Essential Feminist Quotes: ‘Access to a Sexuality Autonomous from the Male’

“We want to destroy sexism, that is, polar role definitions of male and female, man and woman. We want to destroy patriarchal power at its source, the family; in its most hideous form, the nation-state. We want to destroy the structure of culture as we know it, its art, its churches, its laws . . .

“We are born into a world in which sexual possibilities are narrowly circumscribed. . . . We are programmed by the culture as surely as rats are programmed to make the arduous way through the scientist’s maze, and that programming operates on every level of choice and action.”
Andrea Dworkin, Woman Hating (1974)

“[T]he seductiveness of lesbianism for feminism lies in the former’s figuration of a female desiring subjectivity to which all women may accede . . [T]he erotic charge of a desire for women . . . unlike male desire, affirms and enhances the female-sexed subject and represents her possibility of access to a sexuality autonomous from the male. . . .

“Some women have ‘always’ been lesbians. Others, like myself, have ‘become’ one. As much a sociocultural construction as it is an effect of early childhood experiences, sexual identity is nether innate nor simply acquired, but dynamically (re)structured by forms of fantasy private and public, conscious and unconscious, which are culturally available and historically specific.”
Teresa de Lauretis, Lesbian Sexuality and Perverse Desire (1994)

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“[C]entral to radical feminist perspectives is the belief that if sexuality is socially constructed then it can be reconstructed in new and different ways. . . .

“[H]eterosexuality is socially instituted and maintained, creating the prescriptions and the conditions in which women experience sexual relations.”
Diane Richardson, in Radically Speaking: Feminism Reclaimed, edited by Diane Bell and Renate Klein (1996)

Most people speak of “sexual equality” as if that phrase can mean something other than what Andrea Dworkin said it meant, i.e., the destruction of our culture, including family and religion.

The abolition of “role definitions of male and female, man and woman” is necessary to “destroy sexism,” Dworkin explained 40 years ago, because “sexual possibilities are narrowly circumscribed,” as people are “programmed by culture” according to those roles. What Dworkin advocated for, what she offered as the antonym of “sexism,” is androgyny — a social condition in which sex roles do not exist, where male and female are essentially identical and interchangeable.

Sexual equality = androgyny.

It is actually that simple, you see, and when people call themselves “feminists” — when they declare themselves advocates for “sexually equality” — the question is, do they realize what this entails? Would they want to live in the world that would result if their egalitarian principles were enacted? Ideas Have Consequences, as Richard Weaver explained, and what are the consequences of feminism’s ideas?

Well, #GamerGate, among other contemporary phenomena. Last month, Robert Mariani wrote about the Left’s “intellectual bullying”:

The tactic of dishonestly re-framing a viewpoint into something outrageous in an attempt to discredit those who hold the viewpoint is known as intellectual bullying. . . .

With enough voices dishonestly insisting that someone holds all those beliefs that everybody hates, the person in question will either be shamed into silence or suffer from character assassination. . . .

A lot of of the tactics of the anti-GamerGate intellectual bullying campaign were famously codified in Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.

Read the whole thing. You see how feminists have made the accusation of “sexism” one of “those beliefs that everybody hates,” so the accusation that someone is “sexist” is an attempt to discredit them — to engage in character assassination in an attempt to effectively silence them — and no one even bothers to explain what “sexism” means or why it is so bad. This is remarkable, when you think about it.

What does “sexism” mean? It means to hold the opinion that men and women are different, that “masculine” and “feminine” describe natural qualities, and that these innate differences have social significance.

“Sexism” does not mean “says rude things to women.” Many sexists are extraordinarily courteous and mild-mannered. In fact, many sexists are female because — hello! — contrary to what feminists would have you think, men do not have a monopoly on sexism.

Sexism is not a synonym for “male chauvinism,” a term popular about 40 years ago that now sounds quaintly old-fashioned. Male chauvinism is (or was) a belief in the general superiority of men, particularly in matters of intellect and temperament. There are very few educated men nowadays who are (or who will admit to being) male chauvinists, but I think sexists like me are far more common than most intellectuals realize and (to repeat) many women are also sexist, i.e., they believe in natural differences between men and women.

My wife, for example, is a sexist. She was raised in a family with three bothers and three sisters, and she is the mother of two girls and four boys and she knows from direct experience that boys and girls are different. They simply are born different, naturally.

Not all males are equally masculine and not all girls are equally feminine, but in general boys are masculine and girls are feminine.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

That boys and girls are different does not mean that one sex is superior to the other, but yet their differences actually matter. To try to wish away these differences, or to create political, legal and social incentives to impose an artificial equality on the sexes, well . . .

