In my own case, I had to retain myself out of that phony smile, which is like a nervous tic on every teenage girl. And this meant that I smiled rarely, for in truth, when it came down to real smiling, I had less to smile about. My "dream" action for the women's liberation movement: a Smile boycott at which declaration all women would instantly abandon their "pleasing" smiles, henceforth smiling only when something pleased them.
Reading Shulamith Firestone's The Dialectic of Sex
is like reading the Communist Manifesto for the first time in life in 21th century. One might say what a utopia or perhaps what a dystopia (an Atwood would be preferred!), for it is not only a commentary on women's right and sexual discriminations. It goes much farther than that. To biology, to nature itself.
I remember I had a friend some years ago who was kind of losing her faith on God and religion but yet not completely and one of her main concerns was that a creature like woman was completely against God's justice. Why a women should have pms why they should bear children why they are weak and such other biological issues. As an atheist it was not actually understandable to me, when there was no god there was no room to ask about a creator's justice. Now I understand that what she made question of, was not unrelated.
Shulamith Firestone was a radical feminist and a founder of Women's Liberation Movement; she wrote this book when she was 25. She was graduated in art and after publishing this book she left politics, continued her life as a painter. Her other work which is a collection of short stories is Airless Spaces.
First I have to confirm that radical feminist or feminism itself is not a threat for male humanism or more bluntly it's not ani-men or hatred for them. Because we have a feminism in philosophy, sociology or other kinds of behavioral sciences and one horrible feminism in public depicting some angry women (Bitches!) demanding some unusual requests. I actually had to comment it somewhere because each time I carry around a feminist book with myself people look as if they are watching a peculiar reader: Why???! (with a very affectionate voice) why Elham?!
Perhaps if we compare sexism with racism things would be much clearer, but actually I'm not that hopeful. When someone was oppressed and weak during centuries and even from the ancient times when the evolutionary biology created her, everybody thinks that she must continue being like that, because it is her nature. It is in her nature to be a sex object. It is her nature to bear children. It is in her nature to rear children. Motherhood is in her nature. She is naturally not created for some works. She naturally and therefore officially has to be shut up ("Move on little girl; we have more important issues to talk about here than women's liberation" Firestone was told by the National Conference for New Politics Director Willim F. Pepper). When a black /a working class /a third world man demands his rights, if he has something to say he is free. No needs to explain more than that. But a woman first should prove that she is a full human being (and after all they will say she speaks like a man!).
OK, that's true that nature itself is guilty. But should it be continued like that?! Should a human being remain a slave to her (or his) biology?!Pregnancy is barbaric.
Of course things can be changed for equality between men and women. And it should be corrected that "a complete equality" . A woman should be as equal as man in child bearing. If men cannot do that, women must not be obliged to do that so. This is part of Firestone's proposed world.
The only reason that applying artificial wombs is not acceptable or is horrible is that we have a patriarchal society (patriarchal world) with male supremacy with exclusion of women from sciences.
If Marx says that the ultimate cause of social discriminations is capitalism and seeks it through historical materialism and from the very first stages of economic development, he was missing something. The ultimate cause of all discriminations is family itself.
The original division of labor was between man and woman.
The philosophy of Feminism has direct relationship with Freudianism and in fact both grew from the same soil. It is not accidental that Freud started his work at the height of the early feminist movement. A big part of women and children oppression reason comes from Oedipus and Electra complexes.
This book is a missing link between Marx and Freud.
Some books have many things to say. And this book does. Let it be heard!