an even more subtle exploitation now,
the mind is the product. It has taken over the num-
ber one position from the body, completely in some
circles. In this ancient capitalistic system, persons
were always products. Utilities or decorations. But
thinking people could usually transcend their environ-
ment and see this. Now the thought process itself has
become a product(decorative).
Before the body was beautiful, now the mind is
beautiful. Beautiful, hollow and superficial. Well
groomed and refined. The medium is the message. Like
"what schools have you attended?", is the prestige
equivalent of"what family do you come from?" which it
The education molds the contours of the mind,
like a drag queen's girdle. Contorts it into fantastic
and sophisticated lines. The empty verbalizations,
form without content, rhetoric of sheer tautology.
Like the gestures of the drag queen displaying his
wares. Trying to impress the buyers, and convince
themselves of their own authenticity, to sell to the
As one might try to imitate the physical being of
their favorite star, they posture in a grotesque cari-
cature the mental being of their favorite idealist or
philosopher. Feigning emotions like concern for man-
kind, to expedite their own success.
The scruffy, drab clothing, undistinguished de-
meanor, play down the body to accent the mind. Just
as the mind was once played down (dumb blonde and foot-
ball hero) to emphasize the body. The flabby or in-
tractable musclebound body, has been replaced by the
flaccid and cluttered mind.
With no ability to see beyond itself, driven by
no worthy emotion, just capitalistic greed in a dif-
ferent form. Rising to new heights or more truly,
descending to new depths. They pander their pro-
ducts to the more naive as always. And by way of
profit they receive the admiration of the gullible.
In the affluent society, material things have
lost their value and glamor. Personal power is now
valuable and glamorous. Like belonging to the right
family once was. Minds are now being manipulated by
their owners to execute the right steps in the cur-
rent dance. Moriopuy capitalism must find new areas
to conquer or stagnate. In this spirit the capital-
ist ethic has preforated the subconscious and is per-
meating the unconscious.
Minds that aren't functional, but attractively
bright (like car chrome) unused but equipped with pat
answers. Turned out by the thousands, products of
assembly line universities. Mouthing hip, groove,
meaning less words. No real feelings of altruistic
aspiration. No experience of reflection or contempla-
tio-. A convincing fraud. THE DRAG QUEEN BRAIN.
WHO IS THE ENEMY?
In the past few years a cynicism has set in among
our radical thinkers which has set the tone for all
anti-establishment action. Under the guise of tough-
ening our line, we have hardened our minds, and froz-
en our ideas. There is a great deal of ego satisfact-
ion in defying the enemy, in baiting and teasing and
attacking. One feels ones power to disarm. The only
problem is that one is rarely attacking the enemy--
rather a potential ally, one of the people, or a crowd
I am tired of hearing the invective of self-pity
from Black "radicals", students, women, including my-
self. For a long time I went along with the line that
"Of course, we ultimately want a humane and socialist
society of peace and good will and brother/sister-hood
but for the time being, we must not criticize anything
an oppressed person does; any gain is commendable; any
action is forgiveable; for after all we have suffered
and deserve some reward now." That is a logical state-
ment and cries for justice. But it calls for a child's
justice--that the world be as one wishes it for one-
self. The American worker made that argument three
times, and the third time his movement died, perhaps
forever. Now he sits, all puffed up with a Docketfull
of credit cards and his Playboy magazine watching his
new colored TV. He sold out for jobs by going into
three capitalist wars, because they were in his econ-
omic 'interest'. We have learned to avoid the same
errors, but not how to analyse short-term and long-
What do the Jews have now that some bankers and real
estate colonialists own a piece of property in the
midst of Arab poverty? Justice, yes. Many Arabs want
the same kind of justice at any cost (by any means
necessary), and many Africans, and Afro-Americans, and
young radicals. And Female Liberationists.
Women have every 'right' to be completely outraged
when they become aware of the kind of outright and
subtle oppression they suffer and that their sisters
throughout the world suffer. They have every 'right'
to be outraged at the indifference of men to their
plight, their willingness to reap advantages until it
is no longer possible. But just as might does not
make right, nor does right make right. That is, one
does not then have the right to play the same game
Tith the tables turned. If one does this, one is
playing society's game, for that is what this society
is all about: absorption is its game.
It seems to me that we have grossly misunderstood
revolutionary philosophy. We have extracted what is
'useful' to our preconceived notions of revolution,
and left the basis, the way of thinking, behind.
What does Mao mean when he says, To get rid of the
gun, one must pick up the gun?" He is speaking to
people (a peasantry) who have attained a revolutionary
consciousness to some degree; a revolutionary war
was being fought. Obviously the context to such a
statement is the key, yet the command is extracted
Society (Western) programs us to linear thinking.
We can choose between its way or the opposite (Mary
McCarthy said we have the choice in an American hotel
to have the airconditioning on or off, but we cannot
open the window). And we fall right into the trap.
Within that linear logic, we misinterpret every val-
uable bit of information that may come our way, not
to speak of whole ideologies. We interpret 'correct'
thinking as the right line, rather than an internal-
ized, creative, dialectical analysis of every aspect
of reality, including ourselves. Too often 'guerrilla'
action is abstracted from war (guerrilla theater, etc.),
or taken to mean scattered street fighting, provocation
at the wrong time. Guerrilla action as closely approach-
es non-violent resistance as it does street fighting,
though it cannot be defined as either. Certainly such
action requires extraordinary seriousness and matur-
ity. Sometimes it requires that one do nothing and
say nothing depending on the situation.
The young street fighter's 'confrontations' with
the police ('pigs') is a far cry from Che's mending
the wounds of fallen Batista soldiers (Love your
enemy?). In the American radical's dialect to be a
'mother' means to be a motherfuckerr'. Compare that
to what Che's comrades said of him--that Che was like
a mother to them. Mao did not say that one learns to
think as one does, but that one learns to do as one
does. The thinking is the groundwork for action.
Indeed thought then flows from action, but not unless
there is a solid base for analysis either through
thought or experience, and preferably both. If one
has not thought through what one is about, one is
acting on society's programming" that is unavoid-
I see women falling into the same trap. We avoid
the simplicity of a Betty Friedan 'capitalist' mil-
itancy, but fall for the radical's erroneous assumpt-
ions about how to end our oppression (even when we
have rejected these radicals as persons--male chauv-
enists--and rejected their goals, we seem to retain
their faulty analysis.).
I have often heard it said of late that teaching,
thinking, patience are virtues but they just do
not work. Hlow would we know? We say that Martin
Luther King didn't 'succeed', 'win' (the ol'
ballgame?); his methods did not 'work'. Beautiful
capitalist terminology. The very proof that they
'worked', from the enemy's point of view, is that they
had to get rid of him, and of Malcolm X, and of
Robert Kennedy. Now why do we not study what these
characters did that make them so distasteful to the
system? Robert Kennedy was going to be elected, and
there was no way we could have prevented or aided that;
we could now analyse the situation, and face the real-
ity that things are much worse than we imagined--that
no liberal is going to be allowed to operate at high
level, and soften things so we may be able to speak
to a turned-on, forward-looking, hopeful people, rather
than people terrorized by the violence of the police,
fearing the cattle cars and concentration camps. They
know, as we do not seem to know, that it can happen
here, but we condemn them as 'good Germans' instead
of teaching them an historical lesson about why the
good Germans were so good, and how they got it anyway.
At least we could teach ourselves.
Martin Luther, Erick Erickson tells us in Young Man
Luther, got married in order to please his father and
displease the Pope. Luther, unlike some of his radical
contemporaries did not question the institution of the
patriarchal family which had so tortured him. He trans-
ferred his allegience from the Pope to Germany, and
from the communal monastery to the family. Luther
essentially found a solution to his personal problems
through a social solution. Erickson thinks that such
'rebellion' is healthy and is the key to social dev-
elopement. Erickson would think that, since he has
a vested interest in change, but not revolution. Many
radicals, black and white, and many female rebels
seem to be following in Luther's steps. Ultimately
such a person is serving the status quo (the economic
I know that my human potential will never be reached.
I know that I am not only damaged, but studded both
physically and intellectually. Both poverty and my
situation as a female and as an American have contrib-
uted to this 'retardation'. When I used to feel sorry
for myself, my mother would tell me that there were
little children starving and without clothes at all
and with no shelter at all, and worst of all who were
orphans (as she had been). It always angered me that
my bad condition was not sufficient for complaint--
that I had to bear it because others were worse off
than I, but I now see the wisdom in that sort of
stoicism. Women have that kind of stoicism, as do
poor people. They have to be stoical to bear reality
I have felt what I call 'metaphysical agony' in
the face of the reality that I can never make up for
what has been lost to me; that I can never really be
the fine scholar I should like to be. Even if I were
accepted by my fellow scholars, which happens only to
the most extremely well-educated women, I still would
not have the kind of training necessary to be a really
good scholar. Again a combination of being poor and
being female conspired to prevent my receiving the kind
of superior education reserved only for the wealthy, and
the few males they choose to take out of the lower
class. For me to 'make up' for lost time would be to
make a machine of my brain, and by the time I might be
prepared, I should have destroyed my creativity like so
many scholars who have 'made' it.
I look at the healthy, robust, clear-eyed, highly
intelligent, informed, and confident children of light-
ness--the wealthy boys and girls, and I am stunned more
than outraged that such a tiny few are let through.