“Believe me, sir, those who attempt to level never equalise. In all societies, consisting of various descriptions of citizens, some description must be uppermost. The levellers therefore only change and pervert the natural order of things; they load the edifice of society, by setting up in the air what the solidity of the structure requires to be on the ground.”
Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

Political and legal coercion — including the use of lawsuits to punish corporations and public institutions that do not hire or promote women in sufficient numbers to satisfy feminists — can indeed bring about greater equality between men and women, but these measures “load the edifice of society,” as Burke said. This artificial equality, imposed by quotas and other coercive incentives, distorts the social structure in ways that produce results that are in many ways ironic without necessarily being unpredictable.

A sort of Newtonian principle of equal-and-opposite reactions can be observed. Under a regime of coercive equality, many men will actually become more rudely hostile to women — more “sexist” in the vulgar usage of that term — and many women will actually be much less happy than they were when women were less “equal.” And yet, because intellectuals are committed  to the abstract ideal of equality, these “smart” people will not be able to figure out that it is the pursuit their cherished ideal that is causing the harms they denounce.

Instead, when men react badly and women are less happy as the result of greater equality, these harms will be blamed on “sexism,” so the answer to any new problem is always the same: More equality!

People forget where feminism began. They forget (or never bothered to learn) what feminists advocated when the Women’s Liberation movement started in the late 1960s. How many people, when confronted with an angry feminist, ever bother to ask her whether she agrees with Andrea Dworkin? Trapped in the present tense — where only the latest outrage is discussed — we let feminists get away with a lack of ideological clarity. Do you, ma’am, want to destroy the family, destroy religion, destroy culture, destroy the nation-state?

“Well, that’s not fair! Dworkin was a radical extremist!”

Yes, but this 1974 book of Dworkin’s I’ve quoted bears cover blurbs by Audre L0rde, Kate Millett and Gloria Steinem. Does our contemporary feminist — while denouncing Dworkin as an extremist — also want to repudiate these other feminists who praised Dworkin? I doubt very much that any 21st-century feminist would denounce Audre Lorde (who has been beatified by the Women’s Studies cathedral), yet Audre Lorde called Dworkin’s Woman Hating “much needed and long overdue.” So, does the 21st-century feminist wish to accuse Audre Lorde of bad judgment or does she want to attempt to defend Dworkin’s book that Audre Lorde praised?

Hint: Woman Hating is indefensible.

Feminists are never challenged that way. Why? By calling themselves “feminist,” they have declared their allegiance to a political ideology that has a canon of books outlining ideas that are taught at universities by professors of Women’s Studies, and this ideology — including its extremist expressions by radicals like Dworkin — is what feminists are enforcing when they accuse the videogame industry of “misogyny.” So why aren’t these dots connected? Why aren’t these latter-day heiresses of Dworkin’s legacy asked if they agree, inter alia, that “sexuality is socially constructed [and] can be reconstructed in new and different ways,” as Professor Diane Richardson explained?

Isn’t that relevant? After all, what does Amanda Marcotte mean when she declares that #GamerGate “is a full-blown reactionary movement aimed at preserving male dominance”?

[Deadspin’s Kyle] Wagner explained that #GamerGate is driven by angry young white men who are threatened by demands that gaming be inclusive of women, people of color, and LGBTQ people, and who are lashing out in an attempt to keep the white male dominance they enjoy. . . .
[I]t’s quickly shaping up to be a potent way for conservatives to reach out to previously apolitical young men and turn them into devoted, hardened misogynists.

Accusations of “all those beliefs that everybody hates,” you see. But what does Marcotte mean by “male dominance”? What is a “hardened misogynist”? These terms are never defined. They are merely epithets hurled at demonized enemies. Also, while we’re at it, what are these “demands that gaming be inclusive”? How are these “demands” formulated? Who is “threatened” and how?

Isn’t it a fact that these demands are part of a larger effort, as Dworkin said, to “destroy the structure of culture as we know it”? And aren’t these demands also an attempt to shake down a multibillion-dollar industry, to get some of that money into the hands of self-described “Social Justice Warriors,” and to change the (hugely successful market-driven) gaming culture into something acceptable to the tastes and ideology of the arbiters of political correctness?

Feminist authors whose books surround my desk declare that “male dominance,” to use Marcotte’s phrase for what others call “male supremacy” or “patriarchy,” is part of the “heterosexual matrix” of the “sex/gender binary,” as Judith Butler called it. Nearly all of these feminist theorists are lesbians, and they insist that “compulsory heterosexuality” (Adrienne Rich) is integral to women’s “oppression” under patriarchy — to which sexists like me answer, “So?”

