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Against our Will    I’m finishing Brownmiller’s book, Against our Will.  Funny how the arguments really have not changed and are still regularly trotted out by ‘feminist allies’ and critics here in 2012.  As Brownmilla concludes, she thoroughly brings the noise and lays it all down on the table with bon mots like this:

“Critics of the women’s movement, when they are not faulting us for being slovenly, straggly-haired, construction booted, whiny sore losers who refuse to accept our female responsibilities, often profess to see a certain inexplicable Victorian primness and anti-sexual prudery in our attitudes and responses.  “Come on, gals,” they say in essence, “don’t you know that your battle for female liberation is part of our larger battle for sexual liberation?  Free yourselves from all your old hang-ups!  Stop pretending that you are actually offended by those four-letter words and animal noise we grunt in your direction on the street in appreciation of your womanly charms.  When we plaster your faceless naked body on the cover our slick magazines, which sell millions of copies, we do it in sensual obeisance to your timeless beauty – which, by our estimation, ceases to be timeless at age twenty or thereabouts.  If we feel the need for a little fun and go out and rent the body of a prostitute for half and hour or so, we are merely engaging in a mutual act between two consenting adults, and what’s it got to do with you?  When we turn our movie theatres into showcase for pornographic films and covert our bookstores to outlets for mass produced obscene smut, not only should you marvel at the wonders of our free-enterprise system, but you should applaud us for pushing back the barriers of repressive middle class morality, and for our strenuous defense of all the civil liberties you hold so dear, because we have made obscenity the new frontier in defense of freedom of speech, that noble tradition.  And surely you’re not against civil liberties and freedom of speech, now, are you?”

The case against pornography and the case against toleration of prostitution are central to the fight against rape, and if it angers a large part of the liberal population to be so informed, then I would question in turn the political understanding of such liberals and their true concern for the rights of women.”

[…]

Once we accept as basic truth that rape is not a crime of irrational,impulsive, uncontrollable lust, but is a deliberate, hostile, violent act of degradation and possession on the part of the would be conqueror, designed to intimidate and inspire fear, we must look toward those elements in our culture that promote and propagandize these attitudes, which offer men, and in particular impressionable, adolescent males, who form the potential raping population, the ideology and psychologic encouragement to commit their acts of aggression without awareness, for the most part, that they have committed a punishable crime, let alone a moral wrong. ”

-Susan Brownmiller quoted from her book Against our Will p.389-390.

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