Even the rather mediocre and the females somehow gain
a zest for life based upon their constant exposure or
access to all that is beautiful and fine and tasty and
splendid in Western Civilization and other cultures
as well through travel. I never really believed that
the 'poor little rich girl' was bad off. Her lonliness
and princess separateness seemed delicious to me, never
having even a bit of space for privacy and no 'things'
We are damaged--we women, we oppressed, we disin-
herited. There are very few who are not damaged, and
they rule. The reason they see their kind of world,
their system as the best of all possible worlds is
that it is utopian for them, and Lhey plan
to keep it. The oppressed trust those who rule more
than they trust themselves because self-contempt emerges
from powerlessness. Anyway few oppressed people be-
lieve that life could be much different, and they do not
even know about the rich and how they live. All they
ever see are the viceroys, the mignons--the middle-class
cheap imitations. The oppressed find it hard to envy
them, caught up as they are with making it and keeping
it and showing it. But the rich do not have to show
anything to anybody. The elite are 'free' at the cost
of the slavery of the many.
We are damaged and we have the right to hate and have
contempt and to kill and to scream. But for what? Do
we want to change things or just'get it outof our system'?
Or do we want the oppressor to admit he is wrong, to
withdraw his misuse of us? He is only to happy to admit
guilt--then do nothing, but tr to absorb and exorcise
the new thought. Witness the Kerner and Walker reports.
In fact, some such report on women exists. But what
can we get from a new vocabulary of consciousness-rais-
ing invective. We have not the power to carry out our
threats, so we must only want to be accepted by our
oppressor. That does not make up for what I have lost,
what I never had, and what all those others who are
worse off than I never had nor lived to not have. No
such petty return will compensate. No-thing will com-
pensate for what this society has done to me, and pre-
vented me from doing. No-thing will compensate for the
irreparable harm it has done to my sisters in insane
asylums throughout this 'land of the free'. No-thing
will compensate for my mother's incredibly brilliant, un-
touched, except by poverty, mind turning to mush with al-
How could we possibly settle for anything remotely
less, even take a crumb in the meantime less than total
annihilation of a system which systematically destroys
half its people--its female children, and badly damages
most of the male children?
Martin Luther King and most other saints have been
able to attain a state of total love which makes them
want to save their enemy as well as the oppressed. I
think, had King lived,he would have reached a higher
stage of humanity, that of the revolutionary. The rev-
olutionary has a passionate love for humanity, and a
passionate hatred for his enemy. He is cool; he needs
no immediate rewards. He is not ambivilent; he knows
that not only is there no hope for the rulers, he would
not even want to partake in any change that is tainted
with the hands of such cold-blooded murderers. I think
that Martin Luther King harbored such a hatred, and
that it was slowly being justified in his consciousness,
and that is why he is dead today. It is interesting that
'saints' always die young, before they develop into
revolutionaries, yet the Luther's live to ripe old age.
What we must realize is that we are up against a
system which was practically impermeable to ordinary
struggle even a century ago, and that the cancer has now
spread everywhere. People are fighting it on fronts
all over the world today, but ultimately its destruction
will have to come from its own people, who are them-
selves the diseased cells, barely able to see.
By some miracle, a few of us escape absolute terror;
a few of us do not turn to drugs and alcohol and crime.
Women are somewhat less damaged because they are re-
quired to raise society's labor force and infantry.
Some taboos are set on their taking drugs, becoming
criminals. Because they are second-rate, they are not
even given the privilege of being anti-social. The
'liberation' that women have attained has been in terms
of access to debilitating activities. (You've come a
long way baby; now you have your own cigarette" thanks
to Virginia Slims.)
A few of us have emerged from the masses of women in
this country to speak out to the rest of those women.
We are beginning to identify the problem, and the enemy.
It is not surprising that many of the women who have
emerged as spokeswomen have been involved in organizing
other oppressed Americans; that many are well-educated
and professional. Some are from the ruling class. These
women are more accustomed to working for some one else's
'cause' than their own liberation. Women are never
supposed to admit that they have problems. In fact, we
are not accustomed to airing our deeper problems with
society, and easily fall into a traditionally accepted
man-hating, man-baiting. In the past such discussions
have been necessary for psychic survival, but now I
think we can go far beyond that, and take the masses
of women and men with us.
It may be that the more fortunate women among us
will not be the best leaders for our movement; that they
should recognize the masculine structures of thought in
themselves. It seems to me that poor women, especially
Black women and Indian women and Mexican-American women
are more aware of the connections between their oppress-
ion as women, and the caste system in general. Certainly
those sisters who have had access to learning which can
advance the thought of the more oppressed, should
give it generously, but not lead.
Actually, I think that if we make a thorough analysis
of the meaning of female liberation (liberation of the
female principle--maternity--in all beings), we shall
find as many males as females committed to their own
salvation and that of humanity. I am not saying that
we should try to attract males (in the manner of N.O.W),
but that we should make a complete analysis and use
all information available. But we should not simply
imitate the rhetoric of the Black movement. It must
be frustrating for Black people to see their language
taken out of context and destroyed not only by the
society's media, but also by young white radicals, and
now by women. Phrases like 'Aunt Tom','Jane Crow Law',
and 'shuffling' have no place in our movement. These
terms have specific meaning for Black people, male and
female. Language which is historically and
socially at odds with the subject of analysis not only
cheapens one's analysis, but is an insult to the ab-
solutely necessary struggle of the Black people in this
country, a struggle necessarily related to our own.
Their struggle (and one-half of them are female, which
is often forgotten) is a struggle against genocide. I
think we have learned from the past that when one large
segment of the population is in danger of genocide, so,
too, is the entire population (anyone is suspect). In
a sense we are all fighting a Fascist state and are
defending ourselves from genocide, at the same time that
we attempt to change the course of history. We can learn
much about caste f~f- basis of the oppression of females)
from the study of African slavery in America, because
that is one extreme historical manifestation of caste,
but we can not make direct analogies, or say which is
better or worse. All oppression is bad. Starvation is
worse. There are as many females as males starving in
the world today. Yet clearly, under the present system,
starvation could be alleviated, and the oppression of
women could continue.
The American government is heir to the most brilliant
purveyor of Imperialism that the world has ever known--
th civilized, 'docile' English middle class. Divide
and rule is a method that has always worked perfectly
for these insidious vipers, and is still working through
American heirs I will not here enter into a dis-
cussion of what is happening on the left--not a splinter-
ing, but a competition--but I will point out that the
key to the divide and rule tactic is the ease with which
the male, programmed as he is for proving his masculinity
can be led into competing with his comrades, brother,
allies, turned against women, other groups, and forget
entirely who his enemy is. What surprises me is that
the same thing seems to already be happening among
women in our newborn movement. Women, too,
are programmed for the masculine role through its oppos-
ite--femininity, so when women get in a power position,
they fall prey to the proscribed masculine role.
Women are often self-righteous in their relations with
men. Somehow it is more moral to be the oppressed than
the oppressor. The person who must play the weaker role
has only his moral stand to fill his ego. A person who
has been oppressed is less laden with guilt, and tends
to allow themselves more freedom of action than the guilty
party. Often the weak exert power over those who are
in a weaker position. Women often play exactly the
same persecuting role they experience in relation to
their children. White women have had the freedom to
persecute Black males, and have used the freedom fully.
Mexican-Americans have persecuted Black people as well.
In a certain sense, American democracy has meant the free-
dom of everyone to persecute Black people. Many White
American women have the same illusion of freedom as has
the immigrant and the poor white male. All of this is
just to remind ourselves that no one has a corner on
oppression. We are programmed to compete with each other.
When we finally do admit that we are oppressed, we in-
sist that we are more oppressed than this or that group.
If such indulgence provides an ego boost, it is at the
cost of real knowledge, growth, and effectiveness. It
is a personal solution, even if it sounds social.
"A man who thinks he is a king is mad
but a king who thinks he is a king is also mad"
Liberal men usually come on big for more
rights for women. Enlightened self-interest
tells them that female talents can be utilized,
that an unhappy wife is not a good wife, and
that women who are flighty and empty-headed
and read True Confessions and gossip and giggle
are a drag.
Talk to them about women--and you won't
have to bring up the subject; they will--and
they insist that they are with you 100%. As
long as they think you are putting women down
for being what they are, a product of the pres-
ures of society, they're two steps ahead of
you. But when they catch on that it's the pres-
ures you're condemning, they come to a
screetching halt, begin to frown and squirm
Before you know it you're being accused
of being a snob (to imply the degradation was
not a free choice is to insult the women's
intelligence!), anti-man ("there's nothing wrong
with wanting to please a man; I happen to enjoy
pleasing women very much"), and not knowing
what you're talking about ("You don't know what
you're talking about!"). He understands THAT
sort of woman all too well, and will tell you
with his usual smugness that you just don't
Liberal men don't like manniquins; they
have contempt for them. The manniquins are too
artificial, too obviously unreal, in poor taste.
What they want is for their women to look
NATURAL, like the magazine cover girls, dewy-
fresh but heart-rendingly beautiful.
Oh, yes, they want women to be beautiful,
they love beautiful women. And they're quite
willing that quite a bit of make-up, time, energy
and expense go into the procedure. But the over-
painted manniquin, like the war in Vietnam, is
just a little too obvious, really in poor taste;
she is held in contempt not because she is
artificial, but because the obviousness of her
artificiality makes her NOT BEAUTIFUL.
