“The day of my release, Sue picked me up at the hospital in her ’85 tan Volvo. I felt shame: psych ward, raped, welfare, waiting to get on disability shame. I’d flunked a class. But I had one thing to hold onto: I was alive. That’s it: a breathing, heart-beating animal. As bad as I felt, I still had hope. I was alive, and if I got on disability, I wouldn’t be homeless. Sue drove me to the house I shared with another survivor. I was afraid that nothing would ever be okay. I was afraid I could never overcome what I’d been through. The shrink had told me I would be in and out of the psych ward the rest of my life.
Sue dropped me off; she had to go to work. It was hot, mid-June, sunny. I walked into the entryway; my cat, Cleo, sat curled on the wooden staircase. I was alone. What would happen to me? Would I live or die? I sat down on the stairs, petted Cleo, leafed through my stack of mail piled in a mound on the bottom stair. Bills from the hospital, letters of dropped classes from the university, notifications of bounced checks, bulk mail from a real estate agent, and a Monet postcard. I turned it over.
It was from Andrea. I had written her from the hospital, sent her a poem. And she wrote back. You are a terrific writer, she said. I hope you are back from the hospital and doing okay. Best, Andrea.
I held it against my chest. She believed in me. I could make it.”
Author: Christine Stark
Source: Feminist Studies, Vol. 34, No. 3, The 1970s Issue (Fall, 2008), pp. 584-590
“The prevalence of anti-discrimination legal proceedings filed by self-defined ‘‘trans-women’’ has prompted an increasingly contested question in modern sexual politics — what does transsexualism actually ‘‘transcend’’? It seems that in spite of the 1970s’ radical feminist critique of transsexualism, the phenomena of transsexualism and sex-reassignment surgery (SRS) have proliferated considerably. This increase has, through sheer magnitude, given birth to a broad-based, international movement that is rapidly expanding its fight for acceptance and rights for trans-people. In particular, trans-women are currently claiming their right to participate in, and access the assistance of, women-only events, organizations, and service provisions.
In this paper, I will argue that whereas radical feminist campaigns have sought to break down gender categories, and thus, free women from gender oppression, the protection of gender is imperative to the goals of trans-activists and their supporters…”
Author: Belinda Sweeney
Source: Women’s Studies International Forum 27 (2004) 75– 88
“We assessed ratings of nine themes in commercial pornography to test feminist theory about what is degrading to
women in pornography. Ninety-four female and 89 male college student volunteers rated nine brief excerpts of sexually explicit material. Seven of the nine themes depicted two types of inequalities, active subordination and status
inequality; one theme depicted female indiscriminate availability; and one theme depicted equal sex.
Participants viewed the themes either with or without accompanying definitions. Consistent with feminist theory, both men and women who viewed the excerpts rated active subordination more degrading than status inequalities and both types of
inequalities more degrading than sexually explicit material with equality, with one qualification. Women rated all
inequalities and availability more degrading than equal sex, whereas men rated active subordination themes and
status inequalities more degrading than nonreciprocated sex, female availability, and equal sex.
In general, video clips without the definitions were rated as degrading as those presented with definitions, with some variations in ratings of status inequality themes. Suggestions for future research to assess degrading aspects of pornography are provided.”
Author(s): Gloria Cowan and Kerri F. Dunn
Source: The Journal of Sex Research,Vol. 31, No. 1 (1994), pp. 11-21
“…even if men could be guaranteed that the women they watch have made an unconstrained and “free” choice to participate in making pornography, men viewing and purchasing pornography are still contributing to the demand for pornography, which contributes to creating a world in which women who are not making free choices will be hurt.”
Author(s): Robert Jensen and Karla Mantilla
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 37, No. 1 (2007), pp. 62-63
“If we want to find the place where dissident ideas are squelched or distorted beyond recognition, we would do well to examine the celebrated “free market place of ideas.” That marketplace is no freer or more democratic than any other capitalist marketplace. It is here that feminist and lesbian publishers and bookstores are going out of business at an alarming rate; as are all kinds of independent publishers and bookstores. The men who run the huge corporations that control this market place have a large incentive to limit the availability of ideas that challenge patriarchy, capitalism, or white supremacy in any deep or comprehensive way. If nothing else, people who think radical thoughts have something to give their lives meaning besides the mindless consumption that drives the U.S. economy…”
Author(s): Betsy Brown
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 31, No. 4 (april 2001), pp. 8-11
“Debates on prostitution rage on, as they have for over a hundred years. But if the commerce of sex was once a more hidden or at least discreet business, today there’s no ignoring the bombardment of sex sales talk; we live, it has been said, in a culture of pornography. With the worldwide explosion in recent decades of industries based on the production, sale and
consumption of sex primarily personified in women’s bodies, there is an even more pressing need to understand the commodification of sex in the range and diversity of forms that pornography, “sexual entertainment” and prostitution are taking, and for feminists to analyze the significance of and impact of these developments on women’s status…”
Author(s): Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 31, No. 3 (March 2001), pp. 7-9
“Beth Richie spent some time listening to battered black women incarcerated at Rikers Island and has written a remarkable book rooted in their life experiences. This book is a departure from much of what is written about women in prison because it takes into account the totality of their life experience and it examines the social forces that act to structure them in a way that women end up incarcerated.”
Author(s): karla mantilla
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 31, No. 2, Our Sisters In Prison: What are they doing there? (February 2001), pp. 13-14
“I am a woman. I am a battered woman. I am a battered woman incarcerated with a life sentence, no possibility of parole. In our society, being a battered woman is a life sentence anyway. I don’t see the point of underscoring it by the courts.
A battered woman is sometimes faced with the choice of kill or be killed.
If she gives up a life of physical, sexual, verbal and/or emotional abuse by her partner by killing him, she dooms herself to the same treatment by the “system.”
A battered woman is isolated from family and friends by her abuser; the system does the same thing. An abuser strips a woman of her identity and dignity; the system does the same thing…”
Author(s): Darcy K. War Bonnett, Deborah Bounds, Karen R. Paese and Shannon R. Houser
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 31, No. 2, Our Sisters In Prison: What are they doing there? (February 2001), pp. 9-12
“I volunteered in a jail library called Windows to Freedom in Chicago. The library is open about 5 mornings a week, usually from 9 to 12. It was started back in 1996 by women who had a long history of very radical feminist organizing. It was a very feminist and very lesbian base of organizing that created this library. We offer some pretty radical books in the library partly because we have some pretty radical folks who volunteer and donate books. We offer selections that criticize the criminal justice industry as a whole, and many books that deal with racism. We have a whole women’s studies section that has all the classics, plus anything else that we’re able to find.”
Author(s): Karla Mantilla and Claudine O’Leary
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 31, No. 2, Our Sisters In Prison: What are they doing there? (February 2001), pp. 6-7, 17
“The U.S. war on drugs has become a war on women, specifically women of color. According to a Department of Justice Report, since federal drug laws ushered in mandatory sentencing in 1986, the incarceration rate for women has increased 400 percent, and the figure for black women is 800 percent. While the current rate of imprisonment for black women is more than eight times that for white women, the rate for Latina women is four times that for white women, according
to Amnesty International.”
Author(s): Val Codd
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 31, No. 2, Our Sisters In Prison: What are they doing there? (February 2001), p. 8