71 Marilyn French Quotes on Her Mother's Daughter, Feminist and The Women's Room - Quotes.pub

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I see us as all sitting around naked, shivering, in a huge circle, looking up as the sky turns black and the stars flare out and somebody starts to tell a story, claims to see a pattern in the stars. And then someone else tells a story about the eye of the hurricane, the eye of the tiger. And the stories , the images, become the truth and we will kill each other rather than change one word of the story. But every once in a while, someone sees a new star, or claims to see it, a star in the north that changes the pattern, and that is devastating. People are outraged, they start up grunting in fury, they turn on the one who noticed it and club her to death. They sit back down, muttering. They take up smoking. They turn away from the north, not wanting it to be thought that they might be trying to catch sight of her hallucination. Some of them, however, are true believers, they can look straight north and never see even a glimpse of what she pointed to. The foresighted gather together and whisper. They already know that if that star is accepted, all the stories will have to be changed. They turn suspiciously to sniff out any of the others who might surreptitiously turn their heads to peer at the spot where this star is supposed to be. They catch a few they think are doing this; despite their protests, they are killed. The things must be stopped at the root. But the elders have to keep watching, and their watching convinces the others that there's really something there, so more and more people start to turn, and in time everyone sees it, or imagines they see it, and those that don't claim they do.So earth feels the wound, and Nature from her seat, sighting through all her Works, gives signs of woe, that all is lost. The stories all have to be changed: the whole world shudders. People sigh and weep and say how peaceful it was before in the happy golden times when everyone believed the old stories. But actually nothing whatever has changed except the stories.
...inconsolable loneliness. And that is an insoluble problem. I mean, you could go up to a stranger on the street and say, 'I am inconsolably lonely,' and he might take you home with him and introduce you to his family and ask you to stay for dinner. But that wouldn't help. Because loneliness is not a longing for company, it is a longing for kind. And kind means people who can see you who you are, and that means they have enough intelligence and sensitivity and patience to do that. It also means they can accept you, because we don't see what we can't accept, we blot it out, we jam it hastily in one stereotypic box or another. We don't want to look at something that might shake up the mental order we've so carefully erected. I have respect for this desire to keep one's psyche unviolated. Habit is a good thing for the human race. For instance, have you ever traveled from place to place, spending no more than a day or two in each? you wake up in the morning a bit unnerved, and every day you have to search for where you put your toothbrush last night, and figure out whether you unpacked your comb and brush. Every morning you have to decide where to have your cafe and croissant, or your cappuccino or kawa. You even have to find the right word. I said si for two weeks after I entered France from Italy, and oui for two weeks after I entered Spain from France. And that's an easy enough word to get right. You have to spend so much energy just getting through the day when you have no habits that you don't have any left for productive labor. You get that glazed look of tourists staring up at one more church and checking the guidebook to see what city they're in. Each day you arrive in a new place you have to spend two or more hours finding a decent cheap hotel: subsisting becomes the whole of life.Well, you see what I mean. Every new person you meet and really take in violates you psyche to some degree. You have to juggle your categories to fix the person in.
Fear and desire for pleasure. Aggressiveness comes out of fear, predominantly, and sexuality predominantly out of the other. But they mix in the middle. Anyway, both of these impulses can destroy order, which comes out of both drives, and which is another human need I haven't yet fit into my scheme. So both have to be controlled. But in fact, despite religious commands to the contrary, aggressiveness has never really been condemned. It's been exalted, from the Bible through Homer and Virgil right down to Humbert Hemingway. Have you ever heard of a John Wayne movie being censored? did you ever see them take war books off the bookstands? They leave the genitals off Barbie and Ken, but they manufacture every kind of war toy. Because sex is more threatening to us than aggression. There have been strict rules about sex since the beginning of written rules, and even before, if we can believe myth. I think that's because it's in sex that men feel most vulnerable. In war they can hype themselves up, or they have a weapon. Sex means being literally naked and exposing your feelings. And that's more terrifying to most men than the risk of dying while fighting a bear or a soldier. Look at the rules! You can have sex if you're married, and you have to marry a person of the opposite gender, the same color and religion, an age close to your own, of the right social and economic background, even the right height, for God's sake, or else everybody gets up in arms, they disinherit you or threaten not to come to the wedding or they make nasty cracks behind your back. Or worse, if you cross color or gender lines. And once you're married, you're supposed to do only certain things when you make love: the others all have nasty names. When after all, sex itself, in itself, is harmless, and aggression is harmful. Sex never hurt anyone.
You think I hate men. I guess I do, although some of my best friends...I don't like this position. I mistrust generalized hatred. I feel like one of those twelfth century monks raving on about how evil women are and how they must cover themselves up completely when they go out lest they lead men into evil thoughts. The assumption that the men are the ones who matter, and that the women exist only in relation to them, is so silent and underrunning that ever we never picked it up until recently. But after all, look at what we read. I read Schopenhauer and Nietzsche and Wittgenstein and Freud and Erikson; I read de Montherlant and Joyce and Lawrence and sillier people like Miller and Mailer and Roth and Philip Wylie. I read the Bible and Greek myths and didn't question why all later redactions relegated Gaea-Tellus and Lilith to a footnote and made Saturn the creator of the world. I read or read about, without much question, the Hindus and the Jews, Pythagoras and Aristotle, Seneca, Cato, St.Paul, Luther, Sam Johnson, Rousseau, Swift...well, you understand. For years I didn't take it personally.So now it is difficult for me to call others bigots when I am one myself. I tell people at once, to warn them, that I suffer from deformation of character. But the truth is I am sick unto death of four thousand years of males telling me how rotten my sex is. Especially it makes me sick when I look around and see such rotten men and such magnificent women, all of whom have a sneaking suspicion that the four thousand years of remarks are correct. These days I feel like an outlaw, a criminal. Maybe that's what the people perceive who look at me so strangely as I walk the beach. I feel like an outlaw not only because I think that men are rotten and women are great, but because I have come to believe that oppressed people have the right to use criminal means to survive. Criminal means being, of course, defying the laws passed by the oppressors to keep the oppressed in line. Such a position takes you scarily close to advocating oppression itself, though. We are bound in by the terms of the sentence. Subject-verb-object. The best we can do is turn it around. and that's no answer, is it?