It is this failure to be beautiful, then,
that is the affront to the liberal. He wants
his women to be beautiful, but they must be
clever enough to make it all appear natural.
The liberal man cannot admit that it is
society's pressures, as example by his atti-
tude, that produce the artificial women he so
smugly dismisses. He insists that the blame
is entirely theirs; they could have chosen
to be womanly doctors or lawyers or taste-
fully beautiful rich men's wives, but instead
they chose cheap glamour.
And the liberal man is intelligent to
insist on the free choice doctrine, because
to admit that this thing he considers ugly is
a product of society's hysterical progrommation
for beauty and man-pleasing would be a direct
threat to his own stake in the results of the
programmation, where he skims off from the
top the women clever enough to do it well and
mix it with the just right amount of cultivat-
ed intelligence and charm. It's not programm-
ation, he says, it's a recognition by women
that their relationships with men are mutually
beneficial and that it is in their own inter-
ests to cultivate these relationships.
The same act is played out on the subject
of silliness and giggling and playing up to
men by women. They just can't respect these
women, they say, and are quick to point them
out as "sisters" who are "hurting our cause."
They should stick to business, the liberal
man says, when his secretary embarrasses him
by too much personal pandering, too much light
headed flirting. But they don't know they are
embarrassing him with excesses. The way they
were brought up, this sort of thing was not
an excess; it was uniformly expected as the
appropriate posture of women toward men.
They are just trying to please him as they
have been taught since childhood. Wait on a
man, be coy, be giggly, play up to him, make
him feel cle-rer and important. But they lack
training in sophistication, they lack educ-
ation, they lack intelligence, maybeto do
the whole thing with the finesse which changes
it into "charm."
And you will never find a liberal man who
isn't very very big on womanly charm. Take
womanly charm out of his life and you are tak-
ing away the sun. Life would be a desert with-
out it. They are cut to the quick by the sug-
gestion: "How can you suggest that that is a
BAD thing?" They gasp. And don't worry, they
know what they're talking about. Don't bother
to try to distinguish real charm, a very spec-
ial individuality combined with a genuine
liking for people, from womanly charm, which
is a playing up to (they would say "bringing
out the best in") a man, through the methods
of emphasizing her womanliness in order to
point up his masculinity and listening ad-
miringly so as to draw out his ideas. They
are talking about womanly charm and they think
it is a fine thing indeed: in fact, it makes
the world go round. And women get as much
pleasure from it as men. It's all part of the
game, the wonderful delicious game of love
So liberal men are very big on rights
for women, within limits. They should be ed-
ucated, have jobs or even careers when it
doesn't interfere with the family, be know-
ledgeable and articulate, just so that it is
all tempered by womanly charm and a care for
Of course as soon as you get down to
specifics, all the old prejudices come in.
"I wouldn't hire a woman to carry acid, of
course, because they're too emotional and
might lose their heads in a crisis." But in
general you are safe from the boorish lower
class statements like "I'm glad my daughter
isn't neurotic enough to want to be a doctor."
But aside from the objectionable snobbery
and smugness they exhibit in putting down
women who try to play the role they demand
and play it poorly (maybe the women are
basically too honest to do a good job!),
there is another objectionable side to liber-
al men. They expect women, at least, "their"
women, the class of women they associate with
and might be "interested in," to be raving
Being terribly liberal, they are quite
willing to permit the woman to enjoy herself
sexually, and if she DOESN'T, by God, she
must be sexually maladjusted. He has permitted
her to enjoy sex, or rather has permitted her
to ADMIT it, supposedly she was wild about it
all along, and if she DOESN'T admit it or
even worse, doesn't ENJOY it, she is sick,
warped. In fact, her wild enjoyment of sex
is supposed to make her just adore every
nauseating bit of the role-playing. Since he
finds playing the big man sexy, she's sup-
posed to find playing the docile admiring
woman sexy. He loves sitting at a candle-lit
table, so she's supposed to love carrying the
souffle out of the kitchen. All part of the
wonderful delicious game of love and sex;
these little differences, these roles, all
incredibly sexy. It doesn't occur to them
that the male role happens to be noble and
dominant and the female role passive and de-
meaning. If it's demeaning, you should love
it that way because it makes for better sex
and after all that's what makes the world
go round. Revel in your subservience, they
tell us. What they are saying is, be mas-
No thanks, Mr. Smug Liberal, I've tried
your delicious masochistic sex and it naus-
eates me to think about it. I'm a person, not
a delectable little screwing machine equipped
with subroutines for cocktail-mixing and
souffle-making and listening enchanted to all
the pompous drivel you want to pour out to
With the division of labor, in which all
these contradictions are implicit and which in
its turn is based on the natural division of
labor in the family and the separation of society
into individual families opposed to one another,
is given simultaneously the distribution, and in-
deed the unequal distribution (both quantitative
and qualitative), of labor and its products, hence
property: the nucleus, the first form of which
lies in the family, where wife and children are
the slaves of the husband. This latent slavery
in the family, though still very crude, is the
first property, but even at this early stage it
corresponds perfectly to the definition of modern
economists who call it the power of disposing of
the labor power of others. Division of labor
and private property are, moreover, identical
expressions: in the one the same thing is
affirmed with reference to activity as is
affirmed in the other with reference to the
product of the activity.
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
from The German Ideology
chapter on "History"
Your favorite virtue in man: STRENGTH
Your favorite virtue in woman: WEAKNESS
Your idea of happiness: TO FIGHT
Your idea of misery: SUBMISSION
The vice you detest most: SERVILITY
from a manuscript by
Marx's daughter Laura
written in English
AN ARGUMENT FOR BLACK WOMEN'S LIBERATION
AS A REVOLUTIONARY FORCE
"Nobody can fight your battles for you;
you have to do it yourself." This will be
the premise used for the time being for stat-
ing the case for Black women's liberation,
although certainly it is the least significant.
Black women, at least the Black women I have
come in contact with in the movement have
been expounding all their energies in "liber-
ating" Black men (if you yourself are not
free, how can you "liberate" someone else?).
Consequently, the movement has practically
come to a standstill. Not entirely due how-
ever to wasted energies but, adhering to
basic false concepts rather than revolution-
ary principles and at this stage of the game
we should understand that if it is not rev-
olutionary it is false.
We have found that Women's Liberation is
an extremely emotional issue, as well as an
explosive one. Black men are still parroting
the master's prattle about male superiority.
This now brings us to a very pertinent ques-
tion: How can we seriously discuss reclaim-
ing our African Heritage--cultural living
modes which clearly refute not only patriarchy
and matriarchy, but our entire family struc-
ture as we know it. African tribes live
communally where households let alone heads
of households are non-existant.
It is really disgusting to hear Black
women talk about giving Black men their man-
hood--or allowing them to get it. This is
degrading to other Black women and thoroughly
insulting to Black men (or at least it should
be). How can someone "give" one something
as personal as one's adulthood? That's pre-
cisely like asking the beast for your freedom.
We also chew the fat about standing behind
our men. This forces me to the question: Are
we women or leaning posts and props? It
sounds as if we are saying if we come out
from behind him, he'll fall down. To me,
these are clearly maternal statements and
should be closely examined.
Women's Liberation should be considered
as a strategy for an eventual tie-up with
the entire revolutionary movement consist-
ing of women, men, and children. We are
now speaking of real revolution (armed). If
you can not accept this fact purely and with-
out problems examine your reactions closely.
We are playing to win and so are they. Viet
Nam is simply a matter of time and geography.
Another matter to be discussed is the lib-
eration of children from a sick slave culture.
Although we don't like to see it, we are
still operating within the confines of the
slave culture. Black women use their child-
ren for their own selfish needs of worth and
love. We try to live our lives which are too
oppressing to bear through our children and
thereby destroy them in the process. Obvious-
ly the much acclaimed plaudits of the love
of the Black mother has some discrepincies.
If we allow ourselves to run from the truth
we run the risk of spending another 400 years
in self destruction. Assuming of course
the beast would tolerate us that long, and
we know he wouldn't.
Women have fought with men and we have
died with men in every revolution, more time-
ly in Cuba, Algeria, China, and now in Viet
Nam. If you notice, it is a woman heading
the "Peace Talks" in Paris for the NLF. What
is wrong with Black women? We are clearly
the most oppressed and degraded minority in
the wold, let alone the country. Why can't
we rightfully claim our place in the world?
Realizing fully what is being said, you
should be warned that the opposition for lib-
eration will come from everyplace, particular-
ly from other women and from Black men. Don't
allow yourselves to be intimidated any long-
er with this nonsense about the "Matriarchy"
of Black women. Black women are not matriarchs
but we have been forced to live in abandon-
ment and been used and abused. The myth of
the matriarchy must stop and we must not allow
ourselves to be sledgehammer by it any long-
er--not if we are serious about change and
ridding ourselves of the wickedness of this
alien culture. Let it be clearly understood
that Black women's liberation is not anti-male;
any such sentiment or interpretation as such
can not be tolerated. It must be taken clear-
ly for what it is--pro-human for all peoples.
The potential for such a movement is
boundless. Where as in the past only certain
type Black people have been attracted to the
movement--younger people, radicals, and mil-
itants. The very poor, the middle class,
older people and women have not become aware
or have not been able to translate their
awareness into action. Women's liberation
offers such a channel for these energies.