We need not argue that radical feminists are wrong about these connections — between sex roles, male supremacy and heterosexuality — in order to say that they are wrong to attack these (necessary and natural) elements of our civilization. Normal women are heterosexual and feminine, and these heterosexual feminine women prefer masculine men. Normal women prefer also that their male mates be able to provide a sufficient income to support the women (as wives) and their children (procreation being the  biological purpose of sexual dimorphism in mammals). So here we having the hugely lucrative videogame industry, where reportedly males are 78% of the employees, under attack by feminists: MISOGYNY!

Is this targeting of the allegedly misogynist videogame industry coincidental? Is there any male-dominated institution in our society which has not been attacked by feminists in this way?

The attack on “male domination” — the attempt to lower the social and economic status of men — will have the effect of making it more difficult for women to find husbands and making it more likely that marriages will end in divorce. Women’s happiness will be diminished, and when these women complain about the dissatisfactions of their lives, feminists will say . . . MORE EQUALITY!

Feminists are quite specific about what they don’t like about videogames. They complain that depictions of female characters are examples of heteronormativity and the male gaze, i.e., the female characters are conventionally feminine and sexually attractive.

Christina Hoff Sommers asked an obvious question: “If playing violent videogames doesn’t make people violent, how does playing sexist videogames make people sexist?” But wait! What feminists are saying about videogames is that cultural representations produce in real life what they depict? Doesn’t this sound like every social conservative criticism of pop culture, ever? I mean, remember when jazz music turned us all into degenerate heroin-addicted sensualists? More recently, gangsta rap turned us all into ghetto thugs.

So now, according to feminists, playing videogames are making us all misogynists? Isn’t this tantamount to an admission by feminists that Disney’s Frozen is a plot to turn our daughters into lesbians?

Two can play this Culture War game, you see.

The trend in our culture and society desired by the intelligentsia is toward more “equality” and more acceptance of homosexuality, and we are not supposed to notice now closely this reflects the analysis provided by feminist gender theory, where women are oppressed because they’re heterosexual, and vice-versa. If, as feminists insist, male supremacy depends on the “heterosexual matrix,” then what is the opposite value system? The derogation of men, the deliberate stigmatization of masculinity and especially the demonization of male sexuality. Notice how, in the quote above, Teresa de Lauretis says that lesbian “desire for women . . . unlike male desire, affirms and enhances” women, by offering them “a sexuality autonomous from the male.”

In other words, lesbian supremacy — men bad, lesbians good.

Professor De Lauretis is a renowned feminist credited with coining the term “queer theory,” and I am waiting for Amanda Marcotte to denounce her — but of course, she won’t. You see my point?

The lesbian feminists are constantly derogating males and heterosexuality, while a heterosexual feminists like Marcotte is ranting about “white male dominance,” despite the fact that (a) Marcotte is white and (b) her boyfriend is a white male, so that in effect, Marcotte is denouncing herself and her own lifestyle. Yet never once is Amanda Marcotte required to address the whole argument — i.e., that male sexuality is inherently oppressive and lesbianism is therefore the key to women’s liberation — which has been the underlying message of feminist ideology for 40 years!

“Hey, Amanda, what do you think about Teresa de Lauretis? Why are you still tolerating your white male boyfriend’s oppression?”

These questions are never answered because they are never asked, just like nobody asks a feminist, “What do you mean by ‘sexist’”? Does “sexism” (or “misogyny,” as a synonym) actually mean what Andrea Dworkin said it meant? That is to say, are the basic “role divisions” of male/masculine and female/feminine your target? What is wrong with these roles? Are women oppressed by their femininity? Is male heterosexual desire for women inherently offensive and degrading? Does Amanda Marcotte want to “destroy patriarchal power at its source, the family”? And if not, why not?

Feminism is a journey to lesbianism, I keep saying, because it’s true. If “sexual equality” means androgyny (which it does), and if male sexuality is the source of women’s oppression (as all feminists say it is), then why on earth would any feminist be heterosexual? In the feminist future where “male domination” has been eliminated and sex roles have been abolished, wouldn’t all women in this androgynous future society prefer the (superior) female partner to one of those pathetic XY chromosome carriers, the males?

After five decades of activism, feminists are still losing their war on human nature (97.7% of Americans are heterosexual). What feminists have accomplished is to make more women as unhappy as feminists are. Making us all equally miserable is the real goal.

First published at

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Robert Stacy McCain
Robert Stacy McCain is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of experience in the news business. He is a correspondent for The American Spectator, editor-in-chief at Viral Read and blogs at

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