No More Nice Girls
Publication Year: 2012
With characteristic intelligence, wit, and feminist insight, Ellen Willis addresses democracy as she sees it: “a commitment to individual freedom and egalitarian self-government in every area of social, economic, and cultural life.” Moving between scholarly and down-to-earth activist writing styles, Willis confronts the conservative backlash that has slowly eroded democratic ideals and advances of the 1960s as well as the internal debates that have frequently splintered the left.
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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Stanley Aronowitz, critic, sounding-board, and intellectual compan-Karen Durbin, who edited some of the pieces in this book and in-feminist sexual revolution whose ideas about sex, gender, and femi-nism have influenced and challenged my own, with special apprecia-Janet Gallagher and Lynn Paltrow, whose research on fetal rights law...
Introduction: Identity Crisis
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...ast year I attended a feminist conference in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia,up the country and mutilate the city in the name of nationalism. Theconference, which brought women from all over Eastern Europe andthe United States, was the first gathering of its kind in the East, ahistoric event. We introduced ourselves by name and place. For the...
Part 1: No More Nice Girls
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Lust Horizons: Is the Women's Movement Pro-Sex?
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My nominations for the questions most likely to get a group ofpeople, all of whom like each other and hate Ronald Reagan,into a nasty argument: Is there any objective criterion for healthy orsatisfying sex, and if so what is it? Is a good sex life important? Howimportant? Is abstinence bad for you? Does sex have any intrinsicrelation to love? Is monogamy too restrictive? Are male and female...
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...the issue eliciting the most passionate public outrage from feministsshould be not abortion, not "pro-family" fundamentalism, but por-nography? The fervor with which some feminist activists have ralliedagainst smut is more than a little ironic, for opposition to pornogra-phy is also a conspicuous feature of the new right's program. Further-...
Toward a Feminist Sexual Revolution
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...t's perhaps some indication of the complex, refractory nature of mysubject that this is the third version of my preface to the article thatfollows—itself the third revision of what began as a talk at a feministconference in 1981. At that time, feminists were just beginning toengage in a passionate, explosive debate—or rather, a series of over-...
The Last Unmarried Person in America
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...of its provisions merely took care of old, long overdue business—abolishing divorce, enabling local communities to prosecute singlepeople as vagrants, requiring applicants for civil service jobs to signoffense, and so on—two revolutionary clauses cleared the way towardmaking a reality of what had until then been an impossible dream:...
Peace in Our Time? The Greening of Betty Friedan
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...he classic blind spot of liberals is their faith that all social con-the différences, whatever the imbalance of power between opposingparties, one need only apply ingenuity and good will, reject "extrem-ists on both sides," and the lion will sit down with the lamb. Nomatter how many lambs get eaten, liberals never learn. Faced with an...
Marriage on the Rocks
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...cause of divorce. "Marriage," I say. I get a laugh, but a nervous one.For the first time in history, marriage has become, for masses ofpeople, a voluntary association rather than a social and economicnecessity; as both a cause and a consequence of this development,divorce has become an increasingly ordinary fact of life. It is still the...
Putting Women Back in the Abortion Debate
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...group of liberals and lefties, feminists and gay activists, but on onepoint nearly all of us agreed: the right-to-life movement was a danger-ous antifeminist crusade. At one session I argued that the attack onabortion had significance far beyond itself, that it was the linchpin ofthe right's social agenda. I got a lot of supporting comments and ap-...
Looking for Mr. Good Dad
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...will always have power over women and the will to exploit it, that ifthings change it can only be for the worse. But since few people canlive entirely without hope, she tends to displace hers onto the past.For the feminist's Utopian vision, she substitutes a romantic nostalgiafor patriarchal paternalism; she imagines that by pursuing freedom...
From Forced Pregnancy to Forced Surgery
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...or once I did not feel isolated in my outrage: the courts ruled,the right-to-life movement had gone too far. A stranger purport-ing to represent the fetus of a comatose woman and challenging herhusband's right to authorize an abortion on her behalf so violatedaccepted canons of privacy that even Cardinal O'Connor felt con-...
Sisters Under the Skin? Confronting Race and Sex
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...more basic determinant of social identity. This started an intense dis-cussion: if someone shook us out of a deep sleep and demanded thatwe define ourselves, what would we blurt out first? The black womanI'm not sure it makes sense to say that one social division is moreabsolute than another. I wonder if it isn't more a matter of different...
Radical Feminism and Feminist Radicalism
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...was a radical feminist activist in the late '6os. Today I often havethe odd feeling that this period, so vivid to me, occurred fifty yearsago, not a mere fifteen. Much of the early history of the women's lib-eration movement, and especially of radical feminism (which was notsynonymous with the w.l.m. but a specific political current within...
Feminism Without Freedom
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...that flew our way, along with "man-hater" and "lesbian," was "bour-geois individualist." Ever since, left criticism of the movement hasfocused on one or another version of the argument that feminism (atleast in its present forms) is merely an extension of liberal individu-alism and that, largely for this reason, it is a movement of, by, and...