Even though middle-class Black women may
not have suffered the brutal suppression of
poor Black people, they most certainly have
felt the scourge of the male superiority
oriented society as women, and would be more
prone to help in alleviating some of the
conditions of our more oppressed sisters by
teaching, raising awareness and consciousness,
verbalizing the ills of women and this society,
helping to establish communes.
Older women have a wealth of information
and experience to offer and would be instru-
mental in closing the communications gap be-
tween the generations. To be Black and to
tolerate this jive about discounting people
over 30 is madness.
Poor women have knowledge to teach us all.
Who else in this society sees more and is more
realistic about ourselves and this society
and about the faults that lie within our own
people than our poor women? Who else could
profit and benefit from a communal setting
that could be established than these sisters?
We must let the sisters know that we are cap-
able and some of us already do love them. We
women must begin to unabashedly learn to use
the word "love" for one another. We must
stop the petty jealousies, the violence that
we Black women have for so long perpertrated
on one another about fighting over this man
or the other. (Black men should have better
sense to encourage this kind of destructive
behavior.) We must turn to ourselves and
one another for strength and solace. Just
think for a moment what it would be like if
we got together and internalized our own 24
hour a day communal centers knowing our child-
ren would be safe and loved constantly. Not
to mention what it would do for everyone'
egos especially the children. Women should
not have to be enslaved by this society's
concept of motherhood through their children,
and then the kids suffer through a mother's
resentment of it by beatings, punishment,
and rigid discipline. All one has to do it
look at the statistics of Black women who
are rapidly filling the beast's mental in-
stitutions to know that the time for innovat-
ion and change and creative thinking is here.
We cannot sit on our behinds waiting for some-
one else to do it for us. We must save our-
We do not have to look at ourselves as
someone's personal sex objects, maids, baby
sitters, domestics and the like in exchange
for a man's attention. Men hold this power,
along with that of the breadwinner over our
heads for these services and that's all it
is--servitude. In return we torture him, and
fill him with insecurities about his manhood,
and literally force him to "cat" and "mess
around" bringing in all sorts of conflicts.
This is not the way really human people live.
This is whitey's thing. And we play the game
vith as much proficiency as he does.
If we are going to bring about a better
world, where best to begin than with our-
selves? We must rid ourselves of our own
hang-ups, before we can begin to talk about
the rest of the world and we mean the world
and nothing short of just that (Let's not
kid ourselves). We will be in a position
soon of having to hook up with the rest of
the oppressed peoples of the world who are
involved in liberation just as we are, and
we had better be ready to act.
All women suffer oppression, even white
women, particularly poor white women, and
especially Indian, Mexican, Puerto Rican,
Oriental and Black American women whose op-
pression is tripled by any of the above men-
tioned. But we do have female's oppression
in common. This means that we can begin to
talk to other women with this common factor
and start building links with them and
thereby build and transform the revolutionary
force we are now beginning to amass. This
is what Dr. King was doing. We can no longer
allow ourselves to be duped by the guise
of racism. Any time the White man admits to
something you know he is trying to cover
something else up. We are all being exploited,
even the white middle class, by the few
people in control of this entire world. And
to keep the real issue clouded, he keeps us
at one another's throats with this racism
jive. Although, Whites are most certainly
racist, we must understand that they have
been programmed to think in these patterns
to divert their attention. If they are busy
fighting us, then they have no time to quest-
ion the policies of the war being run by
this government. With the way the elections
went down it is clear that they are as power-
less as the rest of us. Make no question
about it, folks, this fool knows what he is
doing. This man is playing the death game
for money and power, not because he doesn't
like us. He could care less one way or the
other. But think for a moment if we all go
together and just walked on out. Who would
fight his wars, who would run his police
state, who would work his factories, who would
buy his products?
We women must start this thing rolling.
Mary Ann Weathers
CHE'S ACHILLES HEEL
It is apparent that even the best of men have
certain blind spots. Men who devote their lives to
social change out of indignation at, and compassion
for the suffering of their fellow human beings, don't
wholly succeed in changing their own attitudes toward
one segment of the oppressed. The fact that woman's
role is so ancient and ingrained might account for
As depressing as it is these men are not above
cynically taking advantage of the servile mentality
created in women, by the inferior role they're forced
to play. In this respect they're defeating their own
ends. If their ends are to establish a completely
rational humane society, where every individual is
allowed to live up to his or her full potential.
THE ROLE OF THE WOMAN
The part that the women can play in the develop-
ment of a revolutionary process is of extraordinary
importance. It is well to emphasize this, since in
all our countries, with their colonial mentality,
there is a certain underestimation of the woman which
becomes a real discrimination against her.
The woman is capable of preforming the most
difficult tasks, of fighting beside the men; and dis-
pite current belief, she does not create conflicts of
a sexual type in the troops.
In the rigorous combatant life the woman is a
companion who brings the qualities appropriate to her
sex, but she can work the same as a man and she can
fight; she is weaker, but no less resistant than he.
She can perform every class of combat task that a man
can at a given moment, and on certain occasions in the
Cuban struggle she performed a relief role.
Naturally the combatant women are a minority.
When the internal front is being consolidated and it
is desirable to remove as many combatants as possible
who do not possess indispensable physical character-
istics, the women can be assigned a considerable
number of specific occupations, of which one of the
most important, perhaps the most impotrant, is commun-
ication between different combatant forces, above all
between those that are in enemy territory. The trans-
port of objects, messages, or money, of small size
and great importance, should be confided to women in
whom the guerrilla army has absolute confidence;
women can transport them using a thousand tricks; it
is a fact that however brutal the repression, however
thorough the searching, the woman receives a less
harsh treatment than the man and can carry her message
or other object of an important or confidential char-
acter to its destination.
As a simple messenger, either by word of mouth or
of writing, the woman can always perform her task with
more freedom than the man, attracting less attention
and at the same time inspiring less fear of danger in
the enemy soldier. He who commits brutalities acts
frequently under the impulse of fear or apprehension
that he himself will be attacked, since this is one
form of action in guerrilla warfare.
Contacts between separated forces, messages to
the exterior of the lines, even to the exterior of the
country; also objects of considerable size, such as
bullets, are transported by women in special belts
worn beneath their skirts. But also in this stage a
woman can perform her habitual tasks of peacetime; it
is very pleasing to a soldier subjected to the extrem-
ely hard conditions of this life to be able to look
forward to a seasoned meal which tastes like something.
(One of the great tortures of the war was eating a
cold, sticky, tasteless mess.) The woman as a cook can
greatly improve the diet and, furthermore, it is easier
to keep her in these domestic tasks; one of the prob-
lems in guerrilla bands is that all works of a civilian
character are scorned by those who perform them; they
are constantly trying to get out of these tasks in
order to enter into forces that are actively in combat.
A task of great importance for women is to teach
beginning reading, including revolutionary theory,
primarily to the peasants of the zone, but also to the
revolutionary soldiers. The organization of schools,
which is part of the civil organization, should be
done principally through women,who arouse more enthus-
iasm among children and enjoy more affection from the
school community. Likewise, when the fronts have been
consolidated and a rear exists, the functions of the
social worker also fall to women who investigate the
various economic and social evils of the zone with a
view to changing them as far as possible.
The woman plays an important part in medical
matters as a nurse, and even as doctor, with a gentle-
ness infinitely superior to that of her rude companion
in arms, a gentleness that is so much appreciated at
moments when a man is helpless, without comforts,
perhaps suffering severe pain and exposed to the many
dangers of all classes that are a part of this type of
Once the stage of creating small war industries
has begun, the woman can also contribute here,
especially in the manufacture of uniforms, a tradition-
al employment of women in Latin American countries.
With a simple sewing machine and a few patterns she
can perform marvels. Women can take part in all lines
of civil organization. They can replace men perfectly
well and ought to do so, even where persons are need-
ed for carrying weapons, though this is a rare accident
in guerilla life.
It is important to give adequate indoctrination
to men and women, in order to avoid all kinds of mis-
behavior that can operate to hurt the morale of the
troops; but persons that are otherwise free and who
love each other should be permitted to marry in the
Sierra and live as man and wife after complying with
the simple requirements of the guerrilla band.
This is quoted from CHE GUEVARA on
Guerrilla Warfare by Vintage Books
The passage on women is found between
"Civil Organization"'and medicall Problems,
which implies that women and the role
they play are of no more or less importance
than the other two subjects.
SEX AND THE SINGLE GIRL
And what of the throat-catching excitement of new
romance? The pregnant frightened seriousness of its
first encounters and the joys of sexual conquest, the
cliff-hanging excruciating suspense, the intense role-
playing for tangible immediate stakes?
The ideal woman is created out of the frail mortal
that was you. She is witty, shy, laughing, a little
bold, downcast eyes smoldering. Everything is done with
just the right touch, just the right timing....
One could not help but take pride in a job so well
done: fine acting and consummate artistry, the creation
of a Desirable Woman out of a simple female body trans-
formed by your imagination.
You are not passive, although that must be the
chief impression conveyed to the man so that he will
think the conquest entirely his.
You do not sit by and through just BEING lure him
into your net, no, being a woman is an active thing,
you MAKE yourself a woman, you create the role and
To be a woman you must please and attract the man,
and to do that a thousand little postures and tricks
are required, all tailored to the demands of the moment.
