You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Sheila Jeffreys’ tag.

genderpicture“Gender functions as an ideological system that justifies and organizes women’s subordination and for this reason it must be dismantled. Women and girls cannot access full humanity and the rights and opportunities of full human status while the idea that there are personality traits and appearance norms that are naturally and essentially associated with girls and women still has social currency and serves to control and limit their lives.”

— Sheila Jeffreys, Gender Hurts

“Radical feminist theorists do not seek to make gender a bit more flexible, but to eliminate it. They are gender abolitionists, and understand gender to provide the framework and rationale for male dominance. In the radical feminist approach, masculinity is the behaviour of the male ruling class and femininity is the behaviour of the subordinate class of women. Thus gender can have no place in the egalitarian future that feminism aims to create.”

Hmm. Different expectations for women and men? How odd.


Funny how women are expected to differentiate themselves from the the societal norm (men) to get recognition.

“By some mysterious process all that pertains to sex in this society has been separated off from politics, even by those who would consider themselves socialist and radicals. In order to make sexual practice a private enclave of individual delight, sexuality has been seen as somehow removed from the effects of sexism, racism, any oppression in the world outside the bedroom, and considered to have no effect upon or relevance to that world. In fact sex plays a crucial part in fuelling and regulating the oppression of women and racist oppression. There is nothing pure about sex nor anything which might claim for it a special exemption from political criticism.”

— Sheila Jeffreys, “Sadomasochism: The Erotic Cult of Fascism”

Disclaimer – This isn’t specifically about *you* white dude whose ‘sensibilities’ are in a tizzy (you’re welcome for the longer version of #NotAllMen).

“Rape was a political crime committed by men against women in order to assert their power. It was an act of terrorism by which, as Susan Brownmiller expressed it, ‘all men keep all women in a state of fear’.

…From this understanding feminists derived the slogan: ‘All men are potential rapists’ which has always brought forth howls of protest from men who wanted to disassociate themselves from rape.

The slogan simply means that if male sexuality is constructed in such a way that men associate sex with aggression then every man is capable of rape. The slogan also means that women are not in a position to know whether the men they meet are likely to rape or not. Some men may feel entirely innocent but it is not possible for women to treat them differently. To a woman in a train carriage or on a street every man is a potential rapist. The judicial system expects her to act on that assumption and will hold her responsible for her own victimisation if she treats a man who subsequently rapes her with ordinary human politeness.”

-Sheila Jeffreys, Anticlimax

   See also:  Schrödinger’s Rapist – A guide for the Men.


  ” In Loving to Survive she makes an analogy between femininity and the behaviour of hostages om situations of captivity and threat that has been named Stockholm syndrome.  She explains that the idea of Stockholm syndrome comes from a hostage situation in Stockholm in which it because clear that hostages, instead of reacting with rebellion to their oppressors, were likely to bond with them.  This bonding, in which hostages can come to identify the interests of their kidnappers as their own, comes from the very real threat to their survival that the kidnappers pose.  Graham extends this concept to cover the behaviour of women, femininity, that is a reaction to living in a society of male violence in which they are in danger.  Femininity represent societal Stockholm syndrome, “If one (inescapable) group threatens another group with violence but also – as a group – shoes the victimized group some kindness, an attachment between the groups will develop. […] (Graham, 1994, p.57)

Graham states unequivocally that, “masculinity and femininity are code words for male domination and female subordination” (1994, p.192).  She says that women, like hostages, are afraid, and “use any available information to alter our behaviour in ways that make interactions with men go smoothly”(p.160).  One of the things they [women] do is change their bodies in order to win men over.  She lists the harmful beauty practices that are considered in this book, such as make up, cosmetic surgery, shaving and waxing body hair, high-heeled shoes and restrictive clothes, as examples.  She says that these practices reflect:

1.  The extent to which women seek to make ourselves acceptable to men,

2.  The extent to which women seek to connect to men, and thus

3.  the extent to which women feel the need for men’s affection and approval

4.  the extent to which women feel unworthy of men’s affection and approval just as we are (unchanged).  (Graham, 1994, p.162)”

From Beauty and Misogyny by Sheila Jeffreys. (p. 25-26)

Powerful stuff that makes difficult societal concepts more easily understood and more easily argued.  Please feel free to reference this post when you’re trying to get across basic societal ideas to the next clueless dude who “knows what feminists are all about.”

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