Rebel Girl: What De Beauvoir Left Us
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...had wanted to go, but couldn't make it, so I heard about it fromfuneral, women spoke about her impact on their lives, someone reada message from Shulamith Firestone. Listening to this account, it oc-curred to me that in a way my relationship to de Beauvoir had alwaysbeen secondhand, mediated and refracted by other feminists. When...
Part 2: Exile on Main Street
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Escape from New York
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...or Americans, long-distance buses are the transportation of lastcrowded jail cell with the glamor of a liverwurst sandwich. Though Ican't really refute that assessment, I don't really share it, either. As astudent with lots of time, little money, and no driver's license, I oftentraveled by bus. Un-American as it may be, I feel nostalgic about...
The People's Picasso
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Picasso is a genius. Picasso is mad. Picasso is the greatest livingtricking us. If Picasso can get away with it all, good luck to him!tween so-called high art and mass culture. It's the best attended artexhibition ever; by the time it ends on September 30 more than amillion people will have seen this definitive collection of works by...
Sins of Confession
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...represent society at large, or a particular segment of it) some act orsentiment that the reader can be expected to find immoral, shame-ful, and/or shocking. The implicit claim of the confession is that thewriter is braving condemnation, ridicule, ostracism to tell us some-thing important; its implicit demand is that we suspend our reflex...
Ministries of Fear
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...istening to all the Ramboid crowing that our guys finally got themmoralizing about how we should really be attacking the conditionsthat lead to terrorism, you would hardly know that the Achule Laurohijacking was a specific act, with its own particular purpose and logic(or lack of it). As far as the government and the media are concerned,...
Exile on Main Street: What the Pollard Case Means to Jews
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...haps some nasty politics. It didn't happen. If you're reading thisarticle because you're angry about (or at) Pollard, you're probablyJewish. If, on the other hand, you're thinking, "Pollard? Oh yeah,one of those spy scandals—was there something special about him?"you're probably not. A.NewTork Times poll published in April found...
The End of Fatherhood: Family Plots
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...crazed by jealousy accidentally crashes his car, killing one of hissons, maiming another, and castrating his wife's lover. Carp the movieveers quickly away from that scene, keeping the audience a safe cjis-tance from the horror, preferring to concentrate on Garp's eccentricbut suitably heartwarming mom. In the climactic scene of Shoot the...
Andy Warhol, ?-1987
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...me interested in Pop Art a couple of years earlier. We didn't knowWarhol personally and weren't trying to visit him. We just went andhung around waiting for news. I don't remember the details, only theconviction that we had to be there and the feelings of love and alarmabout pop culture that artists whose mass-mediated personas were at...
In Defense of Offense: Salman Rushdie's Religious Problem
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...devout Moslems are absolute truths and sacred writings as if theywere simply the stuff of myth, a narrative like any other, fair gamefor his irreverent imagination. Islamic governments ban the book; inother countries political pressure and threats of violence lead to itssuppression; Moslem demonstrators hold book burnings. Finally, in...
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...cultural and political ferment in Eastern Europe. Jeffrey C. Gold-farb's thoughtful exploration of the latter, Beyond Glasnost: The Post-Totalitarian Mind, is also something else: an argument—in a decep-tively unassuming, anti-ideological voice—about how to conceive offound myself scribbling notes in the margins, arguing back, and in...
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...simulated sunset. Gradually the sky would darken and the stars comeout, till I was sitting engulfed in a night more absolute, dusted withlights infinitely more numerous and brilliant, than the ordinary citynightscape could ever be. It was thrilling no matter how many timesI saw it. I read to death a booklet the planetarium put out called...
The Drug War: From Vision to Vice
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...out from my work-ridden, pressured, scheduled dailiness, my daugh-ter asleep in her stroller, I found myself thinking, "This would be abeautiful place to trip." A weirdly anachronistic thought—I haven'ttaken any psychedelic drugs in 15 years and have no serious desire todo so now. Even if I could negotiate the unencumbered Z4 hours or...
The Drug War: Hell No, I Won't Go
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...listed public sentiment in a popular war. The president's invocationof an America united in a holy war against drugs is no piece of emptyrhetoric; the bounds of mainstream debate on this issue are implicitin the response of the Democratic so-called opposition, which at-tacked Bush's program as not tough or expensive enough. (As Sena-...
Coming Down Again
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...hat Blake line," said my friend—for the purposes of this articleI'll call her Faith, a semi-ironic name, since she is a devout ex-Catholic—"It's always quoted as 'The road of excess leads to the"It's 'The roads of excess sometimes lead to the palace of wisdom.'I looked it up. There it was in "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell,"...
Epilogue: The Neo-Guilt Trip
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...ment too often to dismiss it as new-decadespeak; a real collectiveattack of conscience seems to be coming on. And I have to say thateven as I stand on line to order my Donald Trump dart board, thisnouveau guilt makes me nervous. The image it brings inexorably tomind is that of a compulsive eater about to enter the vomiting phase...
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Most of these essays first appeared in The Village Voice., © Villageoriginally appeared in The New York Times Book Review] "Toward aFeminist Revolution" (in somewhat different form) in Social Text;"Radical Feminism and Feminist Radicalism" (in a slightly longerversion) in The '6os Without Apology, éd. Sayres, et al., University of...
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Page Count: 282
Publication Year: 2012