False, all false, admitted. But, you may argue,
since that is your definition, why then you truly ARE
this bundle of falsehoods. And, false or not, the
game is rewarding.
There are the rewards of self-satisfaction reaped
by any actress who plays her role superbly, heightened
here by the fact that success brings not mere applause
from an audience but the conquest and enchantment of
an exciting man who adores the "woman" you have created
and moreover believes absolutely that this incredible
creature is you. Which means, for practical purposes,
that he adores you--and you did EARN it, didn't you?
But no, it's not the same. In fact, it's not the
same at all. It's deception and unreal and the conquest
it engineers is the ignoble manipulation of another
human being, however he begs for it, however much he
himself contributes to his own deception by demanding
the false qualities and blinding himself to others that
are yours most rightfully.
No, no, no more conquests. You work for your
conquest, but you are begging this man to master you,
not meeting him honorably halfway. Your success, your
conquest, is only in being conquered.
You tempt him, entice him, titillate him, Ontil
he can't resist any longer and he takes you. Then
you are possessed. You.
He thinks it's that little doll you showed him
who was begging for a master and will treat you accor-
dingly. If the little doll was more docile and more
subservient than you, watch out.
He thinks he knows how you want to be treated and
adds the weight of this datum to his opinion on how
ALL women want to be treated.
Maybe for you the conquest has been made, the
suspense is over, and it's time to get back on a more
But it's too late. He adores that role-playing
little doll and he's not about to give it up.
So you did wrong. Never mind that your plain
unvarnished self never would have landed him at all.
When women stoop to conquer they relinquish all rights
to respect later and set the stage for the whole act
by declaring themselves traditional role-playing women
who delight in their own degradation.
And while we're at it, maybe you should ask
yourself how much you've internalized all this
To what extent do you believe you ARE this bundle
of falsehoods? To what extent has it seeped into your
consciousness, penetrated below what you intellectually
recognize about yourself to condition everything and
cause you to fall into role-playing instinctively with-
out a deliberate conscious decision?
It is almost inevitable that some of the mass of
propaganda about our sexual identity that constantly
bombards us should condition our own self-image.
We can't always be on guard against definition
from without, and in fact most of it occurred before
it was us that they were defining, when it was "woman",
a mysterious or strange and distasteful other we only
later realized we would grow into one day.
By the time we could measure the reality of
ourselves against the myth, it was too late for us to
make a totally objective judgement about what we were.
But look particularly hard at the sexual myths
you have internalized.
Psychologists (male) have defined you as a creature
whose ego development demands a delicate balance of
narcissism and masochism.
This is the "scientific" view of woman, as opposed
to the purely mythic and male-wish-fulfillment identi-
What is your own sexual self-image? How much nar-
cisrism and masochism are in it? And how much does
your sexual self-image condition your whole self-image?
In the heady joy of the sexual encounter are you
reveling in masochism euphemistically calling your
Why should you like being dominated by a man?
What is there to recommend a man who makes decisions
without consulting you, who expects you to conform
to his ideas about how women should act?
He isn't being virile and manly, he's showing
disrespect for you and disregard for your wishes and
needs; he is demanding that you yield up your liberty,
your mind and will; he is crushing your ego.
Virility is the euphemism. The real word is sadism.
MAN AS AN OBSOLETE LIFE FORM
If men are going to destroy the planet Earth and
all its inhabitants with violence and wars, all men
should be killed, to preserve the rest of humankind
If they decide they don't want to keep on in the direc-
tion they're heading, they will have to control and
subdue their inner nature as they have outer nature.
Like many other organisms in biological history,
man has become an obsolete life form. He is an
anachronism in this technological context. His muscles
are no longer needed. The built-in obsolesence of
his physical and emotional nature is now apparent.
The aggressive, destructive drives of man lack
proper reasonable outlets. He is being phased out by
technology. Sperm banks and test-tube babies can take
over his last function, his only function that has
positive effects for the human race. All the rest of
his functions, can be performed by females much more
efficiently, minus the destruction.
In an agrarian society man could expend his ener-
gy tilling the land and caring for animals. In a
hunting culture he consumed his energy fishing and
killing animals. These special drives aren't needed
now for survival, now they are an evolutionary hang-
In the present era the same demands aren't exist-
ent. Now men consume their energy devising ways to
kill and killing each other. Their energy lacks out-
let and makes man consume himself, like a frenzied
shark eating his own guts. MAN HAS PASSED THE STAGE
WHERE HE IS JUST UPSETTING THE BALANCE OF NATURE, HE
IS THE IMBALANCE IN NATURE
With the growing size of the human race, populat-
ion control is necessary in some situations. But to
consider only the quantity of the population, is to
see only half the problem. The quality of the popu-
lation is just as important to the future welfare and
survival of the human race. Those who love war-games
and destructive exercises to expend their energies,
are just as much of a threat to humanity as over-
The qualities of man make him unfit for life to-
day. And like all harmful factors his life should come
to an end. Due to great famines, plagues, and wars
the population once had built-in checks. But that was
a very miserable, cruel and inhumane way to insure the
survival of some. The best didn't necessarily survive
only the most aggressive.
Today science has found ways to alleviate famine,
conquer germs that cause plagues, and check the size
of the population itself. One germ hasn't been ident-
ified and destroyed; the germ that causes wars and
destruction. That germ is man.
It is not in his interest to acknowledge his role
in human suffering. The male has a vested interest in
denying the implications and consequences of his ex-
istence, and that interest is the instinct of self-
preservation. As long as man is in power he will never
admit the necessity of his demise from the Planet Earth
for the achievement of a humane evolution.
The tyrannosaurus had to become extinct. Because
of the dinosaurs huge size and voracious appetite,
other life forms were unable to develop and survive in
its geological era. It needed all other life to feed
on, to sustain its own life. After eating all other
species it could use for food, they died of starvation
Only with their extinction at the end of the Cretaceous
period, could other better life forms come into being
Like the tyrannosaurus, man is blocking evolution
and sustaining his life at the expense of other better
life forms. Until he gives up existence, either vol-
untarily or by force, there will be no relief from
suffering nor any moral progress on this planet.
In areas of the world more densely populated,
certain species were driven out or became extinct for
the protection of the population that replaced them.
The more aggressive, predatory or competitive the crea-
ture, the more disruptive they'were to the harmonious
functioning of the culture.
A tiger on city streets would wreak havoc, and no one
would think of keeping a shark in their swimming pool,
though water is their natural habitat. Bears don't
roam the parks, nor elephants stampede down the ex-
pressway. We can't live in harmony with these crea-
tures, and about the only place a city dweller ever
sees one of these animals is in the zoo.
In Africa where the land isn't so scarce, in re-
latively populated areas, preserves and parks are set
aside to contain and restrict the movement of destruct-
ive species. They can roam and kill unrestrainedly
within the limits of this preserve, but they are not
allowed to subject the civilized to the consequences
of their behavior, by infringing on their territory or
peace of mind.
If all men with aggressive,homocidal or manipulat-
ive tendencies were restricted to one island or territ-
ory centuries ago, and had unrestricted freedom in
these areas, they would have kept killing each other
off, leaving the rest of the population in peace.
Life would have evolved into something quite different
from what it is today.
As things stand these types are dispersed through-
out the population. They hold influential positions,
and set a pattern for others to follow.
Killers aren't ostracized but honored. Soldiers,
mercenaries, and policemen aren't the only ones who
are given a license to kill. They are only the more
overt types. Politicians and scientists among others
also make death-dealing decisions.
In fact the great majority of the population is
infected and accepts and endorses this behavior. Not
confined by preserves, mans battleground is the world,
and the whole population must suffer the consequences.
No one is safe. Today man's weapons are too destruct-
ive, and the population too dense, to tolerate him in
If females feel some compunctions about eliminat-
ing him entirely, Man preserves and zoos might prove
a rational alternative.
as i was walking along
the gentleman to my left
addressed me as a fat-assed pig
feeling this comment to be neither
accurate nor appropriate
i reciprocated by calling him a
lecherous old whore-monger
taking no pleasure in his most recently
he proclaimed me a
bitch in heat
i said in reply
that my condition was far more
than his condition which was that of
a mangy cock-sucker
he retorted with fuck you
whereupon i gasped admirably
and waddled on
She was afraid that entering into battle
against male supremacy she would become bitter
and unkind, prejudiced and unable to apprec-
ate the good qualities of men: a humorless-
ness and lack of charity sometimes exhibited
by other oppressed groups in their uprisings.
She, like most other women, who have al-
ways felt charitable, even affectionateto-
ward men, feared losing her kindness because
she knew instinctively that the world is a
hostile one for women, that men can be and
are very cruel when you don't play by their
rules, and that many more humiliations have
been suppressed than it is wise to stir up.
This, in fact, was confirmed when in-
tellectual honesty and feeling for justice
pushed her into the slow but irreversible
Each little bit and piece, not obvious
in itself and quickly brushed off as mis-
understood or meaningless and then deliberate-
ly forgotten, now fits into a whole picture
that is overpoweringly damning.
She was forced to realize that men whom
she had thought were her friends treated her
not affectionately but patronizingly, were
so enthusiastic about her only because she
was a mirror held up to their egos, and in
fact showed impatience when she presumed to
These men did not, as she had supposed,
value her as an equal. She saw herself as
an equal who happened to be female, in an
equality that did not deny differences in the
individuals, with (she recognized) added
overtones such as the sexual element that
is always there for men, but also the added
value of a slightly different point of view,
so that, understanding his position, she
could broaden his understanding by the in-
tellectual fruits of a somewhat different
Perhaps, kind as she is, and sensitive,
she does not test and confront the man when
the first clearly recognized insults come,
but just withdraws herself from him, with
mild rebukes where possible, with excuses
otherwise. She feels not so much bitter as
disillusioned, very sad. What she had thought
was a good friendship had never been anything
approaching that, and the fault was hers for
deceiving herself about him, deliberately de-
ceiving herself, for she admired this man and
was flattered at his attentions and wanted to
believe they were friends.
And this sad drama is played out with
other friends and acquaintances, and in slight-
ly different form, with lovers. And sometimes,
inevitably, it explodes, despite her kindness
and desire for peace, into accusation; and
then she has to witness the devastating trans-
formation she has dreaded and avoided, wherein,
this man--so admiring, so affectionate, so
full of high regard for her--is shocked, reels
backward, cannot believe his eyes and ears.
Confused, acutely embarrassed, he is stunned
that this fine modest girl is making such
demands. He has always regarded her highly,
but this! she has gone to far, much too far!
Her worth is great, certainly, a bright, cheer-
ful, friendly girl of great sympathy and under-
standing, always with a kind werd and encour-
aging remark, always ready to listen and offer
constructive suggestions, encouraging one to
fine and adventurous plans. Yes, her worth
is great, but not this great! She is still,
after all, a girl: a great help, but only sup-
portive, friendly and energetic, but not a
leader, bright and clever, but not a thinker,
not an innovator! That's what she's asking
to be treated as, as a man! No, no, I have
always thought...a woman's place...oh, how
embarrassed I am for her...did these neurotic
ambitions always lurk beneath the cheerful
surface? Has she always inwardly rebelled
against my domination, jealous of my mind and
abilities, imagining she could do as well,
just because I picked up a few of her sug-
gestions? How presumptuous...I certainly would
have thought of them myself. A girl..oh, no,
no, how unthinkable, they're so emotional,like
she's being now; intuition, that's their strong
point, they are too concerned with people to
ever go directly toward a goal, that's why
they're no good at logic, have to be taken
care of; but that's all right, someone has to
be concerned with people. It certainly would
be a harsh world for me if there were no women
to talk to, to impress, nobody to be concerned
about me and how I feel and what I think...she
was so wonderful that way, why did she have to
spoil it, throw it away trying to be something
she isn't? I respected her for her intelligence.
I have no time to waste on foolish women. They
don't understand what you're saying when you
talk to them about anything important, they
can't appreciate you, what you're doing, your
ideas, and they get squirmy after a while lis-
tening, they want to get on praising you and
exclaiming, but they have no idea what you've
said. I did respect her intelligence, so ev-
idently she wants something more than respect.
Equality. But that's impossible, surely she
cannot imagine...I'm a man, she's only a girl...
Surely it must be obvious to her that we aren't
equal, we're different! Being a woman is just
as good as being a man, every bit as good,
better, in its own way. But she wants to be
a man! No, she is not a man, she wants to be
treated like a man without being one. Why,
that's like me wanting to be treated like the
Pope without being him. Oh, but this one, why
this one? It cuts me to the quick!
All this passes over his face as she first
watches in horror and then turns away. And then
come the counter-accusations from him, the de-
mands for explanation and defense, the arbit-
rary questions based on premises she cannot
accept and he cannot question. Bravely she
stands and fights until she can make her
escape, an escape made either before or
after the tears come.
She sees the world becoming dreary and
broken only by insults, clashes and disill-
usionments; she sees all the men she admires
one by one revealing the same attitudes she
has always been unable to resist bristling
at inwardly when expressed by the more vulgar
and less tactful men, attitudes she bristled
at inwardly but passed over outwardly in sil-
ence or even with good grace, assuring her-
self that it didn't matter, these men weren't
important to her, and the men who were import-
ant to her didn't feel that way; a comfort
now torn from her.
The friendships had been built on a false-
hood, her illusion of a genuine reciprocity.
True, she had rarely discussed her own pro-
jects, but she did present many ideas of her
own, good ideas, and ideas they had liked
and used. It had been easy to pretend.
The friendships had been a source of pleas-
ure for her, pleasure and entertainment and
knowledge. It was flattering that they ad-
mired her and lavished attention on her. She
wasn't pretty, although she did her best, so
she knew it was her personality that drew them
and made them delight in her company. It was
entertaining and even though the men grew
somewhat pompous at times, talking too loud
with "I" at every third word, she enjoyed
hearing these plans and ideas and stories,
and she learned from them.
That is, she had enjoyed it. Now she
feels a quick hot flush of anger when the ar-
rogant male strolls in, sprawls himself down
without inquiring whether she is busy, or about
to leave, or enjoying a bit of solitude to
think, assuming with total confidence that
nothing could be as important as his attentions,
that he is doing her a favor by taking her
away from whatever he interrupted.
He is already talking as he walks in,
greeting her jovially, perhaps with a good-
natured compliment or two. His manner says
that he is the extrovert, not shy; he loves
This image is often quite false: with
other men he may be quite straight and sober,
not jovial or overbearing in the least; with
them he would not risk appearing foolish. But
here he is performing to an audience in whose
uncritical admiration and kindness he has per-
And it's more than the fact that she's
proven her appreciative qualities before. Part
of it is that she is a woman and it is as-
sumed from that that she will be uncritical,
admiring, and kind.
She realizes that truth as she recalls
incidents where strangers and near-strangers
who were total creeps, the unpleasantest of
individuals in every sense, would approach
her with confident smirks and engage her in
meaningless, game-playing pseudo-conversations,
smirking all the while, confident, even these
creeps,confident that she would be too kind
to reject them, would let herself be manipul-
ated into supplying them with the stroking
they were after, would maybe even be less
willing to be rude out of pity for their un-
They would hold her, waiting in line or
sitting on a bus or in the halls at work, and
their questions would be like spider webs,
trapping her, tangling her up, winding their
sickening words around her as she struggled,
their smirks enjoying her discomfort and pro-
claiming their arrogant conquest.
They imposed themselves on her because
they considered females public property and
they knew she had been trained to walk on
eggs around the male ego, to sacrifice her-
self to protect another's feelings, to be
And this man now, whom once she would
have called a friend, is doing the same thing.
Less personally objectionable, perhaps, he
is showing the same insolent disregard for
On he babbles, never giving her an opening
to end the interview tactfully, making
jokes out of her feeble hints, deriding what
she considers her duties, deriding her for
taking them so seriously, and worse. The im-
periousness behind his friendly pose is un-
masked. Play up to me or get kicked in the
teeth, you neurotic little bitch; how dare
you have something more important than listen-
ing to me? How dare you be so self-centered,
how dare you be so RUDE? These are the mes-
sages she gets from behind the belittling
amusement in his responses to her objections.
She sees all pleasure and fun, enjoyment
and appreciation going out of her life, re-
placed by increasing bitterness. Even in-
nocent flirting must go. Its sexual piquancy
comes from the emphasis of the sexual differ-
ences, and the roles can no longer be rational-
ized as being arbitrary, meaningless, free
from overtones of superiority and inferiority.
The man's role is patronizing, the woman's
How could she ever have derived pleasure
from something so phony and so oppressive?
How could she ever have been thrilled to rattle
her chains for the enjoyment of a man whose
ego was puffed up by the sound of women's
chains rattling? So it pleased him, and he
felt good will toward her for it: was that a
"Here, let me do that," says the man,
taking over the job she could have done every
bit as well. I can do it better, he's saying.
I can do it better because I'm a man. You'll
never be as good as a man. You just can't take
care of yourself. You need men. You need me.
Now aren't you grateful? Thank me, and simper,
And she thanks him and simpers and smiles.
What else can she do? He has taken over by
force, elbowed her out of the way, done the job
before she had a chance to protest. He has
done it so she has no choice but to give him
the gratitude he demands, however resentful
she feels inside. It was patronizing. It was a
put-down. He was manipulating her to get a
certain response (smile, gratitude, the at-
titude of helpless femininity standing by
while the competent male gets her out of her
jam). But what can she do? Make a scene? Be
ungrateful? She's at his mercy.
Hard to believe now that she once simpered
and smiled of her own accord, enjoying the
fact that she had given this man so much pleas-
ure and made him feel so important, enjoying
the secret joke that she could have done it
as well herself.
She realizes gradually that not only has
she been (in effect) betrayed by all the men
she admired and considered her friends, not
only have many of her pleasures in life come
to appear degrading, false and violently dis-
tasteful, but that also her very kindness was
counted upon and played upon as she struggled
to make the best of her situation, so full of
good will, believing only the best of people.
But, despite the fears that have plagued
her, it is not bitterness that she feels: only
resentment when she is helplessly caught in a
demeaning situation and sadness the rest of
Her kindness and compassion stay stubborn-
ly with her even when she knows she is being
taken advantage of, and after a while she re-
alizes that her fears of losing these qualities
Women are not kind because they expect
kindness in return. They are kind because they
have been taught to think instinctively of the
other person's feelings, to be tuned in, em-
pathetic. When one is sensitive to another's
suffering, one is always kind. And it is true:
she feels a profound sympathy for men, even for
their suffering over their slipping position of
She struggles helplessly, clawing for air,
while her kindness, smirking, presses in around
Excerpt from an autobiographical essay
I had a private room, and I spent three
enjoyable days in wonderful privacy, getting
fed, which no one had done for me since I was
thirteen. Twice each day they brought the
baby in for me to view. They wanted me to give
her the bottle. I said I would be doing that
soon enough; they were getting paid well. A
woman pediatrician came and told me about
feeding, bathing, and sleep. I was bored at
first with her expert advice, but then I got
interested in what she was saying. I employed
her and her firm as my baby consultants. My
husband's sister came all the way from Okla-
homa (to California) to take care of me. She
came early, of course, to take care of him.
I went home, and I was depressed; I read all
the things the woman doctor had given me, and
she came again. Their philosophy made sense.
My sister-in-law was a Spockian with a year
old baby. I could not bear her, though she
had, at one time, been my mentor. She had
fallen into a bad state--sloppy, boring, more
trouble than help. She just wanted to boss
me. She and my husband quarrelled. I was hav-
ing a lot of pain and hated them both.
Everyone was patronizing, but not helpful.
I was irritable. I felt responsible for the
infant, and appreciated its existence, though
I did not see it as inexorably connected to
my own. I began to learn from the doctors,
incorporating their philosophy and methods.
They thought that an infant needs reg-
ularity; that it is conditioned to erratic
behavior, often in those first few days in
the hospital. They also thought that the human
infant was very flexible (anthropology and
common observence certainly substantiates
such an assertion). They thought that the
adults in charge of the infant should adjust
the baby's schedule to their own, so the
east tension possible would emerge, and the
household would not become baby centered.
The baby should not be fondled and treated as
a toy. It should be regarded as a delicate
organism, which needed most to be cared for
and left alone. They predicted the first week
would be difficult because she had not been
treated properly in the hospital, but was
conditioned to being picked up, when she cried
(there was a woman in the ward ever present
to pick up crying babies). The pediatricians
(there were three in the firm) also re-
commended that the infant begin eating food
at three weeks, preferably the same food the
adults eat, but purreed. The infant should
be off the bottle (or breast) at three months.
I took her in for a check at three weeks,
and spoke at length with the doctors. Their
philosophy indicated such respect for the
wholeness and separateness of the child; they
were programming me for a role, and I knew
it, and was eager to learn more. I was read-
ing Spock, and I became aware of the fallacy
of his attitudes and advice: How child-
centered (really mother-centered) he proposed
to make a "family" and how thoroughly his
methods enslaved the adults and ultimately
the children as well. My doctors felt that
Spock had helped create a generation of
orally-obsessed, schizoid children; it would
seem so. But mainly Spock helped keep women
in the home. Childrearing is jolly, fun, and
the child is a darling little object of
affection. Also his philosophy seemed paternal-
istic. It was presented in such a way that the
recipient could not internalize the inform-
ation he offered and act from a basic theory
or a set of assumptions, but had to refer
constantly to Dr. Spock himself.
My doctors stressed the absolute necessity
for developing ones own problem-solving
devices, and to know when expert advice was
essential. They tried to make experts of the
adults in charge of the child, and to lib-
erate them from needing the doctor. Spock
bound parents to him like a possessive mother.
And sold a lot of books. Surely he wasn't,
isn't malevolent. Paternalism is perhaps more
harmful than malevolence though. The worst
thing about Spock was his ethno-centricity.
One would never know that babies could be
raised differently. Spock never explains that
the society creates the creature it needs to
propagate itself (those in power). Spock, like
television, did not create a new ethic; he
created a new and more destructive means
(a mutation) of propagating society's ethic.
Spock is a counter-revolutionary who sen-
tenced thousands and thousands of women (and
children) to a terrible bondage, just when
the society needed neurotic consumers.
My doctors, on the other hand, were not
really conscious of the revolutionary nature
of their methods. They were busy being doctors
(pediatricians work very hard), and did not
expound upon the social order. They adhered to
the doctor's code and never left that terr-
itory. It is difficult in this atomized
society, and when someone does get out to
philosophy, the society is sure that the
escapee reinforces rather than destroys its
system--like Spock. Mainly it depends on the
fact that all the really good experts are too
busy with their work to look around them for
A society that fed its infants real food
at six weeks would free the adult in charge
(the mother) from the total food-giving res-
ponsibility. A society that allowed the infant
as much freedom as he is capable of handling
might produce self-sufficient and responsible
children and adults, resistant to condition-
ing and programming. A society that allowed
its infants to be toilet-trained when it is
first physically feasible (onset of walking)
or not at all (naked children shitting,
urinating on the spot) might free its people
of obsessions. A society that tells the woman
from whose womb an infant came that she is
not totally responsible for its care, that
the infant needs only a responsible adult
of either sex, the more expert the better,
in attendance might free women from ob-
ligatory maternity, and make the male as
responsible for child-rearing. This soc-
iety does not want free beings. Why should
it support such practices? The society needs
soft, passive recipients of propaganda and
consumer products. It even needs people to
be non-violent now. So Spock to the rescue.
When I took the child for her six weeks
check, all three doctors came in. They were
not just checking her,I realizedbut looking
at her head for a long time. I felt a deep
sure knowledge that something serious was
wrong. I felt trapped and afraid. One of the
doctors brought me a pile of medical books
and started showing me pictures of the head,
reading, explaining. I listened with a kind
of giddy smile on my face. Then they said I
must take her for X-rays. The gist of it
all was that the child had no fontanel.
I took her to the radiology laboratory,
and practically sat on her, while she
squirmed and screamed. I was sweating in the
lead coat and filled with terror, but cool,
so cool. I knew if I broke...I went back
to wait for the results. It was so; she had
craniostinosis. They arranged for an appoint-
ment that very evening with a neuro -surgeon.
After four hours there, under that pres
sure, I was exhausted, still not completely
recovered from the birth process. The
baby was hysterical from being handled
so much. It suddenly occurred to me that I
was not alone; I could share the burden with
my husband. I felt so lonely; it was a
relief to know I was not alone. I went
home and waited. When he arrived, I explained
all I knew, and told him we had to be at
the hospital at 6:00 PM to see the surgeon.
He reacted strangely, somehow as if he had
a disease, not the child, as if he would
be the one to suffer or die. I immediately
felt compassion and contempt and terror.
It seemed the ultimate irony--that the one
time I needed him to share something, he
pretended to be the victim. I realized
that he would be as much the patient as
the baby, and it would be worse than be-
At the hospital we had to wait, as the
surgeon had an emergency case. We waited
three hours. I began to have heavy cramps,
and bleeding. I realized I was hemoraging,
but I did not want to pay attention to it
because I wanted to find out about the
baby. I used her diapers to absorb the
blood, but they all got soaked. I called
the gynecologist, and he said that I
should lay flat, not to move, get a certain
drug. I told him I could not--that I was
at the hospital, my baby's fate to be dis-
cussed. He said I could die. I suppose I
did not care. I just had to hear what the
doctor had to say, and I could not be left
alone with the baby, because I kept blacking
out. My husband only resented my bleeding at
such an inopportune time. I was usually
I held out till the doctor came, final-
ly, and then I fainted. He thought I was
an hysterical woman, and was somewhat con-
temptuous of my "lack of control." Then
he saw the pool of blood. (Why do doctors
and people in general think that the
recuperation from childbirth is so easy?
Christ, men have to recuperate from sleeping
every morning, but women are supposed to
revive like magic from total exhaustion,
not to speak of the chemical disorder).
So I lay down. The doctor called a
nurse, but no arrangements were made for
my pills to stop the bleeding. My husband
did not volunteer to go get them. The
doctor examined the baby while I lay on
a table. He told us she would have to have
surgery but he would not do it till she
was 6-9 months old depending on her health.
He said that she might have brain damage
if he waited, but that she would die if
he operated too soon. I told him I would
rather she die than have brain damage. He
said he would see her every week, and decide
when the time was right.
We asked him apologetically as Americans
do ask their doctors, if it would not be
rather expensive. He got out a book on
prices, and told us the wholesale cost
which was so incredible, I can not re-
member it. He said she would be in the
hospital for a month or more depending on
recovery, and might have to have other
operations if it grew back. It seemed we
would have a child-centered family after
all--one husband, a defective baby, and
a mother to all.
The hemoraging set my recovery back;
I also acquired an infection. I saw
the gynecologist every week for months. I
was also seeing both the pediatrician and
surgeon weekly. The era of doctor's offices:
of waiting. I read the Bounty Trilogy
waiting in doctors' offices. And I looked
in people's faces: saw the bliss of no
trouble and more trouble than I: of
cancer and retardation and tumors of the
brain and palsey and the fear of the un-
known, of the doctor's bills. I learned
about sitting and waiting; I did not learn
much about serving in the process. I was
like a rat, looking always for the escape
It was a lonely time. My husband was
"upset" most of the time. He was grateful
that I was "strong" and taking it so well.
It was a tremendous responsibility, be-
cause any cold, flu, disease, could set
the operation back; good health could
facilitate an early surgery and prevent
brain damage. The doctors were very concerned.
The pediatricians did not hesitate to
take charge of her care as overseers of
my work. I used their methods because
they were designed to condition the child
for resiliency and strength and independ-
ence. I kept her in a cold room for sleep-
ing, sunbathed her, fed her whole food,
and did not handle her except when feeding
or bathing her. I liked her, too. She was
sturdy, self-sufficient. I respected her
as a separate, total being, and I liked
what I felt for her. I didn't feel a
cloying sentimentality for her, and I
certainly knew I could live with out her,
and would never live through her. Mostly
I felt rather accidentally in charge of
her. She was her own person, not mine.
But I was in limbo; I was efficient
still, but coldly angry inside--a sort of
bitter seed was planted, and I did not yet
know where to direct that anger. I knew
the culprit was not I. Perhaps for the
first time in my life I knew that.
I was not afraid of the baby's dying;
I never really believed she would. Now
and then I fantasized her dying in sur-
gery, so I could leave my husband, but
I knew he would manage to keep me as his
comforter if she were to die. I was really
afraid that she would be retarded. I did
not want to raise her if she was retarded.
I thought it immoral. The doctor did not
disapprove of my attitude; he just refused
to take the chance of an early operation.
His duty was to mend bodies and preserve
life, but to always choose life over
perfection. I liked his attitude toward
me--that I had no rights as the parent
over the child--that she was not mine, in
a private ownership sense. And he coolly
advised me to put her into an institution
if she was retarded, but not to ask him to
kill her by butchering.
The pediatricians constantly commented
on the fact that I was the best disciple
they had ever had; that I loved my child
in a purer, surer way than the neurotic
and hysterical mothers and fathers. I
was very sure of my feeling; I did not
doubt or break. I became forceful for
the first time in my life. It was a life
or death situation and I had no room, no
time for subtle frills and emotions. It
was strange. No one treated me like a
"mother." They were not sure my child
would live, and it seemed in bad taste
to them I suppose. I was treated as all
women with newborn babies should be
treated and never are.
When the baby was 10 weeks old, the
surgeon announced that he would operate
in two weeks, if she were in as good
or better condition than at that time. I
was overjoyed, because I knew he would
not do it until he felt it safe, but also
that I had succeeded in keeping her
healthy, which was surely a better proof
of love, than if I had smothered her, and
made her ill and weak. So I waited. I took
her to the hospital the day before the
surgery, and gave her over to the nurses.
The pediatricians had warned me that the
nurses were archaic about infant-care, so
the baby might get upset. They also as-
sured me that the surgery would be traum-
atic for her, but the effect would depend
We were fortunately free of financial
worries. Someone had told me about a state
agency to which one could apply for aid
for congenital defects (no insurance covers
them), and I had applied. This paid all
but what one could pay, and the bills all
went to the agency, not to us. The purpose
was clear--to relieve one to give full
care and attention to the child, rather
than bills. The agency was one of the
first to'be cancelled when Ronald Reagen
came into office.
My husband's father flew in to be
with us. That was very symbolic. The
patriarch himself, the king had blessed
us with his presence, to comfort us in
case of death. The presence of the man
bothered me profoundly. It was bad enough
to have my husband around. I had dis-
covered the beauty of lonliness, as com-
pared with being accompanied by incomp-
etents who themselves require attention.
The day before the surgery, I bleached
my hair. I saw it then and now as an in-
dication of the depths of my despair, of
my total loss of self in the past weeks
of selflessness; indeed the selflessness
of six years of marriage.
The child survived; she seemed
hardly weakened by the ordeal. They fed
her interveinously for the first day,
and then began feeding her from a bottle.
She seemed upset; I told them she drank
from a cup and ate purreed food. They
did not believe me, but allowed me free-
dom of the kitchen, and I fed her myself.
They finally put her on a one-year old
For ten days I went there early every
morning and stayed till my husband came
at 6:00. Then we would go eat dinner in
the hospital cafeteria returning to
check on her before we left. They were
strange days. The baby was well, but I
wanted to keep her in good condition in
case complications arose.
I came to know the other children
and their mothers in the ward. There was
a child dying of leukemia, one recovering
from open-heart surgery, one that was
born without a bladder, and a"mongoloid."
I saw those mothers, burdened with their
charges--alone, resigned, awaiting death,
or a crippled child to take home. Many were
from far away, and were staying in the
expensive rooms near the hospital, with
vipers of death for landlords. I felt
I enjoyed that time. I was able to
gather my shattered tired self together.
I had finally recovered from the birth.
It was easier taking care of a baby
in the company of others, and with good
facilities, knowing you could call on
someone for help, or come and go freely.
I learned a great deal, and talked with
the women. It was there in those days that
I first conceived of communal care for
A DISEASED PRODUCT OF A DISEASED SOCIETY?
The values of capitalist culture have per-
vaded every aspect of American life. The radical
movement is more than just a rebellion against
this culture; it is a product of it.
As a product of this society, it has been
formed and nurtured by it. American radicalism
dragged along the characteristic American ail-
ments when it reared its head on the American
As this society is rotten to the core, some
of this rottenness is inherent in the movement.
The typical American diseases wouldn't be tol-
erated in their conventional forms within rad-
ical groups, so they have become disguised.
If radicals don't start examining them-
selves soon, they will only succeed in perpet-
uating this diseased society in a different form.
The cause of the sickness of inequality will re-
main, though the symptoms will have changed.
Chauvinism is a cancer that comes in many
varieties. To have to identify with some country,
doctrine, race or sex group to assert your worth,
rather than by gaining acceptance from individual,
autonomous, human value--that is chauvinism.
It is a product of the competitive mental-
ity. The struggle isn't worthwhile unless at the
end you can say you are better than others. Am-
erican chauvinism, White chauvinism and male
chauvinism are just a few of the infinite variety.
Like a virus that has survived antibiotics, it
will develop new strains that are immune, or go
undetected by traditional social consciousness.
One of the new strains is educational
chauvinism. Those who had the tools to compete,
the time, the incentive, the money, now feel they
must be rewarded for the struggle. As a group they
want prestige and recognition for the fact that
they have had an education. This is their monopoly,
In a new book by Christopher Jencks and David
Riesman, The Academic Revolution, it is noted
that when the demand for higher education began
to grow explosively, university teachers found
themselves in a strategic position. Until re-
cently they had been humble educators. Now they
are the sole possessors of a scarce and precious
product. Like all monopolists they used this
commodity to gain prestige, authority, wealth,
and power. It is not unusual for a professor to
receive an income of $50,000 from salary, gov-
ernment and foundation grants, outside lectures
and consulting fees today.
They have used their new monopoly position
to gain power to decide who shall be hired and
fired, what shall be taught, and who it will be
taught to. The profits they want are salary
increases, prestigious campuses and the admir-
ation of their colleagues. They don't care about
being good teachers, because the students would
take up too much of their time that could be
used on research--which is what pays off in
money and prestige. They want the monopoly on
prestige. Their 6,000,000 students have a mono-
poly on education.
The radical movement is the new "bourg bag"
the "in" hip scene. All the nice little middle-
class, college-educated darlings are groovin'
with it. To be hip gives one prestige. They go
to the right schools, pick the right causes,
dress the role and have their own little
cliques. The radical movement in some cases has
replaced the sorority and fraternity.
With the advent of economic monopolies,
material superiority is a rather unrealistic
goal. But individual radicals are still compet-
ing within the movement and in the context of a
capitalist society, in one of the few areas left
open to them.
There is a large population that can be ex-
ploited for the profit of prestige. And radicals,
with the necessary competitiveness and aggres-
siveness, can assert their superiorityover the
masses, by the number of followers they can get.
And they can do this only under the guise of
helping the masses, and identifying with them.
They compete with their rivals for human
minds, not dollars, and reap the rewards of
recognition and prestige. They qualify for their
positions by saying the right words, having the
right education, saying they have the only true
answers. Anyone who doesn't go along with them
is accused of being a sellout to society.
Abstract values have a quantitative, as
well as a qualitative, aspect. When one person
or nation or group monopolizes the desired
value, the rest must go without a relative
amount. In economic matters it is recognized
that when a few people or nations have a lot
more wealth than they need to live on, others
must go without necessities. When people or
hegemonies hold great power and authority others
must suffer a loss in this area.
Freedom is quantitative too; the slave-
holder had great freedom of action, to the point
of exercising the power of life and death over
his slaves. This freedom is gained only at the
expense of the slave, by depriving him of a
corresponding amount of freedom, depending on
how much the master wants for himself. Like
laws against slavery, all criminal laws are
designed to deprive people of freedom that could
be used to infringe on other peoples freedom.
Prestige is another abstract value that
the same rules can be applied to. Personal
power and recognition when monopolized by one
person or group, leaves others with less than
the necessary amount for a healthy self-image,
confidence and self-esteem.
In simplest terms, superiority is a mono-
poly concept. Whether applied to wealth, freedom
power, education, or prestige, superiority al-
ways demands inferiority of others. Equality in
all value areas, is the only way of achieving a
harmonious society of self-realizing individuals.
By preserving an elite, the radical move-
ment is in the same bag as the rest of the mono-
polists, though they won't recognize or admit
it. The spirit of aggressive competition is
still there, the motive force. The profit is
At one time the robber barons epitomized
the personality types of sharks and wolves,
without compassion, ruthlessly asserting their